The Return: Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen

The house was quiet with Matt staying overnight at the hospital. Jonas had called four of his wolves to stand guard, simply as a precaution, he said. Matt was grateful. Kinsey was…less than thrilled. He might have made a few threats and said unflattering things to Jonas, who stood there with a big grin on his face until Kinsey ran out of steam and hung up.

While he was talking to Kinsey, I made some phone calls of my own. I wanted to check on DD and Sawyer, the fire chief who Jonas had helped escape the flames. DD said she was getting better, but by her voice I could tell she was still in pain. I called the florist and had him send a chicken soup bouquet, with flowers, a big mug, and several containers of soup. She called me back and thanked me, saying it wasn’t necessary, because I was Alpha Mate, and—I told her to shut up.

I owed her so much. She tried to save a building. Yes, I was wrecked when I first heard, but then DD, Sawyer, and Jonas got hurt, and it made me wonder how important was the shop in the grand scheme of things? The answer was not very. Jonas had been right. The shop could be rebuilt, but death was forever.

The Return: Chapter Seventeen

The Return: Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Seventeen

We sat in the waiting room for two hours. Matt never once let go of my hand, even though both were damp. Each time a door opened, Matt’s head snapped in that direction to see who it was. It was never the doctor.

“Do you know how I met Kinsey?” he asked softly.

“No, why don’t you tell us?” Jonas said.

“He was assigned to guard a new Alpha, who was installed after the old one died. It was natural causes. Aubrey Tate was like a million years old, and he’d fathered a lot of kids. They were all bickering about who should be the new Alpha. I was the driver at the time, and I knew I didn’t want to work for any of them, because they were pretentious and rude. Anyway, we had to go to see the lawyer for the will to be read, and as they’re all shrieking that someone got more than they did, the door slammed and everyone’s heads jerked toward the noise. Kinsey strode in and they were like harpies descending on him, demanding to know why he was there, who did he think he was, and stuff like that. He sneered at them, and said, “My name is Kinsey Huxley, and I’m the bodyguard of the new Alpha.”


“Oh, I’m sure that went over great,” I said.

Matt gave a shy grin. “Better than you think. They all started clamoring that he was obviously their bodyguard, while the lawyer kept asking them for quiet so he could read the will. When they started trying to order Kinsey around, he shook his head and said, “What in the hell makes you think any of you shitbags are Alpha? Mr. Tate made it very clear that the Council, not lineage, would choose his successor, and he was adamant it not be any of you.

Matt snickered. “If you thought they were loud before, you should have heard them after that. They were screaming and raving about how their grandfather would never do that to them. Then Kinsey turned, opened the door, and ushered in a young woman. She strode in like she owned the place, and Kinsey stood there with a huge smile on his face. He gestured to the newcomer and said, “Let me introduce you to Kayla Martino. Your new Alpha.”

Jonas snickered. “I’m waiting to hear how bad it got.”

“Ugly bad,” Matt replied. “A fistfight broke out in the office, and the lawyer yelled at Kinsey to stop it. Kinsey shook his head and pointed at Ms. Martino. “I’m her bodyguard, and as long as they stay away from her, they can kill each other as far as I’m concerned.” Then he looked up and saw me, who’d backed into a corner, trying to keep from being pulled into the fray. His whispered something to the new Alpha, his eyes narrowed and nostrils flared. She nodded and Kinsey waded through everyone to get to me, shoving them aside if necessary, knocking two of them off their feet, then hefted me into his arms, and carried me back across the room to where the she stood and put me down beside her. He bent and whispered to me to stay near him, and he’d protect me too. I was in love.”

“So why didn’t you both quit and run away together?” I asked.

Matt’s eyes widened. “We had contracts. His was the standard one. Mine…. Well, I wasn’t exactly indentured, but I was beholden to the Council. My parents went into debt, and they worked it out that I would be in service to the Council for fifteen years.”

My gaze snapped to Jonas. “You fucking have slaves?”

