“Goddamn it, Myles Teeter, you don’t get to shift every time you get mad at me. It’s not fair!” Tree roots dug into my back as I wrestled the alligator, my hands sliding on the smooth, leathery skin, wet from the river.
My knee slid in the mud and I nearly lost my grip on the squirming creature under me. “I’m sick as hell of this and it’s cheap way to win a fight. I can’t shift.” I settled my knee square on the squirming tail beneath me and muttered, “Besides, I look like a crazy person screaming at a ‘gator. One day someone I town’s gonna notice and nineteen is a little too young to be labeled a crazy ol’ coot. Bad enough I’m gay and dating an alligator shifter.”
At that, the fight seemed to go out of Myles and I finally got him pinned, one hand holding his snapping jaws shut, the other gripping his softer underbelly. He was small as a gator. Smaller than me, but that’s because he was still young. As he got older, he’d grow upwards of twelve, thirteen feet.
That scared me. I knew he’d never hurt me intentionally, but I was still wary of catching one of the slashing claws or dangerous teeth. And this shifting when we got in an argument shit had to stop. I looked down, staring into the goldy-green eye blinking up at me. Myles had gorgeous eyes when he was in human form but the vertical slit for a pupil he had in ‘gator form always unnerved me. Made me remember that although there was a human consciousness in there somewhere, sometimes there was a real, live reptile around the man I loved.
As I watched, the skin of the alligator beneath me rippled, shifting into a human male before I could blink. Myles shifted fast—faster than most shifters he’d proudly boasted once—and I could never really see his body transition from one to the other. My hand still gripped his chest, but the other was now wrapped around his throat. I was relieved to feel soft, human skin and his pulse beneath my palms, but I let go of Myles so he could turn over and face me.
He settled on his back between my knees and I lowered my body until I straddled his hips. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared down at him. “I’m tired of this, Myles. If you’re mad at me, fine, we can argue it out or wrestle or whatever the fuck you wanna do, but it’s gotta be as a human. You don’t get to turn into a ‘gator. That’s cheatin’.”
Myles grimaced. “Sorry, Dalton.”
“I love you, goddamn it, and I think I’ve been pretty understandin’ about this shifting and all, but this is where I draw the line. You fight me as a human or I’m outta here, you understand?”
He nodded, expression uncharacteristically serious. “I understand. I don’t wanna lose you, Dalton.”
I sighed and uncrossed my arms, leaning down to kiss him, muttering against his lips, “If you don’t behave I’m gonna turn you into a pair of shoes and a belt.”
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