The Return: Chapter Eleven

The Return: Chapter Eleven

Corey had his routine down pat. When we got in, he had the three of us sit at the counter, while he went in the back. The sounds of cooler doors opening and closing, then baking tins sliding into the oven was the first thing I heard.

“Core? You need help?”

“I’m good. I’ve been doing this every day for years.”

That was all well and fine, but I wasn’t about to let my mate work his fingers to nubs while I sat on my ass. I got up from my seat, then ensured the sugar caddies, salt and pepper shakers, and condiment station were all full. Then I did the same for the dish ware.

“What can I do?” Matt asked me.

“Matt wants to help,” I called out. “Do you have something he can do?”

The door opened and Corey stepped out. I could see traces of flour and shiny spots, probably from the nonstick spray we used in the pans, on an apron he’d donned. He smiled at Matt.

“Which do you prefer? Hot chocolate or tea?”

“I can have coffee.”

Corey leaned in, arms resting on the counter. “Matt, do you like coffee?”

He hesitated a moment, then shook his head.

“Then I ask again, hot chocolate or tea?”

“Hot chocolate, please. If you tell me where the things are, I—”

“Can sit here and enjoy.” He faced Kinsey. “And what can I get for you?”

Kinsey frowned. “I want to say I don’t need anything, but whatever you’re baking smell amazing.”

“Choux buns,” Corey replied. “They won’t be ready for a bit, and then they need to cool down and get frosted. I have a few left from yesterday, if you want.”

He folded his hands in front of him, fingers laced together, smiling like a kid being offered a special treat by mama. “Yes, please.”

Corey grinned, then turned to me, with a smile that lit his entire face. “What about you, Jonas?”

My wolf perked up at seeing Corey taking care of his pack. We wanted our mate. My wolf was tired of waiting to claim him, and I couldn’t agree more. Tonight it would happen.

“You could let me help. I did a good job before, didn’t I?”

“You did, and I’m grateful for everything you did. Without your help, it would have been a disaster, or I would have been a zombie by the end of the day. Now it’s my turn to take care of you.”

Inside my head, my wolf was dancing. Our mate wanted to care for us too!

“I’ll have a choux bun and a hot chocolate, please.”

Matt snickered, looking so damn happy. It was the first time I’d actually taken the time to examine the man. His red hair and the spray of freckles made him look far younger than his thirty-two years. When I’d met him and Kinsey, I’d dismissed Matt as being rather…dumb. Now, thanks to Corey, I could see how wrong I was to judge him. When he let his guard down, Matt was sweet and adorable. Not at all aggressive like most wolves I knew, but so eager to please. I would never again assume people were what I thought. I’d get to know them, then make decisions.

Matt would peek at Corey when he turned around, and went to work on the orders he’d gotten. While gazing at my mate, Matt would sigh. It was easy to see how much he adored Corey.

It made me wonder if he’d ever been shown kindness by anyone he worked for. I had to admit, I hadn’t been particularly nice to him. Corey? He’d seen the need in Matt, and set out to fill it. The shelter in the backyard was nothing big. Brent said it was a throwaway, and he’d wanted to make it a lot grander, but Corey insisted on something simple. When I’d asked him about it, he said that Matt would be ashamed if it was too nice, like he’d asked for something extraordinary, and guilt would swamp him.

Corey was so in tune with people, and I wasn’t. I was focused on the pack as a whole, while Corey saw the individuals. I needed to take more of my cues from him. Or maybe I needed to trust him to deal with everyone while I took care of things.

A clink dragged me from my thoughts. Corey set a bun in front of Kinsey, whose eyes gleamed. Then he put another in front of Matt, along with a cup of rich hot chocolate. The scent tickled my nose, and made me think of cold winter days when his mom would make rice krispy treats for us, and serve them with hot chocolate that was swimming with marshmallows. When he placed mine down, I could see the white fluff dancing on the surface, and warmth flooded me.

“You remembered.”

