Neve pulled into the parking lot of the Calico Early Man site and parked her late model Chevy Aveo. She ran her fingers through her hair to make sure it wasn't sticking up in any odd angles. Satisfied she didn't look completely unkempt, she got out of the car and headed toward the small project building. In between jobs, she'd come today to see if there were any openings. She'd always had a fascination with fossils and early man finds, and, given it was only a fifteen-mile drive from Barstow, California--where she lived--to the site, it was close by.
Stepping into the building, Neve found a group of people waiting for a tour to begin. She'd taken it several times, enjoying the fact that those who took it were given the chance to do some excavating at a dig site. It didn't take her long to spot the volunteer tour guide who stood across the room.
She returned his smile and walked over to him. "Hi," she said. "I don't know if you're the right person to ask, but I wondered if there were any positions available at the dig site for a technician?"
The older man shook his head. "Sorry to say, there aren't any. But we do have a volunteer dig coming up in the next couple of months."
Neve felt her spirits sink, but to be honest, she really hadn't had high hopes of a position being available. The site was mostly run with volunteers, or Friends of Calico Early Man, as they were called.
"Thanks anyway," she said.
The man added, "If you're interested, I'll be starting a tour in about five minutes. You're welcome to join the group."
Neve nodded. She was already out here, and it wasn't as if she had anything else to do. "I think I will."
She headed over to the cash register where visitors could purchase souvenirs to pay the five dollar admission. That done, Neve joined the waiting group. Shortly after, as promised, the tour guide led them out of the building and onto the path that would take them to the main dig site.
As they walked the dirt and gravel path, Neve was thankful she'd worn her running shoes instead of sandals. The only thing she wished she'd brought was a hat to protect her from the hot sun. The site sat in the Mojave Desert with not much shade to speak of. At least she had on a loose-fitting, short-sleeved blouse and jeans.
While the tour guide discussed the fossils and early man tools that had been found at the site, Neve looked up at the sky. There wasn't a cloud to be seen, but something suddenly caught her eye. She blinked, and then it was gone. She scanned the sky, telling herself she hadn't really seen what she thought she saw. There was no way in hell a winged man actually flew high above her, even though the form appeared to be a human shape with wide, outstretched wings. It had to be a trick of the eye, or the sun was getting to her more than she'd thought.
Neve continued walking but slowed enough to be at the very back of the group. It had to be her eyes playing tricks on her, something they seemed to do once in a while. She'd lost count of the number of times she'd caught something out of the corner of her eye, only to see nothing there when she turned her gaze fully on the spot.
Still thinking about what she'd thought she saw, Neve looked up at the sky once more, using her hand to shade her eyes. Damn, did she just see a winged man again? She squinted, but once again there was nothing there.
Neve shook her head, her steps becoming even slower. Crap, she was going to do it, she had to go see if there really was something truly there. The second time she'd thought she'd seen him, the winged man seemed to be coming in for a landing past the main dig site, farther out in the desert where there were rock formations. Even though she knew she was being ridiculous to think he was actually real, Neve had to see if she could find him. If she didn't, it would drive her nuts thinking about it. Sometimes she was stupid that way.
As the tour group went to the main dig site, Neve slipped away unnoticed, heading into the desert. She was sure this little jaunt would end with her being a bit sunburned--with her fair skin it was inevitable--but she didn't mind if it meant preserving her sanity.
Going over a small hill and rounding a corner, she just about jumped out of her skin when a man stepped out from behind a large Joshua tree. With his back toward her, Neve noted he didn't have wings, not that she expected to see any. As if he'd finally felt her presence, he turned her way, and she forgot about the supposed winged man, along with everything else, as she gazed at his face.
A pair of light green eyes stared back at her. She ran her gaze over his longish, dark brown hair and oh, so familiar face. Neve couldn't believe she stood about twenty feet away from Jalen, the guitarist from the band Soar. Any red-blooded woman knew who they were. The five band members were more than drool worthy. Plus, Soar happened to be one of Neve's favorite groups. What were the odds of actually meeting one of the band members out here in the Mojave Desert? Probably a million to one.
He stepped toward her, and she swallowed to alleviate her suddenly dry throat. Jalen's gaze didn't seem to leave her face as he slowly walked closer. What did one say to a famous rock star, anyway?
