"Another member of Max’s pack finds his mate and for the second time in this series, he is a human. It couldn’t have happened to a better werewolfhound than Phoenix! He is one of the guys who is most vocal about hating humans and treats Joey and other human members of the pack like dirt. I was more than a little worried that he’d end up treating Peter as badly as Dean has been treating Joey (whom he has still not recognized as his mate). And their relationship is not easy by any means, and watching them get to something resembling “normal” was as heartbreaking as it was fascinating. Phoenix has good reasons to hate humans. He was created in a lab, treated worse than an animal as he was experimented on, and forced to do things he never wanted to. In his words, “Phoenix had sworn to himself that he would never allow himself to become the plaything of another human for as long as he lived, but he could already sense the power that this one had over him.” Quite the conflict! But now that he is mated to a human he has to make himself understand that Peter is not like the doctors who experimented on Phoenix and his fellow pack members. The problem is that his hatred is almost instinctual, and it takes some work to change that to the point where he can tolerate Peter, forget treating him decently or loving him. Peter is in a difficult situation. He has been kidnapped, yet he feels undeniably attracted to his abductor. He has been weak and run a fever since he first met Phoenix a few days earlier, and being in the man’s presence, voluntary or not, makes him feel better. But he is also terrified of the physical strength and the overpowering presence of the man. Not to mention his rough manner, the fact that Peter is forbidden to touch him, and the fact that Phoenix keeps running and staying away from Peter. That is not the basis for a relationship. I loved that Peter stood up for himself despite his fears. If you like stories about enemies who become lovers (even if in this case only one partner sees the other as an enemy), if you want to know more about a man who has to change his view about at least one of a group of people he hates, and if you’re looking for a read that is intense, filled with emotions from anger to passion, and very hot, then you will probably like this novella." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
He definitely didn’t let himself think too long about the man with long blond hair and blue eyes who had looked so damned angry when he’d grabbed at Peter’s throat.
But then the next day the fatigue had been worse, and the day after that he’d felt like a walking zombie.
He was used to working incredibly long hours while still attending school, so he didn’t know what the problem could be.
But it was getting to the point that his teachers and superiors were starting to notice a problem, and with their permission, he’d been sent home.
He didn’t like going back to his tiny apartment. He was too worried about his grade, but when Peter slept for nearly thirty hours, he knew there was a problem.
He’d managed to stay awake long enough to drive himself back to the hospital, but that was about it. He needed to be checked out. Peter had been going through the list of possible ailments he could have when he’d stepped out of his car and looked toward the tree and shrubs just on the outskirts of the parking lot.
He saw those eyes. He saw them turn red, and then the concrete floor beneath him quickly rushed up to meet his face.
And then Peter had briefly woken up a couple of times just to see the man in question carrying him.
Oh God. Where the hell was he? Why had that man brought him here?
Fuck, could this be a rogue pack? He didn’t want to believe it, especially because of his surroundings. No rogue pack that he’d ever heard of had enough money to warrant having a room like this.
Most humans didn’t know that much about the shifter community, but Peter was studying to become a doctor. He had to know at least the basics of their lifestyle.
So if that man was not a rogue werewolf, why kidnap Peter? Why kidnap him even if he was a rogue? It all made no sense.
Peter looked on the nightstand, and then glanced over at the desk by the far wall. He saw no phone. Nothing that he could use to call for help.
He stumbled toward the door. He needed to get out of here. He couldn’t be here. He had to go home. No, he had to go back to the hospital. He was still sick and his legs wobbled beneath him like a newborn calf. He needed medicine.
He was kind of shocked when he reached the heavy wooden door. It was not locked.
Huh. He couldn’t believe his luck. Though his vision was swimming just the tiniest bit, it was honestly shocking to be able to turn the door handle and pull open the door.
The hallway was almost the same as the inside of the room where Peter had been resting. It just gave off that constant vibe of wealth. Tall ceilings, paintings on the walls, more dark mahogany wood and plush, thick carpeting…
Great. It was going to turn out that he was in a vampire’s house or something. That would just be the fucking worst. He was here because some vampire thought his blood smelled awesome, and it wanted something to snack on.
Exhausted medical intern was a specialty that Peter hadn’t known about, apparently.
Did vampires exist? Well, why not? If werewolves could come out and admit their existence to society, then why not vampires? They were probably just in hiding, waiting to see if or when the werewolves would all get hunted down and completely taken out of society.
That was usually the theory that went around on the Internet, anyway.
Peter stumbled through the enormous house. Because he had no idea where he was going, he had to rely almost entirely on sound. He heard voices coming from far down the hall, and though voices were probably the exact thing he should be avoiding, he figured it was better to be close and to know where they were. At least then no one could sneak up on him.
Also, those voices might be close to the front door.
Turned out his theory was correct. The hallway, which was already large and spacious, opened up into a foyer with a glittering crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling.
The voices were coming from below. Not just below either, but down yet another hallway.
Peter slowly descended the stairs, listening as the voices got louder. He didn’t think it was because he was getting closer to the front door, but it sounded more like whoever was speaking was getting angry.
“You can’t keep him, Phoenix!”
Peter stopped. He was literally inches away from the door. A door that did have some innocent-enough-looking locks on it, but he knew how to turn the bolt to unlock it so he could leave.
But wait, was that angry voice talking about him? Someone wanted to keep him?
A growl so menacing it caused Peter's skin to prickle with goose bumps. “He’s mine. He belongs to me.”
