Long ago, before anyone’s grandfather could remember, there had been a war, between wolves and men. The wolves won, not only because they were stronger, faster, and more cunning, but because they did not betray their own kind, as did the men.
After the war, a peace was settled, so that man and wolf might live in unity, but only a wolf was allowed to hold the throne, because humans were easily corrupted, and could not be trusted with government.
Hundreds of years passed, and times changed. Things were forgotten, even by the long-lived wolves. A young wolf rose to the throne, and he was the best king the land had known for many centuries. He ruled generously and well, and was loved by his people. By his side he kept a human lover, and for many years they were happy.
But the Wolf-King found out that his lover had betrayed him, and he flew into a rage. “O, that I should have forgotten what my forefathers warned: humans are evil, lying betrayers. I was a fool to have loved one.”
So did he have his lover put to death.
After that, the Wolf-King was changed. Wrathful and temperamental, he sent out a command that the humans would provide to him each day a virgin youth or maiden to be his mate for the night, and in the morning they were put to death.
Every night, the screams could be heard echoing for miles around the castle.
Shay pushed his way into the room, bickering with and shoving past any guard who tried to stop him. The night’s sacrifice was in tears, mewling piteously, with long wailing sobs.
“Oh, god’s fur, you’re going to present that to his majesty?” Shay snaps.
The courtier overseeing the girl’s preparations looks up. “Who are you?”
Shay lifts his head proudly. “I am Sharizade. You’re going to present me to the king in her place.”
“Just like that? This can’t be done, you aren’t sanctioned. I don’t know who you think you are.”
“What choice do you have?” Shay indicates the girl, who might’ve been pretty under the tears, but now merely looks ghoulish. “Let the King decide, if he’ll have me.”
The courtier nods. “We’ll have to hurry, then. Strip.”
Shay refuses make-up, even threatens to bite the cosmetic artists when they try to insist, so it is in the simplest of white ceremonial dresses that Shay is escorted into the court, his shoulder-length chestnut hair tucked with demure white blossoms. As the veils are drawn aside, he drops respectfully to his knees, but then raises his eyes boldly to gaze at the king.
The king’s most respected advisor—a human, who has earned his position owing to his having wisdom and honor to match any wolf—leaps to his feet. “Shay!”
The Wolf-King turns to his advisor, puzzled. “You know this boy?”
“Your majesty,” the advisor drops to his knees. “From my long years of loyal service, I crave your indulgence. This boy is my only son. I know he was not the one chosen to be your companion tonight, I have seen the girl chosen with mine own eyes.”
“My worthy father,” Shay interrupts. “And O, most beloved sovereign, I beg your indulgences.” Shay stands, a proud, exotic beauty with dazzling gold eyes, tall and lithe, graceful in form, with broad shoulders and narrow hips. “It is true, I was not the one chosen for you. The maiden was, however, ill-disposed, and I begged to be given the honor in her place.”
“You stand before me of your own free will?” The Wolf-King rumbles, intrigued.
“I do.” Shay holds the King’s gaze without fear or hesitation.
“My liege!” The advisor begs. “My son is not well, he knows not what he does! I beg you, I am an old man, my boy is all I have. Do not take him from me.”
The Wolf-King rumbles, pacing forward. “It is an interesting dilemma you present, boy. What is your name?”
Shay is tall, for a human, but the Wolf towers over him by almost a foot. “Sharizade,” he replies, voice raised only enough for the King’s ears to hear, regardless of the entire court.
“And you know, Sharizade, that to be my companion tonight means to die tomorrow?”
“I am willing, my lord, to take that risk.”
The Wolf stands close, challenging, demanding, and his breath is warm on Shay’s neck. He studies Shay at a proximity that would make a normal man stammer with terror. Although he can sense Shay’s heartbeat quicken a step, the youth shows no other signs of fear. His eyes do not leave the Wolf’s face, and their gaze promises desire, and devotion. The Wolf has never seen such eyes, nor such depths of emotion, and he has never felt such lust as he feels for this strange reckless boy with eyes like the harvest moon.
“Why?” The Wolf asks, and he can hear the boy’s breath catch, before he replies.
