"What a relief it was for me to see that Peter and Phoenix are getting another volume of this series dedicated to them. Their relationship got started in the previous book, and they ended up firmly together, but with all the issues they have to deal with, it felt a little not-quite-settled at the end. In ‘Monster Alpha’ I got to see the next stage of Phoenix trying to deal with his hatred of humans while becoming a better mate for Peter. There is also Peter’s fear of Phoenix leaving him (he has no idea how impossible that is for mates to do), but Peter feels very inadequate sometimes. And Marcy Jacks continued to tease me with pieces of Joey and Dean’s complicated relationship, so I am hoping to finally see more of them in the next book! Peter is very conscious of the fact that his mate despises humans and doctors. And since he is still in training, he spends so much time at the hospital that they hardly get to see each other. Peter loves Phoenix deeply, and Phoenix has said he loves Peter as well, but there is still a lot of distance between them, and Peter is afraid that Phoenix will leave him. Talking about his feelings is tough, and his attempts to seduce Phoenix to show him how he feels keep getting derailed. Then events cause Phoenix to change into his wolfhound form and go into bloodlust, but Peter is determined not to let that stop him from showing Phoenix how much he trusts and loves him. Phoenix doesn’t have it any easier. He still doesn’t understand humans, hates anyone other than Peter and to some degree the other human pack members, and he is much closer to his wolfhound form than his pack mates. He is afraid it will all be too much for Peter, and has the same abandonment issues Peter displays. Talking about it? Not even an option in Phoenix’s mind. As soon as the bloodlust hits he is no longer conscious of what he does, and waking up from it facing Peter, who is trying to talk him down, scares Phoenix like nothing else could. These two men have a lot of obstacles to overcome if they want to become as close as mates should be, and they definitely want to get there. Misunderstandings abound at first, and both men make more assumptions than is healthy, but it was good to see how determined they are to make things work." -- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
Phoenix still hated the humans, but he didn’t hate his mate. He just…didn’t trust the rest of the world to not want to hurt either of them, and it was now Phoenix’s job to protect Peter.
But Peter clearly did not like being mated to a wolfhound. His refusal to call Phoenix what he was again and again made that abundantly clear. Peter had told him that he loved him, that he wanted to be with him, and in return, Phoenix had to stop holding his mate hostage, and trust that Peter would come back to him. Peter always did, but there was something still wedged between them that Phoenix couldn’t bear to face head-on.
What if his mate wanted to leave? This life clearly had to be more trouble than it was worth, and Peter was still a young man studying to become a doctor.
“You gonna give me the half you promised, or what?” Phoenix asked.
He could practically see the way the vein on the top of Peter’s forehead twitched. The man still broke his sandwich in half and gave Phoenix his promised piece.
They ate in silence.
He should just ask. Ask if his mate really was uncomfortable with being locked to a dangerous wolfhound for life. Max’s mate, Todd, was always saying things about how speaking helped relationships.
But it almost felt like Phoenix forgot how to say a word. The chance that his mate would tell him something that he didn’t want to hear, that Peter would reveal how unhappy he was with his new living arrangements, with Phoenix, with all of it, was suddenly more terrifying than being drugged and helpless ever was.
“Why do you keep coming out here?” Peter asked, breaching the silence.
Phoenix’s eyes widened, and he snapped his head around to look at his mate.
Peter refused to look back at him. “I mean, I can feel you out here all the time. I just thought it might get lonely or something.”
Phoenix looked away from his mate.
Connected. That’s what they were. But being connected apparently did not create a proper understanding of each other. “Is it distracting to your work?” Phoenix asked.
That seemed like a proper question to ask. Phoenix was simply thinking about his mate’s well-being, and he needed to be here.
But if what he was doing caused Peter to lag behind in his studies, or make the other personnel in that hospital think he could not do his job, then it would make sense for them to question whether or not Peter was capable of doing his job.
Peter seemed to cringe a little. Phoenix still noticed it.
“I–I never said that,” he replied softly, and then took a bite of his sandwich.
Phoenix had to look away from him. His mate was struggling with Phoenix around so much. He just did not want to admit to it.
Which meant that Phoenix should probably do them both a favor and simply leave, right? That was the proper thing to do. If he really wanted to put his mate first, then he would go before any more harm could be done to Peter inside of that hospital.
“You don’t usually take a lunch break,” Phoenix said.
Peter shrugged. “Sorry, but there’s not usually any time. I had to sneak away, to be honest.”
Which would probably land him in even more trouble.
And Phoenix was selfish, because he liked that Peter had come out of his way to come and speak with him. He liked having his mate around, having the man all to himself.
But Peter didn’t like it, and he would be angry. He would blame Phoenix if anything went wrong with his work.
If he didn’t blame him already.
Phoenix quickly finished off the last of his sandwich, stuffing it inside of his mouth and swallowing the last of it down nearly whole before he got to his feet.
Peter looked up at him. “Where are you going?” he asked.
His face quickly turned pink, and Peter looked away. For as many times as they’d been together already, and for as much as Peter claimed to understand that shifters enjoyed their nudity, it seemed the man still reverted to his old, shy ways when it came to having Phoenix standing above him.
Little wonder for that, when it put Phoenix’s cock at eye level with him.
Phoenix nearly grinned at that, and though he wanted to entertain the dirty thoughts that flooded his mind in that instant, he knew better than to try.