“No!” Matt whispered harshly. “I agreed to it because my family was in deep debt, and they had no way out. In fact, it was me who suggested it. You have to understand. I love my parents more than you can know. They never had much, but they gave me everything. If I could make their lives better by doing this, then it was worth it to me. My mom tried to talk me out of it, and my dad said he’d go in my place. But they also had my brothers and sisters, so one less mouth to feed would help.”

Jonas reached for Matt’s hand. “You do for everyone, don’t you?”

Matt’s cheeks flushed. “I like to make people smile. It’s probably one of my greatest joys in life.”

“Then why are you a chauffeur? Why not do something where you can make everyone happy? Like, say, working as a barista in a coffeeshop?”

“Oh, I couldn’t,” Matt said. “I’m all thumbs and have two left feet. Kinsey always….he…”

And the tears started again. Matt scrubbed a hand over his eyes and gave a pitiful look.

“I’m sorry, it’s just….”

“No, I’m sorry, Matt,” Jonas said. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

He shook his head. “It’s okay. I just….until I met Corey, Kinsey was the only person who ever really saw me, you know? Whenever we’d end up at the same job, he protected me as much as he was able. I always thought he had a white knight complex going, you know, take care of the helpless? But he told me that I should never listen to anyone but him. He swore he’d never lie to me, and even if it hurt he’d tell me the truth.”

Jonas stood. “Okay, you know what? I’m going to find out how he’s doing.”

He marched to the counter and leaned in to speak to one of the nurses. Meanwhile, I sat beside Matt and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. “We’re going to be okay, Matt. I promise you.”

He shook his head. “If something happens to Kinsey, I don’t want to be okay. I want to go with him.”

It took several moments for me to wrap my head around what he was saying. “No.”

“Yes. I can’t live in a world that Kinsey isn’t in.”

What was I supposed to say? I couldn’t offer some useless platitude that would make everything better. I couldn’t tell him how important he was, because only Kinsey made him feel that way.

“I…understand,” I told him. “When Jonas disappeared, I had dark days. Thoughts about how could I go on without him. When I was at my lowest, I’d often considered options I would never have given thought to otherwise.”

Matt turned to me. “And what did you do?”

I shrugged. “I pushed on, because I knew that Jonas would want me to. What do you think Kinsey would say if you told him this?”

A plump lower lip jutted out. “He’d tell me he’d kick my ass. He’s forever telling me how important I am, and if I were to give up and let go, he’d be…angry and disappointed.”

“Then keep that in mind before you make any kind of decision, okay? I won’t tell you what to think, because I don’t know your mind. I do know that I would miss you terribly. You’re like my brother, if I had one. Before you do anything, come talk to me, okay? Let me see if I can help.”

He nodded. A moment later, Jonas came back, his expression dark like a storm cloud.

“He’s still in surgery. The bullet did a lot of internal damage, but the doctors are sure he’ll recover. He’s a strong wolf.”

“And he’s got something to live for,” I added.

“Would you like to know what Kinsey told me?” Jonas asked Matt.

“Yes, please, Alpha.”

Jonas took his seat again and leaned forward, elbows on his knees. “He said that he was grateful to us for giving you a home. Watching you, always being on the outside looking in, was hard for him, because he couldn’t do anything about it. When the two of you came here, and Corey said he wanted you both as pack, that smile he saw on your face was worth everything to him.”

“It—It was?”

“Yeah. And to know that he could finally be open about his feelings was even better. He loves you, and he’s going to show you by getting better.”

A man in white scrubs came out of a door marked ‘Surgery’. He wore a grim expression that spoke of exhaustion.

“Mr. Garrison?”

Matt squeezed my hand hard. “Yes?”

The doctor breathed out, and Matt relaxed slightly. “I’m Doctor Weber. We’ve moved Mr. Huxley to recovery. The procedure was a success. Admittedly, it was mostly because Mr. Huxley seems to have such a strong will, but I’d like to think our surgical staff had something to do with it.” He smiled, and it was nice. Definitely warm and caring. “So, yes, he’s going to be fine. In fact, if you’d like, I can take you in to see him. I doubt he’ll be coming out from under anesthesia for a while, but it never hurts to have family around.”

