Dr. Riley Blake left New York and moved to a small town in Maine after inheriting his uncle's house. Unfortunately, a disturbing part of his past follows him.
The last thing Sheriff Marcus Cameron really had time for was a new relationship. As the son of the alpha of the largest werewolf pack in the area, he had a duty to his family. But Riley Blake is a gorgeous temptation, and he's always been rather fond of giving into his baser instincts.
Marcus Cameron strode naked across his backyard, the cool night air feeling great on his heated skin. He glanced toward the full moon with a wry grin. Though he was hardly forced to shift during a full moon, there was something really amazing about running on nights when the forest was aglow with lunar light.
He wiped his feet on the mat in front of his backdoor before entering his house. It was no surprise to find his older brother in the kitchen, hovering in front of the refrigerator with a beer in hand. Marcus pulled on the jeans he’d shucked before going for his run. “Something up?”
Jared shrugged and glanced toward him before digging out a container. “Is this Mom’s lasagna?”
“You know it is.” Marcus sighed and grabbed a beer out of the door before his brother nudged the refrigerator closed. “I know she sent you some leftovers, too.”
Jared grinned and popped the whole container in to warm up. “Yeah, it was great.” He grabbed a fork out of the drawer and went to stand by the microwave. “So, did you hear Old Man Carl’s nephew decided to keep the house?”
Marcus stiffened momentarily and then took a deep breath. “I hadn’t. When did you hear that?”
“I’m dating Julie down at the real estate office, and she said he took the house off the market two weeks ago.” Jared pulled out the lasagna and dug in. “Then he asked her to locate him some space for an office. Looks like he’s going to settle here. Can’t be a bad thing—we could use a doctor who went to medical school after computers were invented.”
“Right.” Marcus rubbed the back of his neck. “Fantastic.”
Jared chuckled. “You gonna ask him out?”
“Are you sure? Because you look at him like a thing starving.” Jared paused. “He’s got a great ass.”
Marcus glared at him. “You shouldn’t be looking at his ass.”
“I can give a subjective opinion of another man’s ass,” Jared protested. “I’m just as modern, educated and liberal as the next werewolf.”
Marcus bit down on his lip to keep from laughing. “Shut the fuck up.”
“Maybe...you guys could start with a bromance? That’s pretty popular—work your way into the butt sex.” Jared made a motion with his fork and wiggled an eyebrow. “I’m not saying that you gotta mate with the man but, Marcus, I don’t think you’ve gotten laid since...well hell...before you left the Marines?”
It had been more like a year, but he wasn’t going to discuss his sex life with his brother. “You can’t ever say ‘butt sex’ in front of me again.”
Jared laughed and leaned on the counter. “Blow jobs? How about a blowjob? I bet he’s pretty all over—all slim hipped and pretty faced like Orlando Bloom.”
“I’m going to tell Mom and Dad that you’re bisexual,” Marcus warned.
“Well, maybe then Eileen Carlton will throw her grandson at me instead of you.”
Marcus groaned and rubbed his face with both hands. “He’s not even out of college, you know. What the hell is she thinking?”
“That you’re a pretty great catch?” Jared asked dryly. “Decorated war hero, ex-Marine, and town sheriff?”
“There is no such thing as an ex-marine,” Marcus said with a hard look in his brother’s direction. “Besides, even if I was interested in a relationship, it wouldn’t be with some twenty-year-old kid majoring in Russian Literature.”
“How about a thirty-three-year-old doctor with a great ass?”
“Stop talking about his ass!” Marcus grabbed his beer and stalked out of the kitchen. “And get out of my house!”
* * * * *
Riley wiped the sweat from his face with a towel as he walked toward the front of the building he’d purchased in Kent, Maine. It hadn’t been in his plan, but the price had been so outstanding he hadn’t been able to resist. There were four men standing out on the sidewalk, and he really hoped they were from the contractor he’d hired before returning to Kent.
“Good morning, gentlemen. Are you with Cameron Construction?”
“Jared Cameron.” Jared held out his hand. “I like to get a good look at each job before we get started, Doc. We’re a little early, so if you aren’t ready for us...” His gaze flicked over Riley’s casual attire and dusty state.
“I’m rearranging a few rooms,” Riley admitted. “This building wasn’t used for a medical office in the past. I have some equipment coming from New York, and I’m expecting furniture delivery in a week.” He motioned them in as he talked. “I have coffee set up in one of the smaller offices, and I had a refrigerator delivered if you want to store water or whatever while you guys work.”
“Great.” Jared glanced around the large room that would end up being the waiting area. “This is Phillip, Thomas, and Caleb. They’ll be your regular crew, and I’ll assign more workers if we run into problems with the build. When did you expect to open your doors?”
