Logan McByrne enjoys working at his construction company, drinking beer with his buddies, and sex with no strings attached…usually in that order. When his occasional hook-up, the gargoyle Geoffrey, gets too serious, Logan heads to Oregon for a working vacation at his friend, Zander’s ranch. On a hunting expedition to thin a large pack of coyotes that have been terrorizing his buddy’s goat herds, he runs into the last thing he expects, a group of wolf shifters. Zander panics, there are shots fired, and Logan is blamed for a stray bullet that hits one of the wolves.
James Jimmy Noleander is the beta of the Tamang wolf pack. While he never expected meeting his mate would grant him an immediate happily ever after, he never in his wildest dreams thought his mate would shoot him. Jimmy wants to forgive his mate, but there are laws in place and restitution must be made. On top of that, Jimmy discovers that a jealous gargoyle is on Logan’s tail and Logan has commitment issues. Can Jimmy keep Logan safe, figure out a way to convince Logan of the benefits of mating, while finding suitable reparation that won’t drive his mate away?
Just then, the wind shifted, and an earthy musky scent wafted across Jimmy’s senses. Oh, hot damn! The man called Logan was his mate! No wonder the sound of his voice skittered so pleasantly across his senses.
Glancing over his shoulder, Jimmy spotted Kyle and Greg about twenty feet away. Both pups were lying on the ground, watching warily. He growled softly, warning them away. Both lowered their heads to their paws and whined.
Jimmy turned back and saw the backs of both men as Logan seemed to be leading a still clearly distraught Zander away. Coming out of the trees, Jimmy yipped once. When both men turned, he started his shift. It occurred to him that he should probably just follow them to their vehicle and memorize the license plate number, but with his mate so close, he couldn’t resist trying to talk to him right that instant.
Shifting didn’t take long, and by the time Jimmy finished, stood, and opened his eyes, he saw the men struggling with the rifle. “Wait, please,” Jimmy called, stepping toward them. “I mean you no harm.”
“Listen to him, Zander,” Logan grunted out. It seemed he was trying to keep the weapon away from his friend.
“Please, I just—”
Jimmy never got to finish his sentence. At that second, the sharp report of a rifle echoed through the trees. Pain ripped through Jimmy’s chest and he stumbled backward. Disorientation filled Jimmy and he lost his balance and fell. His head hit the ground and everything became fuzzy.
“Son of a bitch!”
Jimmy heard Logan’s growled words right before he saw the handsome redhead’s face appear in his line of sight. Getting a much closer look at the scar on the human’s face, Jimmy decided he liked how rugged it made his mate look. Then, Jimmy realized if that was what he was thinking about, he probably wasn’t completely lucid.
“I’m so sorry, buddy,” Logan called, his voice sounding as if it came from a long way off. He pressed hard against Jimmy’s right shoulder and pain erupted through him. “Shifters normally run in packs, right? Please tell me you’re not alone out here.”
With some surprise, Jimmy realized Logan knew about his kind. “K-Kyle and Greg,” Jimmy managed to mumble. His vision dimmed and he knew he was going to pass out soon. He just prayed that when that happened, Logan could convince his friend to help him instead of leaving him to die.
Before having to face that risk, Jimmy desperately wanted to taste his human. He reached up and gripped Logan’s nape. “Come here, mate,” he urged.
Logan’s brows shot up and his eyes widened, but he did as Jimmy bid and leaned toward his face. Using the last of his strength, Jimmy leaned up and brushed his lips to Logan’s, then licked the plump lower lip, tasting man and musk.
Grinning, Jimmy lay back down and mumbled, “Nice,” as the darkness descended.
* * * *
Although Logan’s heart pounded in his chest and all he wanted to do was run from the handsome man, he knew he couldn’t. If this guy thought they were mates…
Think about it later.
Logan peered over his shoulder at Zander, who stood in shocked silence, his jaw gaping. No help there. Scanning the tree line, Logan spotted two pairs of eyes almost hidden by the trees.
“Greg? Kyle?” Logan called, hoping one of them had some kind of paramedic training or could at least point him in the direction of a nearby vehicle or home. “Come on guys, your friend needs help.”
Unfortunately, when the pair of wolves, one gray and one black, crept out of from under the bushes, Logan realized the pair were little more than cubs. Still, he’d be grateful for any help.
Then, Zander finally seemed to come out of himself. He howled and lunged toward Logan…or more to the point, the gun under his knee. “Monsters!” He placed his right hand on the ground and with his left hand, he reached for the rifle.
Logan moved his knee so it landed on Zander’s hand. He pressed down hard as he shoved his shoulder into his friend’s chest. He understood the man was traumatized and not thinking clearly, but he couldn’t allow him to make matters worse.
“Sit down, Zander. The cubs won’t hurt us,” Logan stated, praying it was accurate.
To Logan’s surprise, and relief, Zander did as he ordered. He plopped down on his ass, a vacant almost paralyzed look on his face. Logan knew how he felt. When he’d learned of gargoyles, he’d felt the same way. Of course, he hadn’t tried to kill any of them.
When one of the wolf cubs started to howl, Logan pulled his attention away from his friend and his past. He looked toward the pair and saw that it was the gray wolf howling and the black wolf was shifting.
“Is this your father?” Logan asked once the boy had shifted. They’d both been black wolves. It wasn’t so far of a stretch.
The boy shook his head. “No. That’s Beta Noleander. I’m Greg Thatchson.”
“A fucking beta,” Logan grumbled. He cut a quick glance toward Zander, who now had his knees pressed to his chest and his arms around them. He rocked on his ass a bit, mumbling to himself. Logan shook his head and stated, “God, we’re in trouble now.”