When Brandon finally gets his chance to train to become an alpha, he’s ecstatic. His joy doesn’t last long, however, when he soon finds himself one of the two most unpopular of the new trainees, along with a former house-human named Cody. Even their trainers, Rhys and Tucker think they don’t have what it takes and despite a growing attraction to the men, both trainers seem determined to wash them out. Even worse Brandon is more and more convinced that Rhys is his true mate. After a violent encounter with other recruits, both Brandon and Cody find themselves back home, wondering how it all went so wrong. Then Quinn, the Supreme Alpha, comes up with a bold new idea for a Black Ops team, and to Brandon and Cody’s surprise, they’re chosen as members, along with their former trainers Rhys and Tucker.
Brandon and Cody are determined to make good on this second chance, but their alpha partners doubt their abilities to perform their duties. The fact that Rhys is attracted to Brandon almost against his will only complicates things. When the new team is called up, it means Brandon has to work undercover for Mikkail, the hated homophobic bigot who tortured Brandon’s wolf the last time he got his hands on him. It soon becomes clear that the men will have to draw together to become a team or risk losing everything, including their lives.
The shower room was full of steamy clouds and Rhys heard footsteps running out the back exit as the door crashed into the wall. He rushed inside and checked each shower stall until he found what he was looking for. In the last stall, a big Alpha wolf named Darren Walker had someone forced into a corner, his huge, naked body covering them as he humped and thrust against them. He was so lost in a lust haze that he hadn’t even heard the door crash open or smelled Rhys as he stormed inside. Rhys felt his incisors drop from his gums and his claws extend. He knew without any doubt in his mind who Darren Walker had backed into that corner.
Rhys roared as one of his massive hands, tipped now with lethal claws ripped Darren backward and Rhys ignored the trainee’s startled shout as he picked him up bodily and threw him from the stall, not bothering to turn and see how or where he crashed. Brandon was sagging down to his knees from where Walker had pushed him up against the shower wall. He fell to his knees beside him, not realizing or caring that the water from the shower was still streaming down and soaking him. His wolf had only one question for Brandon.
“Did he hurt you?” he asked, his voice low and bestial.
“N-No,” Brandon said, shaking his head. “You got here in time. It all happened so fast—one minute I was washing my hair and the soap was in my eyes and the next thing I knew he came into the stall and threw me against the wall. He was going to… what was he going to do?”
“Hell Brandon, he wasn’t about to ask you to the prom! Are you all right? Did he hurt you anywhere?”
“No, no, I don’t think so. I tried to fight him and he-he bit my ear.”
“He bit you?” If Rhys had thought his wolf was incensed before, he had no idea of how truly pissed this would make him. His wolf reared up, shoved Rhys’s human to one side and wrapped his arms and one leg around Brandon’s naked body, pulling him up close to his raging erection. He managed to hold back his shift, but it was a near thing. He impatiently rubbed himself against Brandon as Rhys bent to slather saliva over Brandon’s ear. All that rampaged through Rhys’s lupine mind, which was fully in charge now, was erasing all traces of another Alpha and marking this man as his.
Brandon gasped at the first touch of his saliva and arched up to the hands kneading his cheeks. Rhys meant to claim him, to make sure everyone knew whose mate this was so they would never touch him again. Thankfully, Brandon gave in to him right away and didn’t try to fight him. Rhys didn’t have to show any aggression to make him submit. An Alpha’s true mate was completely submissive and controlled, and with every touch of Rhys’s saliva, every lick he gave his mate, that became even more obvious, more intense. Only an Alpha’s mate reacted to the chemicals that he produced. It was the one sure, unmistakable sign of true mates, and Brandon was responding beautifully.
Brandon returned the kiss passionately, moaning his pleasure, his hands going up to wrap sweetly around Rhys’s neck. Rhys kissed him long and hard, taking his time with it. The world fell away and it was only him and this man in all of it, taking their pleasure from each other. He bit gently at Brandon’s lower lip and then trailed licks and kisses down his neck. His wolf opened its mouth to bite down, to make this man his by putting his mark on him so that no one would ever touch him again, but at the last possible second, Rhys’s human regained control and pushed the wolf savagely aside.