“You hate humans. You always said that.”
Okay, they were definitely talking about him. Holy fuck. This was starting to get worrisome. It had already been bad, but hearing them talking about him…
And the one who hated humans? The blond? Could they be talking about the man who’d taken Peter?
Oh shit, he really did need to get out of here. That blond who’d taken him hated humans, and for whatever reason he’d decided to kidnap Peter? No fucking way could that lead to anything good.
Peter grabbed for the door, intending to open it carefully and quietly, but even as he turned the deadbolt, he should’ve known things would’ve gone silent from the werewolves. They probably heard the metallic slide, and then the soft creak as Peter turned the door handle and pulled open the door.
Peter didn’t look to see who was yelling at him. He threw the door open and ran into the night.
Yes. Feels good. You want him to touch you like this, don’t you? That’s because he’s yours. All yours.
What the hell was going on?
The blond, Phoenix, wasn’t even on the bed. He was kneeling down on the floor, leaning over Peter’s body. He must’ve been incredibly tall for that to work.
What was Peter thinking? Of course he was tall. He had seen the man once before when they were both standing in front of each other.
Back when the man had made a grab for Peter’s throat and yanked away some of his white coat.
Peter had been terrified then. He’d called out for security, but now his body buzzed with the most pleasant kind of warmth he had ever felt, and he didn’t ever want to give it up or walk away from it.
Peter’s hands felt heavy, and so weak, as he lifted them up, but he managed to grab on to the back of the man’s thick neck, and thread the fingers of his other hand into that blond hair.
He held on as tightly as he could, trying to keep the man from pulling away from him, trying to do something that would allow him to participate.
He was already trying to hump forward, searching for any possible friction he could get. Though there was nothing for him to rub up against except for the sudden tight feeling in his shorts.
Peter moaned, opening his mouth wide, giving the hint that he wanted the man’s tongue in his mouth.
Of course a hint like that could only be taken. When Phoenix slid his tongue inside of Peter’s dry mouth, it felt like everything in the world was finally coming together in the exact way it was supposed to. Peter didn’t feel so weak, or hot.
Well, he still felt hot, scorching hot, but not quite sick with it. Strength was returning to his body, and he needed more of it. He desperately needed more.
Phoenix yanked himself away from Peter’s mouth.
Peter moaned from the loss, panting and gasping for breath. He groaned and shook his head, trying to clear it. Phoenix just tried to lean away from him.
“No,” Peter moaned, holding him tighter. “Come back.”
A growl sounded in the room. It seemed to be coming from the alpha’s chest of all places. Was that even possible?
“I shouldn’t be doing this with you. You’re a human.”
“So?” Peter asked. He honestly didn’t get it. Humans and werewolves had sexual relationships all the time. Peter wasn’t looking for a relationship. He was just looking for this ache he felt to finally be dealt with.
Yeah, he was horny. He would face the realities of that and be embarrassed later.
He felt the strength pulsing through him. That was all that seemed to matter. It felt like if he let Phoenix get away from him, that he would become sick and weak again.
That all sounded familiar, like he’d heard of those symptoms somewhere when he was back in class, but his mind was so fogged up that he couldn’t focus on anything else other than what was in front of him right now.
“Please, it’s okay,” Peter said. “You’re a shifter, right? So you can just do it and not have to worry about anything. I don’t have anything I can give you anyway, even if that was a problem.”
“And if I told you I mated with you?” Phoenix said.
Peter’s breath caught, and Phoenix seemed to smile at him in the dark with that revelation now out in the open.
“Yes, that’s what I thought. You are mine. You are to never forget that. Tell me otherwise and I will send you home and deal with this myself.”
That meant jerking off. Peter thought about the handsome specimen in front of him stroking his cock in the shower, and he couldn’t help but moan from the mental image that gave to him.
“Focus!” Phoenix snapped, shaking him a little.
“Right, okay, well, mating, so that’s why I’ve been so sick.” It did happen after he’d met this man, and maybe that would give a proper explanation as to why Phoenix had seemed so desperate to grab on to him that day.
Hell, it did explain it. It explained everything.
“What…I mean, there isn’t a choice, right?” Peter asked, trying to think through the fog. “If we don’t have sex, I’ll die, won’t I?”
“Not necessarily,” Phoenix said. “If you live through the sickness, our bond will be broken. I won’t desire you, and you won’t be sick with need for me.”
“But I could still die from it,” Peter said.
He was going to medical school, so of course he’d had to look through a couple of files that showed humans and omegas feeling the sickness of not being claimed. Some cases couldn’t be proven since the sickness was so close to pneumonia and fever that it was rarely properly diagnosed, and even when it was, there was usually an alpha nearby who was more than willing to claim the person in question as a mate.
Cases like this tended to happen only when there was a misunderstanding, or if someone went away abroad and didn’t realize what was going on back home.
There were all kinds of reasons, but Peter knew the chances for survival were, supposedly, 50 percent. Some said it was as low as 40, others said as high as 60.
All those numbers seemed way too damned low now that Peter was looking at this through the scope of his own life. He didn’t want to have to take any kind of risk at all. Even a 10 percent fatality rate was too high.
“I don’t want to die,” Peter said, shaking his head.
Phoenix’s blue eyes seemed to glow in the dark. They were glowing in the dark. “Then let me make one thing perfectly clear to you,”
Peter swallowed hard. That harsh glare didn’t soften.
“You are to do exactly as I say, whenever I say it. Do you understand? I will not repeat myself on this.”