“I am of age, my liege, and I could desire no greater honor, than to lay down my body and my life for your majesty’s pleasure.”
The Wolf-King considers, brushing the soft pads of his fingers across Shay’s cheek. The youth closes his eyes, turning his head into the touch, regardless of protocol, and kisses the Wolf’s palm. When his eyes open again, there is a soft blush on his cheeks, and his gaze is deeper, smoky—sensual.
The Wolf turns, hand still on Shay’s cheek, to regard his advisor. “For someone so clearly unwell in the brain, your son is undeniably convincing that he knows exactly what he does, my friend.”
The advisor’s eyes linger over the pair, distressed. “Your majesty.”
The Wolf turns back to Shay, clearly enthralled by him. “But the youth is of age, and not only eligible, but willing. His paw slides lower, caressing Shay’s throat. The motion elicits a delicious shudder from the boy. “I will mate with him tonight. I cannot resist so exceptional a gift, when it is freely offered. But because I so value your friendship, I will show mercy. Your son may choose his own fate, on the morrow. Is this acceptable?”
The advisor looks down as he nods, heartbroken in the apparent loss of his son. “Yes, your majesty.”
Letting go of Shay, the Wolf-King returns to his throne. “Take him to my chambers.”
Shay looks out the window at the darkening sky.
“It is usually an hour before he will hence, lambling,” the old maidservant says.
“Yes,” Shay nods. “I know.”
“You know how he will mate with you?”
Again, Shay nods. “I am not afraid.”
“Here.” The maid presses a jar into his hand. “Do you know the use of this?”
“Yes. The ointment eases his entrance.”
“More than just that, lambling. Use it liberally, now, and right before he takes you, if he allows it. He probably will not. It will loosen you, so that there is less… tearing.”
Shay’s hands shake slightly as he opens the jar of sweet-smelling ointment. “Thank you.”
It is late, before the Wolf-King is released from matters of state. He finds Shay in his chambers, curled up in a chair, fast asleep. For a time, he merely watches his bride, carefully extending a claw to tuck a stray lock of hair back into place. Sharizade is even more beautiful asleep, features relaxed into a sweet innocence that somehow suits him even better than the fearless adoration he showed before the court. The wolf bends to smell him, and he smells of soap and spice, over the more delicious natural scent of his youth’s skin. Rumbling a pleased noise low in his throat, the Wolf rests one arm on the wing of the chair, by Shay’s head, and leans in to taste him. His lips are soft, inviting the Wolf to part them with his tongue.
Shay gasps, eyes fluttering open. He stares at the King, startled to find the Wolf’s vivid green eyes so close to his own. He looks very innocent and defenseless, with his eyes wide and alarmed, like a startled lamb. It stirs something powerful inside the Wolf-King’s soul that hungers, for such breathtaking prey.
“You were sleeping,” the Wolf chuckles.
Shay blushes, finally dropping his arresting golden eyes. “I’m sorry, your majesty.”
The Wolf lifts his chin with a knuckle. “Don’t drop your eyes.”
Shay smiles at him. “Yes, my lord.” It’s impossible to resist a smile on lips that beautiful, so the King kisses him again. One of Shay’s hands steals onto the King’s shoulder as he kisses back, wary of the Wolf’s sharp teeth. When the kiss is broken, Shay gazes at him, soft and dazed.
“Why would you give yourself to me willingly, Sharizade?”
“Please call me Shay,” he blurts, without thinking, and blushes once he realizes it.
“Shay,” the Wolf rumbles, pleased.
“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” Shay says. “I promise.”
He leans up, kissing the Wolf under his chin, and the Wolf-King laughs. He gathers Sharizade into his arms, and places him onto the bed. Shay shudders, when the Wolf tears the buttons from Shay’s shirt, and runs his rough-padded paws—long-fingered and dexterous like human hands, but not so soft, and not so harmless—over his prey’s bare chest. He follows the touch with a nip from his huge teeth that makes Shay gasp, with a flicker of fear in his heartbeat.
“You are not entirely without fear of me,” the King observes. He strips Shay of his pants, and then stops, gazing upon him.
