Part  Two

 

On the Trail

 

Marshal Burns sat at the campfire, picking at the food as he watched Tanner and Larabee. The young tracker was seated close to the gunman; he was talking softly and Ed was having trouble following their conversation. His eyebrows raised as he saw the gunman’s hand rest on the tracker’s thigh, and the younger man seemed to lean into the touch.  Buck was keeping the first watch, and his gaze rooted Ed to the spot as the other two men got up and disappeared into the night.

 

“Don’t even think it, Marshal.  It can get a man killed.” The way Buck Wilmington said it made it plain that it was Ed that would do the dying.

 

Away from the campfire, Vin lead Chris to a small clearing before turning and moving into his arms.  The need for connection was burning through Vin; only in the arms of a man that scared most sensible people had he found his haven. Chris drew Vin close and then eased them down onto the ground.  Once comfortable he brushed Vin’s hat back to place a light kiss onto his face and allowed his young lover to snuggle in close to him. Gradually, he felt Vin go limp in his arms as sleep finally clamed him.

 

Chris let his mind drift back to when he had first met this most important addition to his life.

 

He had arrived in Two Butes.  It was late and the town seemed unnaturally still. Then, all hell had burst loose when Vin Tanner had been dragged out of the Saloon.  He had been struggling, kicking and clawing at the men holding him, only to be beaten down with a rifle butt.  Limp and bleeding, he was being hauled to the gallows to be hung by a lynch mob after his blood.

 

He should have ridden on.  It was no business of his.  But during the fight, he had made contact with Vin’s eyes.  Blue had met green, and Chris had felt his heart lurch. He had only felt it once before and that had been the first time he had laid eyes on his late wife. The next thing he knew, he had put a bullet through the man holding the rope and was riding out of town with Vin Tanner.  It was at that moment his life changed. His wife and son had been killed by demons, but as dawn broke the next day it found him buried deep inside his young, half-demonic lover, and a part of him that had been broken was healed.

 

It was then that Vin had told him, as the younger man had lain sated in his arms that first time, of the creed of the Phoenix. Like now, he had lightly stroked the stunning Phoenix tattoo on the younger man’s back, as he nuzzled at his throat. After the war, Vin had been taken in by the Phoenix Rising Tribe.  He had been lucky not to have been killed on sight.  To start with, they had used him as a slave; he had taken their beatings and abuse until he had proven himself, then he had been given the chance to join the tribe.

 

 

It had taken place on the night of the Fire Moon - the most sacred night of the Phoenix Tribe - that Vin been allowed to “Stand”, to gain membership to  the most dangerous and ruthless of the demonic tribes.  Vin had been stripped naked.  What little he had had been taken from him and laid on a funeral pyre, then as he had knelt in front of it, the Shaman had come forward. He had raised the crescent knife to the Fire Moon, and then had taken a fistful of Vin’s hair and pulled his head back.  He had drawn the blade across his throat, just deep enough to make him bleed, then the Shaman had marked Vin with blood from the wound. Marking him so that the gods of the Phoenix tribe could see him, see into his heart to test if he was worthy to become one of the tribe. If he failed, then the Shaman would complete the cut, and send Vin to the one true death.

 

His hands had then been bound with plaited red cord, and then he had been tied to an A frame in the middle of a sacred circle of flame. The warriors had torched him until the blood ran down his back, flanks and belly.  As he was whipped and beaten, thin wooden hooks and needles pieced his skin.

 

When the sun began to rise in the sky, Vin had been cut down.  He had landed on all fours and the Shaman had moved behind him.  As two of the warriors had forced his head down into the dirt, the Shaman had mounted him brutally, thrusting into his body to the baying cries of the tribe. As he was given the living essence of the tribe.  Then, Vin had struggled to his feet, blood and cum running down his leg from his abused, torn ass.  Failure to stand would have meant his death.  So, Vin had greeted the birth of a new day on shaking legs.  Buried deep inside of him was the seed of the tribe and with it, he was re-born to this brutal tribe, becoming one with them.

 

Once the Stand was completed, Vin had collapsed.  His body was then picked up by Red Wing, one of the most honoured warriors, and taken to his tent, where his six wives had nursed the young half-demon so that at sunrise the next day, he was able to stand with his new father to accept the tattoo that would mark him until the day he died as a member of the Pheonix Rising Tribe.  It was only then, as Vin had nuzzled happily against him, that Chris had realised what he had done.  In taking Vin as the sun had risen, he had made a commitment to the younger man.  Beyond just the sex, he had unwittingly bound Vin to him.  They were now a mated pair in the eyes of Vin and his tribe.  His mind had told him to reject Vin, to tell him that it was a mistake, but then his heart had told him the truth.  He had been attracted to Vin from the moment he saw him and only his wife had ever attracted him that strongly.  That he was willing to ride through hell to possess him.

