The sun had set, and the night hugged him like a blanket. The smell of pine and damp mud filled his nose. Trevor’s house backed up against a heavily wooded area. Nate chuckled at that. Of course a wolf shifter would want to be close to nature.
The sound of voices had Nate walking around the back of the house. He was almost to the edge when Trevor came around the side.
“Nate?” Trevor cocked his head to the side. “What are you doing here?”
“I was passing through and thought I’d stop in to say hi.” Nate tried his best to smile, but it came off more as a grimace as another wave of pain shook his body.
“Hey, man, you all right?” Trevor asked. He sniffed the air. “What happened?” Trevor stepped toward him.
“I ran into a little trouble in New Hampshire.” Nate tried to laugh, but it ended with him coughing. “A little trouble” was an understatement. He’d gotten shot by a kid. Not the way he thought he’d leave this world.
“Babe, who is it?” Another man, Jaron, if Nate remembered correctly, walked around the edge of the house.
“Jaron, this is Nate.” Trevor responded, never taking his gaze off Nate. “He’s the one who helped me escape from Hamilton and the NHS.”
“Hi, Nate.” Jaron stepped forward, his hand held out. “Nice to finally meet you.”
“Likewise.” Nate reached out his hand, but the action tugged at his side, and he gasped in pain. His legs began to wobble. He took one step forward and fell.
“Shit, Nate!” Trevor caught him and lifted him up into his arms.
Nate lay limp in Trevor’s arms as he carried him around the back of the house toward a wooden deck. He could tell there were other people there, but he wasn’t able to focus on their faces.
“Trevor, I need your help.” Another fit of coughing overtook Nate.
“Fuck yeah you need my help.” Trevor laid Nate on his back then tugged up his shirt. “You’ve been shot. When, Nate?” Nate’s eyes had fallen shut and Trevor slapped him gently on the cheek to rouse him. “Nate, talk to me.”
“I need you to find Wyatt.” Nate was able to open his eyes for a brief moment. “My Jeep.” He tried to take a deep breath, but it required too much energy. “I have stuff in my Jeep. Find them.”
“Them? What’s he talking about?” a voice Nate didn’t recognize asked from behind him.
“His pulse is weak.” Trevor held his fingers to Nate’s neck. Nate didn’t even flinch at the firm touch. “Can you smell that?” Trevor asked.
“It smells rotten.” Jaron combed the hair off Nate’s forehead. “And he has a fever.”
Nate wanted to open his eyes and say something, but he just couldn’t. He’d never felt this tired before. The pain pulsing through his body seemed to stop. Warmth overcame him, and Nate relaxed into it, welcoming the numbing feeling.
Nate, can you hear me?” Trevor pulled up one of Nate’s eyelids, but he didn’t even try to focus. What was the point? This was it. He knew Trevor would search his car and put the pieces together. Nate wished he could offer more to help in searching for Wyatt, but his time was short on this planet. Nate had accepted a long time ago that he wasn’t long for this world.
“Trevor, he’s dying,” Jaron said softly.
Yeah, no shit. Nate laughed inside his head.
“We should call an ambulance and get him to a hospital,” another unfamiliar voice suggested.
“It’s too late,” Trevor whispered. “They wouldn’t make it in time. Jaron, bite him.”
What? No! Nate screamed inside his head. It was his destiny to die, not live as something different—a shifter. Not that there was anything wrong with that, but Nate was ready to give up. If he listened hard enough, he could hear Katie calling his name. Nate wanted to be with her again.
“But it could kill him,” Jaron said.
“He’s dying already. Your bite might hurry along that outcome, but it also might save him.” Trevor tugged at the collar of Nate’s shirt and pushed his head to the side. Nate wanted to scream at them to stop, but he didn’t have the energy. “We have to try.”
“Okay.” Jaron ran his warm hand over Nate’s forehead one more time. “I’m sorry, Nate.”
Nate’s eyes shot open at the sharp, piercing pain in his neck. The pain was so severe it pulled him away from the warmth and light just out of his reach. His body shook, and tears filled his eyes as Jaron’s long teeth dug into his flesh, tearing through muscle and skin.
Nate knew what they were hoping to do. Jaron was the only known shifter with the ability to turn a human into a shifter. Nate didn’t want that. He wanted to give up and just die.
But in the back of his mind, he knew that wasn’t the right thing to do. The words in the note the men had left for him kept flashing through his brain. He was torn. He so badly wanted to die, but what about Wyatt? What was their connection? Nate had so many questions he wanted to know the answers to, but…
“I’m sorry, Nate.” Trevor’s voice broke up the panicked thoughts rushing through Nate’s head. “It’s the only way.”
A cool ripple coursed through his veins, then nothing. All sound and feeling left Nate.
Huh, I’m dying after all. That was Nate’s last thought before everything went black.
