Excerpt: Brush with Catastrophe by Tara Lain; MM Paranormal with Witches!
College art student Sammy Raphael is a crappy witch. And he can’t get a boyfriend. Sammy’s had a passion for his BFF, Ryder McMasters, for years, but Ryder is straight and human. Talk about hopeless causes! And where other supernaturals can bring down lightning and manifest wealth, all Sammy can do is paint. True, the “prophetic” paintings he does at night always come true, but they never predict anything important -- until he paints a picture of a gorgeous man who turns out to be Ryder but so changed he’s barely recognizable. Then Sammy paints an angel --who turns out to be a devil that threatens Sammy’s community and the man he loves. With the black cat familiar, Aloysius, at his side Sammy steps up to save the world--with a paint brush.
Aloysius fascinated Sammy. Knowing the beast looked like a cat but was actually so much more played with Sammy’s mind. While he hadn’t seen it himself, he’d heard reports of Aloysius screaming down the lightning from Killian’s shoulder when they had defeated the head of the Witches’ Council who was trying to control the future of witchery through deceit and manipulation. Total feline scariness.
Killian stepped up to the lectern. Sammy glanced back at the rows and rows of students who had filled in behind him. Dr. Barth sure was popular.
“Good morning, and welcome to the History of Mystical Practice. Is everyone in the right place?”
One girl sighed, “Oh yes,” and everyone laughed.
Killian smiled. “Please put your notebooks down, place your feet flat on the floor, rest your hands in your lap, and close your eyes.”
Sammy glanced at Ryder and Chen, who both looked as mystified as Sammy felt. Sammy closed his eyes.
Killian’s voice sounded soothing. “Take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your nose.”
Much wushing and hissing filled the room.
“And another one. Now keep your eyes closed, but look upward as if you could see the spot between your eyebrows. Stare at that spot. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to that spot.”
Light. Wow. Like somebody had turned on a bulb in Sammy’s forehead. No, more like a candle, because it felt warm. The warmth spread up through his head until it reached the top of his skull. Then it seemed to reverse and started to pour like oil down over his brain. Gods, it felt so good. Silky, sweet, soothing. He let the heat fill his head, comforting every cell. Light sparkled behind his eyes. The sparkles and the oil meshed into a blanket of iridescence that stretched on and on and on…
What? He opened his eyes, and Chen was staring at him. At the front of the class, Dr. Barth was lecturing away. What happened? He smiled at Chen. “Sorry.”
Chen whispered, “No problem. I was worried when you didn’t wake up. Did you actually go to sleep?”
Sammy shook his head. “Not exactly.” He turned his attention back toward Dr. Barth, but out of the corner of his eye, he could see Ryder staring at him. Sammy went to take a note. What the hells? On his notepad, he’d drawn a picture of himself with Aloysius, the familiar, on his shoulder. Every detail was sketched in pencil down to the silken texture of the cat’s fur. Had he done it while he was asleep? No, he hadn’t been asleep, just…somewhere else. But maybe wherever he went was enough like sleeping that his prophetic painting had kicked in. Was this going to happen? Weird.
Sammy flipped the page and took notes, trying to focus on Killian, who was telling the class they would have the chance to practice many techniques in their journey through the history of mysticism. Sammy wasn’t sure what to make of the practice they’d just done. Maybe he was tired from his midnight art frenzy.
Finally the class was over. Food seemed like a good idea. He’d only had the egg and latte this morning, and last night he hadn’t eaten much of his veggie burger because he’d been nervous about impressing Arnold. What an idiot. Anyway, lunch. He was light-headed.
Sammy shoved his notepad in his backpack and stood beside Chen. Ryder waited behind him.
What? Sammy looked around, then felt pressure on his shins.
“Mrwar.” Aloysius did figure eights, rubbing his silky blackness against Sammy’s jeans.
“Hi, fella. Hey, good to see you.” That was kind of true even though the cat made him nervous.
Aloysius jumped up on a seat. The crossed blue eyes stared up at Sammy. “Mrwar.” And in one fluid leap, the cat soared through the air and landed smack on Sammy’s shoulder. Just like in the drawing.
“Whoa.” Sammy staggered back two steps and felt Ryder’s hands gripping his shoulders. The grip was strong and warm.
Ryder laughed, but all Sammy could feel was the heat and pressure of those hands.
Ryder laughed again. “He’s licking me. His tongue is scratchy!” Sammy glanced back and saw the cat scraping his long tongue over Ryder’s fingers. There was something about the power of Aloysius’s tongue that Sammy ought to remember, but the synapses in his brain weren’t firing. The synapses in his cock, however, ran rampant. Every one of Ryder’s long fingers on his shoulders seemed to have a direct connection to Sammy’s balls.
Too soon, Ryder moved his hands. Would that they had traveled to Sammy’s butt but no such luck. Ryder looked at Sammy. “You okay?”
Sammy cleared his throat. “Fine. Aloysius startled me.”
“Has he ever done that before?”
“Nope.” Sammy reached up tentatively and patted the cat’s head. Aloysius pushed into Sammy’s hand, and he giggled. “What do you think he wants?”
“Mr. Raphael, Mr. McMasters, Mr. Chen.” Killian stood in the aisle, leaning into their row. He was always formal in class. It suited him. Plus, Ryder was human, so Killian couldn’t reveal too much familiarity. Killian smiled. “Al seems to have taken to you, Mr. Raphael.”
Alvish, now Ryder, looked up. “Al? Do you mean me, sir?”
That made Sammy’s heart do a double take. He wished Alvish had taken a liking to him.
Killian smiled. “I call Aloysius Al, but perhaps I should call him Al number one.”
Ryder shook his head. “No, sir. If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to be called Ryder. It’s my middle name.”
Killian leveled his gaze at Ryder. “A new name to go with your metamorphosis, I gather?”
Ryder nodded. “Something like that.”
Killian reached out a hand to Aloysius. “Come on, Al. We have places to go.”
Sammy felt the cat circle his neck like a winter scarf and heard him begin to purr. Sammy reached up to dislodge him and got teeth, gently but firmly, placed in the pad of his thumb. “Uh, Dr. Barth…”
Killian raised one fair eyebrow. “A new regime, I see.” He looked at Al. “Are you sure, Al?”
The cat released his teeth from Sammy’s flesh and purred louder.
“All right, I’m sure he has his reasons. Enjoy your guest cat, Mr. Raphael.”
“What? But sir… I don’t know how… What in hell am I going to do with a cat?”
Killian laughed. “Anything he wants.”
Author blog: http://taralain.blogspot.com
Book blog: http://beautifulboysbooks.blogspot.com