Christian has never had a serious relationship in his life. He doesn’t plan to start with an alpha wolf shifter who thinks he can dictate what Christian is and isn’t going to do. Ward Malone might trigger every warning bell Christian has, but he also triggers every sexual fantasy. Christian wouldn’t mind giving in to Ward if fun was all he wanted. Unfortunately, Ward is an all-or-nothing kind of guy.
Ward Malone sat on a bench near the center of the ferry with his bag beside him. He could see the island grow bigger as the ferry moved in the water. The green mass gained more definition as the boat glided closer to the island and the little white dots, which were probably buildings, took form.
The water had a distinct smell of fish that Ward wasn’t accustomed to, but he found it wasn’t unpleasant. It wasn’t very windy where he sat, even though the boat moved through the water at a brisk clip. Based on the flapping clothes of the soldiers who had settled on the port side, the wind near the sides was substantial. It didn’t seem to bother any of them, though. Maybe they were all used to the ferry ride, or maybe they were too tired and battle worn to care about the elements. Hell, for all Ward knew, the soldiers might have been out in the elements for days. Their bruises told him the battle they were coming back from hadn’t been a short skirmish.
Ward felt like he’d walked onto another planet. The fighters dressed all in black, with guns on their backs and Kevlar covering their chests. Ward wasn’t at home anymore, that was for sure. At home, there weren’t large boats or islands full of soldiers.
No, he had barns full of farm animals and open fields that needed planting.
He picked up his bag and stood, intending to move a few benches forward so he could feel a bit of the breeze.
As he drew closer, he smelled something oddly pleasant. He had to find the source of that smell.
All at once, he realized he could also smell his brother’s scent, although it was faint. It was definitely not a direct source, so Rudy wasn’t on the boat. Whoever it was had spent a lot of time with Rudy, but not within the last few days. Since he knew Rudy had recently mated to a soldier, he figured Rudy’s mate was on the ferry as well.
Ward shook his head and smirked. What were the odds of that?
Ward dropped his bag on one of the benches and came around to the front of the group.
Rudy had been on the island for a few months, and in all that time Ward hadn’t visited, so he’d never met Rudy’s mate. He knew his name was Dylan, though, as he’d talked to him on the phone once, and Rudy had talked about Dylan whenever he called lately.
Ward sniffed around until he came to a well-muscled, dark-haired man with his eyes closed. The other smell that he found so enticing was very close to Dylan. Considering a blond man had his head on the other man’s shoulder, he figured the smell belonged to him.
“You smell like my brother.” Ward drew closer to them, trying to figure out why the blond man smelled so good. A whiff of something delicious smacked him in the face the closer he got, making his cock harden in his jeans.
His wolf came to the surface, and he stopped thinking after that. “Mine!”
Picking the blond man up, he pulled him away from what could only be Rudy’s mate and everyone else who stood close.
Ward held his sleeping mate against him, sniffing his hair. He kissed him on the temple. “Mate.”
His mate’s body stiffened suddenly, and the next thing he knew a knee sent his balls up into his throat. His arms slid away from his mate at the same time a fist connected with his chest. The pain was so intense he doubled over and fell to the ground, cupping his injury. Ward groaned as the ache traveled through his balls to his lower stomach.
“Shit. I think that might be Ward.” He was pretty sure it was Dylan who’d spoken, although it was hard to think past the pain. Ward’s mate stood directly in front of him, looking down at him in concern, biting his bottom lip.
“Well, the lesson for today is never grab a soldier while he’s sleeping. Even a human one.” Dylan grinned.
“You’re my brother’s mate?” Ward sounded like he was chewing on gravel.
“If you’re Ward Malone, I am. Just coming back from a mission. Haven’t seen him in three days, so don’t expect a long chat over coffee for at least a couple of days, although you’re welcome to the spare bedroom. Pierce and Christian can tough it out in the barracks while you’re here.” It took Ward a second for his brain to process all that Dylan had said, but once he did, he made a face that had nothing to do with the ache still throbbing in his balls.
He didn’t want to think about what his little brother did with his mate in the bedroom. For that reason, Ward decided to focus on the most important thing. “Rudy’s safe?”
“I fucking hope so. He was good when I left him.” Dylan cocked his head to the side and eyed Ward with amusement. If their situations were reversed, he’d probably find sore balls funny too, especially since he got them from his mate, and not in the fun I’m gonna tease you so hard it hurts way, either. Since Ward was still working through the pain, he found zero humor in the situation.
“Well, if he’s not, he’s coming home.” Ward knew there had been some trouble and Rudy had been in an altercation at some point. That was why Ward had decided to visit. He had to ensure the Rogue Army treated Rudy well.
Ward knew it wasn’t likely that Rudy would leave the island, at least not without Dylan, but Ward would drag his brother home kicking and screaming if he had to. Rudy would be angry with him for a while, but it was a small price to pay for his little brother’s safety.