For months Caleb Falcon has been avoiding a real estate mogul from Atlanta who’s been trying to buy his ancestral lands in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Falcon, a bear shifter and the town sheriff, wants only to be left alone and he’s not looking to make any changes in his life in the foreseeable future. That is, until he stops a big, expensive SUV flying up the mountain road to Falcon’s Ridge and meets its sexy driver, Connor Rhodes. Falcon knows instantly that Connor is his mate, but he also learns that Connor is the son of the real estate developer who’s after his land, and that he hates being in the country with no city conveniences and no electronics that work. A romance between them has no chance of working out. Connor is struggling with his feelings too, but he’s up for a sexy fling with the handsome, burly cop, and he’s sure he can simply walk away when it’s time to go back home. They both try to ignore their feelings for each other and the passion that has ignited between them, but the urge to mate is growing worse every day, and if Connor doesn’t stop flaunting his body in that skimpy underwear, Falcon won’t be responsible for what happens. They both have to learn to face the truth about themselves and find their own inner strengths before they can come together, and discover that the mutual attraction they feel isn’t just a pleasant diversion, but a love that will change both of their lives forever.
Connor made it to the mountain cabin in about fifteen minutes. Thank God for GPS, because without it he’d have been hopelessly lost and wandering out here in the wilderness. There were no landmarks. Everything looked exactly the same, just trees and more trees.
He was pleasantly surprised when he opened the front door to the cabin, however. It was rustic, but it did have a certain charm. It consisted of one large room that made up the living room, kitchen and dining area. The leather sofa and chair faced a rock fireplace that would probably be romantic in the fall and winter.
If you had somebody to be romantic with. Like maybe that big, hunky cop.
Connor shook his head to clear it of such craziness and continued his exploration of the cabin.
There was a small bathroom tucked away in a corner of the living room and next to it were spiral stairs leading up to what proved to be a nice-sized loft bedroom. At one end there were French doors leading out onto a balcony overlooking a creek. Well, if he had to spend time in the middle of nowhere, this wasn’t too bad.
Connor looked down at the coffee stains on his shirt and khakis disgustedly. Going back down the stairs, he retrieved his suitcase from just inside the front door, where he’d left it, stopping just long enough in the kitchen to get a glass of water and take some aspirin for his headache and a Xanax for his tension.
When he got back upstairs, he quickly peeled off his clothes and fell onto the bed in nothing but his Andrew Christian Almost Naked boxer briefs to wait for the meds to kick in. He loved wearing that particular underwear, because the pouch in front cradled his dick and made it look even bigger than it was—and it wasn’t small at all, despite what he considered to be his short stature. The underwear was expensive, but paying too much for his things was his greatest weakness and something he was planning on doing something about real soon. Or someday— whatever.
The bed was surprisingly comfortable, and he sank down into it, asleep in no time and dreaming of a big cop, naked except for his gun belt.
Falcon was almost done with his patrol and his shift. He just had another couple of hours, so he was getting ready to head back into the office. He’d been riding through the foothills of the mountain which, like the town, was called Falcon’s Ridge. Both had been named after his great-grandfather, Caleb Falcon, just as Falcon had. He’d always hated the name Caleb, though, so he’d simply called himself Falcon, as had his friends.
He’d been checking the few vacation homes and rental places in the area to make sure there were no problems when he saw a car at the one belonging to a writer from Atlanta, who came up to the mountains every year. A nice guy who stayed pretty much to himself, but Falcon hadn’t heard that he was up here this week.
He paused. That was the same car he’d stopped Pretty Boy in earlier. Maybe he should just stop in and check on things. The writer didn’t usually rent his place out.
Falcon refused to admit that something, some feeling he couldn’t quite explain, was pulling him toward the cabin. He parked his car and sat there for a minute, trying to figure out why he felt the need to go in. Finally, he gave up and with a heavy sigh, got out and walked to the front door. He knocked but there was no response. He knocked again, a little louder this time. Still no response. Falcon began to worry, afraid that something had happened to the guy, or that he was injured in some way. He knocked again loudly and called out, “Mr. Rhodes.” Again, no response. Maybe he’s around back at the creek, although they could probably hear this pounding down in town.