Brandon went upstairs to change his clothes. It was as good an excuse as any to get away from Rhys and maybe he’d be gone when he came back down. It wasn’t like he was there to see him, after all.
He took his sweet time about changing, and while he was at it, he heard the door downstairs opening and closing a few times. Praying that one of those times had heralded Rhys’s leave taking, he opened the door and stepped out—right into a wall of muscle and hard body.
“Rhys!” he squeaked and stumbled back into his room. It didn’t help him any because the big wolf shifter simply followed him in, his face a grim mask. Once inside, he closed the door, then reached around behind him and locked it.
Heart pounding—what was it about Rhys Malone that made him feel so off-center and intimidated—he took another step back and then another until the backs of his legs hit the bed behind him.
He cleared his throat. “Uh, Rhys. I was just coming down to talk to you.”
“Right, Princess. That’s why you ran up here to your room to avoid me.”
Brandon flushed at the sound of the hated name. It signaled to him just how upset Rhys was with him. “No, I-I’m sorry about smiling at you like that at the table. It must have seemed like…I wasn’t doing it on purpose, I swear! I tend to smile like that when I get nervous.”
“Why were you nervous?”
“Well…you were looking at me like…”
Brandon dropped his gaze to the floor. “Look, Rhys, I know you must think I somehow talked Quinn into re-instating me this way, but…”
Shocked, Brandon looked up and right into Rhys’s face, now only inches from his, and not looking a bit happier than before. Those brown eyes seared a look right into his soul. Out of nowhere, desire hit Brandon like a bolt from the blue, unexpected, unwanted, but absolutely undeniable. He was suddenly intensely aware of this man, and the fact that they were alone together in his room. Nobody to hear him scream, he thought inanely, and God help him, he smiled again. Rhys’s eyebrows shot up almost to his hairline, and a low growl came from his throat.
“I’m sorry!” Brandon, said, holding his hands out in front of him and aware he was almost babbling. “No,” he said, his voice shaky with alarm. “I didn’t. And I didn’t mean to smile, and I swear, I never said a word! To Quinn? I wouldn’t dare try to tell him anything. Not that he’d listen anyway.”
“Your brother then? Or Quinn’s mate. I believe he’s your uncle?”
“If either of them said anything, I never knew about it. You have to believe me.”
Brandon’s knees started to shake, both from alarm at how fiercely Rhys was glaring at him and from the sudden realization that he wanted this man to kiss him rather badly. In all his life, he couldn’t ever remember being attracted to another man, and yet this one had driven him crazy from the first time he saw him. Everything about him was alluring—his face, his body, even the way he smelled. Hell, especially the way he smelled. It was enticing, strong, uniquely male—it reached out to Brandon and grabbed him by the balls. He had believed all along that this feeling was intimidation and fear, but that wasn’t it at all, and he’d just finally realized what it truly was. He was attracted to Rhys—attracted so powerfully that it could only mean one thing. This was his mate standing in front of him. His mate! And the man hated him.
He sat down on the bed to steady himself and was horrified when Rhys climbed up right on top of him, making him fall to his back on the bed.
“R-Rhys! What are you doing?” he managed to get out as Rhys picked him up and shoved him farther up on the bed and then straddled him, forcing him to lie flat out. His damn cock, already half-hard, now surged to life, and Brandon knew Rhys felt it. Rhys smiled down at him.
“Straight boy, huh? Then what’s this about?” he asked, palming his erection. “I knew that was a damn lie.” He reached for the snap on Brandon’s jeans and slapped at his hands when he moved to stop him. “No, you don’t. You’ve been asking for this for weeks and now you’re going to get it. We need to get this whatever-the-hell-it-is out of our systems before we get on a team together and then we’ll never mention it again. Not ever, you got that?”
Brandon nodded, the lump in his throat not allowing for speech. Rhys narrowed his eyes at him. “Are you confirming that you want this then?”
Brandon nodded again, and Rhys gave him a feral smile and stood up. “Get those off,” he said, motioning at his jeans as he slipped his own down his hips. Brandon shimmied out of them and pulled his shirt off for good measure. He kicked off his shoes and pulled up his feet to yank off his socks, his cock ricocheting off his stomach as he bounced around on the bed. When he finished, he scooted farther back and looked up at Rhys, standing there so tall and masculine and sexy as hell, watching his every move like a predator.