The Willow Compound, being home to hundreds of shifters, had an extensive security system that enforcers from all packs constantly monitored. Organizing and overseeing them was Nick’s primary duty. The safety of everyone inside was his responsibility and he took it seriously. Enforcers patrolled the area continuously, and the elaborate surveillance system ran along the borders. He wasn’t taking any chances. At the moment, he was in what was commonly called the command room, the nerve center for all cameras and silent alarms spanning Willow territory. He was listening to Jesse expound the possibilities of a new camera he wanted when footsteps sounded outside. In the next instant, Micah threw the door open, his eyes sparkling with excitement.
“Nick, you need to come with me,” he announced, leaning on the wall and trying to catch his breath. While he hadn’t been running, he was clearly in a hurry.
Jesse stopped talking and Nick frowned.
“Come on, you have got to see this,” Micah repeated, pushing away from the wall. He exchanged glances with Jesse, who shrugged and checked his console. “Everything checks out.”
“I told you, you need to come,” Micah said impatiently.
“Write down the request and I’ll get back to you,” Nick promised to Jesse, who nodded. Micah practically exploded into motion, not waiting for Nick, which prompted him to quicken his pace.
“Is there something amiss?” He rubbed his face tiredly. After everything that had happened last night, his day hasn’t gotten any better so far. The cougars had indeed called to politely inquire what Steven’s pups were about. Predictably, Steven was in bad mood. Their families were unhappy. The situation was tense all around. Nick wondered what could have happened now.
“Will you hurry already?” Micah prodded. Nick stopped in his tracks.
“Not until you tell me what’s going on.”
If this was a joke, he was going to be seriously pissed, and he said so.
Micah huffed. “No. Do I look suicidal?” he asked snidely.
Great. Now he had offended a friend. He raised his arms in a soothing gesture.
“I’m sorry. Just tell me what’s going on.”
“The Hunter is here,” Micah announced.
The news was like a punch to the gut.
“What Hunter?” he asked sharply.
“The one they got to come here from Atlanta,” Micah responded, looking at him like he was crazy.
Okay, so that was expected. For a moment, he’d thought there was another problem for him to deal with. No pack wanted a Hunter on its territory. It was different now: the new officer in the Lycan Squad was expected to report to Steven. He, Steven, and the other alphas had waited impatiently for the man’s arrival. The Council hadn’t shared their plan with their human counterparts, but they planned for this unit to become a seed of shifter-dominated law-enforcement units. In time, they’d even establish training grounds. Their plans depended heavily on the official head of the Squad, Lieutenant Harrison. Nick didn’t intend to waste his breath trying to talk with the local police chief. The man was a fool.
Harrison hadn’t called the pack before his arrival, which would have been polite. But it wasn’t exactly a breach of etiquette, because the town itself wasn’t pack territory and he wasn’t subordinate to Steven. He wondered if it was deliberate. Probably, he concluded. No one who thought Hunters were fools lived long enough to regret it. Now he understood Micah’s agitation. Nick was intrigued himself. His eyes flickered to Micah.
“Did you tell Steven?” he queried.
Micah grimaced. “No. I’ll go and get him after.”
Micah made an impatient gesture. “He’s at the gate. Brad is there. I think he’s annoying the guy, but he hasn’t tried to stab Brad yet. I wouldn’t bet on Brad’s chances if his patience runs out.”
Nick stared at Micah and swore. Of all pack members to be on guard duty, it had to be Brad.
He was arrogant, convinced in his superiority, and liable to piss their guest off before he even stepped inside the compound. Nick hurried toward the gate, ignoring curious looks thrown their way. Micah had trouble keeping up with him. Nick ignored him, slowing down once he was at the elaborate wrought-iron gate that marked the entrance of the Willow Compound. The gate might be ornate, but it served a real purpose: there were proximity alarms embedded in the ground under them. That way, Jesse always knew when someone entered the compound.
His legs spread and his shoulders squared, Brad stood barring the way inside. The man he was talking to was slimmer, but about the same height. He looked almost bored, but Nick didn’t miss the coiled tension in his wiry body. Green eyes looked up and at him.
Nick froze, a simultaneous surge of shock and pleasure holding him in place. No way. What were the odds? But that sure explained some things.
“I’m a cop,” the man had said last night, before mentioning his new boss.
Christ, he was an idiot. Recently moved to town, working at the precinct, knowing about shifters. Of course it was him. Despite everything, Nick’s mouth curved into smile. He rubbed his thigh uneasily, aware of the very sudden and very inappropriate hard-on he was sporting. He approached slowly, taking a deep breath to calm himself down. Harrison’s gaze slid away from him, but not before his green eyes lingered briefly on Nick’s lips.
“Need a ride?” Harrison asked, arms crossed over his chest, leaning casually against the wall. The leather of his jacket creaked as he moved while waiting for Nick to answer. Nick, still damp from the shower, raised his eyebrow at Harrison’s query.