“Of course,” he said. “One of my happiest memories was you and me, making that slush man, then coming in soaking wet and my mom making us strip off our clothes, then sit on the couch to watch cartoons. When she brought the treats in, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. You, me, cocoa, munchies, and Tom & Jerry. What could be more perfect?”

Those were the memories that got me through the loneliness of isolation. There were so many times that Corey’s family took me places with them. They treated me like I was their second son, and I soaked it up. Not that my parents weren’t amazing, but they had the pack to think about, so our free time was limited.

A timer in the back dinged, and Corey hurried through the doors. I got up and followed behind him, leaving Matt and Kinsey to enjoy their snack. Corey was humming happily as he put the frosting into a piping bag, which he put aside. I stepped up behind him and put a hand on his back. He turned around, and grinned when he looked into my eyes.


“Hey back,” I said. “I need to talk to you.”

“All ears,” he replied, pulling one group of pans from the oven, then putting the next sets in.

“I know that I haven’t been as forthcoming with information as you’d like. I’ll be honest with you, I’m kind of trying to catch up on everything. Dad left me with a lot of information to absorb, and I have to make sure all the property and stuff is transferred to me, then go around and see where I can make changes to help out. I’m sorry, and I promise that things will settle down after the transfer is complete. I’m just glad he agreed to hold off a few weeks, so I could get it all done.”

He chuckled. “It’s not a problem. I keep an eye on you. I see you leave early in the morning, then drag yourself home late at night. Even then, I’ve found you in the living room, asleep at your computer. Waking you up, and bringing you to the bedroom? I love that. I enjoy you leaning on me, and letting me take care of you.”

I did that? Damn, I must be exhausted if I couldn’t remember.

He pushed the piping bag to the side, then turned to face me. “Anyway, what did you want to talk about?”

“It’s my wolf. Well, me. I mean us.” I sighed. Normally I was polished and concise, but around Corey, all rational thought flew out of my head. “We have a need, and it involves you.”

Corey’s lip curled up and his eyes sparkled. “You wanna fuck me, don’t you?”

“Oh, so goddamn desperately!” I cried out, not caring if anyone heard. “My wolf goes nuts every time he catches your scent, and he wants me to drag you off to the bedroom.”

Corey stepped closer and put a hand on my chest. “See? You should be listening to your wolf. He’s smart.”

“Can we…. I mean, would it be okay if…. Would you….”

He snickered. “I love seeing you like this. Normally I’d tease you, but this time I’m going to make things easy for you. I want you in the worst way. Being with you has always been my fantasy. I’d watch porn and pretend the actors were us as I stroked myself. I can’t wait to see if reality is as good as my dreams.”

And like that, I was hard enough to drive nails into solid concrete. Thinking about Corey stroking his cock while fantasizing about me fucking him and—wait.

“What was I doing in this fantasy of yours?”

That made him laugh. “What do you think, doof? You had me pinned to the bed, and were riding my ass like a Harley.”

I didn’t know any Alpha who bottomed. Ever. For Corey? I would do whatever he wanted.

“And when do you want to do me?” I asked.

His lip curled. “Uh, never. In every video I’ve ever watched, I could never be the one doing the fucking. I knew from the first time I saw Conquered that I wanted to be the slave boy to your gladiator.”

Oh, for fuck’s sake. I grabbed him, spun, and slammed him against the walk-in cooler.

“You’re a fucking tease,” I growled next to his ear. “You’re driving me insane.”

He reached down and cupped my cock through my jeans. It was a wonder I didn’t shoot right then and there.

“I’m not a tease,” Corey promised. “I’ll do it with you anytime you want.” He smirked. “Except in my kitchen. Get out.”


“This place is clean, and health code says no fucking in the kitchen.” He leaned against me, and I relished the feel of him in my arms. “I want this, so don’t think I’m teasing. Just can’t do it now, especially with the Council coming.”

The Council? Shit, I’d forgotten. It wouldn’t do to have my mate reeking of come when they arrived.

“Tonight?” I asked, hearing the whine in my voice.

“Definitely,” came the lilting reply. “Now get out of here, so my dick will go down, okay?”

