Soul-bruised and bitter, Charlie left the military for peaceful solitude. When he’s mugged at gunpoint, his isolation is shattered, because the guy with the weapon is his mate, and Charlie’s falcon insists on truth: the other half of his soul is a desperate man who doesn’t know he’s a shifter.
Warren has no money for rent, his sister’s ex beat her bloody, and he’s working double shifts to survive. He thought his life couldn’t get any worse, but then he mugs an ex-soldier who somehow turns the tables and offers him something impossible: hope.
Of course, nothing is that simple, and Charlie’s resistance to their bond sabotages their relationship before it really begins. Warren can handle hardship, but now his enemies are bigger than the bully next door, and he’s broken the darkest taboo of the Sky Hunter falcons. Only Charlie can save him, but can a damaged ex-soldier save himself, too?
Be Warned: m/m sex
“I told you not to move. Are you paying attention?”
Wait… Warren frowned. He recognized that voice. “I know you.”
“You have a good memory, Warren.” The cold point slid across his neck and settled on the curve of his shoulder. “Do you remember who I am yet?”
Warren swallowed, but the lump of nerves in his throat didn’t budge. “Charlie.” God help him. He inhaled, wondering what the fuck was wrong with him that he had a hard-on in this situation. I’m finally cracking from all the stress.
“Very good.” The metal weight lifted as Charlie stepped in front of Warren.
Warren stared at the black gun nestled comfortably in Charlie’s hand. Fuck. That looks real.
“Yeah, unlike your toy, this is a real weapon.” Charlie eased the safety down and pointed it at Warren’s thigh. “You’ll feel a hell of a lot more than a splat of water if someone shoots you with it.”
Warren shuddered. He was turned on and more than a little bit nervous. “You wouldn’t really shoot me, would you?” He forced himself to look Charlie in the eyes. “I’m sorry I was such an idiot the other night. I was desperate, but that doesn’t excuse what I tried to do.” From the expression on Charlie’s face, Warren wasn’t sure his apology did much good. Charlie’s cold blue eyes stared back at him with no hint of the man’s thoughts. “I would never do anything like that again.”
“Sorry.” Charlie finally snorted. “Sorry doesn’t even begin to cover what I want from you.” He pursed his lips. The muzzle of his gun stayed fixed on Warren’s thigh.
Warren didn’t know a damn thing about guns, but he knew it would hurt if that thing shot him. Even so, he couldn’t keep his gaze from drifting down Charlie’s body. The man wore tight jeans, black boots, and a t-shirt that hugged every muscle in his torso. Warren wanted to put his hands on that chest, gun be damned. He wanted more than the desperate existence he seemed to be mired in, and had been ever since his parents died. He wanted Charlie. He waited a moment to see if the thought of being attracted to another guy bothered him, but all he felt was a sense of urgency. He needed to adjust his erection, but he had a feeling Charlie wouldn’t take it all that well if he reached down. He gritted his teeth and didn’t move. “What do you want from me?” His voice came out rough.
“On your knees.” Charlie gestured with the gun’s point.
Jesus. Warren slid to the ground and looked up. Charlie’s face had gone taut. “Please don’t shoot me.” Warren’s hands clenched into fists when Charlie tightened his finger on the trigger. After what they’d done together in the woods last night, Warren would’ve never expected this. Never. Charlie just hadn’t seemed the type. But you never know when someone might snap.
“You think I’m going to shoot you?” Charlie raised an eyebrow.
“I have no idea what you’re going to do,” Warren replied shakily. He wasn’t sure if he was more frightened or aroused. His erection pressed uncomfortably against the zipper of his jeans.
“Undo my pants,” Charlie said.
Warren froze. “What?”
Was he serious? He looked at Charlie’s groin. His cock was long and thick and obviously hard behind the denim. He’d been trying not to stare, but that was pretty difficult from this position. He swallowed nervously.
“You heard me. Don’t fuck around, Warren. I am totally out of patience.” Charlie put the gun to Warren’s forehead. He didn’t look like he was in the mood for more talking. He looked like a man on the edge of losing his temper.
Warren’s heart pounded. Was it rape if what he was being forced to do was something he actually wanted? “I don’t—” He broke off sweating. His hands trembled as he raised them. Don’t be a pussy, he told himself. His own erection swelled even more, and the position he was in didn’t make his arousal particularly comfortable.
“Wait.” Charlie let out a soft breath when Warren’s fingers reached his zipper. “Stop.”
Confused, Warren slid a finger inside Charlie’s waistband. The gun still pressed into his forehead. “I don’t know what you want from me,” he whispered, not sure if he was disappointed or angry.
Charlie lifted the gun away and pointed it at the ground. His finger tightened on the trigger, and the weapon clicked. “It’s empty.” His eyes were completely dark now. Dark and feral. “I would never hurt you.”
Warren had never seen anything so beautiful as those eyes, but that didn’t change what had just happened. He frowned as the first trickle of rage slid down his spine. “You fucking threatened me with an empty gun?” He clenched the waistband of Charlie’s pants with his fingers. “That’s so frigging messed up.” He told himself to get the fuck up, but his body wasn’t listening. I should punch him, he thought, but Charlie hadn’t moved, either. Warren slid his fingers deeper into Charlie’s pants. When the tips of his fingers touched Charlie’s cock, he sighed. “Fuck.”
Charlie trembled. “Yeah, that about sums it up.”
Warren undid the button, then drew the zipper down. “I want to blow you. You’re an asshole, but I still want this.” He licked his lips, ignoring Charlie as the older man dismantled the weapon and put the pieces on the table. Warren hardly cared. He felt like he stood on the edge of a precipice, prepared to jump. All his worries about his sister and her bastard ex, the rent, and his job faded to nothing. Some wild instinct stuck inside his bones told him to take the leap, and for once in his life, Warren was going to fly. Instinct was never a good way to make decisions—the disaster with the mugging had taught him that—but he didn’t give a shit right now. He wanted Charlie.
“It’s only fair that you return the favor,” Charlie said, startling him. “I went on my knees for you last night.”
Warren looked up. Charlie’s teeth were clenched.