Faced with eternal banishment to hell, Anubis, god of the underworld, has found a loophole in one of the oldest laws which will allow him to unleash his evil on an unsuspecting human world. Orion’s only hope to stop him is to accept his challenge: send a champion to win the love of the wolf with the hardest heart. It will take someone with a pure heart to soften a closed one, so faced with the threat of losing not only the werewolves, but the destruction of the human race, the gods can only do one thing — send Adam, one of their own.
Adam quickly realizes that the werewolf whose love he must win is Jed. Wounded after the loss of his wife and son, Jed promised he would never love again or be responsible for someone else’s happiness. Adam has been given a near impossible task.
Anubis is eager to see Adam fail, and unbeknown to everyone takes matters into his own hands to make sure of it. Everything happening now is part of his master plan, and finally it has come full circle.
Even if Adam succeeds and wins Jed's heart, will that love survive when Jed discovers the whole thing was nothing more than a bet? Or when Adam does the one thing he mustn’t and falls in love himself, will he not only break Jed’s heart but completely destroy his own?
Adam woke slowly, comforted by the deep breaths warming his neck, and the heavy arm slung over him protectively. It was a wonderful dream. He snuggled deeper into the blanket, wiggling his hips slightly.
Damn. He was instantly awake and so was whoever was pressing a very hard bulge into the bottom of his back. He moved experimentally and a frisson of something he had never felt before shot up his spine.
“Don’t you get any fucking ideas,” a gruff voice growled in his ear, and the bed moved as Jed sat up. Jed? What the hell was Jed doing in bed with him? Adam blinked and tried to swallow around the disgusting taste in his mouth.
He rolled onto his back and peered up at Jed in confusion. “Why are you in my bed?” Not that he was complaining. Shobeth had told him seduction might be involved. Maybe Jed was going to make it easier.
Jed glared at him. “I’m not in your bed, you are in mine.”
“Okay,” Adam said slowly, not really understanding the definition.
“Do you remember any of last night?”
Adam blinked. “I got a new job?” That was the first thing that came to mind, and judging from Jed’s expression it wasn’t one of the better sentences he’d ever spoken.
“You got drunk off your ass!” Jed lost his temper and shot out of bed. “After the Alphas agreed to take you on trust.” He nearly spat the words. “How could you?” Jed didn’t give Adam a chance to say anything as he stormed out, slamming the door behind him.
Adam scrubbed his hand over his face. What the hell had happened? He sat up gingerly, his head throbbing and his stomach churning sickly. He went to the bathroom and found a spare toothbrush under the sink, which he unwrapped gratefully. He brushed his teeth and peered at himself in the mirror. He looked pale. Maybe he needed to start taking care of his human body a bit better. He could share breakfast with Jed, get to know him a little.
He had no other clothes, but he’d worry about that later. He pushed his bare feet into his sneakers, took a deep breath, and opened the door. Jed stood sipping what smelled like coffee; Adam’s belly grumbled in appreciation. He loved human coffee.
Jed motioned to the coffee machine. “Get some before I drop you off,” he said shortly.
Adam stared in surprise at the room. This wasn’t the apartment he’d been given last night. It looked really good with its polished, dark wood floor and cream and dark red walls. There was a fire built in the big stone hearth, which seemed a fabulous notion now that Adam knew his human body could get cold.
Adam shivered and cautiously helped himself to the coffee. It was strong and bitter, but he couldn’t see any cream, and he didn’t think it was a good idea to ask for any.
None of the questions Adam could think of sounded right. The main one of did we do anything in bed last night sounded crass, and judging from Jed’s reaction, he strongly doubted it. He had also woken still fully dressed. Shobeth liked both women and men and recounted gory details of his experiences with both — none of which sounded appealing. Adam sighed a little. Pure of heart meant pure of body, and he was in no hurry for a wife. Being Orion’s son also meant none of the demi-gods dared come anywhere near him. He’d accepted he was going to be lonely a long time ago, and he’d never met anyone that tempted him.
Jed put his empty coffee cup down.
“Where are we?” Adam blurted out as he looked over Jed’s shoulder through the window at a bunch of trees.
Jed huffed. “My place. You were drunk off your ass last night. Dancing on one of the tables in the café, and singing very loudly.”
“I can’t sing,” Adam said.
“No shit,” Jed drawled.
“And I never drink,” Adam said more definitely, having the feeling that’s what he should have started with.
“Well, first day on a new job wasn’t the best time to start then,” Jed said shortly and looked pointedly at Adam’s untouched coffee. “You’d better finish it quickly. I have to drop you off and get over to the construction site.
Adam picked his coffee up. “Drop me off where?”
Jed sighed and eyed him up and down. Adam had no idea what he was looking for. “I’m sorry Adam, but you are totally unsuitable to be a gamma. I need people who I can trust, and your decision making isn’t filling me with confidence.”
Adam gaped, completely at a loss for words. How had he managed to screw this up so completely? “But—”
Jed held his hand up. “Don’t bother. Whatever excuse isn’t gonna work. I have too many people wanting this to take a chance on someone I can’t trust not to get off his head.”
Adam clamped his lips shut. That stung. What the hell was he going to do?
He still hadn’t thought of anything when Jed pulled up outside of Lakeside bus depot thirty minutes later. All he’d managed to do was beg for another chance, but Jed had shut him down straight away each time. Jed had asked him if he had some money and he’d mumbled something about losing his wallet yesterday. He knew Jed didn’t believe him, but he’d peeled off some notes, enough, he said, to get Adam into Denver and get some food. He’d wished him well, said again he was sorry, and driven smartly away.
Adam was at a complete loss. He didn’t know what to do and stumbled over to a bench. He had failed. He had failed already, and werewolves, including the gruff one that had looked after him all night, were going to die and there was nothing he could do about it.