Thank you once again to Amber for hosting this wonderful Birthday Bash. I love visiting every year and wish you a wonderful birthday.
Today I’m here to share a little birthday short featuring some of the guys from my Atherton Pack series. Kieran, book 4 in the series recently released and I thought it might be fun to check back in with the guys.
Ethan rolled over and snuggled into the warmth of his mate. Corey always smelled and felt so good first thing in the morning. The sun was peeking in through the gap in the curtains, but Ethan didn’t want to wake up. Instead, he curled in closer to Corey. Corey wrapped his arm around Ethan’s back and pulled him in close, sleepily placing a soft kiss on Ethan’s forehead.
“Go back to sleep, babe.” Corey murmured.
“Hmm. Good idea.” Ethan kissed the warm naked skin under his cheek and settled in. He lazily ran his hand up and down Corey’s slightly furred chest.
The blankets twitched where they rested over Corey’s groin, and Ethan had to hold back a grin.
“I thought we were going back to sleep?” Corey asked as he finally opened his eyes and stared down at Ethan.
Ethan glanced up at his mate with the most innocent expression on his face he could pull off. “What? I was just getting comfortable.”
“Sure you were,” Corey replied.
Before Ethan knew what was happening he was on his back with Corey looming over the top of him, the blankets having fallen aside in the move.
Ethan’s cock reacted to his mate’s naked body being pressed against his own and started to stir. He wiggled around, getting a little extra friction.
Corey growled above him, then leaned in to take his mouth in a hot and heavy kiss. Their lips slid over each other as their tongues dueled for dominance. Ethan happily gave in to his partner and let Corey lead.
Ethan didn’t mind being the receiving partner, he liked bottoming, got off on it. Corey had surprised him last week for his birthday though when he’d submitted to Ethan for the first time. It had been fucking hot, and Ethan hoped Corey would be willing to submit again at some point.
Corey broke the kiss and leaned back a little, his expression weird. Ethan couldn’t make it out. He reached up and placed his hand on Corey’s cheek. “You okay?” he asked softly more worried about his mate than what they had been doing.
Corey’s expression pinched, and his skin paled slightly.
“Corey?” he asked.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Corey said as he scrambled back and off the bed before he bolted out of the room and into the bathroom.
Ethan heard the door slam before he even registered what had happened. He quickly climbed out of bed and raced after his mate. He opened the bathroom door to the sounds of Corey being violently ill over the toilet.
Ethan grabbed the hand towel hanging on the hook and rinsed it under cool water before making his way over to Corey. He leaned over and gently rubbed Corey’s back, wiping the cool, damp cloth over Corey’s forehead as his mate continued to retch.
When Corey finally seemed to calm down, he sat back on his haunches. Ethan handed him the cloth so Corey could wipe his face.
“You okay?” Ethan asked him, still rubbing soothing circles on his back.
“I think the chicken we had for dinner must have been a little funky.”
“Honey, I ate the chicken, and I’m fine. Plus if it were food poisoning it would have hit you a lot sooner than now.” Ethan said.
“Mmmm. You’re probably right. Maybe it’s just some twenty-four-hour bug thing.”
Ethan chuckled. Feeling rather giddy at the prospect of why his mate would be throwing up first thing in the morning.
“When was the last time you or any other shifter has ever come down with a twenty-four-hour bug?” Ethan asked. Then leaned down and helped Corey stand. His mate did seem a little wobbly on his feet after that. “Come on, let’s rinse your mouth out then get you back to bed. You need to rest.”
Corey didn’t protest as Ethan steered him to the sink and then back into their bedroom. Corey collapsed back into bed and groaned, his hand going to his mouth like he wasn’t sure if he wanted to throw up again or not.
“You okay?” Ethan asked. “I’ll get a bucket for you in case you don’t make it to the bathroom.”
“Thanks, babe. Never felt like this before.”
“I doubt you would have,” Ethan said trying to keep the grin off his face, then leaned down and placed a tender kiss to Corey’s lips before he left the bedroom and headed for the laundry. Bucket in hand he then made a stop in the kitchen for some dry crackers and a nice large glass of water.
“How you feeling?’ Ethan asked as he walked back into the room. He placed the bucket on the floor by the bed and the water and crackers on the bedside table.