 

Feeling the lithe body moving over him had driven all thoughts from his mind, and he had rolled the younger man under him.  Seeing those vivid blues looking up at him, words were not needed.  He had known that he was one with Vin, in this life and the next.

 

A hand gently rubbed him, making him hard and bringing him back to the present and the warm body of his lover.  With a chuckle that many would never have thought him capable of, he tilted Vin’s face up and claimed him in a passionate kiss, even as his hands began to unbutton Vin’s braces and push his pants down.  Not for the first time, he was pleased about the fact that his young lover didn’t wear any drawers. All he could think of was once more burying himself within that sweet, tight ass.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Wickes Town

 

Josiah closed the door of the room behind him.  He turned to look at Ezra; the younger man was stripping off his jacket and swinging it over the back of a chair, then the vest followed.

 

“What-”

 

“Mr Sanchez, a contract has been entered in to between us. An exchange of promises between us; you paid for me, $20 to be precise, and in return, I fulfil your needs. To refrain from doing so is to break the contract.”

 

Josiah just grinned broadly.  The boy could certainly talk; all those ten dollar words.

 

Seeing the look, Ezra shook his head.  “Simply put, Mr Sanchez, you paid to fuck, so we fuck or you get your money back.”  Sitting down, Ezra removed his boots and then pushed his pants down, and then was in front of Josiah.  The big man took a deep breath.  He was a red blooded man, and whereas he usually liked the ladies, Ezra was a fine body of a man. Slowly, he put his hand out and his fingertips brushed the southerner’s face and chest.  The skin was warm and smooth to his touch.

 

The door flew open.

 

A couple of drunken cowboys came crashing in.  “Standish!” they yelled as they came in.

 

It was a couple of Wickes men, well in their cups.  Josiah faced them off pulling Ezra behind him, shielding his naked body.

 

“I paid for him, so get the hell out of here while you can.”  Josiah’s voice was deadly and a bowie knife appeared in his hand. The cowboys backed out, their sport for the night forgotten. Josiah followed them to the door and then pulled one of the chairs over and used it to wedge the door shut. “They do that often?”  Concern coloured his voice.

 

Ezra shrugged.  “All the doors are open for Wickes and his men.” He dismissed this with a shrug and then was in front of Josiah in a heartbeat, sliding his arms around Josiah’s neck and pulling his face down.  He kissed him, grinding his body against the bigger man. Josiah didn’t respond.  He carefully reached his arms around Ezra so that the younger man could feel his strength, his protection. Ezra broke the kiss and eased back slightly to look Josiah in the eyes.  Keeping contact as he pushed his lower body against him, he rubbed seductively, his lips arching into a smile, that to Josiah promised unbelievable carnal sins.  He felt Josiah hardening against him.

 

The Preacher knew his own body, and he would not raise a hand to Ezra for causing this reaction, although he knew that others of his Brotherhood would have beaten him for tempting them to sin. Bending his knees slightly, he scooped Ezra into his arms and carried him to the bed.  Laying him down, keeping his eyes locked on the green eyes of temptation, he stripped to his drawers and then joined him. Catching and holding the questing hands in one of his own, he pulled Ezra close, pressing his head down onto his own broad shoulder, then held him tightly. “Sleep, Ezra.  You’re safe.”   Ezra wasn’t finished yet.  He slid one trim thigh over the preacher, making sure his knee nudged Josiah’s growing erection and that the Preacher could feel the weight of his own, pressing hard and needy against his groin. Then, Ezra pulled himself so that he was blanketing the bigger body.  Josiah released his hold enough for Ezra to move and position himself. 

 

Standish nipped at the older man’s collar bone, a swipe of his tongue soothing the stinging. With a chuckle, Josiah patted the firm ass almost affectionately as he cupped it, and coaxed the younger man to sleep. Through the window, he looked out into the night sky.  Tomorrow night was the Fire Moon. 

 

Something was coming like bat out of hell, and it was going to bring death with it.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

On The Trail, Early Morning.

 

Buck sat near the campfire.  He had a coffee pot bubbling, and was carving slices of meat into a frying pan.  He heard the cry, long and lingering, almost animalistic. He allowed his smile to broaden; Chris always timed his climax in the morning to match that of the rising sun, in the year since he had first claimed Vin.

 

Now he knew the importance it held.  Each time Chris took his lover at dawn was a confirmation of their love. Although pairings were allowed, the warriors of Vin’s tribe shared each other freely, to guarantee the unity of the tribe and to refuse another of the tribe was seen as the gravest insult. But only a true lover would take his mate as the sun rose in the sky, as each day their lover was re-born.

 

Buck remembered back to the early days; this view was instilled into Vin to such a degree that at first Vin had seen his refusal to take him as proof that he hadn’t wanted him with Chris.  Only when Buck has finally mounted him did Vin become less aggressive and skittish. Understanding Chris’s young lover was never going to be easy, but each dawn as the two of them made love, Buck gave thanks that Chris Larabee had Vin Tanner.