Jalen had flown from San Bernardino, where he and his band mates lived, to Barstow and then on to the desert, needing the sense of freedom flight gave him. After a year on the road touring, the band was pretty much doing their own thing these days.
Even though the band members didn't stay in the same house, Jalen lived near Gannon, Keiran, Malik, and Trae. Being what they thought were the last of their kind--the Alte--they had stayed close for the last thousand years.
And another had recently been added to their small group--Arwen, Gannon's mate. Having been alone with no long-standing relationships with the human females around them, it had been a bit of a surprise when Gannon had shown so much interest in Arwen. It had taken a bit of adjustment to add her into their lives. She was the first human they'd revealed their true nature to, and she wasn't exactly what she once was anymore either.
A short time after Gannon had met Arwen, they'd found out one other Alte had survived the illness that had swept through their people, wiping their race off the face of the earth. Even though he, along with Gannon, Keiran, Malik, and Trae, had contracted the same illness, they had somehow survived when their bodies fought it off, but not without being irrevocably changed. No longer mortal, as their race had been, they'd been alive for well over a thousand years. The sickness had also changed their eye color to bright silver. Their senses had become heightened, and they found they could manipulate the elements. They'd realized they had the ability to hide what they truly were, in order to enable them to walk among humans. They could will their black wings away, making them appear to be large tattoos on their backs. They could change their eye color back to what it had once been as well.
Then there was Vance, the other Alte who had survived. It had been a crushing blow to learn he'd been the one to cause the illness that had taken their people. Wanting to be the only of his kind, so humans would continue to worship him like a god, Vance had turned to black magic.
Jalen soared over the desert, looking for a place to land. Able to bend light around him to appear invisible, he had no worries about any nearby humans seeing him. Flying over the early man site, he found the spot a little farther out in the desert.
He landed near a large Joshua tree and willed his wings away before he slipped on the T-shirt he'd tucked into the waistband of his jeans. He drew in a deep breath of the hot, dusty air. It smelled like home. The Mojave Desert had been the territory of the Alte. Jalen found himself returning to the area of his birth more often than not.
He heard a small intake of breath behind him as he stepped away from the tree. If his hearing wasn't so keen, he never would have picked up on the quiet sound. He turned and found a woman standing about twenty feet away. He couldn't take his gaze off her. It wasn't too hard for him to filter her scent out of the air. With each breath he took, it seemed to intoxicate him, causing him to focus completely on her.
He ran his gaze over her, and he burned to memory her shoulder-length, dark auburn hair. In the sun, fiery-red highlights shone through. He found her more than pretty with her small nose and kissable lips. Meeting her brown-eyed stare, his cock went rock hard. Without really thinking about it, he sent out his senses to learn her energy mark, something all humans gave off and he could read. With it, he'd now be able to focus on it and find her wherever she happened to be.
As he slowly walked toward her, the wind blew harder in his face, bringing more of her scent his way. He took a deep breath through his nose. His erection twitched inside his pants. The woman's scent now carried the unmistakable odor of her arousal. He longed to pull her into his arms and claim her as his own. To sink his cock deep inside her pussy and ride her until they both cried out with their release.
Jalen came to a standstill when he was close enough to touch her, but he managed to restrain himself. She looked at him with recognition showing on her face as she opened and closed her mouth a few times.
"Hi ... hi," she finally stammered.
"Hi," he replied back.
"Oh my God, you're Jalen."
He smiled. "I take it you're a fan of Soar?"
She nodded. "Your band is one of my favorites. What are you doing out here?"
"Enjoying the desert air. What's your name?"
"And what are you doing here, Neve?" he asked as he took a half step closer.
She swallowed, and the scent of her arousal increased. "I was over at the early man site. On one of the tours, but I thought I a saw flying ma--I thought I saw something and came out to investigate."
Jalen stiffened. There was no way Neve could have seen him flying. She couldn't have. With the light bent around him, no human eye would be able to detect him.
"Did you find this something you were looking for?" he asked cautiously.
Neve blushed. "No. Not that I thought I would. It had to be my eyes playing tricks on me. The only thing I found was you."
He felt his muscles relax. Obviously, Neve hadn't made the connection, even if she had truly seen him in flight. He gave her a half smile. "Was finding me a good or bad thing?"