Shay lies exposed and vulnerable on the bed, raised slightly on his elbows. His rosy, boyish cock lifts, half-erect, from the nest of curls between his legs, but his skin is otherwise soft, unbroken, and almost completely hairless. He’s even more beautiful now, with his cheeks flushed, lips parted, eyes hesitant but willing. The King runs the pad of his thumb over one of the youth’s strange, useless male nipples, and laughs, surprised and delighted, when it makes Shay gasp and arch in pleasure.
“What a strange, fearless little human you are,” the Wolf says. “Come here. Undress me.”
Shay rises to his knees, unfastening the Wolf-King’s ornate, heavy tunic, and lets it fall away. He runs his fingers through the thick fur, in awe, and it is to the Wolf-King’s complete surprise that Shay suddenly nuzzles his chest, dropping a few enamored kisses on his collarbone.
“Hurry up,” the king coaxes, so Shay quickly undoes the buttons, so the Wolf can kick away the trousers.
Shay has never seen a Wolf naked, so he stares, in fascination and some horror, at the huge, angry red phallus emerging from its sheath. The King can smell his fear, and the quickening of his pulse.
“Are you still willing, lambling?” he asks, darkly amused.
“Yes,” Shay responds, and has dropped to his knees on the marble floor and wrapped his mouth around it so quickly the King nearly stumbles in surprise. Never before has any creature performed this act for him unasked. One of Shay’s soft, gentle, human hands rests on the King’s hip, and the other wraps around the warm furry sheath at the base of the King’s cock. His fingers explore the skin with quick, deft little motions that make it hard to breathe evenly, and soon they’ve dropped lower, to attend the twin sacks of the Wolf-King’s testes, heavy with seed.
His tongue moves like he’s done this before, like he wasn’t near paralyzed with fear at the sight of it, a moment before. He sucks like he’s starving for it, quick and eager, and the King catches at the bedpost to keep from swaying with pleasure. Even the little moans Shay makes are maddening, delicious, and the Wolf-King has to pull Shay off and pin him to the bed before he loses himself to the sensations.
Shay blushes at his own impudence, and at the way the King holds him, firm, stern, and a little bit dangerous, but very, very aroused. Shay can feel it, pressing into his thigh.
“Turn over,” the Wolf-King commands.
Shay shifts, about to obey, but the King’s grip has not loosened. “I can’t,” Shay replies, and the King kisses him again, deep and demanding, before releasing him. Shay turns over, rising carefully onto all fours, tucking the curve of his ass against the Wolf’s stomach like an open invitation. It takes every scrap of the King’s willpower not to plow into him that instant.
“Did they give you an ointment, to make it easier on you?”
“Yes.” Shay has started slightly, surprised. He had been told not to expect this generosity.
Shay darts out from under him, nimbly, and fetches the jar, bringing it back with him.
“Quickly,” the Wolf growls, his voice hoarse with desire. “Rub it on my phallus.”
Sharizade obeys, then sets the jar aside and tucks himself under the Wolf-King’s body. This time, there is no need for hesitation before the Wolf grabs Shay’s hips and plows into him.
Shay doesn’t cry out. Only once—as the Wolf-King pounds mercilessly into Shay, until he feels ready to faint from the pain of being impaled on this Wolf’s cock, far larger than a human penis—only once does he cry out, when the wolf stills a moment and shudders before continuing to rut. Shay thinks he’ll never stop, fucking him hard and fast as he pumps him full of more cum than Shay knew any one body could hold.
He’d been told about men, but he didn’t know about Wolves, so it’s with alarm that he feels the base of the Wolf-King’s cock starting to grow engorged as it pumps seed. A thick knot forms at the base, until the King is inextricably lodged inside Shay and they are locked together. Only then does he top, panting, and he pushes gently on Shay. Obedient, Shay lowers himself carefully down onto the sheets, lying full length on the bed. The King’s weight settles on him, heavy and warm. Shay can feel how the Wolf holds himself up on his elbows, so that the youth is not crushed with the weight.
He moves his hand down to find the King’s, and clasps it. The Wolf rumbles his approval, and weaves their fingers together. Near to fainting with exhaustion and pain, Shay sleeps.