“Nauseous.” Corey groaned.
Ethan sat on the bed beside Corey and stroked his hair. “Why don’t you try and go back to sleep. You don’t have anything urgent on your plate that can’t wait a day or two. Plus the guys are coming over for poker tonight.”
Corey groaned. “Crap, I forgot it was Monday.”
Ethan chuckled. “It’ll be fine. I bet you’re feeling better in no time. Get some rest, and I’ll check on you throughout the day.”
Corey rolled over and snuggled under the blankets, taking Ethan’s hand with him. “Couldn’t you stay with me?” he asked, his bottom lip jutting out.
Ethan kissed his mate tenderly. “I wish I could, but you know how busy Ben has been due to recent events. I’ll be home as soon as I can.”
“Okay.” The frown really was adorable. Ethan kissed his mate again, sat with him for a couple more minutes until Corey’s breathing evened out, then stood and got ready for work. Ethan had one very important stop that he had to make on his way home tonight. He had a feeling his and Corey’s lives had just changed forever.
Ethan left work early; he just couldn’t stand to be there a minute longer. There was an answer he wanted, and he wouldn’t get it while he was sitting at work. Twenty minutes later he walked through the door of the house he shared with Corey.
“Corey?” he called out.
“In here.” Corey’s voice came from down the hall, in the direction of his office. Ethan headed that way, the paper bag with its contents clutched tightly in hand.
He walked inside and was pleased to see Corey looked much better than he had that morning. “How you feeling babe?” he asked as he headed over and kissed his mate hello.
“Much better.” Corey smiled up at him. “Don’t know what it was, but thankfully it’d gone by the time I woke up at lunch.”
Ethan bit his bottom lip; he really wasn’t sure how Corey would react to his suspicions. Ethan had always thought that if they had kids together, he would be the one to carry them. This was quite unexpected.
He held out the pharmacy bag to Corey and smiled shyly.
“What’s going on?” Corey asked as he took the bag from Ethan.
“Just open it.”
Ethan’s stomach felt like butterflies were doing dive bombs in it. He hadn’t felt this way since the first time he’d taken Corey on a date. Corey opened the bag and pulled out the box inside. He glanced down at his hand, and his face paled visibly.
“Oh fuck,” he whispered then glanced up at Ethan his eyes wide. “You think?”
Ethan shrugged. “Maybe.” The dates line up, and it would explain this morning.”
“I can’t be…” Corey trailed off.
“let’s find out. Then we’ll know one way or another.” Corey stared down at the box, his hands shaking slightly. “It’s going to be okay, babe.”
Ethan once again helped Corey to stand, and they made their way to the bathroom. Corey opened the box and removed the stick from inside.
“So I just pee, and then we wait?” he asked Ethan, his poor mate seemed to be having trouble wrapping his head around things right now.
“Yep, it’ll only take a couple of minutes.”
Ethan stepped back and let Corey relieve himself. His insides were doing cartwheels as he listed to the interrupted flow of urine hit the toilet water. Ethan couldn’t remember ever being their excited and nervous before, not even when he met Corey. This was life changing in a whole nother way.
Corey flushed, stick in hand and smiled nervously at Ethan. Ethan leaned up and kissed his mate, wrapping his arms around Corey’s neck and holding his man close.
“No matter what, know that I love you,” Ethan whispered to his mate.
Corey tightened his hold on Ethan for a moment before they made their way into the bedroom and sat on the foot of the bed as they waited to see if their family was about to expand or not.
The noise level in the house rose exponentially when you had ten grown men and a baby in the house. Not everyone played, the table just wasn’t big enough. Tommy sat in Ben’s lap, while Joseph was passed around the room. Declan was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the food for that night. Ethan had never been great at poker, so he sat beside Corey, happy to interact with the gang without joining in the game.
Kieran and Damon came out of the kitchen with their arms full of beer and started passing them around.
“Thanks, man, this is just what I need today,” Corey said as he took the beer and twisted the top off, saluting his friend before bringing the bottle to his lips.
Ethan reached out before he made it too far and plucked the bottle from his hand, replacing it with a bottle of water he had for just this occasion.
“Ethan?” Corey eyed him with annoyance.
