Sequel to Wolfy
Trauma and heartache have followed Arran his whole life. Raised by wolf hunters, he was lucky to escape Washington State and that life at his first chance. Becoming a liaison between wolf packs and hunters across the United States was Arran's way of healing his soul from what he'd seen his family do.
A decade ago, he met Marek, the alpha son of a small pack in Montana. The pair quickly realized they were mates, fell in love, and had plans for a future where Arran being a liaison would make a real difference. But then, everything changed when Marek had to step up as the Alpha.
Since that day, Arran has been running from his past, solving problems for other people while his mating bite throbs in time with his broken heart. He's had lovers, but everyone who sees the scar on his wrist knows that he belongs to another.
Fresh off one job, Arran receives a late-night call from Marek's wife -- his replacement -- begging for help, and there's nothing he can do but head back to the Alpha he never wanted to face again. Not after he learns that the events from New Mexico are connected to what's happening to Marek's pack. Someone is threatening two packs he's been involved with, and that can't be ignored.
Showing up on Marek's doorstep is its own complication with plenty of surprises in store for both men. Not only does Arran have secrets from his hunter past, but Marek has been bearing his own all these years. Old hurts and new revelations mix in a cocktail of hurt and comfort as the pack figures out how to move forward and be happy again.
In the morning, Marek stood in the kitchen, scrambling eggs for the kids while Hedy was on her morning run. That was their usual routine, but this morning it felt different.
Marek’s blood pulled him toward Stefan’s apartment. His wolf wanted to go and to claim and to own. Because they did own Arran. Always had and always would. And now there was another wolf, another alpha, closer to Marek’s mate and -- “Daddy, don’t burn the eggs!”
Sage tugged at his pant leg. The scent of the eggs, just shy of burning, reached Marek’s nostrils.
“Good call, kiddo. How about you go sit, and I’ll dish up, okay?” He smiled at his youngest, who they’d come so close to losing, and listened to the heavy thuds of his own heart that yearned for things other than this family.
That could never be. No matter what. This was his family, his pack. But even if his mate so close, even with his torn-up half of a heart that reached toward its other half ... No, Marek couldn’t lose his family.
He was pouring juice for the kids when he heard a peal of laughter from outside. Arran. Then Stefan’s familiar chuckle carried in through the open window.
“Briar, can you take over?” Marek looked at his eldest, who jumped to attention, always happy to be of assistance.
“Sure.” He went to put more slices in the toaster, already anticipating the second round. Wolf pups ate a lot.
“I’ll be right back,” Marek told the kids before going to pull on his boots.
He stepped out on the porch and saw his brother and Arran doing something at Arran’s bike.
“Morning.” There was not even a little of the usual warmth in Stefan’s eyes as he looked at his brother.
Marek couldn’t say he didn’t deserve the cold front. “Morning.”
Arran glanced at him and gave him a small nod of acknowledgement. He was standing way too close to Stefan. Marek’s wolf hated it.
“What are you two up to?” he forced himself to ask.
“I was thinking of showing the spot where the aconite grows to Arran,” Stefan said as he casually leaned onto his cane.
“Take the four-wheeler,” Marek said immediately. “I don’t want you to --”
Stefan sighed. “I can do the walk, Marek.”
“That’s not it. What if you somehow get poisoned by it or something else happens? It was hard enough for you to carry Sage back to the house --”
“Are you sure?” Arran asked suddenly, looking at Marek with those piercing gray eyes of his.
It took him a couple of beats to understand what he was really asking: would his wolf be okay with his mate riding on a four-wheeler with another alpha.
Marek swallowed hard and pushed his wolf back. “I’m sure.”
A weird sort of hurt flashed in Arran’s gaze. “All right.” He stopped fiddling with his bike, then turned to Stefan, completely ignoring Marek. “I’m going to get some stuff from inside and we can go. Be right back.”
Both alphas watched him go around the corner.
“You’re a fucking idiot,” Stefan stated calmly.
Something about his words seemed to surprise his brother. “Why would you do this to you both?”
Marek shook his head, overcome with feelings all of a sudden. He waved his hand, then turned on his heel and went back inside.
A little while later, as he was drinking his coffee while trying to tolerate the thought of eating something, he heard the four-wheeler outside. Soon after, Hedy came in.
She gave him a look of utter disappointment laced with a bit of confusion but said nothing at first.
Then she sighed and rubbed her face with her hand. “I’m going to go shower. Then, I’ll start school with the kiddos. You ... you get yourself sorted, Marek. I love you, but this is too much.” She shook her head and went upstairs.
The kids’ giggles and chatter carried from the living room while Marek willed some toast down his throat.