“Depends.” Corbin flicked out his tongue to moisten his lips.
“On?” the man’s deep voice rumbled against the shell of his ear.
“Who you are.” Goose bumps popped up along his bare arms. Corbin wanted to spin around and look at the man, but he was also afraid to break away from this cocoon of warmth the man had created for him.
The man’s hands fell from Corbin’s waist, and the stranger stepped away from him. A cold came over him, and Corbin was terrified the man had left him. He slowly turned around, and there he was. A cocky grin curled his lips, and Corbin was at a loss. The man was even better-looking up close. His skin was lightly tanned, which was uncommon with people with red hair. His cheekbones were sharp, and his nose looked a little crooked, as if it had been broken once or twice. He had a strong jawline and thin lips. Corbin’s gaze lingered on his mouth for a moment, before glancing back up into his deep brown eyes.
“So, did I pass your test?” the man asked.
“What’s your name?” Corbin asked around the lump forming in his throat. His body hummed to life with this man so near. It was strange. Corbin had been attracted to men before and wanted to have sex with them, but this was different. It was as if Corbin’s body recognized this man and wanted to be claimed by him.
The man stared at him for a long moment. It was as if time stood still.
“Come with me.” He held his hand out to Corbin, and, against his better judgement, because Corbin didn’t know this man, he took it.
The man led Corbin out onto the dance floor. The music was upbeat, but the man pulled him in close and wound his arms low on Corbin’s waist. Corbin moved his arms to rest on the man’s shoulders, clamping his hands behind his neck. They slowly swayed side to side with the pulse of the crowd surrounding them. Corbin tucked his face in close to the man’s neck and took a deep breath. He smelled delicious. Corbin could only describe it as sun-heated skin and rain on a hot and humid day, fresh and clean.
Corbin’s body felt woozy, as if he were drunk. He clung tighter to the man and turned his head to press his lips into his neck. The taste of salt ignited on his tongue, and Corbin thrust his hips forward. His stiff cock was met by another, much larger one.
Corbin couldn’t stand it any longer. He lowered his hands to run lightly across the man’s chest, mapping out the hard planes of muscle until he reached the thickness behind the zipper. Corbin curled his fingers the best he could to get a good grip.
“Oh God,” the man groaned into Corbin’s ear.
Corbin gasped as the man nipped at his earlobe, then sucked it into his mouth. The man kissed along Corbin’s jaw, then reached up to grab him by the chin. Corbin stared into the man’s eyes, silently pleading to be kissed, then it happened. The man sealed his lips to Corbin’s and thrust his tongue deep into Corbin’s throat. It was hard and brutal, and Corbin wanted more. The man tightened his grip on Corbin’s hips, smashing their bodies closer together.
“Come with me.” Corbin broke the kiss. He took the man’s hand and led him off the dance floor and down the back hallway. It was dark and deserted. “Ah, shit,” Corbin shouted as the man spun him around and shoved him up against the wall. He kissed him again as he palmed his big hands over Corbin’s ass.
“So fucking sweet.” The man bit into the thickness of Corbin’s bottom lip. Corbin flinched at the sting, but the man soothed the hurt away with his tongue. “I want you.”
“I want you, too.” Corbin pushed at the man’s chest until he took a step back. Corbin grinned at him as he shoved him against the wall, then fell to his knees.
“Fucking Christ.” The man grunted. He fisted his hands in Corbin’s hair, causing the mask to shift awkwardly. Corbin reached up to pull it off, but the man grabbed his wrist and shook his head. “Leave it on.”
Corbin nodded and went back to work. He quickly undid the man’s pants and peeled them away from his prize. The longest, fattest cock Corbin had ever seen fell forward to smack him in the face. A pearly drop of pre-cum sat at the tip. Corbin reached up with one hand to wrap around the base, and he braced the other hand against the man’s leg to keep himself balanced. Corbin pulled the flared head toward his mouth, then flicked out his tongue to lick away the drops of pre-cum. It was sweet and tangy, and Corbin wanted more. He pointed his tongue and speared it into the weeping tip. The man groaned and yanked on Corbin’s head, wanting him to go deeper, and so he did.
Corbin relaxed his jaw and allowed the man to fuck deep into his throat. His gag reflex was nonexistent, and he took the thick cock again and again. Corbin moved his hand up to fondle the man’s heavy balls.
“Suck it harder,” the man demanded, and Corbin did as he was told. He hollowed out his cheeks and sucked as if his life depended on it.
As Corbin worked over the man’s cock, his own was begging for attention. He let go of his grip on the man’s thigh and with clumsy fingers undid his leather pants. It was hard, but he managed to free his dick. His cockhead was already oozing, and it only took two pumps of his fist to send him over the edge. Corbin pointed his cock down toward the ground and sprayed his cum on the tiled floor.