Falcon had just turned to go around the back of the house when the door opened and there stood Pretty Boy in all his glory. He didn’t say anything, just stood there, looking sort of disoriented, in nothing but his extremely revealing underwear and an obvious hard-on. Falcon’s mouth went dry and he lost the ability to speak. He couldn’t do anything but stare.
Finally, the boy mumbled, “Is something wrong, Officer?” His eyes were narrow slits, as if he was having trouble keeping them open, and he was weaving slightly, like he was having trouble standing up.
“I don’t know. You tell me. What the hell’s the matter with you? Are you drunk? On drugs? What?”
The boy shook his head. “Not drunk.” He paused and then opened his eyes a little wider, staggering a bit and slurring his words, as he continued. “Took some pills, though.”
Falcon reached out to steady Pretty Boy and was hit by that jolt again, like he was being shocked. He felt a wave of protectiveness wash over him, and he grabbed the young man, pushing him back and slamming the door. “What did you take? Talk to me. What did you take?” Falcon could hear the panic in his voice, but he couldn’t help the overwhelming need to take care of–what was the name on the license? Hell. Why couldn’t he think of the guy’s name? He’d remembered it earlier when they’d run into each other on the street. Finally, it came to him. Connor, that was it.
“Connor,” he barked.
The other man pulled away and frowned over at Falcon. “Yeah? What is your problem, man?”
“I need to know what you took. Show me.”
“A couple of aspirin and those.” He pointed to the pill bottle on the kitchen counter.
Falcon picked up the bottle and read the label. Fucking Xanax. He felt the panic rising in him. “How many of these did you take, Connor?”
“One? Bullshit, are you sure? Nobody slurs their words or acts like this on one Xanax.”
“I do—I always have a strong reaction, which is why I only take one.” Connor opened his eyes wider, beginning to look more alert. “Wait a minute, what the hell are you doing here?”
“I saw a car parked in the driveway and the guy that owns the place usually lets me know when he’s going to be here. He hadn’t and since he doesn’t rent the place out, I thought I’d stop in and make sure everything was okay.”
“Yeah, well, the owner is a friend of my family’s and he’s out of the country right now, so he told me to pick up his extra key from the real estate office and here I am.”
Falcon looked him up and down and said, “I see.” He paused. “By the way, nice way to greet someone at your door.”
Falcon watched as Connor looked down at himself and his state of undress. Then he saw the devilment in Connor’s eyes as he turned and struck a pose, with one hip thrown out. “Why? Do you like the outfit, Officer, Sir?”
Connor was no longer hard, but the underwear accentuated his package anyway, and Falcon felt his own cock growing. He stepped behind the kitchen island to hide his erection until he could get it under control. He leaned on the counter and pushed against the cabinet, trying to make it go down.
Across the countertop from Falcon, Connor blinked his eyes grinned. “Do you need to handcuff me, Officer, while you investigate?”
Falcon knew that Connor was just fucking with him and it pissed him off and turned him on at the same time. Visions of Connor handcuffed to a bed while he fucked him danced through Falcon’s head. Not helping the hard-on here. He needed to think about something else. Yeah, like once that image was in his brain, it wasn’t going to go away. Falcon tried to force himself to focus.
“No, I don’t need to handcuff you. I simply stopped by to check on things and then the way you were acting, I was afraid that you’d overdosed.”
“Well,” Connor said, looking young and strangely vulnerable with his eyes still out of focus, “I haven’t exactly had a wonderful day, and by the time I got here I had a bad headache, so I took some medicine and went to bed. I was disoriented because you woke me up.”
“Fine. I’m sorry I disturbed you. I’ll just be going, then.” Falcon turned quickly so what was left of his erection didn’t show, striding to the door without glancing back.
Once in his car, he relaxed a bit, trying to justify to himself why he overreacted. Just doing my job. And besides, he could have overdosed. Sighing heavily, he called his grandmother from his cell phone and asked if he could come talk to her later.
“Of course, dear. Why don’t you come to supper tonight? I haven’t seen you in a few days.”
“Okay, that sounds good, I-uh-have something to talk to you about. Something I need to ask.”
“I’ll look forward to seeing you, Caleb.”
He hung up after a few more minutes and decided things were looking up. He’d get some great food and find out if this fated mate thing was real, and how to stop it if it was. Surely, there had to be a way.