Gideon Ruck has been bow hunting the woods around Stone Ridge with his father for nearly two decades. In that time he’s seen an odd thing or three, but he’s always kept his mouth shut. After all, he believes what animals do in the wild is their own business. Plus, who would he tell? When his father comes down with the flu, he starts the hunting season alone. His first morning out, he sinks two arrows into the biggest buck he’s ever seen, but it still takes off. When Gideon finally catches up with the injured animal, he finds not a deer stuck with his arrows, but a man…a naked man. Even with panic spiking through him, Gideon takes one look at the stranger’s fine backside and knows he can’t walk away. Fearing the repercussions for shooting something other than a deer, he takes him home. The man says he’s Alejandro Lopez and makes his attraction clear, along with his desire to find one of those odd things Gideon has seen. Is Gideon ready or even willing to turn his life upside down for a complete stranger…even one he accidentally shot?
“Gideon. Gideon Ruck,” the human told him. Grimacing, he muttered, “I’m real sorry I shot you. I didn’t know you were, uh…one of them. Ya know?”
“You know about shifters?” Alejandro murmured, peering over at him. “You have met others?” Normally, a shifter didn’t reveal himself to a human without damn good reason…like getting shot. “Brother or sister mated to one? Childhood friend?”
“Uh, no,” Gideon replied, shaking his head. “I’m going to check this, okay? You tore yourself up pretty good ripping the arrow out of your body.” His face turned a pleasant shade of pink as he spoke, even though an acridness of guilt tinged his musky scent. “God, I’m so sorry.”
Alejandro didn’t know the English words needed to soothe the human. He wouldn’t really know what to say anyway. What did a man say to a person who drove long cylinders of wood into his body?
Then, it hit him.
Reaching out, Alejandro gripped Gideon’s wrist. He squeezed gently as he offered the man a smile. “I am Alejandro Lopez,” he whispered. “Thank you for taking me in even though I am different than you.” A thought struck him, and he gasped. “You didn’t tell anyone, did you?”
“No! No, of course not,” Gideon assured. “I might be the hick asshole who shot you, but that was only because I thought you were a real buck. I didn’t know your kind could turn into deer. I thought you were all wolves and other predators. Ya know?”
Hope filled Alejandro. “You know them? The wolf shifters?” Could Fate have handed him his mate and the knowledge of who the pack leader was that he needed to speak with all at the same time?
“Uh, no,” Gideon responded. He placed his free hand on top of the one Alejandro had wrapped around his wrist. Patting lightly, he told him, “I’ve just, uh, seen things. Lived here all my life, ya see, so…yeah. I just know there are things out there. Creatures like you.” He shrugged, his gaze sliding to the sheet. “Stories gotta come from somewhere, right?”
“There are a lot of stories?” Usually, packs were careful. That’s what he’d heard anyway. “People in town suspect?”
“No, uh, not that I know of. At least, none that I’ve heard and no one has said anything to me,” Gideon claimed. “Uh, if you let go, I’ll check your bandages now.”
“What you mean, then?” Alejandro demanded, even as he released his mate’s hand. He didn’t want to scare the human. “What stories?”
“I just mean in general,” Gideon told him, rising to his feet. “Stories about werewolves and vampires and demons.” He shrugged, his smile a little wry as he added, “Creatures that go bump in the night.”
Alejandro scoffed. “Most of us don’t go bump in the night.” As he watched Gideon lean over him and felt him begin tugging on what must have been a bandage on his left side, he clenched his fingers in the sheet. He hissed at the feel of some kind of tape tugging at the fine hairs on his skin. In Spanish, he muttered, “Gods, I can’t believe I missed the beginning of hunting season. Damn mating pheromones. What the fuck was Fate thinking?”
As if he didn’t have enough on his plate.
“I’m sorry. What was all that?” Gideon asked softly, his hands falling still. “Am I hurting you? Stupid question. Sorry about the tape, but I didn’t want the bandage to slip.”
Alejandro had felt plenty worse pain. Even if it had been agonizing, he wouldn’t have admitted it. The mixture of pain and arousal made it damn difficult to focus. He was completely certain that was why he blurted out his next words.
“You’re my mate, and your hands feel good. You smell amazing, and the only pain I feel is in my dick.” He groaned, but he couldn’t stop himself from continuing. “Gods, I want to feel you pressed against me. Your skin against mine. Your cock on my cock. Shit!”