 

“Coffee, Marshal?”  Buck handed him a battered tin cup.

 

A few minutes later, Vin and Chris returned back to the campfire.  Vin knelt down and poured out a cup of coffee and handed it up to Chris and then poured one for himself. “Way I see it, we’ll be at Wickes Town by early evening.”

 

“Why Wickes Town?”  Burns asked.  He knew that Judge Travis had his sights set on destroying the man, but why Larabee?

 

As if reading his thoughts, Chris tossed the dregs of his coffee into the fire, his voice like ice.  “He took something that belongs to us,” then added, “break camp.  Let’s ride.”

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Wickes Town Early Morning

 

As Josiah woke up, his hand reached out, and the bed was empty.  He looked towards the window.  Sitting near it was Ezra Standish, looking towards the rising sun. He watched as Standish reached a hand up and pressed it to the glass.  He lowered his head as if praying, but the smile he saw reflected in the glass was one he hadn’t seen before.  It was pure joy. He saw Ezra exhale slowly, and then turn back to look at him.

 

When he walked over to him, they was a sway to the naked body that made Josiah’s breath catch in his throat.  Ezra crawled up from the bottom of the bed so that he straddled him on all fours, then, leaning down, he brushed his lips from the waist band of his drawers in soft kisses up his to his collar.

 

Josiah was breathing hard.  It was the most erotic thing he had ever had done to him, even the working girl from the other night hadn’t done it. Ezra skin was smooth as it brushed lightly over him, the younger man’s cock leaving a trail of pre-come across his belly. Josiah’s hands came up and caught his shoulders and held Ezra, his grey eyes seeking some sort of answer from Ezra’s green eyes.  Then Josiah firmly rolled Ezra under him, the younger man’s legs wrapping round his thighs as he used his strength to pull the older man down onto him.  He needed to feel that hard body pressing against him, to feel some connection with someone, to at least feel something, even if it was the man’s big fists pounding into him as he was rejected. Because Josiah had made it clear that he didn’t want sex with him, but Ezra needed him.  Laying his head back on the pillow, Ezra looked up and then let his long canines drop into place, his lips pulling back. But Josiah didn’t hit him, or push him away.  He dipped his head and bit against Ezra’s throat, and heard the man sigh as he reached out, his hands playing over the larger man’s body, pushed at his drawers.

 

“Need-”

 

“I can’t, I am sorry.”

 

“Not that, just need to feel.” It was the first time he had heard the gambler plead.

 

Josiah pushed up from him.  Ezra reached for him, but he pushed his hands away. Then, seeing the dismay, he stroked the southerner’s chest and belly. “Easy, Ezra.”  Quickly, he stepped out of his drawers then came back, lowering his bigger body over Ezra.  Feeling the younger man wrap himself round him, he rolled onto his back, taking Ezra with him.  Raising one hand, he stroked Standish’s face, brushing his thumb across his lips so that he felt the prick of the fangs. “I can’t give you want you need, but I can help you.  Move.  Let me feel you come for me.”  Josiah felt the shudder that went through Ezra, then he leaned forward to nip at Josiah’s throat, the fangs dragging across the skin but not penetrating it, as he slowly began to move.  Rubbing up against Josiah, his eyes closed as he felt the big man’s hands on his hips, guiding each thrust as his cock brushed against the flat washboard stomach of the older man.  “That’s it, Ezra.  Take what you need.”

 

 

The noises coming from Ezra were no longer words, just sounds of his needs. “Bite me.”  Two words.  For a moment, Ezra stilled, his eyes wide open.  “Bite me when you come.”  Meeting the peaceful grey eyes, Ezra knew it was an honest offer.

 

He began to rock, working to completion.  Just as he climaxed, he bit down, and the sweet blood flooded into his mouth, a big hand holding his head in place. Slowly, his sated body relaxed down onto Josiah.  He licked across the wound to seal it and stop infection, and then laid his head on Josiah’s shoulder.  Feeling those strong arms circling him, holding him safe, his eyes closed and sleep claimed him.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Josiah reluctantly parted with Standish at 8.00 am when the bartender came up and hammered on the door. His leering grin was nearly enough for Josiah to want to punch his face as he was told his time was up.

 

Collecting his coat, Josiah met Ezra’s eyes.  “I’ll be back tonight.”

 

“No need, Josiah.” He looked towards the window.

 

Puzzled, the older man moved to the window.  All he could see was storm clouds building.  A bad storm was coming.  When he looked back at Ezra he saw that same brilliant smile from earlier.  They locked eyes, then the gambler’s emotions were shuttered again.  Josiah reached out to touch him, reassure him, but his hand fell back down before he could make contact.

 

“Later.”

 

As he walked out, he saw that behind the bartender another man waited in the corridor, a balding, portly man who coloured as Josiah looked at him, and then hurried into the room, as the bartender closed it behind him.

 

“Who’s that?”