“Yes, please,” Matt whimpered.

He clutched my hand tight as we followed behind the doctor. He led us through the maze of stark white corridors, the scent of antiseptic strong in my nose. When we got to the room, Matt was a bundle of nerves. He stroked a hand over his hair, but the cowlick bounced back.

“Do I look okay?”

 “Perfect,” I told him, doing my best to give him an encouraging smile.

We entered the room, and Kinsey lay there, tubes and wires attached to every part of his body. Matt gasped, and I pulled him into a hug.

“It’s okay. They’re just being cautious.”

Matt nodded and went to stand at the side of the bed.

“Don’t stay too long. He needs rest for his body to continue healing,” the doctor told us.

“Yes, sir. Thank you,” Matt said, not sparing the man a glance. The only one he could see was Kinsey.

As soon as the door closed, Matt leaned in and brushed a kiss over Kinsey’s forehead.

“You missed my lips,” Kinsey croaked, his voice brittle.

“Kinsey….” Matt bawled, as he clutched the bed rail so tight, his fingers were nearly white.

“You’re okay, right?” he asked, opening his eyes and staring up at Matt.

“I’m…” Matt shook his head harshly, his hair swishing. “No, I’m not. I was so scared. I thought I was going to lose you.”

“Never happen. I made you a promise remember? I’ll always be by your side.”

Matt looked as though he was about to break down, and he’d shed enough tears today. I couldn’t have that anymore. “Kinsey?” I called. “You’re fired.”

He didn’t stop staring at Matt when he said, “Can’t fire me. I quit. I have someone who needs me more than you do.”

“But he has to have a bodyguard,” Matt protested.

“I have one,” I assured him. “Jonas will do the job just fine.”

“You need him more, Matt.”

“But the Council…”

“Can go suck lemons,” I said. “You’re our pack now, and they have nothing to say about how we conduct our business.” I turned to Jonas. “They don’t, right?”

He grinned at me. “As long as our people are happy, no. Matt? Are you happy?”

The tears I worried about came then. “Yes, so much. Thank you both.”

“So will you marry me?” Kinsey whispered.

“In a heartbeat.”

He turned to me. “Can you make it happen?”

“Here? In the hospital?” I asked, flabbergasted.

Kinsey’s gaze returned to Matt. “I’ve waited years for this, and after tonight, I won’t wait one more day.”

The look on his face. Determination, pain, hope. Great, now I was tearing up. “Yeah, we can make it happen.” I gave Jonas a nod. “Make it happen.”

He chuckled, leaned in, and kissed me on the cheek. “Right away, dear.”

Then he left the room, snickering as he closed the door. Matt turned to me. “Corey? Would you be here for it?”

“Dude, wild horses and all.” I put a hand on his back and rubbed gently. “I would be honored.”

And just like that, it was as if the world exhaled a breath it had been holding.

I had always known Corey was going to be the perfect Alpha Mate. It was obvious from the way he treated people. Once in school, Terry Pritchard’s mother had gone into labor, and was rushed to the hospital. Terry’s dad had been at work. We were eight. The neighbor kept an eye on Terry until the bus came, but when lunchtime rolled around, he realized in all the hubbub he didn’t get a lunch. Corey told him he had two, and gave him his brown paper bag.

Corey had lied. He had nothing for himself. I tried to give him mine, but he refused, saying he’d done it because it was the right thing to do. I went home and got into a shouting match with my father, because no kid should ever have to go hungry, and if the pack was so rich, why was this happening? He tried to tell me it was the parent’s responsibility, and I told him not everyone was as lucky as I was, and he should pay more attention.

A month later, he announced that breakfast and lunch would be served to all kids, free of charge. Dad credited me, and more than a few people had come to me and said thanks, because with the large families some of them had, it was tough at times.

I told him later it was Corey that got the ball rolling. I was so damned proud of my mate, and I knew that when we grew up, and I was Alpha, Corey would take damn good care of our people. And for years, he had without even realizing it was part of who he was. So why was someone trying to kill him?


