Rated Five Stars. “This is a good, fun read.”
– Becky Condit, Amazon
Rated Five Stars. “Really loved this story. Makes me want to go back and read the first book cause I now must know how everything started..”
– Tina, Redz World Reviews
Rated Four Stars. “…an entertaining, erotic, humorous paranormal romance. I found the snark highly amusing, and the action and romance was fun too!”
– Regina, Coffee Time Romance & More
Rated Four Stars. “This is how a short story should be written…Gavin and Mike were scorching hot together. I loved their sexy times; it was almost like a script for a porn movie.”
– Donna, Love Bytes Reviews
Mike straightened up and a spike of pain dug into his side. He didn’t think anything was broken, but shifting back to human form in the middle of a blizzard had caused his muscles to pull painfully tight. “Look, I need to get into some warm water and stretch things out. Let me grab a bath and I’ll explain everything.”
Gavin hesitated, then nodded. “Okay. Where’s your bathroom?”
It was Mike’s turn to blink. The idea of Gavin sitting there and talking to him while he soaked was appealing as hell, but he hadn’t thought his human was ready for something that intimate. “Um, I think I can manage it myself.”
The look he got was—oh, hell no, you are not giving me a pitying look. “Don’t bullshit a bullshitter. I was a fighter, remember? I know when someone’s banged up.” Gavin pulled off his jacket and tossed it on the rack. “I’ll go fill the tub. Just tell me where it is and what temp you want.”
Mike considered the offer. He had expected Duncan to stay behind and help him get patched up. If Gavin wanted to do it, there was no real reason to say no. “It’s down that hallway. Not boiling, but a few degrees above body temperature.”
“Got it.” Gavin headed down the hallway, all business now.
Mike followed more slowly, grimacing at the stinging pain from the claw marks along his side and the ache from the underlying muscles. The injuries weren’t life-threatening, but they were going to slow him down. You should be damned lucky I didn’t bounce you out of the pack tonight, Bollinger.
By the time he reached the bathroom Gavin was running water into the oversized clawfoot bathtub. It had been one of Mike’s indulgences with the cabin, and was big enough to fit a person at each raised end if they were willing to be friendly. He liked soaking in it after pack meetings and runs, giving both his brain and body a chance to unwind.
He hadn’t told anyone about his fantasies of sprawling in it with his mate. He wondered if his fantasy was going to come true tonight.
Gavin turned at his entrance, face alight. “Dude, this bathroom is the bomb. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I wanna marry your tub.” His attention flicked down to Mike’s torso. “Shit. You really are banged up.”
“I’ll live.” Mike shrugged, immediately regretting it when the movement pulled on the claw marks.
His mate snorted. “Yeah, right. What kind of painkillers do you have?”
“Aspirin’s in the medicine cabinet.”
Gavin went to the mirrored box over the sink, digging through it until he found the prosaic plastic bottle filled with white pills. He rattled it. “Okay, you’re gonna take four of these—”
“Nurse’s dose, prescription strength. I wish I had some gummies on me, but we’ll make do.”
Mike watched as Gavin shook out four aspirin and handed them over, followed by the bathroom glass full of cold tap water. “You mean pot gummies?”
The blond head nodded. “Although I use the ones that mainly have CBD in them instead of THC, the stuff that gets you high. I’m not trying to get wasted, I just want to keep my pain under control.”
That didn’t sound good. “What kind of pain?”
Gavin’s shoulder twitched dismissively. “The hit that put me in a coma left me with some spinal damage and residual nerve pain. Regular NSAIDs don’t help a lot with that and I’ve seen too many fighters get screwed up on opioids, so I got a medical marijuana card. And since I don’t like smoking, I stick with the gummies.” He flashed a grin. “Don’t worry. It’s not like I sit there eating Cheetos and watching cartoons all day.”
Mike tossed the aspirin into his mouth, following them with a slug of water. “I didn’t think you did,” he said after swallowing. If nothing else, chronic pain would be one thing Gavin wouldn’t have to worry about anymore once he was claimed. “Um. I’m gonna need to get undressed.”
And just like that the air between them changed, growing charged with a mutual awareness of each other. Gavin’s head quirked to the side, green eyes glinting. “Already saw you naked. Want some help getting everything off?”
Mike tried raising his arms and hissed. “Yeah.”
“Okay, then.” Gavin moved into his personal space like he’d always been there. Despite the pain, Mike could smell his mate’s scent, a mix of clean sweat, the woody aromatics of Texas brush, and something very masculine. That scent and the heat from Gavin’s body sent desire trickling through him like slow honey. His dick started to thicken in his jeans and he fought a powerful urge to pull Gavin against it. With your luck, it would hurt like hell and he’d think he did it. Just put on your Alpha panties and be patient.
Gavin opened the jacket and eased it over Mike’s shoulders, glancing downward. He grimaced. “Wow. He really whaled on you.”
Mike looked down at the multicolored bruises now spreading across one side of his ribcage. The claw marks were crimson against them, and stung even in the increasingly humid air. “Part of being an Alpha. I have to take on all challengers. They’ll be healed by tomorrow.”
“If you say so.” Gavin finished pulling the jacket off and tossed it onto the bathroom counter. He turned back, resting the tips of his fingers on the edge of Mike’s belt. “Should I keep going?”
Mike licked his lips. Pain or no pain, he was damn tempted to pull his gorgeous human onto the floor and fuck him silly. “Yeah.”
Gavin’s irises contracted, turning into a band of moss green around a dark center. “All right, then.” He undid the belt, letting the clinking buckle dangle. The back of his hand brushed against Mike’s growing erection. “Yeah, you must be feeling better.”
Even that light touch sent electricity along Mike’s nerve endings. “You were a fighter,” he said, voice hoarse. “You know how it is. There’s nothing better after a good fight—”
“Than a good fuck, yeah.” Gavin’s hand turned over and he cupped Mike’s bulge. “You sure you’re up for it, though?”
Even through a layer of denim Gavin’s fingers felt like magic. “Did you want to have sex with me tonight?”
Gavin laughed shortly. “Well, I was hoping you’d be interested. But I didn’t expect you to have to fight a freaking bear first.”