 

The bartender hesitated, but then caught the coin Josiah tossed to him. Dropping his voice to a low whisper,  he leaned into Josiah, making the older man pull back at his bad body odour and breath.   “Will Jones.  Owns the bank at Four Corners, does his business with Mr Stark.”  He shrugged.  “No harm in him.  He had a few funny ideas about mounting the girls until Ezra came along, has his fun with him now.”  He pocketed the coin.  “You want him again tonight you’d better pay now, take your chit and join the queue, because if Stark makes his deal, he and the boys are going to be having themselves some fun with Ezra and the girls.” He laughed.  “And that is a show you have to see, them fucking up on that stage for the whole saloon to see.”  He hit Josiah’s shoulder with glee. The next minute he was lying on his back, looking up at the ceiling as Josiah strode away.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Noon

 

The man that entered the Saloon early afternoon was a gunman.  Big and jovial, he soon had the bartender laughing at his jokes as he cuddled Sally, one of the working girls, close to his chest.  He bought a bottle and took her to one of the corner tables. She stroked his moustache, giggling that it tickled her.  His laugh was good-natured.

 

Wickes Town was one of those towns that never slept; it was too much of a magnet for outlaws and cowboys, and the poker games were already in full swing.

 

The gunman pulled Sally down for a kiss at the same time as he rubbed her thigh, then he whispered in her ear, and she took his hands and led him up the stairs, pausing only long enough to leave his payment with the bartender.  He dropped the money into a padlocked box with her name on it. Every morning Stark would count the money and enter it into a little black notebook.  A beating was the penalty for not earning enough and the bartender knew not to try and cheat Stark and pocket the money.  A man could lose body parts if he tried that.  Stark was as mean as a polecat, there was none meaner.

 

When the man came back down he collected his bottle and then looked round before he joined the poker game, nodding to the red coated gambler.  The stakes were low, and Buck Wilmington was winning steadily enough that he didn’t lose any money. His warm brown eyes met those of the gambler and he knew it wasn’t his skill that was going that; the gambler was giving him the cards.

Finally, he cleaned the other men out, just leaving them enough money to buy a few drinks, and then gathered the cards in.

 

Buck still held his last hand of cards and seemed to contemplate them. When he looked up, he grinned broadly.  “Looks like there’s just the two of us.”  The gambler shrugged.

 

“Just thinking of another game.”  Buck tapped the cards on the table and then flicked them across. “Word is you’re good at it.  Worth the coin.  More skill than the working girls.  Would not mind a taste of that.”

 

The gambler nodded, pocketing the cards and Buck watched him head towards the stairs.  Buck quickly got up to follow, pausing only long enough to slap the money onto the bar, and then, taking the stairs two at a time, caught up with the handsome gambler.

 

Once the door closed behind them, Buck caught the gambler, spun him round and pulled him into a bear hug, sweeping him off the ground.

 

“Mr Wilmington, unhand me sir,” Ezra managed to splutter, a little out of breath from the greeting.

 

“Sorry Ez,” Buck said, but his grin showed he didn’t mean it.  He put a hand out, brushing the gambler’s face with the back, meeting his eyes and seeing the pain and, at the same time, the joy in his eyes as Ezra let his shields down. It was then that Buck pulled him into another hug, wanting to feel his missing friend in his arms, reaffirming that he was alive and well.

 

Ezra’s arms went around Buck’s waist as he returned the hug.  His head rested on the broad chest and he just revelled in the feeling of being held by a friend.

 

Buck started suddenly as a hand squeezed his ass, and he pulled back.  Ezra and Vin were the most sexual of the gang, never afraid to make it clear what they wanted. Yet both young men were the most damaged of them all. 

 

He had been brought up in a whorehouse where his mother was a working girl, but he had had a family - a highly unusual one, but he had been loved - and at least Chris had had some happiness and normality, although short-lived, with his family. But these two damaged young men had lacked even that. Vin, orphaned at five and dragged up, often working as little more than a slave for the families that took him in. Ezra had a mother that put herself before him, using him for cons and leaving him with cousins when it fitted her needs.

 

Now they had a home, a family that understood and accepted them.

 

Gently yet firmly, Buck tilted Ezra’s head up, and then arched his own neck to one side, a clear invitation.  He felt Ezra nuzzle at his throat.  Buck lowered his hand to caress Ezra’s body, the needful noises that the younger man was making made Buck hold him closer.  As he continued nuzzling Buck’s neck, the big man stripped him, slowly, his hands caressing gently, lovingly and with respect.  Only when he was naked and within those strong arms did Ezra open his mind to Buck.

 

It was like coming home. 

 

All of them understood that as a Carnack, a half-vampire, half-human, he needed not only blood but also an emotional connection, and was like a starving man at a banquet as he delved into Buck’s emotions. The bigger man chuckled. 

 

“Glad you missed me, Ez.”

 

“Ouch!” Buck responded to the playful nip to his throat, then pulled him close, reaching down slightly to draw Ezra’s leg up so he could wrap it round the bigger man’s hip and open himself up.

