Sam wandered into the farmhouse kitchen to find Keira putting the kettle on. “Just in time,” he said, pulling out a chair to sit down at the table. Without bothering to acknowledge him, Keira reached up and fetched another mug from the cupboard.
The barn conversions might all be finished now, but the farmhouse was still where everyone tended to congregate. Matt moaned about them encroaching on his space, but Sam knew he never meant it. They all liked to keep close to each other, even after months of living in Cornwall.
But now was not the time for dwelling on the past. He had plans for today.
“Where’s Charlie?” he asked, watching his sister finish off the two mugs of tea.
Keira glanced out of the window in the direction of the apartments. “Still sleeping. We got back later than planned. Traffic was a nightmare.”
Not sensing Ash anywhere close by, Sam felt safe to ask. “Did everything go okay? Is it all ready?”
With an eyeroll followed by a smirk, Keira set both mugs on the table and sat down next to him. “Yep.”
“You know….” She tapped her nails against the ceramic handle. “I worried how you were going to cope, after staying a wolf for so long. But there was no need, was there?”
Sam shrugged. That subject still felt uncomfortable to discuss, even with Keira. “I don’t know, it’s still tough sometimes. A lot of the time, in fact.” He sighed and put his hands around the mug to warm them. “But then I see Ash or hear his heartbeat, and then all of a sudden it’s not that tough anymore. He grounds me.”
They drank their tea in silence for a moment, and then she reached over and took his hand in hers. “I’m glad you have him.”
“And he’d better appreciate all the trouble you’ve gone to. That we’ve gone to.”
Sam laughed and nudged her foot under the table. “It’s his birthday, he deserves a little spoiling. And it’s the first one we’ve celebrated together. I wanted to surprise him, make it special.” Imagining Ash’s reaction to what he’d got planned, got him a little hard. He attempted to hide his grin in his mug, but then thought fuck it, and smiled wide. “I’m sure he’ll be very appreciative.”
Keira wrinkled her nose at whatever scents were rolling off him, and slapped him on the arm. “God it’s been months and you two are still as bad as ever. With all the sex you have, it’s a wonder you’ve got the energy for anything else.”
Sam settled back in his chair, unable to stop feeling just a little smug. “We’re newly mated.”
“And don’t we all know it.”
She seemed to have developed a short memory. Sam snorted. “I might have been a wolf at the time, but I remember what you were like with Charlie.”
Her grin matched his then and she laughed. “Whatever. Go get your boy and get out of here.”
Sam stood and leaned down to hug her tight, scenting her just a little before he left. “Thank you for helping me set it all up.”
His and Ash’s bags were already in the car. All he needed now was to track down his mate.
“I still don’t understand why nobody else wanted to come out for lunch, “ Ash grumbled as he fastened his seatbelt. “I mean for one, it’s almost my birthday. And two, you hardly ever want to leave the farm.” His gaze lingered over Sam’s chest for a second as he spoke. “What more incentive do they need?”
Sam hummed in agreement as he pulled out onto the narrow road, following the satnav’s directions. Driving wasn’t his favourite thing, but it was necessary if he wanted to make this a surprise. “Maybe they were just busy.”
“Hmm.” Ash settled back in his seat with a sigh, and looked out the window. “Yeah, I suppose.”
It look five minutes before, out of the corner of his eye, Sam caught Ash frowning in confusion.
Another minute, and Ash turned to look at him. “I thought we were going to the pub in the village?”
“Change of plan.”
“So where are we going instead?”
“Nope.” Sam shook his head. “Not telling. It’s a surprise.”
“Like a birthday surprise?” Ash shuffled in his seat so more of him faced Sam.
“Yeah. An early birthday surprise.” Sam chanced a glance at him, and found Ash staring back at him and grinning. “What?”
Sam laughed softly. “You don’t know what it is yet.”
“I don’t need to.” He bit his bottom lip. “The fact that you’ve done it’s more than enough.” His hand rested on the seat beside his leg, palm up, and Sam reached over to tangle their fingers together. “Why don’t you save your thanks for when we get there.”
“Aren’t you going to tell me?”
Ash’s frustrated huff made Sam laugh even more. “It’ll be worth it, I promise,”
“Fine,” Ash replied, turning to look out the window again, but not quickly enough to hide his smile.
By the time Sam pulled up in front of the cottage, night had fallen and Ash was practically vibrating in the passenger seat. “Fuck, Sam. I can’t believe you brought us here again.” His eyes shone with excitement as he reached for Sam’s hand. “I thought we just going out for lunch.” He glanced back at the front door. “I haven’t packed anything or–”
“It’s all in the boot. Don’t worry.”
“You thought of everything, huh?” Another wide smile.
Pride swelled in Sam’s chest as Ash looked at him in awe. “I hope so.”
“Can I thank you now?” His gaze flicked to Sam’s lips, then back up.
“Yeah.” Desire curled in Sam’s belly, and he gripped the steering wheel hard with his free hand.
