"In this second book of the ‘New Luna Werewolves’ series, recently changed omega Ash and his alpha luna mate again take center stage. They are joined by Calvin, the beta who kept insisting he wanted Dakota to start a pack, and things heat up considerably now that it’s clear there is not just Ash’s crazy ex who is out for revenge, but a group of human hunters as well. Not how Ash and Dakota had imagined spending their “honeymoon”. Ash is delighted when Dakota asks him to marry him. It confirms the feelings he has for Dakota are truly returned, and making it legal in the human way is just what he needed to be even happier. He loves being a wolf and everything seems fine – until Dakota discovers a burned barn, some bodies, and traces of Calvin’s scent among the ruined building. Ash is not to be deterred though – he will support his mate all the way. I loved his determination and courage. All Dakota wants is to protect his new mate, and to give him the life he’s never had before. Unfortunately it seems that Fate has other ideas, and Dakota faces one crisis after another. The barn and the bodies inside is bad enough, but when Calvin returns and tells Dakota what happened and how it is all his fault, Dakota has to accept that his refusal to start a pack is part of the problem that caused their current predicament. But that is almost irrelevant, because Dakota’s focus remains to keep Ash safe. Not an easy proposition when hunters are suddenly all over the place. If you want to find out how Ash and Dakota settle into mated life, if danger and attacks intruding on what should be a honeymoon are your thing, and if you’re looking for a read that holds a few surprises, some suspense, and more than one hot encounter between the sheets, then you might like this novella." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Ash didn’t want to admit it, but he had been a little nervous about people looking at him funny for marrying another man. Dallas and Austin were pretty progressive, which was partly why Ash had wanted to go to Dallas when he’d fled Harris, but sometimes Ash had to be careful who saw him holding another man’s hand.
He mostly worried his wolf would try to come out with how nervous he was.
Turned out he didn’t have to worry about that at all. Everything went fine. No one sneered at him, and people smiled. A few people looked twice, but that was just curiosity.
Then he was officially married and signing his name, and he was giddy as all hell on the ride back home. He laughed as he leaned over the seat of the truck and kissed at Dakota’s throat.
Dakota snorted and laughed, pushing him back. “I need to see the road.”
“I need to kiss you!” Ash said, leaning in and kissing him again.
Dakota allowed it, but Ash couldn’t get at his mouth. He supposed one of them needed to be responsible. The windows were down, and the sun was out. It was a warm day, and things were absolutely beautiful. Perfect day to get married. And now he was.
A month ago, he never would’ve thought he’d be here. He never would’ve thought Harris would be just a bad memory and he’d be with the real love of his life.
Ash looped his arm through Dakota’s, leaning against his side.
“You should be wearing your seatbelt,” Dakota said, though there was a smile in his voice.
“I will, in a minute,” Ash said, stroking Dakota’s arm. “Can I take your last name?”
Dakota tensed, taking his eyes off the road for a split second to look at him before he returned his gaze to where it needed to be. “You want to do that? We can hyphenate them, you know.”
“I know, but Grantz-Brant doesn’t sound good. I think I’d rather be a Brant.”
Not for the first time, Ash felt that sense of warmth and affection pulsing from the other man. Apparently this was also part of being a wolf. Or a mated wolf, at least, the ability to use increasing body heat, heart rate, and breathing to detect emotions. The emotion Ash was feeling right now was love. A lot of it.
And he returned that with everything he had. “I love you. I want to take your name.”
“You can have it,” Dakota said, choking the words. “You can…”
He trailed off. At first Ash thought it was because he didn’t know what else to say, but then he slammed his foot down on the brakes.
Dakota shot his arm out, catching Ash before his head slammed through the windshield. It was a testament to the powerful strength in his one arm that it was enough to keep Ash from cracking his head open.
When the truck stopped and Ash was no longer in danger of slamming head first into thick glass, his heart thudded in his throat.
“Fuck, Dakota, what happened?” he asked, annoyed and startled, and a little scared for whatever it was that had made Dakota do that.
Dakota stared at him, eyes wide before he put both hands on Ash’s shoulders. “Shit, I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean…fuck, stay here.”
“Wait, where are you going?” Ash called as Dakota left the truck.
Dakota ran so quickly into the woods that he forgot to put the truck in park. Or what a terrible idea it was to be stopped in the middle of the highway, even a two-lane highway that was currently empty.
Didn’t matter. Ash got into the driver’s seat before the truck could start rolling. He pulled over to the side of the road and put the emergency lights on then waited.
Everything inside him itched to go after the man, to find out what was going on. It was the human side of his mind that kept him from getting out of the truck.
At least, that was what he thought. Dakota had told him part of his new instinct would be to obey his mate, but this was different. Dakota had also told Ash there might be dangerous people out there, people who liked hunting down and hurting werewolves. It was part of the reason Dakota refused to keep a pack. He said too many shifters in one place would draw attention to himself and any pack he happened to be in. That was dangerous. So if Dakota ever told Ash to do something, it wasn’t because he was trying to boss Ash around but because it was in his best interest to do it. His safety might depend on it.
