Ranger Caber sat in one of the chairs around the large conference table inside the federal building. This was the toughest part of the job in his opinion. The other agents would certainly object to his claim, but Ranger found it extremely difficult to be in the same room with their leader, Abram Jackman. He still wasn’t sure what to make of the grizzly bear shifter.
The large man was really hard to read. He constantly sent mixed messages. Some days, Abram would subtly flirt with him. Others, he acted as if he wanted to ring Ranger’s neck. The longer Ranger was with the FPA, the more confused he became. It was a rollercoaster, and although he hated the sudden spikes and drops, Ranger didn’t want it to stop. On those rare occasions when Abram looked at him with genuine interest, it affected Ranger, filling his stomach with butterflies and sending a blast of excitement rushing through his veins.
Ranger sensed Abram’s presence before the man came into the room. He was an Alpha, all power and strength. It seemed to spill out of every pore, although Ranger couldn’t scent him. It was as if a plastic bubble surrounded each agent, blocking his sense of smell. It was frustrating for his wolf, an animal dependent on his nose.
“We got a call from Gideon Channing.” Abram’s deep voice boomed as he strode into the conference room.
Ranger perked right up at the mention of his former Alpha. He hadn’t been back to New Orleans since his first training mission with Shaw Iza. That visit, although short, brought back a lot of memories. He missed his old pack. They had been a tight-knit group until Ranger had made some very bad decisions. Shaking his head, Ranger pushed those thoughts away. Abram dropped a stack of manila folders down onto the table, snapping him to the present.
“His pack is having some trouble with a wolf pack out of Northern Washington. There was a fight in his territory and some dead rogue shifters need to be disposed of.”
“Who’s going to New Orleans?” Braig Rabgix, one of the other agents asked.
“Does anyone want to volunteer?”
“I’ll go,” Ranger offered.
He’d like to travel down to New Orleans. It would be nice to see everyone again after being absent for so long. Perhaps the tension and hurt feelings had eased since his last visit. Abram didn’t respond though. He merely stared at Ranger with an unreadable expression on his face. He looked less than pleased to have Ranger volunteering for the mission, which seemed strange. Ranger stared back, not breaking eye contact with Abram’s icy-blue globes. The room was silent as their staring contest continued.
What is your problem with me? Why do you keep sending me mixed signals? What did I do?
A series of questions ran through Ranger’s mind. He really wanted to have a private conversation with Abram, but the two of them had never been alone inside a room long enough for Ranger to delve into something so personal. He didn’t feel comfortable enough around the grizzly bear to ask the questions anyway. He’d probably come out looking like a fool from misinterpreting the vibes.
“I’ve never been to New Orleans.” Dylan said, his voice cutting through the tension like a knife. “I’d like to volunteer, if that’s all right.”
“Good.” Abram nodded his consent, looking toward the other agent. “Grab your gear, Dylan. You can head out when you’re packed.” He lifted the manila folder and Dylan stood. He grabbed the folder from Abram’s outstretched hand and left the room without another word.
Ranger straightened his posture and kept a tight rein on his emotions. He didn’t want any of the other agents to know that he was upset, but he was. On the inside, Ranger was fuming. He didn’t know why Abram kept passing him up for assignments, but he was positive that the other agents had noticed.
“Do you want anyone to go to Washington?” Braig asked.
“No. The Los Angeles office is sending a couple agents. They’ll handle the situation on that end.” Abram took the next folder from the short pile. “There was a vampire found down by the West Harlem Piers. The blood was drained from the body. There needs to be a full investigation.”
“I’ll take it.” Evan Vexen held his hand out across the table and Abram slid him the folder.
“There’s been another report of a missing shifter. This is the sixth report this month that has been filed. I think that it’s actually related to a call I received late last night regarding an underground shifter fighting ring. I need a few agents on this one. You’ll need to go through each missing person’s case to familiarize yourself with the victims before looking for the illegal fights.”
“I’ll volunteer.” Ranger spoke up once more, staring straight at Abram. He would keep volunteering for cases. It didn’t matter if he looked like a fool in front of the others.
Abram’s right brow rose slightly, but he did nod in approval. “Okay. Does anyone else want to volunteer?”
Jeremy Myde, a Komodo dragon shifter, raised his hand. “I’ll work the case with Ranger.”
“Me too,” Ian Nicholson chimed in.
“I’ve had all the reports for the missing shifters boxed up and taken to my office. You can look through the files and see if there is any link between them and the underground fighting ring. Keep me updated on your progress.”
“Yes, sir.” Ranger stood up.
He walked around the table and took the file from Abram’s outstretched hand. The tips of their fingers touched, and although the moment lasted only a second, Ranger would swear that he felt a tingle shoot up his arm. Turning on his heel, he left the conference room. Ranger kept a tight rein on his emotions as he made a quick escape, hoping that none of the other paranormals could sense his true feelings. Frustration burned in his gut, but underneath that, arousal blossomed. His attraction toward the man was puzzling. He wasn’t sure if he wanted the other shifter sexually or if he was just desperate to impress the man.
Steer clear of your boss. Getting into bed with him can only lead to worse tension and turmoil.
Abram licked the seam of Ranger’s lips and he automatically opened his mouth, granting Abram access. Their tongues moved together, twirling and rolling, as if this was a choreographed dance they had performed many times before. Abram wrapped his arms around Ranger’s waist. He held his mate close as the kiss continued. Abram moaned and Ranger let out a deep groan. This moment was perfect. It felt right.
He lifted his mate up and Ranger’s legs immediately wrapped around Abram’s waist. Gripping Ranger’s ass, Abram headed toward his bedroom.
He’d been dreaming about this moment, fantasizing about his mate since Ranger walked through the conference room door. The moment he scented the wolf, he knew that they were mates, knew that they belonged to each other. He’d been aching for so long, his heart, body, and soul desperately craving Ranger.
But, he also knew about the baggage Ranger had left behind in New Orleans and the reason he’d joined the FPA. Every decision he’d made, it was all with Ranger at the forefront of his mind. Abram wanted to keep Ranger safe.
When his shins hit the mattress, Abram slowly lowered Ranger onto the bed. Disconnecting their lips, Abram pushed himself up on his hands, and stared down at his mate. Once again he was blown away by how beautiful his mate truly was. Ranger looked like a fallen angle—brown tussled hair, gorgeous tan skin, and deep coffee eyes with slivers of gold that held a hint of mischief. Even though Abram could still see some hurt lingering in the soulful depths, he knew he could fix everything, and he would.
“Please,” he panted. “Touch me.”
Abram smiled. He never thought he’d hear Ranger say those words, but the desperation he understood completely. He lowered himself onto Ranger’s body and bit back a moan. His mate felt so good underneath him. Abram took possession of Ranger’s mouth, as he skimmed one hand underneath the thin T-shirt.
When his hand touched Ranger’s stomach, the man sucked in a sharp breath and goose bumps broke out along his flesh. It was a strong reaction to an innocent touch. Abram couldn’t wait to see and hear Ranger’s reaction when he kissed and licked every square inch of skin. Abram wanted to find all of Ranger’s sensitive spots. Pulling up Ranger’s T-shirt up, Abram removed the material, tossing it over his shoulder. He ran his fingertips along Ranger’s chest and down his stomach, and Ranger shivered.
Abram moved closer. He planted open mouthed kisses along Ranger’s chest, working his way down the man’s body. When he reached the elastic band around Ranger’s waist, Abram gripped the material, and pushed the sweat pants out of his way. Ranger’s hard cock sprang free, begging for attention. Lifting his legs, Ranger pulled his feet free of the soft material, kicking the sweat pants away. Ranger spread his legs in invitation and Abram licked his lips at the beautiful cock waving in his face.
Abram kissed the head of Ranger’s shaft, rolling his tongue around the crown. He licked the length of Ranger’s cock, twisting his tongue around the girth as he moved his mouth up and down. With one hand he gripped the base of Ranger’s shaft and with the other, he fondled Ranger’s balls. Abram took Ranger’s dick into his mouth, slowly bobbing his head, as he swallowed.
“Abram,” Ranger murmured, his voice husky with arousal. “Oh, god…yes,” he hissed.
He felt Ranger’s tentative fingers along his bald head. His touch was gentle and uncertain, but that would need to change. Abram sped up his rhythm, and Ranger’s fingers tightened on his scalp. He lifted his hips off the bed, driving his cock down Abram’s throat. With each lash of his tongue, Ranger unraveled.
As his control slipped away, incoherent sounds of pleasure spilled from his lips.
Abram gripped Ranger’s hips, holding the man in place, as he continued pleasuring his mate. Abram moan as Ranger’s pre-cum splashed against his tongue. He inhaled Ranger’s masculine scent—pine, cedar, and warm stormy night—and became dizzy.
“Abram…oh, god…Abram…” Ranger’s blunt nails dug into his skin. Abram sucked harder, trying to pull Ranger’s release from his cock. He was desperate for his mate’s spunk. “Oh…oh…oh…” Erotic sounds continued to fall from Ranger’s lips, and the noises spurred Abram on.
Abram swallowed, taking Ranger’s entire length down his throat.