“Dennis, hi. I’m sorry to bother you. Are you busy?”

“For you, no.” He chuckled. “What’s up?”

“I need you to perform a wedding. Like now.”

“You and Corey?”

“No, not yet. Soon, though, I hope. This will be Kinsey and Matt. Did you hear what happened?”

“I know Kinsey got hurt. Is he okay?”

“Yeah, and he’s in the hospital, but he wants to get married right away. Can you do that?”

“Of course. I’ll be there within the hour.”

“Great. Thank you.”

“Is it okay if I bring some people with me? To stand as witnesses. Usually we do joining as a pack, and I don’t want anyone feel slighted.”

Was it? If Corey was in danger, did I want a lot of people around?

“It can’t be too many. I don’t think the hospital would approve.”

It wasn’t a lie, but not the whole truth either. I was comfortable with it, regardless. Corey was threatened twice, and if it came from the pack, I would—no. He trusted his pack. They had Corey’s back when I was away. They could have easily done something while he was alone and unprotected. Why now? It didn’t make any sense at all. Then there was that familiar scent. Like pack, but not. A relative, maybe?


I turned to find Corey, and every protective instinct surged within me. I reached for him, grabbed his forearm, and dragged him to my body.

“Well…not saying this is unwelcome, but should we be doing this in the hospital?”

Still, he sank into my embrace, even as he wrapped his arms around my waist.

“I’ve got Dennis coming shortly to perform the joining.”

“Matt asked me to be there.”

“As Alpha Mate, you should be.” I kissed Corey’s hair. It was soft, and smelled faintly of vanilla shampoo. “That could be us one day.”


I pulled back, maybe a little hurt. “You don’t want to marry me?”

He chuckled. “No, I’m saying it will be us one day. There’s no could about it. When we were little, I used to fantasize about being married to you. This was before I knew about anyone in the town. You’d come home from work, all tired, and I would have you lay on the couch and rub your feet.”

“Got a thing for feet?” I teased.

“Only yours. It was weird. I could see us so clearly. Well, except you were still this skinny geek and not the hulking monster you are now.”

“Are you disappointed in the changes? Would you prefer me different?”

“Nope. It wasn’t your body I loved, it was the person you are. Good and kind, funny, considerate. That’s the Jonas I fell in love with. This? It’s window dressing. Really hot window dressing, but that’s neither here nor there.”

Before I could say anything else, Dennis’s party came down the hall. He smiled and waved, and I returned the gesture. Corey moved away from me, strode up to him, hand extended, and was pulled into a hug. I winced, but had to trust in my pack. If I didn’t, we had no future.

“I’m so happy you’re okay, Alpha Mate.”

“Just Corey, please.”

“Okay, Corey.” Dennis seemed inordinately pleased to have been addressed in such  familiar terms. “Where are my grooms?”

I pointed to Kinsey’s room, and we made our way there. When we entered, Matt was sitting at Kinsey’s bedside, stroking his hair. He turned and smiled up at me.

“He’s sleeping. He passed out a minute after you—”

“Resting my eyes, not sleeping,” came the rumble.

“Liar,” Matt said, but his expressive face showed the delight that Kinsey was awake.

“Are you ready to be married?” Dennis asked, his grin infectious.

“Have been for years,” Kinsey replied. He tried to sit up, but Matt put a hand on his shoulder to hold him in place.

“Then let’s see what we can do about that, huh? I’m going to make this simple, because I don’t want Kinsey not passing out again before we get to the good stuff.”

Kinsey’s lip curled. “I’ll be out of this bed soon, Dennis.”

“And I can still run faster than any other wolf here, so I’m not afraid.” He moved to the bed. “Matt, will you have Kinsey to be your husband? To love him, cherish him, and be one with him from now until we are all called home?”

“Yes, without question.”

“Kinsey? Will you take Matt—”

“Yes. Fuck, yes.”