“Well, Sharizade? What shall I do with you?”
Shay stands again before the Wolf-King and his court, with no less calm, proud, exotic beauty than he had the day before.
“I am yours, my lord, to do with as you wish.”
“Sharizade,” Shay’s father begs.
The Wolf-King frowns. “My decree states that I should have you put to death, and yet I have promised your father I should let you choose your own fate. So heed him, and go home. Go live out your life in peace.”
“If my lord wishes it,” Shay drops his eyes. “But—”
Shay looks up. “But I did promise to tell the King a secret.”
“I remember,” the King rumbles.
“My life is yours, my lord, and if you would send me away, then let it be so. But I beg leave for one more night, so I might tell the King the answer he asked of me. And if it does not please, then let me be killed upon the morrow.”
The court stares at him in disbelief. The King laughs. “You truly are mad, little lambling. One night is not enough, you would endure a second?”
“If I have pleased my King,” Shay says, in a soft breath of a voice that goes straight to the Wolf-King’s groin and resides there all day.
“Give me your secret, lambling, I’ve waited long enough.” The Wolf-King rumbles with fond amusion, drawing Shay into his lap.
Shay steals a kiss before he replies. “My mother taught me many things, before she died. When one day I told her I had fallen in love, she taught me her secrets, how to win any male whom I loved, be he Wolf or man. Each night before I slept, she whispered her secrets and stories into my ear. Each night for years, until she died.”
“Did you win your lover?”
“Not yet,” Shay smiles, and gives himself in a deep, lingering kiss. “My mother was a courtesan,” he says, when the kiss is finished.
“From a land across the sea. I’ll tell you the story. Tomorrow.”
The Wolf-King laughs. “Tomorrow,” he agrees.
“When my mother fell in love with my father,” Shay begins the next night, as he steps into the bath, “she used her secrets to win him, and he brought her home and married her. They loved each other deeply. She told me her tales from across the sea, even though she never returned to her beloved homeland, she never once regretted leaving it. She told me that love was worth every risk. It is from her that I get my golden eyes.”
He takes the soap and lathers it into the Wolf-King’s thick gray fur, and this time, when the Wolf begins to fill him with his thick, sticky semen, Shay cries out in ecstasy, and spills his own hot seed into the water.
“What will you tell me tomorrow?” the Wolf-King asks, as he carries Shay to bed.
“I’ll tell you a story, of the Beauty and the Beast,” Sharizade promises.
“Your lover,” the Wolf-King speaks, “the one for whom your mother taught you her secrets. Who was he?”
“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” Shay replies, and then gasps as the King’s long wolf-tongue wraps around his cock.
“It was you, of course. It was always you.”
For a thousand nights this continues, each night Sharizade promising a new secret or story in exchange for his life for one more day. On the thousand and first, the Wolf-King enters to find Shay curled up by the window, watching the sunset with a frown.
Smiling, the Wolf wraps his arms around his beloved. “You promised me your mother’s secret for how she kept your father.”
“She told me, always give him something to look forward to. Always give him something to come home to. Always keep him waiting, but never too long. Always promise him secrets, and let him earn the answers. And when you give him kisses and caresses, give each one as if it’s a cherished gift. Never give a kiss that’s worth less than your very soul.” He laughs, sadly. “She whispered those to me on her deathbed.”
The Wolf-King holds him, as the sun sets and the sky darkens. The silence is warm, soft, and generous.
“What will you tell me tomorrow?” the Wolf-King asks, with a kiss.
“I have nothing, my lord. I have given you the last of my secrets. I’ve used the last of my excuses. Tomorrow you will have me killed, according to your decree, or do with me otherwise, as you see fit.”
“I will overturn the decree, Shay. You have earned it, and your freedom. You’re free to go, Sharizade.”
He feels the youth’s heart quicken in alarm. “My lord, there is no worse torment I could suffer than to be parted from you. Please, I beg you not to send me away.”
“Then stay, and be my consort. You will rule always by my side, for you have earned the right.”
Shay smiles. “Your consort, and your mate?”
The Wolf-King lowers his head, his breath warm on Shay’s lips as he replies: “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”