[Siren Classic ManLove: Alternative Adventure Contemporary Paranormal Romance, MM, shape-shifter, HEA]
Owen and Ham are smitten. They meet in Haven Valley, Sage's new sanctuary, which they are helping to set up to protect the families of Sage, which has become a target for all things anti-shifter. A refugee from a brutal anti-shifter group in the UK, Owen spent years running wild to escape his persecutors, and needs to be free again. Ham, a former Navy pilot, is Haven Valley's link to the outside, bringing supplies. The pair dance around their attraction, but when a deadly intruder enters the valley, they have their hands full fending off a pack of rogue wolf shifters, intent of claiming the valley as their own. When Ham is injured, Owen is terrified he'll lose the man and figures he needs to claim the man—quickly. Their new enemy is not someone to underestimate, and threatens to destroy the pioneers' plans before they've started. What starts out as a tempest in a teacup suddenly becomes a much bigger deal.
“You miss him, don’t you?” Dorothy asked, loading bacon into a skillet and putting water on to boil in a giant kettle. They were still rigging the electrics, and so far, only had the fridge connected to the solar generator. Electric gadgets would have to wait a while. He belatedly heard Dorothy’s question and blushed despite himself.
“He’s been gone a while,” he replied, neither needing to say the name. Ham, an ex-Royal Air Force pilot, made Owen’s heart leap for joy, his cock jump to attention within two hundred yards of the guy, and was the star of many wet dreams since they’d met. And they’d barely exchanged more than a dozen words. He was dying for a kiss.
“He’s coming back today,” Dorothy said, winking. “I ordered more supplies for the hungry horde, so he’s added an extra trip.”
Owen’s heart skipped a beat. He’d get to see Ham again. After weeks of skipping around one another, he hoped he wouldn’t be too shy this time to speak. Ham had him so tongue-tied, he couldn’t form a coherent sentence. Embarrassing.
“Watch out, trouble’s on the horizon,” Dorothy said, grinning when John Hastings walked toward them, his son Murray in tow.
“Hey! That’s unkind,” Owen replied, chuckling as he loaded three large cafetiéres with filters, then dumped in the coffee. “Murray’s really not that bad.”
They shared a grin. John was the biggest troublemaker. The big snow leopard shifter was in his own league when it came to mischief.
“Morning,” John greeted, smiling as he ruffled his son’s hair. “Murray decided to help with breakfast duty.”
“What did you do this time?” Owen asked dryly, arching a brow. “You never volunteer to get up this early.”
“All I did was go for a walk,” Murray protested, yawning wide enough for them to see his tonsils.
“That’s always the prelude to disaster.” Dorothy grinned. “One day you’ll learn to let people know before you go walking, then we don’t send out search parties.”
Murray shrugged bashfully. “I smelled something,” he said. “I wanted to test my tracking skills.”
John rolled his eyes. “I’ll leave him with you, if that’s okay. I’m exhausted from trying to find my errant children all the time.”
Dorothy laughed softly. “At least we’re safe here,” she told him. “Go back to bed, John. Get in some cuddle time while you can. Murray can help with the scrambled eggs. We’re making pancakes as well, with fresh blueberries.”
Murray perked up. “Blueberries?”
“Yep! Here, try one,” Owen suggested, holding out a huge bowl filled with the fruit.
Murray smiled sleepily, knuckling his eyes before taking a handful. “Awesome.”
“What did you smell?” Owen asked curiously.
Murray shrugged again. “I don’t know what it was, but it came close to our camp,” he said. “I couldn’t tell if it was shifter or a regular animal. It sort of smelled like a wolf…but different. Like when I don’t want a bath, and spray deodorant over myself to try and fool daddy Cameron.”
John exchanged a wary look with Owen. “This valley still has its wild residents,” he cautioned. “I haven’t scented any strangers here, not recent visitors, anyway. The valley used to be called something else. It has a history, so isn’t completely unknown to people. Or shifters, apparently.”
“What was it called?” Owen looked around again.
“Roughly translated, Tempest Basin. A great battle was waged here apparently, centuries ago. Our Native American friends gifted it to us because they said it protected their ancestors who sought sanctuary. Shifters protected them against both British and French forces who wanted to destroy them. Many died here. It has strong medicine.”
“Tempest Basin? Sounds ominous.”
John looked at Owen, his green eyes serious. “And don’t forget, we still have our own storm back in Sage, which could well spread north if Flashpoint ever find us.”
Owen pondered the likelihood of the anti-shifter group finding them. It made him feel sick. He’d had enough of the likes of Flashpoint. One of their allies, called Fortress, operated in the United Kingdom. Fortress were as brutal as anyone, anti-shifter, but not averse to exploiting their foe to make a profit. A fox shifter, Owen had been hunted by Fortress’s minions many times.
Murray was busy assisting Dorothy, oblivious to their quiet discussion. “I understand,” Owen replied. “It pays to be cautious. I’ll keep an eye on Murray.”
John strode back to his tent, leaving Owen to contemplate the valley with new eyes. He wasn’t stupid. The enemies who’d led them to flee to this beautiful place wouldn’t stop so quickly. Sage had been attacked one time too many, so to protect their children, they’d relocated.
Owen’s gaze rested on Murray, and he recalled the youngster had been shot only a few weeks ago. He’d lost a kidney as a result and nearly died because of the storm raging outside their sanctuary, Sage at its epicenter.