And with an ache in my groin, I did as he asked. And hated every goddamn step I took.


As soon as the door swung shut, I leaned against the counter and tried hard to catch my breath. Holy hell, that had been a close thing. I wanted to drop my pants, grab a stick of margarine, and tell Jonas to have at it. Being near him made me weak in the knees, and I didn’t think I had the strength to say no if he’d pushed the issue. Counters could be cleaned, right?

It took me a bit, but eventually I was able to get back into my opening routine. I trayed up the baked goods, and placed them in the displays where customers could let DD know what they were interested in, then went to start the machines to get the water up to temperature. Afterward, I went to help DD with the morning prep, only to have her tell me it was done. I glanced over at Jonas, who was talking with Kinsey. He winked at me, and I gave him a grateful smile.

The morning was brisk, just the way we liked it. By eight, we’d already sold six dozen choux buns, which was great for so early in the day. At nine the doors opened, and in walked a group that could only be the Council Jonas told me about. There were three of them who led another nine, each glancing around the shop. Jonas, Kinsey, and Matt were on their feet and they rushed to the door. When they got to the group, they all bowed.


I strode over to where everyone was.

“Hey, welcome.”

One of the men, probably about sixty, with silver hair and deep gray eyes, seemed as though he’d be more comfortable on the cover of GQ or something. He wore a black wool Burberry coat that I’d seen in magazines for five to six hundred dollars or more. He’d swapped out the usual buttons for some kind of blue gemstone that complemented the coat beautifully. Beside him was a woman, probably around his age, with her almost gray hair subtly textured. It was radiant with the beige-blonde highlights, and the style suited her oval face. She had on a navy blue pantsuit that hugged her slender form, with a  streamlined blazer dress, accentuated with peak lapels and waist flap pockets. Goldtone buttons fastened the double-breasted front for a classic touch. If I had to guess, I’d say it was insanely expensive.

The last man was probably younger, maybe late thirties or early forties. His jet black hair was cut in a harsh buzz that was perfect for his masculine face and square jaw. Unlike the others, he was dressed down. He had on a burgundy T-shirt with COUNCIL written across it in gold lettering, and gray sweatpants with black tennis shoes. When he saw me looking, he grinned.

“Sorry, I was running and lost track of time. My assistant had to chase after me, and he’s not nearly as fast. By the time he caught up to me, we were on the cusp of being late, so I came as is. So we’re clear, if I’d had time to change, I would have put these two to shame.”

The woman snorted, and the other man rolled his eyes.

“”If you would be so kind as to introduce us, Jonas?”

“Of course, Councilor. Corey, may I present the esteemed Council of the Wolves.”

He gestured to the older man.

“This is Councilor Yawen, the prime wolf for the group. His is the tie breaking vote, should it be needed.”

Then he stepped closer to the woman.

“This is Councilor Delray. She’s the liaison to the packs. She hears complaints and adjudicates and resolves them.

And finally he gestured to the other man.

“This is Councilor Entwhile. He knows pack law inside and out. He is the one who steps in if Councilor Delray has questions regarding the validity of a law.”

“It’s a great pleasure to meet you, Corey,” Entwhile said. “We are here to offer our sincerest apologies for our lapse in following up with a pack member. That is an unforgivable sin on our part.”

I smiled at him, because it would help me get what I was about to ask for.

“I’m glad you’re here, because I wish to make a change, and I’m assuming the Council will have to approve it.” I nodded at Matt and Kinsey. “These men? I no longer want them as my driver and bodyguard.”

Matt whimpered. “Corey….Alpha Mate. Have I displeased you?”

The three scowled at Matt, and I pushed forward.

“No, Matt. Far from it. You’re amazing, and I’m happy to have you as a driver, but, I don’t want it to be at the behest of the Council. I want both of these men to leave your employee, and join our pack.”

I shot a glance at Jonas, fearful of what I’d see. His beaming smile soothed my nerves.

“This is quite a situation,” Delray muttered. “We’ve never had anyone ask for their staff before.”