Tears leaked down Kinsey’s cheeks. “Kinsey?” I called, not used to seeing emotions on the man.

“It’s real, right? He’s mine? Like I’m not dreaming?”

“No, he’s yours.”

His gaze drifted back to his now-husband. “Matt, I—I love you so fucking much.”

“Kiss the man, Kinsey. Let’s make this official.”

Kinsey winced when he reached up and curled his fingers in Matt’s hair, then pulled him down. The kiss wasn’t soft or delicate, it was claiming in much the same way Jonas had done with me.

“And with that, I pronounce the two of you joined. Congratulations.”

Matt sat up. “Thank you.”

“Now get out,” Kinsey growled. “All of you.”

Everyone laughed as we made our way to the door. Before I closed it, I stood and smiled as Kinsey pulled Matt onto the narrow bed, sighing when Matt wound around him gently and laid his head on Kinsey’s shoulder. He glanced up at me and mouthed ‘thank you’.

Yes. I trusted my pack with my life. Someone else was responsible, and I would figure out who.

The Return: Chapter Sixteen

The Return: Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen


“Why isn’t he here yet?” I demanded. My heart was hurting, thinking about him being in the hospital, and not being there to hold his hand.

“Relax, Corey.”

That was easy for him to say. The person he loved was beside Kinsey on the couch, his hands folded in his lap.

“Matt, I want to go back to—”


The Return: Chapter Fifteen

The Return: Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Fifteen


Paramedics and firefighters were racing around, hauling hoses, oxygen, and more as they tended to the wounded in the buildings that abutted the coffeeshop, at the same time as the firemen worked to put out the fire. I stood there, watching as everything Corey had built burned to the ground. I scanned the area, and my gaze landed on Corey. He sat in an ambulance, talking with DD. She reached up and put a hand on his, and he broke down, sobbing.

This was all such crap. I wanted to go to him, pull him in my arms, and make it better, but I needed to be here, dealing with the situation as leader of the pack.


I turned to find Sawyer Henderson, the fire chief, his face a grave mask. “How bad is it?” I asked.

The Return: Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen


You know Corey was baiting you.

Of course I knew. And I didn’t give a good goddamn. I had a chance to fuck my mate again, and I was damn well going to take it.

“Strip,” I ordered.

Corey scrambled to comply, obviously not caring that he was making a mess. I stood and watched, loving the flush that crept up Corey’s body. Once everything was off, I pointed to the bed.

“Hands and knees.”

“Jonas, I—”

I laid a heavy smack on Corey’s ass, delighting in the yelp that escaped his lips.

“Hands and knees.”


Corey climbed onto the king-size bed, his face buried in the comforter. I was about to try something I’d only heard about in school, but couldn’t wait. I moved closer and slid a hand over Corey’s cheeks. They were so warm. The red handprint where I’d spanked made me worry. We’d never talked about sex, and I had no idea if—

“Are you going to stand there all day, or are you going to put your dick in me at some point?” He grinned and gave me a wink. “Oh, and that smack? We are so going to be doing that again.”

He liked toys. He liked a little slap and tickle. Yeah, Fate made the perfect mate for me.

I grabbed a globe in each hand and spread Corey’s cheeks. There it was. That pink pucker that drove me wild. Along with everything else about his man.

“What are you doing?”

Corey’s voice went up an octave as I dove in and speared that hole with my tongue. I flattened his tongue and laved up the crease, Corey whimpering his need. This was what I loved most. The chance to make Corey come apart under my touch. Those years without him had been agony. Not being able to put a hand on Corey gutted me every day.

“Jonas. Oh, God. Jonas.”

The pleading tone enflamed me. I had years to make up to Corey, and I looked forward to every day for the rest of their lives.

“Please, Jonas. Please.”

“Please what, Core?” I stroked a hand over his hip. “Tell me what you want.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. I need you, but I don’t know what it is I want.”

Jonas chuckled. “Oh, I think you know exactly what you need, but you’re afraid to say it.”

He shook his head, then covered his face with the pillow. I sure wasn’t having that. I gripped his neck and pulled him up firmly, but gently.