Tempest Basin. Owen really hoped it didn’t live up to its name. They sure as hell didn’t need any more aggravation. He much preferred its new moniker—Haven Valley. But sometimes sanctuary came at a price. Streak, a young raccoon shifter who’d been here when they arrived, had mentioned campers who came here, ignoring the signs advising to keep out. It didn’t take too much imagination to figure that there could be others who liked the isolated, away-from-prying-eyes space in the Canadian wilderness.
He lifted his head, staring at the mountains again, then higher to the sun just peering over the eastern summits. “Let’s hope we stay hidden just a little longer,” he whispered.
Owen knelt beside the couch, smiling as he heard his mate’s gentle snores. He and Ham had checked on Armand, who had survived another night, although he was still in an induced coma. Streak was in the bed next to him, hooked to an IV as a precaution, and guarded by Gunny to stop him going after Rufus again.
Satisfied they could do no more, Owen and Ham headed home, and had ended up snoozing together on the couch, after smooching for a while. Ham slumbered on, a smile on his face. Owen was tempted to taste those sexy lips again.
Giving in, Owen leaned closer, swiping his tongue along the delectable crease, humming with pleasure when his lover tugged him closer. He tumbled on top, sprawling along Ham’s body, and lost himself in the blissful reunion of Ham’s mouth.
“Morning,” Owen whispered once they pulled back an inch, chuckling to see the dazed look in Ham’s eyes.
“Hey, gorgeous. What’s up?”
Laughing, Owen ground against Ham’s midriff. “Guess.”
Ham dragged him back down, and they necked some more, one kiss rolling into the next. Owen couldn’t get enough of Ham’s mouth, exploring every inch, his body trembling with need.
“I need you,” he mumbled, nibbling at Ham’s lower lip.
Ham cupped his face gently. “Now?”
“I’m ready for love.”
They chuckled and began undressing, exchanging kiss after kiss. The temperature amped up, their breathing ragged. Grinding together, stroking and exploring, they came together in a slow building passion.
“I’m going to prepare you now,” Ham murmured, sliding his finger along Owen’s moist crease as Owen sprawled wantonly along Ham’s body. “Let me know if it gets too much.”
Owen shuddered, eyes closed. “Lube’s under the cushion.”
Ham laughed softly. A moment later the snick of a cap sounded, followed by a cool trail along Owen’s crack. He shivered, sniggering. “Cold but somehow satisfying.”
They smooched some more, Ham distracting his lover from his gentle probing, then the slide of a finger to the knuckle. Moaning, writhing, Owen was unafraid, needing this as much as he needed to breathe. Ham was masterful. His finger was joined by a second, the pinch and burn minimal as he stretched Owen. This was everything Owen had dreamed of. Making love. No pain. No quick fuck down a back alley. His mate was…perfection.
“Easy, love. We have all the time in the world. This is your first time being claimed. It should be special. I’ll make you feel so good.”
Owen responded like a flower budding beneath a gentle spring shower, soaking up the words, and the tenderness oozing from every syllable. He felt himself lifted up, then perched on a thick, moist rod before easing back down again, Ham controlling the plunge.
“So good,” Owen cried, rocking gently, back arched as he sank lower, impaling himself on Ham’s thick prick. “Oh god. That stings a bit.”
Ham grinned up at him, stroking his back soothingly. “It’ll ease in a little while. Don’t fight it, just try to relax.”
“I am trying. Just didn’t realize how big you were.”
“Thanks.” Ham waggled his brows teasingly.
Laughing, Owen leaned down, and took Ham’s smiling mouth greedily. “Make love to me. Claim me. Make me yours.”
“I will love you, baby. Hang on for the ride.” Ham smirked, then fused his lips to Owen’s again, controlling Owen’s body as he moved him back and forth, then rolled Owen beneath him. “Much better.” He lifted Owen’s leg, wrapping it around his waist, then drove deeper still, groaning with pleasure.
Crying out again, Owen clutched at Ham’s shoulders, jerking with each thrust, loving the feel of his lover driving deep. He clung like a limpet, letting Ham take him closer and closer to heavenly bliss.
“Now,” Ham grunted, baring fangs and biting deep as he came. Owen moaned as he felt the hot jet of semen inside him, the jerk of Ham’s cock, and the sting of the claiming mark. He lost it, painting Ham’s abs with seed, sealing them together with the thick cream. He managed to strike, too, his needle-sharp teeth sinking into Ham’s shoulder, cementing the bond.
“You’re mine,” Ham said, lapping at the wound he’d created. “And I’m yours. Perfect.”
Owen giggled softly. “Everyone’s been taking bets how long it would be before we got mated.”
“You were mine from our first meeting,” Ham replied, peppering kisses across his cheek and jaw. “You got sick, remember? After the long flight. And I helped you off the helicopter. One look and I was smitten.”
Owen fended off Ham’s teasing caresses, laughing helplessly. “I was the same. I just didn’t admit it for a while. I was too scared,” he confessed. “And don’t remind me about being airsick. It was embarrassing. I’m sorry it took me so long to realize my feelings. I was foolish.”
“I understood. And I loved you all the more. You needed to be sure. That makes this moment even more special. That you trust me enough to let me claim you. And you must love me enough to have claimed me.”
Owen teared up, nodding. “You aren’t like anyone else. I do trust you. And I want the rest of our lives to be together. It wouldn’t be right if we weren’t on the same page, right from the start.”
Smiling, they snuggled down, dragging a coverlet over themselves, enjoying the aftermath of spent passion.