Ethan stared back, arching an eyebrow. He saw the exact moment register with his mate, his eyes widening and his cheeks flushing pink.
“Oh yeah,” he muttered.
They got several stares from their friends, but no one said anything. Ethan patted Corey’s leg and leaned in to whisper in his ear. “Love you.”
“Love you too,” Corey said back then kissed Ethan’s cheek.
“You should eat something,” Ethan said fifteen minuted later. “How’s your water going? Do you need another one?”
“I’m fine,” Corey assured him.
“Seriously, you should eat something. Let me see what Declan has in the kitchen.” Ethan pushed his chair back and disappeared into the kitchen before Corey could stop him. He wanted to make sure his mate was taking care of himself.
Declan was just putting the finishing touches on the plates of food and was happy for the help to move it all to the living room.
Ethan grabbed a plate and added a number of items to it before taking it back to the poker table and handing it to Corey. “Eat.”
“In a minute,” Corey said.
“No, now,” Ethan argued.
Corey stared at him, his brows furrowed before he sighed and picked up a mini quiche and took a bite out of it. “Happy?” he asked around a mouth full of food.
“Very.” Ethan grinned at his mate.
“What the hell is going on here?” Ben asked.
“Yeah, since when do you not drink beer on Poker night? Kieran added.
Corey flushed and glanced at Ethan who smiled lovingly back at his mate. This was Corey’s secret to tell.
His mate took a deep breath before turning to face his friends. Everyone was staring at the two of them.
“I’m pregnant,” Corey said into the silence.
Jaws dropped and eyes widened. Ethan wanted to laugh at everyone’s expressions but held back. He grabbed Corey’s hand and gave it a gentle squeeze, giving his mate his undivided support.
“Holy shit,” Liam said
“Are you kidding me?” Bradley said
“Congratulations guys,” Kieran said
“You bottomed?” Ben asked.
Everyone started talking all at once, which scared Joseph and he started crying. Tommy climbed off Ben’s lap and took possession of his son, cooing softly to him as he walked and bounced him gently up and down. Ethan took careful note.
Ethan turned back to Corey as he addressed his friends. “I know. No, I’m not kidding. Thanks, man. And yes I bottomed. It was something I wanted to share with my mate and thought it would make a good birthday present.”
Corey blushed again, and Ethan thought his mate looked utterly adorable.
“It was the best birthday present I’ve ever received. And now we have even more to look forward to.”
“I’m happy for you both. You need anything at all, just let me know. Tommy and I are here if you have any questions,” Ben said as he clapped Corey on the shoulder.
“Thanks, we’ll probably be taking you up on that offer quite often in the near future,” Ethan said.
Corey wrapped his arm around Ethan’s shoulder and pulled Ethan up against Corey’s chest. Ethan snuggled in, his hand immediately going to Corey’s flat belly that now housed their child. Corey placed his hand over Ethan’s then kissed his forehead.
“Love you,” Corey said softly.
“Love you too,” Ethan replied. He couldn’t wait for this next chapter of their lives to start.
“You need to go to Atherton,” they said. Easy for them. The higher-ups at headquarters don’t have their whole world on the line. When Detective Damon Kelly’s bosses send him across the state on a “simple” cyber fraud case, he never thinks he’d meet his mate, then risk losing Kieran by doing his job. No matter what other possible angles Damon works, his partner Grant Davis is sure Kieran’s best friend Corey’s their guy, and Grant is bent on bringing him in.
After the birth of their Alpha’s son, the Atherton Pack needs another beta. Kieran Baxter couldn’t be happier to accept. What Kieran doesn’t expect is for all hell to break loose his first week on the job. Clashing with his mate at every turn, and fighting a human cop who wants to arrest Corey for hacking a government database, wasn’t part of the plan either
As more evidence piles up, a bigger, scarier picture comes into focus that could threaten not only the Atherton Pack, but everything the world knows. Novel: 84,651 words The Atherton Pack Liam – now available in AUDIO Ben – now available in AUDIO Corey – now available in AUDIO Kieran – AUDIO coming soon
Damon finished his gander around the room and turned back to Grant to carry on their conversation. Not thirty seconds later, Damon could feel eyes on the back of his head. His shoulders stiffened as soon as he caught the scent of the local pack. Shit, he swore internally. This was just what he needed. He picked up his beer and took a long swallow, casually glancing around the room as he did so.
