Ceron, known as Red, comes from the village neighbouring a Wolven pack. Storm, son of the Wolven Alpha, befriends Ceron, who finds that friendship soon becomes something much deeper.
For generations, Ceron’s people and the Wolven have lived in peace, but now, the Wolven are accused of attacking villagers.
Ceron and Storm know they’ll face prejudice as their relationship deepens. But more dangerous and deadly is an unknown enemy.
The stranger’s eyes were an enigmatic shade of brown-blue and gazed at him with a mix of concern and curiosity. Glossy chestnut hair fell past broad shoulders, and sideburns of the same hue curled beneath solid cheekbones. A nose, wider and flatter than his, twitched, and generous, full lips were parted and displayed sharp teeth. As the two men continued to stare at one another, Ceron dimly registered that he had never been so close to a Wolven before.
“Are you hurt?” the Wolven asked.
The question seemed to break the spell for both men. The Wolven stepped back, nose still twitching as did his furred, pointed ears. Ceron finally tore his gaze away from the Wolven to stare ruefully at his torn tunic. Hopefully, his grandmother could repair it.
“No.” He sighed softly, offering a small smile.
“He wanted you. I could smell his lust. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
Ceron could not stop the soft whimper of fear that slipped past his lips at the graphic words. It had been close. Suddenly the Wolven dropped his head and backed away.
“No, please, I’m not afraid of you.” Ceron reached out to the Wolven. “It’s just. Well, it’s one thing to think what Torrin might be capable of, but it’s quite another to be told so boldly.” He glanced down again at his torn tunic. It was, in truth, a small price to pay.
“Here, take mine.”
It took Ceron a moment or two to register what the Wolven had said. Looking up, Ceron realised the Wolven had noticed the way he examined his torn clothing. The bigger male had already shrugged out of his sleeveless jerkin and was reaching for the buttons of his undershirt.
“No, I couldn’t.” Ceron’s voice was barely above a whisper.
The Wolven’s shirt was a finer weave than his tunic’s coarse material as well, as being decorated with red thread around the scooped neck. There was no way he could repay such generosity. Despite what some of the town elders said about the Wolven being poor and the attacks being on wealthy townsfolk, he dressed more poorly than this particular Wolven.
“Too good to take something offered by a Wolven?” The other man’s voice was little more than an angry growl.
“Too poor.” Ceron corrected the assumption immediately. “I have no way to repay your kindness.”
Ceron spoke honestly and it seemed to deflate the Wolven’s ire. The bigger male’s head cocked from side to side as his nostrils flared. There was a puzzled look in the hypnotic eyes.
“You go through the forest regularly. I know your scent.” The Wolven looked intrigued.
“My name is Ceron, although Torrin and his cronies nicknamed me Red because of my hair.” Ceron reached to push it back into place.
“I am Storm, son of Rain and Shade.” The Wolven stood tall, touching his chest as he spoke. “You may have the shirt and I want no money. Perhaps if you let your people know Wolven are not beasts they will stop persecuting us. Consider that ample repayment.”
“Thank you.” Ceron was touched by Storm’s generosity. “I visit my grandma, daily if I can. I try and take her food. I don’t earn much, but at least I have food and shelter.”
“I’ll walk with you.” Storm looked around, his nose flaring. “Just in case Torrin decides to make a reappearance. And your hair is beautiful, Ceron.”
Even as Ceron blushed, he found himself temporarily deprived of his wits as Storm unfastened his shirt before sliding it from powerfully muscled shoulders.
It was not as if Ceron had never seen another male’s naked chest before. But this was different in ways he had no way to explain. As the material slithered from Storm’s torso, it revealed a lushly-furred chest on which two dark, peaked nipples stood proudly erect in the slight chill of the air. The fur tapered to Storm’s navel and a dark trail vanished beneath the waistband of his black pants. Ceron swallowed hard as he accepted the shirt.