 

The green eyes had gone cloudy, a sure sign that Ezra was riding Buck’s emotions.

 

Once Buck was sure that Ezra was hanging on, he anchored him with one arm around his waist whilst with his other, he stroked down Ezra’s crack and felt the warm breath puff against his throat as Ezra reacted to the stimulation.  Then, as he slid a finger into him and twisted it, Ezra cried out, his voice muffled against Buck’s throat as he bit down and took in his blood.

 

Another twist of now two talented fingers and Ezra bit harder, drawing on the sweet blood. The smaller man licked across the wound, sealing it, and then rested his head on Buck’s chest.

 

Mourning as the fingers were removed, Buck pulled the southern Carnack’s other leg up so he was wrapped around Buck’s powerful thighs and he was turned so that his back was to the wall.

 

Pressing Ezra to the wall, Buck was able to free one hand and push down his drawers and pants and guide the smaller man down, smoothly impaling him onto the bigger man’s hard, straining cock.

 

Ezra exhaled quickly and began to nip at Buck’s chin, pulling his shirt down as he nipped at his collarbone, licking and kissing any part of his clothed lover he could get at as Buck moved smoothly inside of him. When Ezra came, biting down at the same time, he was flying on a sensation of being loved as Buck’s emotions flooded through him.  Then, he collapsed into Buck, never feeling the bigger man ease out of him and carry him to the bed, or feel the cloth wash over him and Buck check for any damage. 

 

Pulling a threadbare blanket up, Buck sat down next to him, lightly carding the dark hair and stroking his face. The missing part of the gang was back. Looking out, Buck smiled as he saw the thunderclouds building. 

 

Chris was close, and Wickes Town was about to experience true Hell.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Marshal Burns was looking up at the storm clouds building, and not for the first time he grew worried about the men he was travelling with. Chris Larabee’s mood seem to be reflected in the clouds and by early evening, as they could see the earthen hell on the horizon, the wind began to build, and black clouds seemed to tower over the town, when he was told to wait for them, he did so gladly. Something was about to happen in Wickes Town, and he didn’t want to be there when it happened.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Early Evening

 

The clouds had made it so dark that the lights had been lit in the Saloon. Will Jones was enjoying a game of cards with Stark and the gambler, Standish, who he had enjoyed that morning. The man had a tight ass and the sweetest mouth.  Jones fidgeted in his chair as he tried to ease himself under the table. Just thinking about the things he had done with the gambler was making him hard. He would have to ask if he could have him again before he left. The thought of the string of men that had already taken the gambler upstairs and imagining what they had gone to him, was making him feel hot and bothered.  He grabbed his glass of whiskey and drank it down quickly. The sly grin that Standish gave him made him wonder if the gambler knew what he was thinking about. 

 

Stark grinned; the business with Jones had gone well, and he would be able to prove to Wickes when he came back from New York from ‘recruiting’ more whores that he was capable of running the business in his absence. When he looked at Standish, he gloated.  The gambler had been a real find, and tonight when they closed the saloon, he and the boys were going to celebrate.  He could just imagine Standish on the stage, fucking the working girls for his entertainment, then, when a couple of the boys got in on the act, Standish would really be put through his paces. Hell, he should sell tickets for it. Carnack or demon, the wards were so strong that Standish was trapped like all the others, flies in the honey trap.

 

Suddenly, he looked up.  He could feel eyes drilling into him.  It made him uncomfortable, but he was unable to see who it was, and he forced himself to ignore it.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Josiah had been unable to get close to Ezra, and he had a bad feeling about what was going to happen. He could detect the build-up of magic and he could see that the other non-humans in the town could feel the same.  He had spent the afternoon weakening the ward around the church, making it a portal to the outside world.  When the time came, it would be a place for the non-humans to flee to. He had seen the big cowboy take Ezra upstairs, and it was a long time before he came down with him. The brush of a hand to Standish’s shoulder made him think that they knew each other; that and the fact that the cowboy had taken up residence in the far corner of the saloon, all the time watching over the young gambler, just as he was.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

“You want to stay for the show, Jones?” Stark asked the banker and the other poker players. “See Standish here put through his paces, on the stage?  After he’s fucked the girls, then the boys join in and as far as they’re concerned, a hole is a hole and they’ve got plenty of ideas for using that.”  That got a laugh from the other men.  Standish ignored them and dealt the next round of cards as Stark went on to tell Jones in graphic detail what they’d done to Ezra the last time they had him on stage.

 

Suddenly, there was a high wind rushing through the town.  It was now as dark as night.  There was a crash of thunder right over the saloon as the bat wing doors flew open and a man walked in. 

 

His clothes were as black as night; his long duster flapped round his ankles, his low brimmed hat pulled down, shading his eyes.

 

A step behind him was a slightly smaller man with a lithe build.  A buckskin jacket and a confederate cavalry hat that shielded his eyes, his long brown hair was buffeted by the wind that swirled around him.

