York Winter and his packmates are attacked by a rivaling werewolf pack at a lumberyard. Injured and exhausted, York runs into a part of town he's not familiar with, and when the enemy is closing in, he takes his chances and escapes into a bear-owned bakery.
Torbjorn Holt doesn't do people, and he doesn't do wolves no matter what the pull in his heart is trying to tell him. He's learned his lesson and will not have wolves in the bakery, and he'll definitely not mate one. Luckily, York isn't too badly injured, so Torbjorn doesn't feel bad about kicking him out into the rain.
York can't believe what's happening. He’s finally found his mate, but Torbjorn refuses to let him stay. Torbjorn will never trust a wolf again, and if York doesn't leave soon, he'll knock him out with a rolling pin and dump him in the alley. York has to make Torbjorn understand he means him no harm, but how will he do that when Torbjorn refuses to talk to him?
Every muscle in Torbjorn tensed, and York suppressed a growl. They were meant to be for fuck’s sake. Torbjorn should be touching him not shying away.
York obeyed and held out his arm. Torbjorn made quick work of placing the sponges over the tear and grabbed the roll with the bandage. York tried not to hiss as he wrapped it around his arm. He wound it hard enough so there was pressure but not so hard it stopped the blood flow to his fingers.
Torbjorn grunted and moved away. Again.
“You’re my mate.” York spoke fast so Torbjorn couldn’t interrupt him.
“We’re not mated.”
York growled. “It changes nothing.”
“It changes everything. Now, please leave.”
York stared. Torbjorn looked like he wanted to curl up in a corner and hide from the world.
“Can’t I stay?”
Torbjorn shook his head.
“We had a run-in with the Bloodclaw pack, do you know of the Bloodclaw pack? I don’t know if it’s safe for me to be on the streets.” It wasn’t safe. He didn’t think there would be a big fight in the middle of the city, but York was on his own. It wouldn’t take much for a small group to overpower him.
Torbjorn didn’t respond, didn’t look at him.
“Can I at least call my packmates and have them come get me? I’m sure I’ll be fine if I have an escort.”
“They can’t come in. No wolves in my bakery.”
York frowned. Torbjorn was afraid. Of wolves? York sighed. Fuck. “They would never harm you. You’re my mate.” They would protect him as if he was one of the pack.
“No wolves in the bakery. There’s a phone by the counter.” He gestured at the shop part of the bakery. “I’ll lock up once you’ve left.” He more or less ran toward the doorway, turned, and disappeared from York’s view.
His heart lurched. What if he’d never see Torbjorn again? He’d found his mate, happiness was within his grasp, but Torbjorn looked ready to bolt.
He wouldn’t leave his bakery, would he? If York did as he asked and left, he’d still be here tomorrow, right? The voice whispering in his mind told him he couldn’t risk it. He’d have to convince Torbjorn they were right for each other and that he’d never harm him. How though? Torbjorn wanted him to leave.
With a frustrated groan, he went to the counter and punched in the number to the pack’s company phone. It was the only phone they could afford to have right now.
“Build and Repair, this is Geri speaking.”
“Geri! Did everyone make it home?”
“Yeah, they’re all here.”
Relief flooded him, and he leaned against the counter for support. “Anyone hurt?”
“Scratches, nothing that won’t be healed tomorrow. Where are you? Should we come get you?” They couldn’t keep this up. Any day now someone would be severely hurt or killed.
“In a bakery. I’m not sure where.” He looked around to see if he could spot the name. He hadn’t looked at the sign outside when he’d stumbled toward the door. It had been his nose guiding him, not his eyes. “In the northern parts. I didn’t get far after Zev and I split before there was a group of Bloodclaws --”
Geri growled and York heard the others in the background fall quiet as they listened to the conversation.
“I ran, but I was dizzy and unfocused. A woman was about to lock up for the day, so I ran toward her, and she let me in.”
“You’re safe there?”
“Safe, but not welcome. It’s a bear-owned bakery.”
Geri snorted. “Of course, it is. Bears and their cakes. So she won’t let you hole up there?”
“Eh… the bear is a he, the woman is an employee. She left for the day.” York should tell them Torbjorn was his mate, but then they would want to know why he was leaving instead of tumbling around in bed with him. “I was wondering if you could swing by, but ...” He lowered his voice. “Not yet.”
“I need a little more time.” He kept his voice low even though he was almost certain Torbjorn was upstairs behind a closed door.
“To do what? Are you in danger?”