“What?” Harrison asked blandly. Nick’s friend smothered a laugh. He clapped Nick on the shoulder and went to join the other shifters. “I’ll see you later,” he said with a waggle of his eyebrows.
“That was terrible,” Nick said to Harrison. “I came with them, so it’s obvious I would return with them.”
Harrison smirked. “Whoever said I was trying to be subtle?” He pushed off the wall and followed Nick outside.
“That’s good, because you’re not,” Nick responded dryly.
Harrison waited until they were between the wall and tall SUV on one side before pivoting and crowding Nick against the wall. A sharp intake of breath told him he’d surprised Nick. A growing pressure on his thigh as he pressed tightly against other man told him it wasn’t an unwelcome surprise.
“You don’t think we waited long enough?”
Nick ran his palm up Harrison’s arm. “To be fair, I was ready to get down and dirty with you the night we met in the alley.”
“I remember,” Harrison said huskily. “You promised me a werewolf bite.”
“I don’t bite,” Nick countered. “Unless my partners ask for it.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Harrison promised in a low voice. “Come on,” he said. The low burn of arousal that had plagued him the whole time intensified.
Once he unlocked the door of his apartment, Nick pushed him forcefully inside. He heard a thump when Nick dropped his gym bag on the floor and then kicked the door closed. He was on Harrison in a second, plastering against his back and running both arms over his torso. He moaned, letting his head drop to Nick’s shoulder, acutely aware of other man’s presence behind him.
“Bedroom,” he ordered, forcing himself to move.
“No sense of adventure?” Nick teased, but followed willingly enough.
“I’m taking a werewolf to bed. I’d say—” Harrison’s voice broke as Nick pulled his shirt off and mouthed his bare shoulder. “That’s quite enough.” He braced himself on the door-frame as they reached the bedroom. He was grateful the door was open since he wasn't sure he would otherwise bother to get inside.
“Depends on the werewolf,” Nick murmured, still tasting his skin.
“I think you definitely count,” Harrison answered, spreading his legs and letting Nick grope him.
“Making a bet on it?”
“Can’t lose either way.” Nick ground against him.
Harrison pressed his forehead against the wall, his knees wobbly and his whole body drenched in sweat as desire ran through his blood. “I said bedroom,” he warned, fingernails scraping against the wall.
“We are in the bedroom,” Nick said, mouth still busy on his shoulder. He unbuttoned Harrison’s jeans and slid his hand inside, skating teasingly against Harrison’s hardening shaft. A full-blown shudder racked his body. His breath caught in his throat. He squeezed his eyes shut and threw his head back.
“I meant the bed.” He managed to force the words out, arousal burning in his gut. He pushed encouragingly into Nick’s grip. So close…
“What’s wrong with the wall?” Nick wrapped his hand around his prick and pumped him roughly. Harrison gasped. Blood rushed in his ears.
Fuck. “Nothing. The wall is good. Hurry up,” he ordered.
His jeans pooled around his ankles. He moaned and tilted his ass up, pressing against the telltale bulge in Nick’s jeans. Their play hadn’t left him unaffected, through Harrison had barely touched him. Rough fabric rubbed over his skin, feeding his desire.
“Where do you keep…”Nick started.
“Nightstand,” Harrison bit out. He reached down and palmed his own cock, hissing at the rush of pleasure. He moved his hand slowly, underscoring the difference between him and Nick. He spread his legs and shifted. Nick cursed behind him, proving he was watching, and Harrison grinned savagely. He heard the crack when Nick slammed the drawer down, and then he was pressing Harrison back against the wall, his breathing harsh. He grabbed Harrison’s wrist and tugged it away, making him spread his fingers over the cool surface supporting his weight.
He shivered when Nick opened him with his fingers, quick, economical movements. He had to bite his lip to not cry out, but Nick sensed his discomfort. He licked Harrison’s shoulder and Harrison obligingly leaned back, letting the first flashes of pleasure slide through him.
“Keep that up,” he panted. “Just like that.”
Adding another finger, Nick twisted them inside. Harrison gasped, his cock twitching.
“I get the feeling you don’t this often,” Nick murmured into his ear, still holding him close.
“So I’m special, huh?” There was a smug undertone in Nick’s voice.
“I’m going to let you fuck me. I usually kill werewolves,” Harrison informed him. Nick froze behind him and he heard him swallow heavily.
“Does it turn you on?” Nick wanted to know.
It did, a twisted, guilty sort of thrill.
“No more than you,” he replied. “You’re getting off on doing a Hunter,” he challenged. It was a guess, but Nick’s reaction to his words was more than telling. He could feel the pressure building in his groin and knew his arousal echoed Nick’s.
Nick laughed harshly. “You’re damn right I am.”
Nick gripped his hips and pulled him onto his cock, and both of them stopped breathing as he seated himself. Nick groaned as he sank inside.
“You’re going to leave bruises,” Harrison warned, bracing himself on the wall. Sweat rolled down his face.
“Depends if you make it worth my while.”