Jared Templeton returned to Colin City for one reason, to make it through his sister’s wedding. After that he wanted to return to his home in Massachusetts and go back to his blessed solitude and his life as an assassin. He didn’t plan on attending a viewing for a deceased mentor, agreeing to help his shifter friend rescue a blind man, or learning that he had a shifter mate, a male shifter mate. He’d never been attracted to a man before, but he couldn’t deny that he lusted after this one. And he had no clue what to do about it, or how he could fit the wolf shifter into his life if he did give in to his desires.
Carson Angeni is the enforcer for the Stone Ridge wolf pack. He’s followed his alpha’s commands and obeyed him without question, even to the point of taking lives to ensure the safety of his pack. When he’s faced with a mate who kills for money, with no remorse and no conscience, he questions Fate’s choice. How can he accept someone who seems to get his jollies by goading those around him, not to mention Jared lives halfway across the country? But as he gets to know the man, Carson learns that there is more to him than Jared’s brash exterior displays. There’s definitely a connection between them and both have trouble denying it, but Carson can’t accept Jared’s work as an assassin. And when Carson discovers that Jared knew from the beginning that he was Carson’s mate, it creates even more tension between them. Can Carson learn to trust his mate while trying to convince Jared to give up the only life and the only job he’s ever known, to settle with him in Stone Ridge?
He grinned and held out a hand. “Hello, handsome. I’m Jared Templeton. Grady invited me,” he said.
The man took the hand and chuckled. “I’m Lark and don’t let Declan hear you say that to me.”
“Too late. I heard,” an accented voice snarled.
He released Lark’s hand and lifted it in placation, chuckling softly. “Don’t worry. I’m not gay, but even I can appreciate that your…” he paused, realizing the large man who now had a possessive arm around Lark’s waist had been at the funeral. He’d assumed he was the sister’s husband or boyfriend. He’d been wrong. This man oozed alpha male from every pore. “Let me guess. You’re a shifter and Lark is your mate?”
The growl from Declan almost drowned out Lark’s shocked gasp. Suddenly, Jared found himself pinned against the door, an angry two-hundred-fifty pound male holding his throat. “How do ye know about us? Who the hell are you?”
He grinned, flipping through the different moves he could use to break the bigger man’s hold and wondering if they’d work on the shifter. Instead he held out a hand, never breaking eye contact. “I’m Jared Templeton. You must be Declan McIntire. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“Whoa! Whoa, Declan, wait!” Grady rushed into view. “I was gonna tell you about Jared earlier, but it kinda slipped my mind with everything going on,” he said in a rush, resting one hand on Declan’s shoulder and the other on the man’s arm. “He can help us.”
Declan’s lip curled. “How can this human help us?”
An indignant huff sounded from Lark. “Excuse me, big guy. Human standing right here. Do you want to sleep upstairs tonight?”
Slowly, the hand around his neck eased and dropped away. Declan stepped away and pulled his mate into his arms, a sheepish expression on his face. “Sorry, baby,” he whispered. He gave Jared one more scowl before heading into the house.
Grady turned to Jared and shook his head. “Are you trying to get yourself shredded?”
Jared shrugged. “Of course not. How’s Gordon? Is he here?”
“Yeah, he’s in the other room and thanks for your comments last night. It took me an hour to convince him I’d never fucked you,” Grady muttered, leading the way into a large study.
Laughing, Jared followed.
Twelve people crammed into the room made the study seem much smaller than it really was. He already knew Gordon, Lark and Declan. Grady introduced the others. Travis, Rainy and Cliff MacDougal—it didn’t escape his notice that Travis and Rainy were clearly a couple— sat on a leather couch. On an easy chair sat Shane Alvaro, who Declan introduced as his beta. Todd Abernathy was curled up in Lyle Sullivan’s lap in a matching recliner. Nick Greely and Carson Angeni sat on another, smaller sofa. The several inches between them told Jared that they were not a couple. And he made thirteen. Jared grinned. My lucky number.
His gaze returned to Carson. With long black hair framing classic native American features and a bump in his nose telling him it had been broken at least once, add in a firm, tone body, bronzed skin and piercing brown eyes, the man was truly stunning. He stared unashamedly for a second, watching Carson stare right back at him. He suddenly found himself reevaluating his earlier statement about not being gay. In the span of ten minutes he’d found himself appreciating the features of two different men and this second guy definitely made his prick take notice. Huh, maybe I’m bisexual.
His grin widened further and he turned to where Lark now sat curled up on Declan’s lap. He waved a hand between them. “Okay, ya got me. Lark is handsome, but this guy’s stunning. He just might make me reconsider my sexuality, because he’s definitely fuck-worthy,” he finished, giving Carson a lascivious wink.
Ignoring the shocked silence caused by his rather sadistic sense of humor, Jared settled into a chair and focused on Grady. “So, since it’s obvious this isn’t really a poker party, why don’t we cut to the chase?” His gaze turned predatory as he focused on Grady. His lips curved into a malicious smile and his voice lowered as he asked, “Who do you want me to kill?”