A pine tree Mary is a forest creature in the Scandinavian folklore. She, for she’s always a she, is seductive and alluring, and she ensnares men walking into the forest. Stay on her good side and she’ll make sure your rifle never misses when you’re out hunting, but if you anger her, you’ll go hungry.
But what if she didn’t have to be a she. Who’s to say a pine tree mary can’t be male…yes, legend says so, but let’s pretend that there once was a guy – beautiful when you met him face to face, but should you see him from behind you’d see a tail and a back like a rotting tree trunk.
Manning was trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Diamond was pushing a gun into the mouth of a woman he’d tied to a tree and the goon with him was fiddling with his jeans, or… He narrowed his eyes. Was the fucker jerking off? Disgusting.
“Freeze! Police.” He jumped out from behind a tree and pointed his gun at Diamond only to shift his aim to the guy who’d let go of his dick and grabbed a pistol.
“Stay where you are.” He glanced at Diamond who edged away. Shit, he should’ve brought backup, or at least called Jacobs before he’d trailed the black Mercedes.
Diamond held up a hand to his ear as if he were listening into the forest. “It’s awfully quiet, Detective.” He widened his eyes in an exaggerated manner and took another step.
“Stop!” Manning strode closer to the woman. “It’s all right, miss. I’ll get you out of here.” A quick glance had him halting. It wasn’t a woman. Delicate, with long dark hair, and almost silvery eyes, but not a woman.
Diamond’s laughed echoed between the trees as he hurtled out of sight. Manning glanced between his disappearing back and the…hostage? Prisoner? Enemy or victim?
Fuck! He prepared to run, muscles tense, gun at the ready, and then he hit the ground. Rolling, he glared at the man tied to the tree. He couldn’t have tripped him, but how else did he end up in a heap on the moss? There was nothing he could’ve stumbled over. A car engine roared in the distance. “Bastard.”
The man slumped against the tree, the barbs digging into his chest. Manning winced. Fucking Diamond. He got up and aimed his gun at the goon who surprisingly still was there. “You’re coming with me to the station.”
He picked a zip tie from his pocket and cuffed the man, who shrugged. “You have nothing on me.”
“We’ll see.” He didn’t have anything, but he was sure Jacobs could find something they could keep him for. Jerking off in public or something.
He grabbed his phone and asked for a police car to be sent to the Misty Grove Reservation before going over to the man tied to the tree.
“I’ll untie you now. No funny business.” He pointed his gun at the man to emphasize his point. Shiny bright eyes blinked open as if he’d been napping. Why was he wearing a dress? Diamond’s doing? It was a kind of wraparound thing, and he’d tied a string of ivy around his waist. Perhaps not Diamond’s doing—his women were most often wearing tight-fitting dresses that left nothing for the imagination. And his men…his men didn’t wear dresses.
“Dolt.” The man’s voice was frail and fear etched his face.
Dolt? Manning had been called many things in his line of duty, but dolt? It might be a first. “Yeah, yeah. I’m not gonna hurt you, but you need to come with me to the station for some questioning.”
The wire was cutting in on several places and anger bubbled up inside him. Was it necessary to use barbed wire? The man didn’t show much sign of pain, but flowers of blood decorated his clothing from where the metal spikes had been buried in his flesh.
Manning reluctantly grabbed a zip tie and secured the man. Where the hell was the police car?
Jacobs should be the one talking to this one. Manning didn’t do too well with the traumatized.
Detective Quinn Manning wants nothing more than to see Diamond Dace, one of Fagerdal’s most notorious drug lords, behind bars. After years of the man eluding the authorities, when Manning accidentally stumbles onto an opportunity to catch the powerful dealer red-handed, he doesn’t hesitate. But what should be a simple tail, instead drops Manning into a real-life world of myth and legend.
Hush is a hulder, a forest spirit also known as a pine tree Mary. Since the beginning of time, his people have lived in the forest, feeding off the energy they derive from the lust and desires of passing hunters. But Hush is an abomination, the only male of his kind.
After a lifetime of starvation, Hush has struck a deal with a human. A simple trade that will give the human what he desires and keep Hush from wasting away completely.
When Manning saves a young man from Diamond and one of his men, his view of reality is altered forever. And Hush, who has never met anyone like Manning, finds the man’s attraction to him enough to finally stave off his constant hunger.
When together they set out to rescue Manning’s partner, their connection to one another grows. But can a human detective have a future with a creature of the forest, a creature who isn’t supposed to exist?
Pine Tree Mary is part of Legendary Loves Volume 1, a three-story bundle with creatures from legends from around the world.
JMS Books’ Trios are themed collections of three gay romance stories by a trio of authors. Each story is available separately, but readers can get all three for a discounted bundle price.
Legendary Loves Volume 1 contains three paranormal shifter M/M romances just in time for Halloween! Contains the stories:
Metamorphosis by Pelaam: When Ryker arrives in Puerto Rico, he doesn’t anticipate falling for the handsome and flirtatious Alejandro, who works at the hotel where he’s staying. There’s definitely something between them, and then Ryker uncovers a world he couldn’t have dreamed existed. He already knows he’s in love with Alejandro, but something dark and deadly is stalking him.
Pine Tree Mary by Ofelia Gränd: What should be a simple chase drops Detective Quinn Manning into a real-life world of myth and legend when he stumbles upon Hush, who is a hulder, a pine tree Mary. His people live in the forest and feed off energy of passing humans. When Manning’s partner disappears, he needs Hush’s help. While working together, their connection grows, but can a human have a future with a creature of the forest?
The Pooka’s Share by K.L. Noone: Aidan’s on an easy Magical Enforcement Division case: stolen apples. But the apple-thief faerie-horse shifts into gorgeous young man, Ink, who left his herd to find adventure. He likes Aidan’s hands, and that enchanted bridle, on him. But ritual magic and complicated powers collide, and the family legacy Aidan’s avoiding becomes important, but maybe not as important as keeping Ink in his arms.