“I’ve never had anyone come to me and say if they failed in this assignment, they were done. What kind of crap is that?”

“Corey, don’t—”

I ignored Matt. “He’s a person, with a heart and feelings. If he fails, and I sincerely doubt those complaints he received were failures, then it’s up to you people to train him better. It’s not on him to be told some garbage about him screwing up, without even trying to find out if what you were told is true.”

“Now see here—,” Yawen started.

“No. See, I’m on the outside looking in. You might be great people, but as leaders you absolutely suck. You didn’t follow up with me, and you’re treating those under your employee like they don’t matter. I won’t have it. Matt is an amazing person, and so is Kinsey. If you can’t see their worth, then you don’t deserve them, and I want to keep them here.” I turned to Jonas. “With your permission, Alpha.”

He chuckled. “Dude, I wish I had balls like you do.” He went to where Kinsey stood, his hand on Matt’s arm. “I formally request to have these two wolves as part of our pack.”

The three Councilors looked at one another, confusion obvious in their expression.

“We would need to discuss—”

“No. I want an answer now,” I said. “It’s not that I don’t trust you, because I don’t really know anything about you to base it off. Our Alpha, Matt, and Kinsey all say you’re good and wise people, so I don’t think we need to discuss it.”

The three of them were gobsmacked, that was clear. Was I being an asshole? Yes. Would I stop? No. Even though we hadn’t known each other long, Matt was like a brother to me, and I would be damned if I’d let anyone treat him like this. Kinsey? I wanted him, because Matt had said he looked to him for guidance. Plus, it was fun needling him.

“So what do you say?” I asked.

“Pack law has no provision for this,” Entwhile admitted.

“We’re not used to being ambushed like this,” Delray said sourly. “You should have told us this was going to happen, Jonas.”

“He didn’t know,” I said. “This was all my choice. Should I have gone to the Alpha? Yes, of course, but I didn’t want him caught in the middle of this. So it’s all on me.”

Entwhile smirked. “You’re a far better person than we’ve been,” he said.

“What? You listen—”

“Oh, come off it. You know he’s right. We’ve lost touch with the wolves. We depend on intermediaries to tell us things, instead of us going out and actually talking to our own people.”

“We can’t be traveling the country and meeting with—”

“We have computers, Kendra. We could hold virtual town hall meetings, and actually talk to those we serve. Where’s the problem? I know the two of you are older, and probably lacking in technological skills, but that’s no reason for us to hide behind the Council.”

The two people glared at him, then Yawen sighed. “He’s not wrong, Kendra. If Steven hadn’t logged us in for our meetings, I’d probably still be trying to figure it out.” He nodded at me. “You’ve given us a great deal to think about, and it was probably a long time in coming.”

“Agreed,” Entwhile said.

Delray scowled, but then she deflated. “I have to have my grandson show me how to do things. He’s six, and he knows computers better than I do,” she admitted. Then she turned her gaze on me. “In the future, please follow protocol if you want to address us.”

“Of course, ma’am.” I nodded in the direction of Kinsey and Matt. “So, can I keep these two?”

“If they want to be your wolves, yes.”

“Matt? Kinsey?” Jonas asked them.

Tears streamed down Matt’s cheeks as he flexed his fingers. “You really want me?”

“Yeah, I really do,” I told him. “I want both of you.”

He turned to Kinsey. “What do you think?”

Kinsey looked to Jonas, then me. “If you want to be here, I’ll stay too.”

“Yes, please,” Matt said, almost desperately. “But where will I live?”

“We’ll find you each a place, I promise. Until then, you stay with us,” Jonas told him.

“Is this all settled?” Enthwhile asked. “Because I really want one of those buns.”

“It is settled,” Yawen declared, though still seemingly unhappy.

It didn’t matter to me, though. Just like that, our pack grew by two new members.

by Parker Williams

Parker writes m/m fiction where happily ever afters will require work to reach. He loves broken characters, hurt and healing, pain and comfort.

See more posts by this author