 

Ezra smiled broadly as Stark got to his feet. “Who the hell are you?”

 

The man in black lifted his head.  Jade green eyes flashed like liquid fire.  The bartender crossed himself as he tried to hide behind the bar.  The name was muttered by each of the men in the Saloon. 

 

“Larabee.”

 

The smile was cold and purely predatory; there was the acid smell of urine as Jones’ bladder let go.

 

“What do you want?” Stark got up.  He had a reputation to uphold, but for the first time he felt a cold, hard, ball of fear in his stomach.

 

“You have something that belongs to us.  We want it back.”

 

“Got nothing of yours, Larabee.”  He let his hand drop down to the butt of his gun.

 

If it was meant to scare Larabee off, it failed.  The man was a notorious killer and one of the fastest - if not the fastest - gun in the territory. Larabee casually brushed his coat back from his gun, and then he smiled.  Stark knew he was a dead man as Larabee drawled.  “Anytime you want, Stark.”

 

“Look, Larabee,” Stark put in quickly, not liking his chances.  The damn renegade with Larabee looked like he was enjoying the show, his hand resting on a mare’s leg he wore holstered to his thigh. Arctic blue eyes as cold as frostbite bore into him. 

 

Vin Tanner.  The man alone was enough to give you nightmares, let alone matched with Larabee.  “If I’ve got something of yours, I’ll give it back.”

 

“Ezra.”

 

Stark looked down, his mouth falling open with shock.

 

Ezra Standish was the only one that didn’t look scared or surprised. 

 

“Mr Larabee.”  He pushed his chair back and rose gracefully to his feet. At the same time, the big cowboy mirrored the motion.  “Mr Wilmington told me you were on your way, gentlemen.”

 

“Him?  Shit, he’s been whoring for-” Stark took the first fist to the guts, then another to the face that put him down. Ezra straightened up and tugged his sleeve back down in to place. 

 

“I do so hate fisticuffs, Mr Larabee.  So uncouth.”  He was walking towards Chris when Stark staggered to his feet.  With a roar, the man started to pull his gun.

 

Josiah had powered to his feet when Ezra had hit the man, and with a cry, threw his gun to the unarmed gambler, but even as Ezra caught the gun and began to turn and fire, Chris Larabee had already drawn.  Inhumanly fast, his bullet smashed Stark through the forehead, brains and blood splattering the wall behind him. 

 

Ezra’s bullet hit the man in the heart as it’s report was echoed by Buck’s gun and the body was sinking down as the bullet from a sawn off Winchester took Stark through the throat. 

 

Whichever way anyone looked at it, Stark was dead before he hit the floor.

 

Then all hell was let loose as Stark’s men went for their guns.  The fight was quick and brutal.  At the end, only five men were left standing. Chris turned his gun, cocked and pointed, at Josiah, the only stranger left.

 

“Mr Larabee, Mr Sanchez is from the Brotherhood.  He was attempting to save me.”  There was almost amusement in the southerner’s voice as he added, “I would be appreciative if you would refrain from killing him.”

 

The hammer was lowered on the gun and it whirled and slapped back into the holster. Buck and Vin moved among the downed bodies of Stark’s men.  None of them would live to report to Wickes.  As Chris crossed to Josiah, the preacher met his gaze, even as he felt it chill him to his very soul.  He recognised the power in the man. Even though everything in his mind told him not to break eye contact, Josiah did and looked towards the longhaired man. 

 

Josiah reached out mentally and felt the power in him, and then the big cowboy.  And now Ezra. It was as if being with Larabee opened Ezra up. 

 

“Ghost Riders.”  He said the title reverently. As a member of the Brotherhood, he knew all about Ghost Riders.  That was one of the reasons they had sent him out west; a group of Ghost Riders were coming together, and his job was to identify and observe them. 

 

Ezra was suddenly in front of him.  He placed the palm of his hand on Josiah’s chest.  “Welcome, brother.”

 

Josiah stepped back, suddenly.  “You’re wrong, Standish.”

 

“No, Mr Sanchez, when I took your blood-”

 

“Ezra.”  The one word was said with the bite of command.

 

“It was with his free consent, Mr Larabee.  He accepted me and I knew then what he was going to be.”  The smile on Ezra’s face was a cocky one that allowed his fangs to show.  “Marked and marked, Mr Sanchez.”  It was then that Josiah saw the mark on Wilmington’s throat, on Larabee’s and finally the longhaired man’s throat when he pulled his bandana down. Without thinking, his hand went to the mark.  It felt hot and was throbbing and he knew then why he had been sent by the Grand Master of the Brotherhood.  The man must have known and sent him to his destiny. 

 

Buck hauled the bartender out.  “Go upstairs and get the girls and leave now.”  The bartender didn’t need to be told twice; within minutes of being released there was the thunder of feet flying down the stairs and spilling out into the street.

