Sasha doesn’t want a mate. He barely even wants friends, but he’s given up on trying to keep them out of his life. He’s content as he is, working at the bar in Gillham and going home to his empty apartment. It’s better that way, and safer—for everyone. Because Sasha has a secret, and he’s already responsible for one death, and he doesn’t want anything like that to happen again.
Hunter has always been content with hookups and one-night stands. He’s never really thought about finding his mate—until he does. Sasha is standoffish, and while Hunter wishes he were an easier man to deal with, he’s ready to wait as long as he needs to in order to have him in his life. Still, when he and his team are sent on a mission in the Brazilian rainforest, he hopes that will give Sasha enough time to make a decision about them.
Sasha realizes he’s made a mistake by pushing Hunter away when Hunter doesn’t come back from the mission. Hunter is stuck in a rainforest crawling with members of the Beasts gang, and he needs help. Will Sasha be able to help him, or will he lose Hunter before he even has him?
Sasha slid the beer over the counter and nodded at the woman. She grinned at him and leaned closer, exposing more of her cleavage. “Thank you.”
He smiled at her and turned. She was cute, but so not his type. She didn’t have a dick.
Sasha turned toward the next customer, his smile widening when he saw Grey. “Hey.” Sasha touched his hair, making sure it was still in place, and he got closer. “What can I do for you?”
Grey waved toward a spot behind him. “There’s a group of us tonight.”
“How many beers?”
Grey chucked. “You know us so well.”
“It’s my job.”
“I don’t know. I thought I was more than a job for you.” He pressed his hand to his chest. “You wound me, Sasha.”
Sasha rolled his eyes. “Are you going to order? Because as you can see, the place is packed, and I have other customers.” Sasha wouldn’t have dared to speak like that to customers, but Grey wasn’t only that. Sasha considered him a friend, kind of, and he knew that went for Grey, too. They didn’t hang out much, but that was more because Sasha tended to isolate himself, even from friends.
Grey gave Sasha his order. Sasha wished he could go over to the table Grey shared with his friends and sit with them, but it was Friday night, and he wouldn’t be able to take his break for a while. Still, he couldn’t look away as Grey grabbed the beer bottles and left with a nod. He was there with his mate and a few other people, and Sasha’s gaze went straight to Hunter.
He knew he shouldn’t be staring. He knew he shouldn’t even be thinking about Hunter. There was no way Hunter would ever want to take him back to the bathroom like he did so often with other guys, and Sasha didn’t want that. No, Sasha had given up on love. He didn’t deserve it. But damn if he didn’t miss it.
He shook his head. The only reason he missed having love in his life was because he hadn’t been strong enough, and he wasn’t going to make that mistake again. Besides, even if he wanted to, Hunter had never given him a second glance, and that was okay.
Hunter might be Sasha’s type—or rather, he was anyone’s type, with that long, blond hair and those mischievous eyes—but Sasha had never been into playboys. Hunter had a different guy with him every time he came to the bar, and when he didn’t have one, he found one on the premises. Sasha had always hated being a notch on a belt, even when he’d been a college kid.
That hadn’t changed.
“How are things going?” Nate asked, slipping behind the bar.
Sasha pressed his lips together. He wasn’t going to smile. “You’re late.”
“That’s one of the perks of being the boss.”
“I should ask for a raise. You’ve abandoned me to the crowd without a second thought.”
Nate laughed and punched Sasha’s shoulder. “Shut up. You’re more than able to wrangle them.”
“Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t rather have help.”
Nate patted Sasha’s shoulder. “You have it now, so stop complaining and get back to work.”
Sasha did. It was easy to lose himself in the steady rhythm of taking orders, handing out drinks, and taking money. This was his job. He did it almost every night, and he didn’t have to focus on it anymore.
“Hey, pretty,” a man drawled.
Sasha suppressed a sigh. “What can I get you?”
“How about your phone number?”
Sasha almost rolled his eyes, but he didn’t want Nate to lose a customer because he couldn’t keep his reactions to himself. “I meant to drink.”
“Whatever you’ll have.”
“I’m working. I can’t drink.”
“I’m sure you can take a break and sit with me.”
Sasha turned to tell Nate to take the guys’ order, but the man reached out, catching Sasha’s long hair and pulling on it none too gently. “Come on, pretty boy. Show me what you’re hiding under that hair, yeah?”
Sasha jerked back, and thankfully, the man let go of his hair. He’d seen, though. Sasha could tell by the horror on his face. He was ready to bet the asshole wasn’t so eager to have a drink with him now.
“What the fuck is going on here?” Nate’s voice boomed.
The man raised his hands. “Nothing. I was just ordering a drink.”
From the look Nate gave him, he could tell there was more than that happening, but Sasha wasn’t going to say anything. “I’m okay.”
“Why don’t you take your break now?”
Sasha risked a glance at the guy who’d touched him, and sure enough, he was looking everywhere but at him. He’d changed his mind as soon as he’d seen the scar.
Sasha didn’t blame him. He knew it was ugly. He was mostly used to it by now, but sometimes, especially first thing in the morning, it still made him jolt when he saw himself in the mirror. “I can work.”