A low rumbling growl filled the car and Sam felt the scrape of claws against his knuckles. When he looked at Ash again, Ash’s teeth had lengthened, and his eyes were dark. “Or maybe we should go inside.”
The roughness of his voice sent a jolt of heat to Sam’s groin, and he gripped Ash’s hand reflexively, hissing at the sharp sting but not moving away. Images of the last time they were here filled his head, and his answer came out as more of a moan. “Yeah.”
Ash grinned, and ran his tongue along the edge of his teeth. “Come on then.”
Sam was out of the car first, but before he reached the front door of the cottage, Ash had him pinned up against the wall and pushed a thigh between his legs.
“I thought we were going inside?” Sam said.
“We were.” Ash leaned in and nosed at the base of his throat, nipping the skin. It felt as though he’d drawn blood. He lapped at the sore spot, his fingers curling around Sam’s wrists, and he moaned low and feral. He’d definitely drawn blood. “I couldn’t wait.”
And he hasn’t even seen the best bit yet.
When Ash dropped to his knees on the hard ground and reached for Sam’s belt, Sam cupped his jaw and tilted his head up. He ran his thumbs carefully over Ash’s canines. “Maybe put these away first, yeah?”
Ash kept eye contact as he slowly retracted them. His control was so much better these days. If Sam hadn’t seen it firsthand, he wouldn’t believe Ash had ever struggled with it. It was also incredibly hot–the way Ash watched him from on his knees as his teeth slid back into his jaw.
“Fuck,” Sam whispered. He stroked the side of Ash’s face, watching him deftly unbuckle Sam’s belt and undo his jeans.
“I’ve missed this.” Ash sighed as he tugged Sam’s cock free from his boxers.
Hot breath washed over the head and Sam’s voice came out ragged. “You saw it just this morning.”
Ash’s soft huff of laughter made Sam groan and he let his head fall back to the cold brick wall behind him. “I meant being on our own.” He leaned in to nuzzle Sam’s bare hip, one hand slipping around the base of his dick at the same time. “I love being around the others, but this…” Sam sucked in a breath as Ash dragged his tongue along the underside of his shaft all the way to the tip. “This is perfect.”
“It’s your birthday….” Words caught in his throat, his mind distracted as Ash took him all the way and started to suck him in earnest. “I should…. oh fuck… should be doing this to you.”
Keira had left candles, wine, and food when she came up yesterday. He’d meant to get everything ready while Ash waited in the car, then lead him in with his eyes shut and surprise him, but as usual Ash managed to derail his plans. Not that Sam had any complaints with how things were turning out.
Closing his eyes, he allowed some of his control to slip. The sharp sting of his claws coming out added to the sensations coursing through his body, and when he opened his mouth wide to accommodate sharp teeth, he couldn’t help the moan that spilled out. It felt so good letting his wolf out, even just this small part of him. After so many years spent in that form it would always be the way he was most comfortable.
Ash gripped his thighs, blunt nails digging in as he worked magic with his mouth.
“Close,” Sam mumbled, pushing his hips forward just a little, chasing more of that wet heat. He tangled his fingers in Ash’s hair, careful not to press hard with his claws, but enough to let Ash feel them. The resulting hum of appreciation was all it took, and Sam’s rumbling growl filled the quiet surrounding them as he came.
Ash swallowed, then pulled back so the last few drops smeared across his lips and chin.
With his gaze locked on Sam’s, Ash struggled to get his jeans undone, fumbling twice with the button before he managed it. His hard cock strained against his underwear, and he didn’t even bother getting it out. Sam watched transfixed as Ash shoved a hand inside, gave himself three hard, fast strokes before shuddering and falling foward to rest his head against Sam’s hip.
They stayed like that, catching their breath, and the cool night air surrounding them like a blanket. The desire to shift and run stirred under Sam’s skin, calling to him. Soon.
When Ash finally sat back on heels and looked up, Sam urged him to stand.
“Happy Birthday” he offered, with a lazy smile.
Ash kissed him, slow and deep, lingering for a second before drawing back. “Thank you.”
Twenty years ago the UK’s water supply was contaminated with an experimental pathogen, Lycanaeris, causing widespread panic across the nation. Terrorism was suspected but never proven, and when nothing happened–no epidemic, no unexplained illnesses–the whole episode was written off as an elaborate hoax. But Lycanaeris was selective. Only those of a certain age, and with a specific gene in their DNA were infected. Time would reveal the pathogen’s true nature, when those susceptible grew up Altered.
Daniel is one of thousands forced to hide his altered status by living a quiet life. He’s not like the others, though. Daniel can’t help looking so distinctive or being able to see every altered for what they really are. To those abducting altereds, that skill makes him valuable.
For Jordan, shifting from human to wolf means living under the radar to avoid unwanted attention. Meeting Daniel complicates matters. Daniel’s existence is a threat to Jordan and his friends, but Jordan can’t seem to shake the strange connection between them. When danger threatens, there’s little time for Daniel and Jordan to work out their feelings before lives are at stake.
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