 

Chris Larabee turned and walked out; the others, with Josiah in tow, followed in a loose V.  Once clear, Chris turned, facing the red painted Saloon, hands by his side.  His fists clenched, then as fast as he drew, his hands came up.  A ball of fire leapt from each hand and hit the building.  It exploded into a fire ball.

 

Then, without looking back, he mounted his horse and rode out of town.  As he hit the ward, it was as if the sky lit up, and then died just as quickly.  The people of Wickes Town were free to run. 

 

When Wickes arrived back, it was to a deserted, burned town, as the people had taken their revenge on the buildings.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Josiah rode at the back of the group.  Buck dropped back to talk to him as the red glow of the town faded into the distance.

 

“So, I am a Ghost Rider.” Josiah paused. “You’re all Ghost Riders.”

 

 

“Yeah, hard to believe, isn’t it.  Old Chris was a mite pissed off given what they did to Ez.  You might want to keep your questions until tomorrow iffen you don’t want your head blown off.”

 

“He’s a Ghost Rider, but they’re-”

 

“Yeah, well, Chris followed his own path.”  For a moment, Buck looked sad.  “But, no one can beat their destiny for long.  We tried, but had to be true to ourselves in the end.  Vin,” Buck smiled fondly at the half demon, “Junior here, was the next one we found.  He was already a bounty hunter.  Then Ez came along, and well, we knew there would be another three to go.  We are the sign of the Seven.  Seems like your destiny just bit you in the ass, preacher.”

 

“Well, God works in mysterious ways.”

 

“You don’t know the half of it.” Buck grinned and then kicked his horse forward to rejoin the other three, leaving a thoughtful Josiah trailing behind with a wistful look on his face.  Then, with a smirk that his Grand Master knew to fear, he kicked his horse forward to join them.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Marshal Burns had rejoined them.  He rode in silence, his eyes fixed on the back of the red jacketed gambler.  He knew the man’s face.  “Ezra Simpson.”  He said the name out loud. The gambler didn’t bat an eyelid.  “Fort Laramie.  You escaped from prison.”

 

“You got a problem with that?”  The soft, rasping Texan accent was Vin Tanner. Burns kept his hands laid on his saddle horn. 

 

“No, just trying to put a name to the face.  So, what is it?  Standish or Simpson?”

 

“Well, there was the time he was Sullivan and-” Buck trailed off as Vin added; “Seymour, Stilton-”

 

“Southland,” Larabee put in.

 

“Ezra Standish,” the gambler said as he kicked his horse forward to a gallop.

 

“Answer your question?” Vin drawled and then followed hard on Ezra’s heels with a whoop that sent Burns cold.

 

“What you waiting for, Stud?” Buck said to Chris, and then with a smile that took Burns completely by surprise, Chris Larabee kicked his horse into a run.

 

“Err, Buck-” Burns said.

 

“Got to let the young ones burn off the heat.  Think you’ll be camping alone tonight, unless-” He nodded towards the three departing riders.

 

“No way, got too many grey hairs the first time,” Burns said ruefully.

 

“Come on, Preacher,” Buck said and spurred his own horse forward.  Josiah followed.  He didn’t know what he was getting into, but he knew that once he did there was no going back.

 

0-0-0-0-0

 

Ezra knelt in a circle of fires, naked, his head down.  His hands behind his back, he knew that Vin was behind him, he could feel the heat of the half-demon’s nude body as the other young man wrapped his arms around him, plastering his lithe, supple form to Ezra’s.  The half demon nipped the soft flesh under his mouth.  The now over-sensitised Carnack could feel Vin’s body pressed to his, the hardening cock pressed against his crack, wanting entrance to his body. But he knew that was not to come.  Not now; the joining with his brothers was more than sex.  It was being completed, to be owned and to own.

 

Vin hooked his arms around Ezra and leaned back, arching the southerner’s body as Chris knelt in front of him.  His hand stroked Ezra’s face softly, reverently, so out of character with what people believed they knew of him.  Only this Brotherhood of Ghost Riders had seen this side of him since the death of his family.

 

Suddenly, the fingers tightened on Ezra’s face and the green eyes burned hard.  “We will talk, Ezra.”  The voice was coldly dangerous.

 

“Mr Larabee, I-” Ezra started to speak, then fell silent as he felt the fingers grip harder. Now was not the time.  He lowered his eyes in submission to his leader.  Chris, seeing this, allowed his voice to soften, and that encouraged Ezra to look up.  “We will talk.  I have had this conversation with Vin-” Chris paused.

 

Ezra felt the shudder run through the half-demon, part fear and part excitement, and he remembered then that Vin hadn’t been able to ride for four days afterwards, without either sharing a horse with Chris or at least a pile of blankets to ease his sore butt. 

 

“Yes, Mr Larabee, Sir.”

 

“Ezra,”  Chris snapped.  He knew Ezra too well.  The ‘Sir’ was the same as a ‘fuck you’ from anyone else.