He’d attempted to get sex from his mate once before when the man had been in that light blue uniform, but Peter had been adamant. Even with their lust for each other reaching new heights, the man had refused to let Phoenix fuck him, and had been irritable that night when he’d come home.
Working around the sick all day with his cock half-erect had apparently not been so much fun.
“I’m going to do some hunting and maybe go back to the lodge,” Phoenix said, looking off into the distance, but only so he wouldn’t have to look down at the relief that was likely on Peter’s face.
“You’re not going to stay out here anymore?” Peter asked.
Even the tone of his voice, as though he could hardly believe what he’d just heard, caused Phoenix’s heart to ache.
Perhaps he’d hoped to hear more of a fight on that.
“No, I have things to do anyway. Max bitches at me when I stay too long.”
And Dean had started calling him a stalker.
“Oh,” Peter said.
Phoenix couldn’t read the tone that was in his voice. What did that mean?
Before another long silence could fill the air, or worse, before Phoenix could say something that would make his mate suspicious, he shifted back into his wolfhound shape and bounded through the woods, heading back for home.
Peter wet his lips, took Phoenix’s cock by the base, and leaned in to press an open-mouthed kiss to the mushroom-shaped head of Phoenix’s erection.
The organ jumped in his hand, and there was a drop of precum forming at the slit. Peter eagerly licked it away. It wasn’t so thick this time. Phoenix must’ve been having to take care of himself whenever Peter couldn’t do it for him.
And that thought only made him want to do so much more. The heat in Peter’s body rose up, burning his skin and making his nerves sizzle as he got into the groove of things. Peter’s cock throbbed between his legs, and he barely held back a groan as he licked up the shaft of Phoenix’s dick.
It was always the best whenever Peter got pleasure from this. That was always a good sign. It meant that he hadn’t lost the spark he’d had for Phoenix. They were still all right. Peter was still desperate for this. There wasn’t anything to worry about.
Peter let his mouth sink down round the shaft. He took Phoenix in as deep as he could go before he was forced to pull back. Sometimes he forgot about how big Phoenix actually was. Usually that happened after Peter worked too many long hours at the hospital, leaving no time for this kind of intimacy.
Phoenix rumbled a groan of pleasure, and that noise went right to Peter’s cock.
Oh God. He was going to come just from licking and sucking on Phoenix like this. He wasn’t even going to have to touch himself to do it.
That was equal parts pathetic and kind of amazing at the same time.
A hand touched Peter’s hair, and Phoenix’s voice was low and brimming with approval. “I’ve been wondering when you would come around.”
Peter nearly choked, and he pulled back, away from Phoenix’s cock before he could do something they would both regret. Like accidentally bite down from the shock of being startled like that.
Peter gasped for breath, staring at his lover, whose eyes were half-lidded with lust as he gazed back up at him. Phoenix was the picture of pleased. He pulled one arm up to let his head rest on his hand as he gazed at Peter.
“That felt good. You should keep doing that.”
Peter couldn’t move, however. As hot as his entire body felt in that instant, it was as though he was frozen solid.
“H-how long have you been awake for?”
Phoenix shrugged. “Since you climbed out of bed to use the toilet.”
The heat got a thousand times worse. There was a mini inferno burning up under Peter’s skin. It was kind of a miracle that he wasn’t starting to flake and peel under the assault of it.
“Oh God…” Peter said, turning away, hiding his face in his hand. Phoenix just let out a rumbling laugh, as though the entire thing was amusing to him.
“It’s not funny,” Peter said, though there wasn’t much of a sting in his voice. He was too embarrassed.
“Why are you so red?” Phoenix asked. “I was enjoying myself.”
“Great,” Peter said, and he could still barely pull his face out of his hand. “I was…trying to be all sexy and seductive. I thought I’d be waking you up to something nice. I didn’t know you were already awake.”
And watching, listening, feeling, and potentially even grading what Peter was doing to him.
Phoenix sat up, and his arms came around Peter’s hips in a way that Peter hadn’t felt since…well, actually since he’d woken up this morning, but before that it had been a while.
It felt almost strange to be held like this when Phoenix was awake. When there was no excuse to give.
Peter tensed. He didn’t mean to. It just happened, and only because of the shock of being held like this by his mate who didn’t always like to be touched.
Phoenix pulled back.
“No,” Peter said. He reached out and grabbed on to one of Phoenix’s wrists. “Don’t, please.”
“Do you want me to touch you?”
“Of course I do,” Phoenix said. He couldn’t quite look Phoenix in the eyes when he got those words out. “I just… It’s been a while. That’s all.”
“It has been,” Phoenix agreed, and he grabbed on to Peter’s wrist, pulling his hand back down to Phoenix’s cock. The heavy organ jumped in Peter’s hand, and Peter’s heart jumped at the same time.
Phoenix’s voice emerged much more gruff-sounding than it had just a moment ago. “Touch me. You haven’t done that in a while.”
“Sorry,” Peter said, letting his hand stroke over the hard, smooth flesh. There was a certain feel to touching Phoenix’s erection that Peter could never quite put into words. Hard and soft at the same time. Exciting. Arousing. All of those things and more.
“Don’t be sorry,” Phoenix said, and he leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to Peter’s mouth. Peter opened his lips just as Phoenix pulled back. “Just don’t stop what you’ve started. My wolfhound doesn’t like that.”