“I’m sorry,” the guy said, joining Arizona by the hood. “Where are my manners? Name’s Casey.” He stuck out his hand.
Arizona wiped his hand down the front of his coveralls before shaking the offered hand. “Arizona.”
“Unique.” Casey grinned, and Arizona felt as if he’d been sucker-punched by that gorgeous smile. “I like it.”
“Thanks.” He was reluctant to let the small hand go. It was warm and soft and felt fragile as Arizona gave it a gentle squeeze with his large and callused one before releasing it.
Lifting the hood, he found it just as squeaky as the car door.
“Oh, wait.” Casey ran to the back of the car and pulled out a wooden stick. “I use this to prop the hood, though I never know what I’m looking at when I open it.”
Arizona took the offered stick and wedged it between the hood and frame. It was a little too long, but he made it work. He cringed when he saw a road map of duct tape circling the hoses. There was even a Snapple cap where the radiator cap should have been. And was that a piece of plastic with a rubber band around it for the washer fluid lid?
The guy was driving a death trap.
The battery had so much built-up acid covering it that Arizona would need a chisel to get to the connections.
“Can you see what’s wrong with it?” Casey asked. His hands were pressed against the frame as he leaned forward, staring at the motor.
Yeah, it needs to be sitting in a junkyard. “Why don’t you try to start it up for me?”
Arizona didn’t say anything about the debauched repair work. From what Casey had told him, the guy couldn’t afford to fix the problems. He’d done the best he could with what he had to work with.
The car made a clicking noise, but the engine didn’t turn over.
“I think it died,” Casey said from inside the car.
It was definitely dead. There was no way Casey should drive it, even if Arizona pulled a miracle out of his ass and got the damn thing running again.
“Do you have a ride home?” Arizona asked. “There’s no way I can give you a quick fix.”
“But I can’t afford any repair bills,” Casey said, climbing from the car while chewing on his lower lip.
Arizona’s wolf growled. He wanted to taste that lower lip. They were nicely shaped, and he wouldn’t mind seeing if they were as soft as they looked.
“Well, you can’t drive it,” Arizona reminded Casey. “You have no choice but to leave it here, and I’m sure the Millers will help you with a payment plan.”
“You think so?” Casey looked hopeful.
“They’ve got good hearts,” Arizona said. “It shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I live in Sugar Creek.” The hopefulness in Casey’s eyes dimmed. “I don’t know anyone who can give me a ride home.”
Arizona had to repair the tire he’d removed in the second bay, and then he was done for the day. A thought occurred to him. “Can you hang out for about thirty minutes?”
“Do I have a choice?” Casey asked. “As you pointed out, my car isn’t going anywhere.”
Arizona chuckled. The guy looked so downtrodden. “If you wait until I finish up, I’ll give you a ride.”
The man’s brows furrowed as a frown puckered between his eyes. “Why would you do that for a complete stranger? Sugar Creek is a thirty-minute drive, and that’s if you don’t hit traffic once you enter the city.”
“It’s no sweat.” Arizona headed back to the bay, Casey trailing behind him. “Why don’t you wait in the office until I’m done?”
Casey hesitated, glancing from the bay to the office door and then back to the bay. “Can’t I just wait for you inside the garage?”
Something unfurled inside Arizona as he gazed at Casey. His chest tightened, and his heart began to beat just a little faster. It felt as if an invisible string was pulling him closer to the human as he took a step toward Casey.
Casey frowned as he took a step back. “Is there something wrong?”
Arizona rubbed his fist over his chest, trying to dispel the strange feeling expanding inside of him. Even stranger, his wolf was snarling and snapping, and he had no clue what was wrong with the crazy beast.
“No, nothing’s wrong,” he said when Casey’s brows wrinkled and he bit his lower lip. The guy seemed to do that a lot.
“You look…pinched,” Casey said. “Are you sure there’s nothing wrong with you? You need to tell me because you’re not allowed to pass out. I don’t know CPR and will probably break a rib in my fumbling attempt.”
He doubted that. Casey couldn’t weigh over a buck twenty-five, if that. Arizona was a big guy, solid and muscular.
He held up a finger. “Give me a second.”
“Oh, okay.” Casey nodded.
Arizona hurried into the bay where Nevada was still working. “I think I’m having a heart attack.”
Nevada cursed when he hit his head on the underside of the hood. He glared at Arizona when he straightened, rubbing his head. “Wolves don’t have heart attacks, moron.”
Arizona knew that. Shape shifters healed themselves of anything wrong when they shifted. There were some exceptions, but that was beside the point. “Then why do I feel like I’m right in the middle of one?”
Nevada tilted sideways, glancing around the car Arizona had left on the lift. “Could that little number out there have anything to do with your fake heart attack?”
“Dude, I’m not faking. My chest feels all tight, and I’m fuckin’ sweatin’. My heart is racing, too.” Arizona wiped at his forehead and then pressed the palm of his hand against his eye. Jeez, what the hell was happening to him?