“I would have preferred two months to get settled as I have to hire staff and set up my computer equipment as well.” Riley sighed. “But I received a visit from some guy on the town council this morning, and I was encouraged to open as soon as possible because the town’s only family practitioner is on the verge of retiring.”
Jared nodded. “Right. Roger Byrd. Good ole guy, but ancient. I mean, I’m pretty sure he attended my granddad’s birth as an intern or something.”
Riley laughed. “Yeah, I met him yesterday, and we’re meeting again later in the week because he wants to refer his patients to me directly.” He paused. “None of his medical records are digital, so I’m going to hire a person just to see to that transfer.” He waved a hand as they moved through the building, leaving the crew to get started unpacking their equipment. “I’d like to have eight exam rooms, and I’ll need office space for a staff of five. I’m turning the space above the clinic into a private office and an apartment in case I have to stay overnight.”
“Lot of work,” Jared said. “Have you met my brother?”
“The sheriff?” Riley questioned. “Briefly at the diner when I was here several weeks back.” He looked back at Jared as they walked into another empty room. “Or do you mean one of the twins?”
Jared grinned. “The twins told me all about meeting you.”
Riley looked around the room. “Since the closest major hospital is thirty minutes by ambulance, I’d like to turn this space into an emergency operating room. That’s going to require ripping up the floor. The plumbing is a serious problem for the whole building, so I hope you can refer me someone to handle that.”
“So you can handle minor surgeries and stuff?” Jared questioned.
Riley smiled briefly. “You might say that. I was the surgical resident for two years at the last hospital I worked for. I specialized in trauma surgery. Moving into private practice with a side of OB/GYN wasn’t exactly in my original plans.”
“What changed your mind?”
“Someone who couldn’t take no for an answer,” Riley said sharply then took a deep breath. “I figured we both needed some breathing room, and while his alpha warned him off, I didn’t trust that it would be enough.”
Jared’s brown eyes widened. “You know...?”
“Yeah, I know what you are.” Riley inclined his head. “It’s pretty hard to miss, considering how many of your kind I’ve been around. The first time I had a werewolf on my operating table, I noticed a few things that I made the mistake of saying aloud. I had a visit from the local pack alpha within hours of the operation. I know how to keep my mouth shut, and over the last few years, I’ve become very familiar with your physiology—in both forms. If anyone in your pack needs help—the kind of help they can’t really ask for in a traditional hospital—this room will be available to them.”
“That’s good to know, Doc.” Jared cleared his throat again, obviously surprised. “I’ll let my dad know. He’s the alpha for the biggest pack in the area. There are a few smaller ones as well. We have a population of around three hundred—a lot of kids.”
Riley smiled then. “Good. I like kids.”
“This guy who wouldn’t take no for an answer...he wanted to mate with you?”
“No, he just wanted to own me. I believe there is a difference.” He leaned against the one counter in the room and shoved his hands into his pockets. “I don’t think he’ll follow me. He was warned off and punished for his behavior by his own alpha. Should I discuss this situation with your father?”
“It can’t hurt,” Jared admitted. “But to start, a conversation with Marcus would be good. He’s the pack enforcer and the town sheriff. Very little that happens around here gets past him, and if you’ve got a threat hanging over your head, he’s the best one to tell.”
“I’m not afraid.”
“No, but you’re smart enough to realize how dangerous one of my kind is when they don’t get what they want.”
* * * * *
“So, I chatted with your hot doctor this morning, and he’s got a problem.”
“He’s not my—” Marcus lifted his gaze from the stack of paperwork his admin had dropped on his desk. “What kind of problem?”
“The big, occasionally hairy kind that could very well follow him from New York. I don’t think the doc gets how serious a werewolf takes his personal claims, and we should probably keep an eye out.”
“Potential mate?” He hated the thought of that already and ran a hand over his hair.
“No, he said the guy didn’t want to mate with him, just wanted to own him.”
Marcus frowned at that but nodded. “We should contact the alpha of the man’s pack and get the particulars. If he’s a problem, I want to know what his face looks like.”
“You should go check out your hot doctor’s office space. It’s a pretty cool set up he’s trying to arrange.”
“He’s not mine,” Marcus growled.
“When I mentioned you, he started throwing off all of these pheromones,” Jared pointed out. “He could definitely be yours if that’s what you wanted. Can’t see how you could go wrong with a hot, young doctor who knows what you are and wants you regardless.”
“Shut up.” Marcus frowned at him. “Go work or something.”
Jared snorted. “Maybe I’ll go take the hot doctor to lunch.”
“No.” Marcus glared. “You will not. You work for him and that’s it, Jared. I mean it.”
“You know I’m mostly straight,” Jared said with a wry grin. “Unless you count that blowjob Bobby Ross gave me in the locker room after homecoming our senior year.”
Jared held up his hands in mock surrender. “I’m gone. Relax.”