And since Ash wanted to have a nice long marriage with the man, with neither of them getting hurt or killed, he figured it was the best idea to stay right where he was and not go anywhere.
It wasn’t normal for someone to just stop a truck like that in the middle of the highway and go running off, right? This had to mean something was up. Dakota was checking on something important.
But what if he was in danger?
If he was in danger, then it was just another reason for Ash to sit still. He didn’t know anything about being a shifter yet, and if he went out there when Dakota told him to stay put, he might end up putting the man in even more danger than what might already be out there.
Right. He wasn’t going to move. He wasn’t.
“You set this up for us for when we would come back?”
Dakota nodded, and Ash couldn’t tell if it was the dark pink light of the room, but he was fairly sure Dakota blushed with embarrassment, especially when he looked away.
Then Dakota’s expression changed, and he sighed.
“Fuck. Left the wine downstairs.”
“We’ll get it later,” Ash said, sitting up quickly, looking at his mate, and really hoping Dakota wouldn’t be leaving the room right now.
It felt as though if Dakota so much as opened the door to let the white and yellow light of the hall inside, this strange, amazingly wonderful spell that Dakota had cast on them would be ruined.
“You sure?” Dakota asked.
Ash shrugged. “I mean it’s not like we’ll be doing much drinking while we’re busy with each other.”
Now he was the one who felt warm and embarrassed. Dakota grinned back at him, and he pulled off his shirt and came to the bed.
* * * *
Dakota had wanted this to be perfect when they’d returned to the house. He wished he hadn’t smelled those bodies in the barn. Someone else would have eventually found them without his interference, and the only thing he wanted to think about was this man right here.
His mate, his husband.
He and Francis hadn’t even married. They had both been shifters. The mating had been enough.
Dakota wanted to share something with Ash that he hadn’t ever shared with anyone else, and this was the perfect way to do it.
And now his mate was looking like a total sex kitten as Dakota crawled onto the bed and over his body. He grinned down at his lover. He couldn’t help but be giddy as he leaned over Ash.
And the way Ash smiled up at him was completely, and totally, perfect. He was the most wonderful thing Dakota had ever seen.
The alpha wolf in Dakota’s head wanted to take him, hard and rough, but while hard and rough could be fun, this was their wedding night, and something a little more romantic seemed appropriate.
Which was why he’d snuck those candles and that old scarf into the room before they’d left for the courthouse.
Ash’s hands were small on Dakota’s shoulders, but they were strong as he kneaded the muscle, as he slid them down Dakota’s arms, feeling his muscles and pushing so much need and pleasure into Dakota’s body before he could even have the chance to touch anything sensitive.
Dakota groaned when Ash finally did touch something sensitive. Ash was feeling playful. Dakota could tell when the man’s hand rubbed against his still clothed cock.
“I love you,” Ash said.
Dakota kissed him with a soft moan, thrusting his cock into Ash’s hand.
Ash closed his eyes, as he always did, and kissed Dakota back, pressing his lips against Dakota’s, tilting his head to the side slightly and opening his mouth just enough to give Dakota the proper hint.
Dakota didn’t take that hint. He pulled back, and then he leaned down again and put his mouth on Ash’s rosy nipples.
Ash puffed for breath. His slim fingers threaded through Dakota’s black hair. Dakota waited for it, his favorite part, and then it came.
As Dakota licked and sucked on Ash’s nipples, Ash’s fingers tightened in Dakota’s hair.
The best part of that was the care Ash took with what he did. He didn’t grip too hard, careful of his new strength.
Dakota had told Ash time and time again how his strength wouldn’t be able to compete with Dakota’s, how he could grip Dakota’s hair as tight as he liked and not have to worry about hurting him.
But still, Ash was careful. It was as if he didn’t trust his new strength to not hurt Dakota.
Sometimes this was frustrating since Dakota didn’t mind a little pain with his pleasure. Other times, it was adorable the way Ash continued to think of him, even when there was nothing to be worried about.
Dakota turned his attention to Ash’s other nipple. He flicked his tongue across it then circled it before he pressed biting kisses to the rest of Ash’s chest.
Dakota was vaguely aware of the way Ash’s hand continued to move, his arm bobbing up and down as he stroked his cock while Dakota pleasured him.
But that was for Dakota to do, and it was amazing how the alpha inside him could get jealous of something so simple as his own mate touching himself.
“That’s mine,” Dakota said, his voice coming out as a harsh growl, harsher than he thought it would be. Yes, the alpha inside him was definitely getting a little impatient.
But Dakota sensed no fear in Ash as his body responded. There was no hesitation as Ash pulled his cock away, continuing to stare at Dakota as he waited for him to do something, anything.
And Dakota did. He pressed three kisses to Ash’s scorching, smooth skin on the way down to his cock. Dakota took extra pleasure in playing around in the area where Ash’s hair formed a thin trail that led to his cock.
Ash puffed and panted for breath, propping himself up on one elbow as he looked down at what Dakota was doing. His entire body was flushed. Beautiful.
“D-Dakota, not that I’m not liking this or anything...but, fuck, do you think maybe you could stop teasing me now?”
Dakota chuckled, and he decided now was a good time to put his lover out of his misery.