“Don’t. Move,” Arizona growled into his ear before stepping back. Casey watched the man’s every move. Arizona crossed the room, opened the desk drawer, and…was that a bottle of lube in his hand?
Casey started to ask why there was a bottle of lube in the desk, but Arizona’s expression kept his lips sealed. The man looked as if he wanted to fuck the answer right out of Casey.
Knowing that was Arizona’s plan, Casey’s body roared to life. His fingers curled into the cushion as his breathing grew shallow.
“You’ll tell me what I want to know.”
Gods, could the man sound anymore guttural? Casey’s lips parted when Arizona grabbed the hem of his shirt and whipped it over his head, showing off his impressive chest and abdomen. The man rippled and flexed as he crossed the room, making Casey’s body tighten desperately with need.
“And if I don’t?” His voice was breathy.
A wicked grin pulled at the man’s mouth. “Don’t challenge the wolf, shorty, if you don’t want him to bite.”
“Are you challenging me?” Arizona made the question sound so dirty and seductive.
Casey bit his lower lip, thought about it, and then nodded, anticipation making his cock jerk. “I am.”
A flash of approval appeared in Arizona’s green eyes. As Arizona moved in behind Casey, the sound of the cap snicking open filled his ears, along with Arizona’s heavy breathing.
He twitched when wet fingers slid down his crease. Arizona parted Casey and then pressed the tip of his finger inside. “So tight,” Arizona said with savage satisfaction.
His shorts kicked aside, Casey spread his legs. He bent over the couch, strangling the cushion. The tip of a finger wasn’t enough. It was like giving a thirsty man a drop of water. Casey gritted his teeth and waited, but Arizona didn’t go any farther.
“Tell me,” Arizona demanded.
Shaking his head, Casey curled his lips in.
The finger slid farther inside then pulled back. Arizona repeated the move a few times before a second finger joined the first.
Casey gasped, but it still wasn’t enough. He needed more.
Arizona’s punishment was a contradiction to Casey’s assumption. There was no intention of yelling and screaming, at least not in an angry way. Casey planned on being loud, only with moans of pleasure.
Casey’s legs were spread, his lips parted, and his body relaxed. He whimpered when Arizona moved his fingers so slowly that the invasion did nothing but torture him.
“You gonna tell me?” Arizona nipped his ear, sending fire racing through Casey’s blood.
Pressing the palm of his hand between Casey’s shoulder blades, Arizona bent him so far over that the only thing stopping Casey from falling over the couch was Arizona’s hand.
He thrust his fingers deep, moving them so fast and hard that Casey shot to the edge, damn near spiraling over. Frustratingly, Arizona stopped before Casey could explode.
“Take off your shirt.”
With trembling hands, Casey did as Arizona ordered, tossing the fabric on the seat of the couch. He now stood there with nothing but his shoes on. He quickly kicked those aside.
“Aren’t you afraid someone will come in?” He barely got the words out. Arizona had twisted his hand, spread his fingers, and taken Casey’s torture up a notch.
“No one will come in.” Arizona sounded sure of that fact.
“H-how do you know?” Casey gritted his teeth, his eyelids fluttering as Arizona stroked over his sweet spot. His legs turned to wet noodles, and if the couch hadn’t been holding him up, he would have collapsed.
“Because”—Arizona stroked the gland again as he added a third finger, making Casey damn near drool—”they know I’m punishing you and wouldn’t dare interrupt.”
“You’re sure about that?”
“We’re about to be newly mated, shorty, and no one interferes in a mating. It’s the number one rule of the Ultionem.” With his foot, Arizona gently kicked Casey’s legs farther apart. “You could scream at the top of your lungs and no one would open that door.”
That statement made every beat of Casey’s heart more anxious. Was that supposed to be comforting? What if Arizona was in here murdering him?
“Relax.” Arizona said that single word so soothingly that Casey’s body obeyed. Arizona’s chest pressed into Casey’s back. The touch of skin, the earthy smell of Arizona, and the man’s deep voice had Casey struggling to breathe. “Before this night is over, you’ll not only tell me what I want to know but you’ll also learn just how important you are to me. Risking your safety won’t be tolerated.”
There hadn’t been a doubt in Casey’s mind that Arizona would be pissed at him. He’d just never imagined he would be punished, and with sex no less.
Was it really a punishment if Casey derived so much pleasure from every spoken word, touch, and the building anticipation?
Fortified by the thought that Arizona meant him no harm, Casey relaxed fully against the couch.
“Better.” Arizona’s praise shot straight to Casey’s hardened cock. “Much better.”
Casey bit into his lower lip as his eyes closed. The stretch burned as he reminded himself to breathe.
The pressing of Arizona’s chest disappeared. Casey instantly missed the heat, the safety he felt being trapped under the man.
Arizona’s hand returned to Casey’s upper back, and then the man’s fingers gripped the nape of Casey’s neck. Held firmly in place, the fingers stretching him slid free, replaced by the blunt head of Arizona’s cock.