“You can’t hide from me, Core. Never could. I see you, no matter what you do. Now, why don’t you save us both some time, and tell me what it is you want here?”

He coughed. “I saw this video once….” His cheeks flamed red. “The one guy was riding the other. Do you think that’s something you might want to—”

Before he could finish, I rolled over, gripping my hard cock and waggling my brows at him.

“This is a broncing buck, not a pony. Be sure you can handle it.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’ve played with toys bigger than you.”

I widened my eyes. “Oh?”

He cackled. “No, just wanted to give you some crap.” He reached out and gripped my cock. “This is by far the biggest toy I’ve had.”

“Then get playing.”

“In time.” He leaned down and kissed the head of my cock. “See, you had your way, now it’s my turn. While I’m more than happy to do what I’m told out there, in our bedroom—or wherever we decide to get busy—I’m going to have wants and needs.” He licked a strip from my balls to the tip of my cock. “And right now, I want to suck this bad boy.”

Oh, hell yes. I’d dreamed of blow jobs. Well, Corey’s lips wrapped around my dick. Watching as he bobbed up and down on me, never taking his eyes off my face, was one of the hottest fantasies I’d had.

“Go for it,” I croaked.

He snickered. “Big, bad Alpha brought down by an itty-bitty tongue?” He swirled it around the head, then dipped it into the slit. “What would the others say if they could see this?”

I put my hands on his head and pulled him down, being careful not to choke him. “They’d say, ‘what a fucking lucky bastard our Alpha is’.”

For a few minutes the only sounds in the room were my moans and Corey’s slurps. It was heaven, at least as far as I was concerned. When he reached up and cupped my balls, tugging them gently, I gasped.

“You learned a lot from porn.”

He pulled off with a pop. “I wish I had learned to deepthroat. I’d love to take all of this.”

I grabbed my dick and waggled it at him. “Well, if you need practice, I’m always available for you to hone your skills on.”

He grinned, then opened wide, and got to business. When he slid off again, I wanted to protest, but then he reached for the nightstand drawer, and I knew what was coming. Corey pulled out the familiar yellow and white jar of his favorite lube. He took the top off, then dipped a finger into the container. As I watched, he reached behind himself and slid that damned digit up his ass with a sinful moan.

I reached down and stroked my cock, watching him add another finger. It was sensuous, beyond dirty, and hotter than any porn I’d ever seen—not that there was much, mind you. The pure and wanton look on his face, combined with the squishing sound as he made sure he was lubed, sent my libido into overdrive.

When I sat up, Corey put a hand on my chest and pushed me down once more.

“My show, my rules. Lay there and shut up. The only thing I want to hear from you are grunts, groans, moans, and you begging me for more. We good?” he asked, then went back to fingering himself.

I loved the facets of Corey. He could do demure when we were in a group, he could be a pissy bastard when he wanted something, and he could be a demanding bottom, wanting nothing more than to be filled.

“We so very good,” I groaned, watching as he added a third finger. The show got hotter when Corey started bouncing up and down on the invaders. He threw his head back, his mouth open, and a whine escaped as he speared himself over and over, while he stroked himself with his other hand.

“Don’t you dare cum,” I snapped. “I wanna be inside you when you do.”

“Can’t help it,” Corey panted. “It feels so good.”

“Think of how much better my cock will feel,” I told him, hopeful he’d actually let me in at some point. “Besides, you’re being loud. You know Matt and Kinsey can probably hear everything going on in here.”

“Enjoy the show, guys!” Corey shouted.

I couldn’t believe he’d done that. The bastard seriously intended on finishing himself off, and leaving me out of it? Not happening! I grabbed his arms and jerked him forward, pulling his fingers from his ass, then wrestled him onto his back and hefted his legs up over my shoulders. When I gazed into his eyes, he was smirking at me.

“About time you got with the program. Fingers are nice and all, but that bad boy you’re holding in your hand? Mhm.”