 

The young gambler shrugged and grinned into the grim face.  “It was worth a try, Mr Larabee.” He conceded the fact that he was pushing it with the ‘Sir’.  But he knew it was a sure fire way to get his Leader, the Alpha of their group, fired up, and when that happened, one of two things followed.  He either killed you or fucked you to a stand still.

 

Even after all he had been through, the pain and humiliation, Ezra craved the touch of his Ghost Rider brothers.  Buck’s soft caring touch and Josiah had helped him. The other memories he would push to the back of his mind and forget.  Like Vin, it was another experience like many before, but tonight, he would find his salvation with his brothers.

 

He shivered as Chris brushed a calloused hand down his chest, brushing the pebbled nipples and making them harder, then at the first touch to his cock, Ezra tried to push forward into Chris’s hand.  Only to be prevented by the way Vin was holding him, arching him back. Then, as quickly as it came, the hand was removed and long fingers were now stroking the insides of his thighs. 

 

Vin leaned back more so that Ezra was pulled back onto his haunches, opening him up to their leader’s hands. Then Buck was there, his hands moving over Ezra, touching and caressing, tugging at the hard nipples as the two men drove the smaller southerner into a mindless haze. Bringing him to the brink, only to pull back.

 

Ezra’s body was bathed with sweat.  His fangs were out and he groaned as he felt Vin’s own fangs nipping at the back of his neck. Then, just when he thought he would die from an overload of pleasure, he was drawn back onto a buffalo robe, his legs pulled up to rest each side of Chris Larabee’s waist. Ezra looked up. 

&n 

 

The colour of the Fire Moon set Chris’s blond hair alight, as he was taken slowly, with love and care by his Alpha, feeling the strength and power of the man. It was that which had first brought the young rnack to the Ghost Riders; the elemental power that surrounded Chris Larabee.  Chris was a strong lover, but there was a gentle side to him, tender almost, in the way he touched his young demon lover, and it was this same tenderness that he extended to Ezra now.

 

His fingers stroked high up Ezra’s thighs and into the entrance to his body.  As he leaned forward, his lips brushing Ezra’s belly, his touch erotic but reverent, he removed his fingers, and, sliding into him, there was no pain, just a blending of two into one. When he moved, it was slow and sweet, riding Ezra to completion.  The first of the night, as each of the Ghost Riders would renew their connection with their lost brother under the light of the Fire Moon.

 

With Vin there was always a suppressed wildness and Ezra had bitten the young demon, so that instead of touching him as if he was made from glass, the demon let go.  The fucking was wild and abandoned and Ezra had screamed aloud, his voice carrying to the Marshal, who buried himself in his blankets to block out the cries.  At the height of their passion the Carnack and the demon had bitten down on each other, exchanging blood as Vin had buried his seed deep into Ezra, and then as Ezra had laid panting for breath, Vin had licked Ezra’s own seed as it cooled on the gambler’s belly.

 

Ezra only had the energy to stroke through the long, sweat-damp hair.  Then, he had been gathered close under the buffalo robe and as his eyes closed, Buck had entered him softly.  It was then that Ezra had reached out to Josiah, and the older man had allowed himself to be drawn close so that Ezra could rest his head on Josiah’s lap, looking up into the eyes of the only man other than his Ghost Rider brothers he had allowed to see his true form. 

 

Then, Ezra had fallen asleep with Bucks gentle thrusts inside of him, soothing him, a soft smile on his lips as his body accepted the seed of the last of his Rider brothers.

 

As dawn broke, Ezra woke to the sound of Chris claiming his lover in the glow of the first light of day.  Pulling his aching body up and pressing a soft kiss to Buck’s mouth and Josiah’s forehead, he had knelt at the side of the two men. Ezra placed one hand onto the back of Vin’s head.  The demon had snapped his head around, his long fangs almost biting into Ezra’s wrist, then green eyes had met blue, and Vin had dropped his head back down as Chris increased the power of his thrusts into his lover’s responsive body.  Ezra had then raised his other hand to greet the rising sun and he felt the emotions of the two men run through him.

 

Unconditional love, passion burning so bright it was like the sun burning through him.  The light seemed to ignite the red, orange and black tattoo on Vin’s back and arms, as the demon brought his head up.  Sweat coursed down his face, panting hard, as he matched each thrust Chris made with one of his own.  It was then that he cried out, as he came at the same time as his lover bathed his insides with his seed.  He looked up to the birth of a new day.  This was his rebirth with his lover. Ezra smiled as all these emotions swept through him and, without being touched, he came hard, spraying his seed over his stomach and chest. 

 

These men were his religion, his creed.  His, and he would have it no different way. He shuddered as he felt the cat licks to his stomach as Vin drank him in, then the calloused hands of Chris Larabee soothing him as the reaction hit him.

 

Chris was happy and sated.  What had been lost had now been found.  Ezra was back where and with whom he belonged.

 

 

 

 

The End: