Asher has known Terry was his mate for years. They grew up together, and he kept his secret for fear of losing both his best friend and the only family he had after his aunt died. Besides, Terry is straight, and he has a girlfriend.
When Terry’s girlfriend dumps him, he goes home to his father—and Asher. He knows they’ll both take care of him, even though he’s not hurting as much as he should be. How can he when he’s been in love with Asher for more than ten years?
Asher is tasked to take a drunken Terry back home, and he makes the mistake of telling him they’re mates, thinking he’s sleeping and won’t even hear it. But Terry does, and he confronts Asher the next morning, angry and hurt.
Will Terry be able to get over those feelings and finally have Asher in his life as his mate?
Wyoming Shifters: 12 years later series is set in the same universe as Whitedell, Gillham , and the Council enforcers and follows the stories of the children of the original characters.
Asher petted the dog that was trying to push him onto his ass. “I’ll cuddle you as soon as I’m done cleaning this, okay?”
Doggy—and yes, that was his name—huffed and pushed his head closer to Asher’s chest. Asher chuckled. He couldn’t understand how someone would want to get rid of a dog that was so cuddly and sweet. Yet his owners had brought Doggy in the month before because he was too much work, and Asher hadn’t yet been able to find him a new home. Asher didn’t like to think badly of people, but they should have known a Labrador would give them some work. Doggy was only two, and he was very active. Apparently, that was too much for a young couple with a five-year-old boy.
Asher sighed. He shouldn’t judge people he didn’t know, but how could he not? He knew he didn’t have the entire story, though, so he tried to stop thinking about Doggy’s former owners and focus on cleaning his cage.
“Asher?” Jenny called from the door.
Asher poked his head out of the cage. “Yeah?”
“There’s a woman here. She wants to talk to someone.”
“I’ll be right there.”
Jenny was a high school student, and while she did a lot of things around the shelter, she wasn’t the one in charge of helping out when it came to adoptions or a new animal being left at the shelter.
Asher quickly finished cleaning Doggy’s cage and locked him back inside, ignoring his whines and barks. He washed his hands and was still drying them on his jeans when he pushed open the door that led into the shelter’s public entrance. An older woman was waiting by the counter, tapping her foot on the floor and looking at her watch every so often.
Oh boy. Whatever she wanted, it wasn’t going to be fun for Asher.
“Hello, I’m Asher. How can I help you?”
The woman straightened. “I need you to take care of the woman who lives at the end of my street.”
Asher blinked. “I’m sorry?”
“She has cats. A lot of them. She lets them out, and they roam the street, killing birds and peeing everywhere.”
“What does a lot mean?”
The woman narrowed her eyes. “How am I supposed to know?”
“You’re the one making a complaint.” And really, it wasn’t Asher’s job to go check on what seemed to be a cat hoarder. He’d be called later, after the house had been checked and the cat lady talked to, when it was time to bring the cats to the shelter. He was just a worker there. He couldn’t exactly enter someone’s house and take her cats, no matter what the woman in front of him seemed to think.
“At least ten. They’re having kittens, too.”
The situation sounded pretty bad. “The shelter can intervene after you’ve contacted the authorities, ma’am, not before.”
She huffed. “What are you here for, then?”
“We’re here to take care of the animals that are found or left here and to try to find them a new family.” Asher almost asked her if she wanted to think about adoption, but she didn’t look like she’d appreciate the question. “Call the authorities, ma’am. The shelter can’t do anything about your situation right now.”
She didn’t even say goodbye. She turned around and stalked toward the exit, leaving Asher standing there.
“What a bitch.”
Asher looked at Jenny. “Should you swear?”
She rolled her eyes. “I’m seventeen, not seven. I know you’re old and all, though, so I guess I can see why you’re confused.”
“I’m twenty-seven, not seventy-seven.”
“Then act like it. When was the last time you had a boyfriend?”
“I don’t have to have a boyfriend just because I’m twenty-seven.”
“No, but it would help get that stick out of your ass.”
“I don’t have a stick anywhere. Doggy would have found it.”
“You should go have fun.”
“I am having fun.”
“With someone who can actually talk.” She cocked her head. “I can’t believe I’m the one saying this, but life isn’t only work, you know? You’re allowed to leave early or even on time and do something that doesn’t involve fur.”
“That’s kind of hard, considering I’m a wolf shifter.”
Jenny swatted his chest. “You know what I mean.”
“Fine. I’ll go check on the animals one last time and go home. Is that good enough for you?”
“Better than nothing, I guess. I’d be happier if you went out, but since it’s Tuesday, we can work up to it. Maybe I’ll manage to convince you to go to a bar by Friday.”
“I wouldn’t hold my breath.” Asher had never been one for bars or clubs unless they involved Terry. But Terry had a girlfriend, so they didn’t see each other much lately.
So a bar was out for the evening, but Asher didn’t want to go back to his empty apartment, either. Maybe he could call Camille and see what she was doing, but he was pretty sure whatever it was, it probably involved books and notebooks. She was working and studying like crazy to finish her master’s degree, and she hadn’t been available for much more than the occasional dinner over at her parents’ house.
Her parents. Asher could go there. Shawn and Jarah would welcome him and cook him dinner and let him talk their ears off. They weren’t his parents, but they might as well be, since he’d grown up with Terry and his siblings. He’d even moved in with them when his aunt had died when he was seventeen.
He finished cleaning up the cages, avoiding the cats, and left. The volunteers would come by and take the dogs for a walk before closing up for the night, but Asher had been there since seven that morning, and he couldn’t wait to have a nice shower and good food.