“Teasing little bastard,” I grumped, but pushed in closer. “I thought you were going to ride me, and then you don’t.”

“Lay on your back,” he said, his voice husky.

“No. You’ll start teasing me again,” I said, trying to sound petulant.

“You’re never going to win an Oscar,” he said, grinning. “On your back.”

Honestly, I didn’t care how we did it, I wouldn’t even care if we had sex. When I was at work, I couldn’t stop thinking about Corey. Holding him, kissing him, being inside of him. He consumed my every thought. My dad told me that it would wane the longer we were together, that sex wouldn’t be as important. Maybe that was true, and if it was, fine. But I wanted Corey with what probably bordered on a near psychotic desperation.

I blamed my wolf, of course.

I lay back once more, waiting for Corey to tease some more, but he took his already glossy hand, and wrapped it around my shaft, pulling a groan out of me.

“You know, I often fantasized about your cock,” he said, smearing more of the lotion.

“Oh?” I managed to get out, working hard to suppress the shudders that coursed through me.

“Mhm. I wondered if it was big, small, skinny, fat. Also if it was cut, or uncut.

“No wolf I know of has an cut one. We heal most wounds eventually, so circumcision wouldn’t be possible.”

“Hot,” Corey murmured, climbing on top of me, keeping a grip on my aching rod. “Let me tell you, the reality is way better than the fantasy. It’s long and thick, but not too much of either.”

“Because F-F-Fate made us for each other.”

“Hm. I’ll have to send Fate a ‘thank you’ card.”

He slid my cock into the crease of his ass, until finally he notched it against his pucker, then started to take me into his body. He’d stop every inch or so, and take a few deep breaths before continuing. Once he lowered his weight onto my legs, I knew I’d come home.

He raised up a bit, then slowly lowered himself until I’d been engulfed in that sultry heat once more.

“Fuck, that’s amazing,” I said, watching him lose himself in the rapture.

“Oh, yeah,” he gasped, picking up speed. I tightened the muscles in my legs, because my orgasm was imminent. Corey’s lusty expression, the want and need, all of that called to me on every level. I wanted to spend hours making love to this man, and was embarrassed I wouldn’t last but a few more minutes.

“Core,” I managed to get out. “Going to cum soon.”

I reached for his cock, and stroked it. So damn hot in my hand.

“Harder,” he pleaded. “Please, Jonas. I need it harder.”

He batted my hand aside, then grabbed his own dick. I missed the feeling of him in my hand immediately. Still, he wanted something, and it was my job to give it to him. I braced myself, flattening my palms on the bed, and when he started his descent, I thrust up, slamming into him hard.

“Fuck, yes,” he spat. “More!”

We fell into a rhythm, him dropping onto my cock as I drove deeper. With each thrust, he grunted, whined, and then demanded ‘harder’. The room was filled with our moans, the sound of skin slapping skin, and needy pleas.

The next thing I knew, my stomach, chest, and face were being painted with his hot spend as he clenched his ass, locking me into him almost painfully. I’d been on the precipice before, but that hot, tight channel dragged the orgasm from me, wringing it from my very depths. Corey collapsed on top of me, my dick still inside him as I rode out the remnants of the mind-blowing sex we’d had.

Then I heard it. Panting, growling, and whimpering from Matt, as he begged Kinsey to fuck him. I crushed Corey to my chest, and whispered in his ear.

“I think we gave them ideas.”

Just then, Matt howled, and Corey chuckled softly.

“I should get up,” he said. “I need to clean up, and make sure I placed my order this morning.”

But I didn’t want him to go, so I held on.

“Jonas, you gotta let me up. I need to get down to the shop and finish my order.”

His voice was filled with post-sex sleep. I knew if I didn’t let him go, he’d be out like a light in minutes, so I did what any good mate would. I held on.

And moments later, with whispered protests, Corey fell asleep in my arms.


The first thing I heard when I tried to get up was a pained cry from Jonas. I didn’t realize I’d fallen asleep on him, but now he seemed torn between pushing me away or pulling me close.

“What’s wrong?”

“We’re stuck together,” he moaned. “When you moved, you were pulling the hair off me.”

Then I noticed my stomach had his hair on it, matted in the cum from last night. The memories came back, and my ass twinged, but at the same time I wanted him again.

“Jonas, I—”

The ringing phone cut me off. Jonas winced when I got up to get it, then his started to ring.

“Fuck. Well, won’t have to worry about shaving it,” he muttered.

We answered at the same time. Mine was Doug, and what he said made my blood run cold.

“Corey? Oh, Corey, it’s awful.”

“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Are you hurt?”

“No, not me, but…. Corey, the coffeeshop is on fire. DD was inside.”

I sat back on the bed, his words echoing in my head. At the same time, Jonas was barking orders, but his words were nearly indistinct. “… sure everyone is out. Clear the area around the building, and keep the pack away so the firefighters…… I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

He threw his phone onto the nightstand, then grabbed his clothes and hurried into the bathroom. “Core, we have to go.”

I sat there staring at my phone. Doug’s voice seemed to come from far away as he called my name. My shop was on fire. DD had been inside. I couldn’t process it, and I think my brain shut down. When Jonas came out, he put his hands on my shoulders.

“We need to move,” he said, shaking me. “Kinsey!”

A few moments later, the bedroom door opened. “What’s wrong?”

I’m sure Jonas was explaining it to him. I still sat there, staring at my phone. Years of my life, up in smoke, and my friend hurt in the fire. I couldn’t help the hysterical laughter that burst from me. Up in smoke. That was funny. Arms surrounded me, and that brought me out of my stupor. Jonas was there, pulling me to him.

“I’m sorry, baby. I wish we had time to grieve, but we need to get down there.”

I jerked away from him. “For what?” I screamed. “To watch my life as it crashes to the ground?”

“No! Look, I know this is devastating, and I’m sorry, but you’re the Alpha Mate. You need to put aside your problems and focus on the pack right now.”

“Fuck the pack!”

Jonas’s eyes went wide. “You don’t mean that.”

“The hell I don’t. That place was my life. It held me together when you were gone. It gave me purpose. Now that’s all nothing but ash.”

“And what about your pack mates?” Jonas snarled. “What about DD, who got burned trying to put out the fire by herself? Fuck her too?”

That brought me up short. I was so lost in my problems, I forgot she’d been there. “Is she okay? Doug didn’t know for sure.”

“She breathed in a lot of smoke, and she has first and second degree burns on sixty percent of her body.”

“But she’ll be okay, right? She can heal. That’s what you said.” I needed Jonas to tell me something—anything—good, because right now I was at the end of my very short rope.

“Wolves are tougher than humans. We heal faster, which will help, but she’s still going to be in a lot of pain”

Here I was, worrying about a building, when my friend—my pack—was hurting too, because she’d tried to save something of brick and mortar. Something that could be rebuilt. If she’d died, there was no coming back from that.

“I’m sorry,” I rasped out. “Let me get dressed.”

“Kinsey is getting Matt ready, and he’ll bring the car to the front. I truly am sorry about the shop, Core.”

“No. I’m the one who should be sorry. I put my feelings and what was hurting me ahead of actual human lives. I was being selfish.”

“You have every right,” Jonas said, squeezing my shoulder. “But we need to focus on the welfare of our people first and foremost. We’ll worry about rebuilding later.”

A knock at the door, and it opened slowly. “Car is ready,” Kinsey said.

Jonas took my hand and led me outside, where Matt sat biting his nails. Kinsey opened the door, and Jonas helped me in, then closed it behind me.

“Corey, I’m sorry,” Matt said softly.

“Me too,” I said. “But more, I’m sorry for not thinking about my people before my building.”

He nodded. “I understand.”

I wished he would explain it to me. Kinsey got in front with Matt, before he reached over and put a hand on Matt’s knee. Jonas slid in beside me, and immediately wrapped me in his arms. Even the touch of my mate couldn’t chase away the cold that had seeped into my heart, though.

I wondered if anything could.