"I'd definitely have to say it's good." Neve paused for a second, and then said, "I'd ask you for your autograph, but I don't have any paper or a pen on me right now."
"Neither do I. How about I do one better? Let me take you out for supper. We could catch a movie afterward as well."
She blinked. "You're asking me out? As in a real date?"
He chuckled. "I believe I am." Jalen stepped closer so the toes of their shoes met, and he looked into her eyes. "I'm finding I want to get to know you better, and I think we'd have a good time."
"Umm ... well..."
"Unless tonight isn't a good night for you."
"No, it isn't that."
"You have a boyfriend."
He'd just assumed she was single. The idea of Neve already having a man in her life didn't sit well with Jalen. He wanted her for himself. For the first time, he was drawn to a human woman, had become instantly intrigued with her. She also made him horny as all hell.
Neve shook her head. "No, I don't have a boyfriend."
Jalen breathed a silent sigh of relief. "Then what's stopping you from saying yes?"
She looked down at her feet and then back up at his face. "You're you."
"You're going to make me say this out loud, aren't you? What I mean is you're famous. While I'm a nobody from Barstow, who is unemployed with no prospects in sight. The only time I thought I'd be asked out by a rock star was in one of my daydreams."
Jalen reached out and captured Neve's hand. He placed her palm flat on his chest, over his heart. "Do I feel any different from any other man?" She shook her head. "Just because I'm a rock star doesn't make me less of one. I can be attracted to an unemployed woman from Barstow like any other male."
He kept her hand pressed to his chest as he bent his head and brushed his lips against hers. Her quick indrawn breath, followed by a soft sigh, was all the encouragement he needed to fully take her mouth. Jalen pushed his tongue inside and tangled it with hers. The taste of her went to his head, making him ache for more of her. She kissed him back, and just like that, his common sense left him.
His hands dropped to her waist and he pulled her body closer, rubbing his erection against her belly. He kissed her deeper, their tongues twining. He took her mouth as if she were the only thing he needed to survive. Neve brought her hands up and threaded them into the sides of his hair, pulling slightly on the strands, while she just as hungrily claimed his lips.
The distinctive screech of a red-tailed hawk broke the haze of intense desire that had taken Jalen over. With a sigh of regret, he lifted his head but kept his hands on Neve's waist. He looked at her to find her eyes closed, her lips swollen from his kisses. The sight made him want to take them again, but he resisted.
A few seconds later, she opened them and met his gaze. "After that," she said softly, "I guess I would be crazy to turn you down."
"So I take it I proved I'm still just a man," he said in a gruff voice. He rubbed his still hard cock against her.
Neve moaned quietly. "Without question."
"When and where shall I pick you up?"
"Say around seven and at my place."
She told him her address. He took his cell phone out of his front jeans pocket. "You'd better give me your phone number as well." Jalen entered it and her address into his contacts as Neve gave him the digits and then put it away. "I'll see you at seven tonight."
Jalen gave Neve one last kiss, making sure it was nothing more than a quick meeting of the lips before he let her go and took a step back. Anything more and he'd have her flat on her back on the ground as he did what he so very much wanted to do to her.
"Oh, okay. I guess I should go back and join up with the tour group. Unless you want me to walk to your car with you? It's probably parked at the early man site, right?"
"Actually, it isn't." He didn't elaborate more. "You go ahead." Jalen slowly backed up. "I'm looking forward to our date."
She gave him a smile. "So am I. See you tonight."
Jalen continued to walk backward as Neve turned and headed in the direction of the dig site. Once she was around the corner, he bent the light around him and stripped off his T-shirt. He securely tucked it into the waistband of his jeans before he manifested his wings. He stretched them out to their full, almost six-foot width. With a powerful jump straight up, he took flight, using his wings to take him higher off the ground.
Reaching a high enough altitude, Jalen leveled out and flew in the direction Neve had gone. He spotted her down below as she arrived where a group of humans stood. Reluctantly, he flapped his wings harder to pick up speed as he flew away from the early man site. He would have liked to spend the rest of the afternoon with Neve, but he had to return home. If he was to pick her up at seven, he had to make sure he had enough time to make the over-an-hour trip to drive from his home in San Bernardino back to Barstow. Flying was so much quicker.