A new series from bestselling authors April Andrews and Saba Sparks. Meet the Shifters in Uniform
In the mountain town of White Peak, Sheriff Jake Marsden stands ready to take on the position of Alpha to his pack. As part of the biggest pack for hundreds of miles, Jake knows how important this job will be, and he also knows that to do it right he needs to find the one male who can not only help him, but stand by his side through thick and thin.
There’s just one catch. Jake has yet to find a male who stirs not only his lust but also his heart, and time is running out. So when traveler Lucas Wain literally bursts into town Jake is instantly intrigued. Has fate sent this male to him in his time of need?
Before Jake can find out, a shocking and gruesome murder sends all of White Peak into a spin and Jake must find the culprit before they strike again. But with an investigation on his hands, the full moon approaching and his position of alpha imminent, will Jake have time to find out if Lucas is the one? Or will he lose the very thing he has been waiting for?
Lucas had always been good with scents. When he was younger he’d played a game with his mom where she would line up a whole bunch of things on a metal tray and ask him to identify them by smell only. She’d pass across clothes, books, metal objects, whatever was handy. Lucas had never gotten one wrong. That was one of the many things from his earlier years that had suggested he was different from the other children around him.
So now, when the door opened, and a new male stepped into the room, Lucas immediately identified him as wolf. He didn’t smell exactly the same as the man he now knew to be Hunter, but there was a familiarity there, a suggestion that both men were related in some way. Members of the same pack perhaps?
There was something else too.
The scent surrounding this male made Lucas’ mouth water in a way that it never had before. He frowned slightly, confused why this should be the case, confused too by the appearance of the man now stood in front of him. He was as tall as Lucas, maybe even an inch taller. Broad across the shoulders and chest, with a muscular body that suggested a life filled with physical activities. His hair was a deep, dark brown, and his eyes equally so, not to mention the beard that covered the lower half of his face.
He looked exactly like Lucas would expect a sheriff of a mountain town to look.
Lucas had never been attracted to males who looked like that. He preferred his men slimmer, more effeminate. This man was nothing like that. He was male through and through.
He was overtly dominate.
Overtly in charge...
And yet Lucas found himself drawn to it. Actually felt his body swaying slightly towards him. He wanted to reach out and try to surround himself with the power and heat coming off the other male. He wanted to touch him, to breathe him in, to know him.
He clenched his fists as these thoughts ran through his mind. His heart was beating a steady tattoo in his chest and his cock—the traitorous bastard—was thickening.
What the fuck was happening here?
What was this male, this wolf, doing to him?
Lucas didn’t get time to find out. The sheriff walked across the room, pulled out the chair opposite him and sat down. Once there he crossed his arms and shot Lucas a look. Lucas, as casually as possible, took the other seat—if he was honest with himself—more because it seemed the easiest way to cover the fact that his cock was throbbing in his pants. It also meant that the table was between them. A physical distance that Lucas needed right now. Would need until he worked out what the hell was happening to him.
“So you’re our stranded hiker?”
The voice...Lucas couldn’t help the slight gasp that fell from his lips. It was familiar and yet not at all. It was like he had heard it before and yet Lucas knew he had never met this male.
“That’s me,” he said, and he wanted his voice to be casual, carefree, but it didn’t come out that way at all. Instead it came out in a breathless sort of hiss that made Lucas grit his teeth.
“Where are you heading?” the sheriff asked.
Lucas swallowed dryly. “Nowhere in particular.”
“A traveler then instead of a hiker?”
“I can’t be both?” he asked.
The sheriff narrowed his eyes. The skin around them crinkled slightly in a way that Lucas found completely beguiling. He gritted his teeth again.
“I’m sure you are many things, Mr...?”
“Lucas. Lucas Wain.”
“I’m the sheriff of these parts.”
“I know,” Lucas said. “Sheriff...”
“Does the sheriff not have a first name?”
His eyes narrowed further. Lucas was unbelievably tempted to reach across the table and run his fingers along the side of the other man’s face. They practically itched with a desire to do so.
What would happen if he walked around the table and took the sheriff in his arms, Lucas wondered? Would he be responsive? Would he give back? Or would Lucas find himself hauled to the nearest cell? Never had he wanted to find an answer to a question as much as this one. It filled him from head to toe, and as it did a thought occurred to Lucas that made his heart clench.
Was Jake the pack alpha?
Was that why his feelings were so abrupt and so strong? Was he responding to a primitive pack call?
“Hunter found you in our forest,” Jake was saying now.
Lucas shifted slightly in his chair. His cock was painfully hard. Pack call or not, was this normal? To desire your alpha more than you ever desired anyone? Never before had Lucas wished so much that he’d been born into a pack. That he would know these things already. Know them instinctively.
“He walked me here along the road in,” he said after a painful, tension-filled moment. “Not in the forest, you understand, apparently not only is it dangerous but it is private land.”
The sheriff nodded. “All of the mountain, from Green Lake to White Peak, is private land.”
“I didn’t realize that the Appalachians could be bought,” Lucas said.
“In this world anything can be if you value your privacy.”
“Who owns it all?” he asked.
Jake shrugged one brawny shoulder. “It’s a matter of public record.”
“But those records are stored somewhere else I imagine.”
“Why the interest in this?”
Lucas shifted on his chair again. During his travels he had imagined this moment. To finally meet an alpha, a pack leader, someone who he was willing and ready to pledge his love and loyalty to. And all of it in an attempt to find some sort of belonging. To quiet the place in his soul that screamed that he was not meant to be alone. That there were supposed to be others. That the way he lived was wrong. He had imagined it over and over, and he’d planned what he might say, how he might introduce himself. Only, Lucas had never thought it would be like this. That he would be sat opposite his alpha practically aching with a desire to sink to his knees and suckle the other man’s cock into his mouth. That the only thing he could think of was pleasing this male in a way that he had never pleased another.
None of it made any sense.
None of it fitted what he had expected.
And Lucas didn’t know how to handle it. Didn’t know how to proceed from here.
He swallowed against the lump in his throat as he tried to work it all through in his mind. “I’m interested in a lot of things.”
“Hence your travels?” Jake asked.
Jake leaned forward, his elbows now on the table, his scent hitting Lucas with the force of a battering ram. It was so overwhelming that Lucas had to lean back. It was either than or lean in and do something that he might come to regret.
“Tell me, what has brought you here in particular?” Jake said softly.
Lucas exhaled shakily and answered as honestly as he could. “The mountains have a certain call for me, and I am searching for that call.”
“I know of no other way to describe it.”
Jake nodded slowly and then, through hooded lids, he looked up at Lucas, and said the words that changed everything. “We can dance around this subject for hours. Hours I don’t have. Hours that I’m sure you don’t have. So let us lay it all out on the table. You are wolf.”