Stone McKie has come back to the Black Hills, the only place he’s ever felt at home. He never expected to find a mate waiting, or that the creative omega would be terrified of him.
Josh was raised believing that he wasn’t worth anything other than being a whipping boy for more dominant wolves. The thought of being the mate to a big, burly tattoo artist is too terrifying to contemplate, but he can’t seem to keep his distance.
When a threat from Josh’s past catches up to him, he has to turn to the one man who scares him for protection. Can Josh get past his fears and accept the love he desperately craves? Will Stone have to leave the one place he’s ever felt at home, to follow his mate?
If he’d been human, he would have been one of those pale kids in and out of the hospital, never more than a few inches away from an inhaler. Instead, he’d been born into a species who valued strength and dominance. His mother ran from these hills because Josh’s father had changed into a twisted, evil man, devoted to no one but his alpha. Making the same mistake as thousands of women, she thought getting pregnant would change her lover. She’d never told him the truth of what happened to make her leave or even told Josh his father’s name because she didn’t want him to be tempted to go look for him. But I did, and look where I am now.
Ironically, she fell into another pack just as dangerous. After his mom died in the car accident, Josh really learned what kind of man she’d married and the lengths she’d gone to to protect him from knowing the truth. Donnovan Talonski was a violent drunk who hated anything he perceived as weakness.
After her death, Donnovan proved how much Josh disgusted him. While his mother had been afraid to leave, Josh refused to allow himself to be continually beaten. Less than a week after her death, Donnovan brought in a doctor for what they called deprogramming. As if Josh had chosen to be gay to spite the narrow-minded asshole. Two bouts of psychotherapy, one shock treatment, and one brutal beating; Josh left but not without a final fuck you to the old man.
If only I had just left.
But, no. He’d wanted to do something to fuck over the nasty bastard. A small token of retribution, in the name of his mother, he realized now was a stupid mistake. If he could redo it, he would have left and never broken into Donnovan’s safe. Then he would never have needed to come to Los Lobos and wouldn’t be out in the cold night, hiding under a rotting log and praying for his life.
The minutes passed and Josh started to relax. He might have lost Stone and granted himself a bit of a reprieve. Odds were Stone would trash his store in retribution, but he wouldn’t find the money Josh hid or the large ring he’d stolen from Donnovan. Those were hidden under a loose floorboard in his bedroom. I can sneak into town, grab my savings, and take off. Leave everything he’d built and created, disappearing once again. This time he would make sure he went somewhere no one knew him and changed his name.
A low growl was his only warning before an immense black and gray wolf stuck his muzzle under the log and sniffed.