* * * * *
Dr. Riley Christopher Blake. He stared at the diploma for a long moment after he’d placed the framed paper on his office wall. He’d had a smallish but nice office in the last hospital he’d worked in. Now, he had a big airy office that he didn’t have enough furniture for and a lot of wall space. He hung up the last of his certificates with a sigh. He had clearly over-degreed himself.
The sound of construction was actually something of a comfort, as it meant he wasn’t alone in the building. Riley wasn’t afraid of being alone, in fact, he was used to it. But still, it was nice to hear the sounds of men working and going about their day while he tried to do the same. He’d done most of the legal and licensing paperwork to set up his practice before he left New York, so now he was in Maine with a lot of physical labor to do and an odd sense of contentment about him he hadn’t felt in a long time. The problems with Jefferson Edwards had obviously weighed on him more than he’d allowed himself to believe.
There was a little burn of hurt along with the anger when he thought of Jeff. The man had romanced him from the start, outright seducing him with his undivided attention, his earthy masculinity and dominant personality. He’d been strong but not domineering. Riley was used to men backing off when they realized they weren’t going to get laid immediately into a dating relationship, but Jeff hadn’t. He’d played the part of the avid suitor quite well for several months.
Riley enjoyed sex, and while he was certainly picky about his lovers, he’d never made one wait as long as he’d made Jeff wait, and perhaps that should’ve been a clue for him to take heed of. The man had never gotten violent with him, never pushed him physically in either form, but Riley had realized all the same that things were never going to be equal with them when his would-be lover admitted that he’d never mate a man because he wanted children. Natural children. Pups. Riley couldn’t give him that, and frankly wouldn’t have been willing even if it were possible. He enjoyed kids but had no desire to have his own. Nor was he particularly interested in adopting, despite his own history.
And that reminded him that he needed to call his mother. Jessica Blake had been his foster mother first, and after two years had begun to the tireless process of adopting a boy that no one wanted. But the system had been reluctant to let her adopt because she was single. He checked his watch and fired off a text instead. She was most certainly in court and wouldn’t have time to chat with him while he complained about furnishing two buildings in Maine. She’d been laughing at him about the whole Maine move since he started the mess.
Riley looked up and barely refrained from groaning. The last thing he needed was Marcus Cameron lounging about with his smile, pretty green eyes, and stupidly fit body. It was just terrible, and God help him if he got an erection. He’d never be able to keep that from the man.
Marcus raised one jet-black eyebrow. “You were frowning at your phone.”
“Oh, I was just contemplating calling my mother but realized she was probably at work. She’s a lawyer...specializes in children’s rights.” And he was starting to ramble. He flushed and shoved his phone into his pocket. “Can I help you, Sheriff?”
“Jared told me you had a bit of a problem in New York.” Marcus crossed his arms over his chest and stared pointedly. “The kind that gets mean and furry.”
“He never got mean,” Riley said. “We dated. I thought we were serious. He made every appearance of being serious about me as well but eventually told me that he’d never mate with a man because he wanted children. He made it clear that while I wasn’t someone he would ever mate with, whatever woman he did mate with would just have to tolerate me because I belonged to him.”
Marcus frowned. “And you broke up with him?”
“Of course. I had no interest in being that sort of situation short or long term.” Riley shrugged. “Why exactly is this a concern for you?”
“You told my brother that you had the man’s alpha warn him off and he was punished. That’s a cause for concern, Doc. My kind don’t take their claims being ignored well.”
Riley shrugged. “He stalked me for a few weeks after I broke up with him. It was a little weird and uncomfortable, but it’s not a problem.”
“Not a problem,” Marcus repeated. “Doc, you’re a smart man...obviously.” His gaze flicked to all the framed certificates. “You moved to another state to avoid this man.”
“I just wanted a change of scenery and pace,” Riley explained.
“Right.” Marcus shook his head. “Name?”
“Jefferson Edwards. His uncle is the alpha of his pack and terribly old fashioned. He was horrified when he discovered that his nephew was at the very least bisexual.”
“So you basically outed the man to his alpha and family when you complained about the behavior,” Marcus summed up. “Excellent. Nothing to worry about.”
It wasn’t particularly fair that Marcus Cameron was still attractive in the midst of being a sarcastic bastard. Riley glared at him. “Good. I’m glad we agree.”
Marcus raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“Call me Riley,” he said with a frown. “You know...like I’m a person and not my profession.”
Marcus nodded slowly. “Okay. I’m going to keep an eye on things and contact the pack in New York about this guy. I’ll let them know he’s not welcome in our town for any reason.” He paused as he started to leave. “And Riley?”
“My kind only stalks prey.”
Riley huffed when the man turned and left without another word. The little wiggle in his gut that had almost dissipated completely once he’d left New York returned, and he barely refrained from groaning in frustration.