Micah can be an ass, he admits it. But most of the time when he says something stupid it's a backfired attempt at teasing. Micah never pictured himself settling down, there were too many men and women out there to keep him busy hoping from one bed to another. There's only been one man who got under his skin. His brother's best friend. However, a series of misunderstandings and arguments and years of resentment aren’t easy to overcome.
Rylan's mother dumped him on the pack's doorstep when he was a pup after finding out her husband wasn't quite human. It left Rylan with a chip on his shoulder and a need to prove himself. Micah can't help but bite back when Rylan pokes at him, but always assumed that most of the animosity between them was relatively harmless and shrugged it off as just not getting along.
Since being cornered by his little brother and warned to play nice, Micah decides that maybe the past is better left where it is. Only before he can come to terms with his own mistakes and apologize, Rylan is kidnapped and no one knows where to look.
Micah searches until he is ready to collapse from exhaustion. He even challenges his alpha. The pack and coven desperately search for Rylan but when they finally find Rylan after six weeks, it may be too late to save him. Trevor's devious mind and scheming nature isn’t going to be easily outwitted.
“Hey, I had dibs on that one, you can take the Jeep instead.”
Micah tensed for a moment at Rylan’s annoyed voice. He’d missed the shifter’s entrance. But then Rylan had always been a sneaky little thing. Being half shifter and half human had left Rylan always trying to prove himself with one hell of a stick up his ass to match the chip on his shoulder. They’d always rubbed each other the wrong way.
He calmly put the thermos down on the table next to his burrito in case he needed to ward off an attack.
Since Micah had been back and become one of Remy’s betas the status quo had changed. Rylan outranked him now. The little brat took every opportunity he could to remind Micah of that fact.
The first time he’d been faced with that his wolf had stilled in shock. He was used to only having the alpha above him in the hierarchy.
Micah took a breath and let it out slowly. He didn’t want to fight, but Rylan just pressed all his buttons. “How come you get dibs? No one said anything to me about it.”
“Because people like me and they don’t like you?”
He blinked owlishly. Ouch. That was unexpectedly harsh.
Every time he spoke to Rylan, Remy’s reprimanding words came back to haunt him. He’d never been intentionally mean, but perhaps he had taken things too far. Micah had never really considered their relationship now that they were both adults. Somehow that last fact had managed to pass him by and he had no idea how to change it.
“Uhhhh, okay. Does it really matter what cars we take?” He didn’t see why it would. Although, the Land Rover had some cool gadgets like front and rear cameras and a television screen in the center console. It would definitely make his two-day stakeout pass a lot quicker.
“It does when we had a system going and you just barge in and change it,” Rylan answered, acting like a child.
Old habits were hard to break and even as Micah felt the defensive smug expression settle on his face, he couldn’t stop from responding. “When did I barge?”
It happened every time. He acted without thinking, then he was stuck on a road he didn’t want to be on in the first place. He rolled his eyes at himself. Metaphors were hardly going to help the situation.
“Don’t roll your eyes at me, Micah.” Rylan’s voice crept higher and Micah could feel the other shifter’s beast rolling to the surface.
Micah noted the slightly darker skin under Rylan’s eyes. He knew there had been talk in the pack about challenging Rylan for the position as second. That must have been weighing on Rylan’s mind. The wolf may not be the strongest in the pack, but he was a good second.
Micah sighed and tried to think of a way to apologize for being an ass. He wasn’t accustomed to saying sorry. He walked away and spun around, about to start pacing as he tried to find the right words. “I was—”
“Enough, Beta Micah. Do whatever the fuck you want.” Rylan’s eyes were ice cold instead of the usual warm sea green Micah found beautiful.
The shutdown didn’t so much hit a nerve as smack an autodestruct button. All thoughts of making amends evaporated. “What crawled up your ass and died?”
Snarling, Rylan looked him up and down.
In the past he’d been checked out by potential hookups in a club, eyed by wary opponents in a fight and given the mom death stare. However, not a single one came close to how insignificant he felt when Rylan wrinkled his nose as if Micah disgusted him and gave Micah his back. The other wolf only paused long enough to grab a set of keys out of the box before walking out the door.
“What the fuck is his problem?” He didn’t expect an answer...Rylan was long gone by now.
Micah walked back over to the table to pick up his stuff along with the keys to the Land Rover. Even the thought of all the neat gadgets didn’t improve his mood.
Just as he was leaving, his ears pricked at the sound of fabric rustling and his nose recognized the scent of Remy’s vampire mate. Micah hadn’t seen Skylar much since the car incident and he wasn’t in a rush to hang out with the vamp either. He hadn’t meant any harm, but the way Remy and Skylar reacted was as if he had kicked their puppy or something. The way Skylar had changed in a blink of an eye from non-threatening, elegant and model-like to red-eyed, clawed, hissing monster still made him shudder.
Micah was delighted that two of his brothers had found their mates, but the red eyes and fangs did nothing for him. There were no vampire bedmates in his future.
“Whose scarf is that?”
Looking down at the woolen scarf he’d forgotten about, Micah shrugged. It was unnerving how Skylar seemed to see everything despite the obvious impossibility. “How...Never mind. Some girl I picked up at the bar a few nights ago gave it to me. I keep meaning to go back and see if I can find her to return it, but get distracted. Besides, I don’t have another one and it’s cold today.” He didn’t know why he was having to explain this, it was just a scarf.
“You’re an ass,” Skylar said with a shake of his head.
Micah took offence, frowning at his brother’s mate. “What, why?” What had he done now?
“I can smell your hookup all over it and my nose is nowhere near as good as a shifter,” Skylar told him, speaking slowly as if the answer was obvious.