Sure enough, Ben, his mate, and their son, along with Corey and a group of other men, all were making their way to one of the long tables. Damon closed his eyes and prayed his partner would ignore them all.
There was one seat left at the table when they’d all sat down, and Damon absently wondered if anyone was missing. He finished his beer and stood abruptly, grabbing his menu up off the table. His nice relaxing dinner had just gone out the window.
“So, what are you having?” he asked Grant, hoping the man had made up his damn mind.
“I’ll take the grazier’s stockman’s pie.”
“Great. You want another beer?” Damon nodded to the still three-quarters-full glass.
“Nah, this one will do me for a little longer.”
Damon nodded, then grabbed his empty beer glass along with the menus before he headed to the bar to place their orders.
Just as Damon picked up his third beer for the night, his body was thrown into utter chaos. Heat spread through him, his mind raced, and his dick hardened. He breathed deeply, and the most intoxicating scent invaded his senses.
He stood at the bar for a moment, closed his eyes, tried to get his body back under control, and breathed deeply. That didn’t help. All he could smell was his mate. Damon opened his eyes and turned around, wanting to see the man.
Their eyes connected instantly. Standing across the room, statue-still amongst all the tables, was a man who held an expression like he’d been hit upside the head.
Damon liked what he saw.
His mate wasn’t some little wallflower, standing nearly as tall as Damon’s own six-four. His body was thick with muscles, while tattoos peeked out from under the tight t-shirt. Denim jeans hugged his meaty thighs, and Damon had never wanted to be an article of clothing more in his life.
His imagination went into overdrive.
Between his mate’s short hair—maybe a number two or three all over—a dark, five o’clock shadow gracing his face, and totally kissable lips, Damon wanted to know what his mate’s mouth felt like wrapped around his cock, sucking him deep.
What would it be like to have those legs wrapped around him as he pounded into the man? To take his mate’s cock in his mouth and taste him for the first time? Or to cover his mate’s naked body with his own as he sank deep inside him as they made love? Damon groaned and tried to discreetly reach down and adjust himself. Not an easy task, considering he was facing the entire dining room.
Strength radiated off his mate, matching what he’d felt on Corey earlier, and Damon realised with a thrill he hadn’t met all of the Alpha’s Betas.
Damon couldn’t wait to get the man under him.
His mate took a couple of steps in Damon’s direction but was stopped by a hand reaching out and grabbing him. Ben, the Pennaeth Alpha of all the Australian packs, quickly talked into Damon’s mate’s ear. Ben’s eyes, though, were locked on Damon.
Damon swallowed the lump in his throat and made his way back to the table with uncertain steps. Grant had obviously seen who had come in and was staring at the group like he wanted to go over there and arrest the lot of them. Which he probably did.
“What was all that about?” Grant asked as Damon sat back down again.
“What was what?” he replied. How the hell was he supposed to tell his human partner that he’d just found his mate after years of wanting one, and he couldn’t do shit about it, as they were here investigating said mate’s entire pack?
Grant waved in the general direction of the table of shifters. Damon’s mate was taking the empty seat between Tommy and Liam, his back stiff and his eyes firmly focused on his own group.
“No idea.” Damon breathed a sigh of relief when he realised his partner hadn’t meant the exchange between him and his mate, but the one with Ben and the man. “They’re entitled to go out to dinner with friends as much as the next person.”
Grant grunted, then took a drink of his beer, his eyes never leaving the other table.
Damon sighed, and resigning himself to a pretty shitty night, he picked up his beer and drank. If his eyes strayed back to the other table once or twice, he couldn’t really be blamed. Right?
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia’s capital cities. Born and raised in the state she’s a Territorian through and through. Growing up Toni hated english with a passion (as her editors can probably attest to) and found her strength lies with numbers.
Now, though, she loves escaping to the worlds she creates and hopes to continue to do so for many years to come. She’s a single mother of one and works full time. When she’s not writing you can just about guarantee that she will be reading one of the many MM authors she loves.
Feel free to drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.