When Jager’s old pack kicks him out under the guise of going back to nature, Jag turns to his Moon Pack friends to take him in. However when he goes to get a drink sexy tiger shifter, Ryder picks him up.
Ryder has never been attracted to wolf shifters before but something about the way Jag prowls through the club has his inner tiger growling with approval. Ryder came to the Moon Pack to find out what happened to his brother Dare but when he uses Jag to get the answers he seeks he jeopardizes the chance of ever gaining Jag’s trust again.
Anthony Carrow stared at King Linnel with narrowed eyes. His fingers twitched with the urge to send a lightning bolt up the king’s ass. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t save his mate, the only reason he remained in this gods- and goddesses-forsaken kingdom. Linnel knew the key to opening Silver’s cage, and if Anthony so much as fiddled with the lock, the spell enclosing Silver would kill his mate.
The only way to free his mate would be the death of the king, and Anthony found that less and less of a deterrent every day. Anthony looked over the court, trying to decide who would make the best new royal. Eventually, Linnel would slip enough that the pathetic, pleading expressions of his people wouldn’t be sufficient to protect him from Anthony’s wrath. Anthony and Silver had come to find Anthony’s father, only to fall into the king’s trap. It had been a long time since he’d felt this level of helplessness.
He needed to concentrate on keeping calm and not killing the bastard who held them captive. Silver’s pack would soon come to the rescue, and when they did, Anthony would vaporize the smug fucker.
When King Linnel turned to look at him, Anthony made sure his thoughts were reflected in his smile.
The king dropped his drink.
“I’ve decided to move the pack to our territory up north. Maybe the Moon pack will take you in, since you’re such buddies with them.” Madros Knoll, Jager’s alpha, sneered, his expression displaying more than words how little he thought of the Moon pack wolves and, in turn, Jager.
Jager stared back at his alpha for a long moment as he tried to comprehend what the other man had said. When had an alternate reality entered the scene? He’d come at Madros’ phone call only to be tossed aside like a used tissue. It generally took breaking a pack law to get thrown out.
What the hell had he done?
“You’re kicking me out? What’s the offense?” Jager asked.
His chest hurt. The pain of rejection stung like a slap to the face and a punch to his heart.
Madros, his alpha up to a few minutes ago, looked uncomfortably around the room as if hoping the spiders would save him from their conversation. “We just think you’d be happier elsewhere.”
Anger burned through him. He might not be an alpha, but he wasn’t deadweight either.
“I’ve contributed, given tithe!” Hell, with so many people out of work, he’d given more than his fair share of the money he made from his modeling work. Everyone in the pack donated into the group funds to take care of the pack’s needs, helping to provide for education, housing, and sometimes even food when times were tough.
“That’s just it, Jager. We’re going to go live off the land. Unless you’d like to give us more financing, there just won’t be room for a city wolf in the country.” The alpha’s voice trailed away as if he lost the confidence to continue his bullshit while facing Jager.
Fury filled him, followed quickly by gut-wrenching despair. Jager had always suspected the pack had only wanted him for his cash, but he’d hoped deep down they at least cared for one of their own. The cold light in the alpha’s eyes told him his mistake. Acceptance didn’t live in the other man’s eyes, only cold calculation. They were betting he’d give them his last dime before he went rogue.
They were mistaken.
Jager flashed his fangs, a sign of disrespect to the higher-level wolf. “I hope you enjoy being Paul fucking Bunyan, because I’m out of here.”
As if from an unheard signal, the office door opened, and two of the pack betas entered. They’d obviously been listening to the entire exchange, because they couldn’t meet Jag’s gaze either.
“Don’t bother to throw me out. I don’t want to be part of such a pitiful excuse for a pack anyway!” He pushed angrily past them. Neither of them tried to stop Jager or even punish him for disrespecting their Alpha.
They didn’t call out to him either.
Heart aching and soul-sick, Jager left the building. They never cared. After three years of working his ass off on runways and sweating beneath photographer lights to help provide for the pack, they tossed him away like yesterday’s news.
He walked away from the pack territory, pulled out his phone, and dialed his sister.
“Hey, Jag.” Delilah’s voice, bubbly and sweet, came across the line.
“They tossed me out,” Jager spat the words, fast and bitter.
“Who did what to you?” Delilah’s tone hardened.
“Madros told me they were going back to nature and didn’t want me along.” He blinked back tears as he marched through the dark streets. At that moment, he kind of wished someone would attack him. Snapping a mugger’s neck would finish off his day nicely.
“I’ll kill the fucker. I knew he was no good, but you always said we needed to belong to a pack. Madros announced last week, when you were out of town, they were going to the hills, but I thought it was one of those pack-building exercises. I should rip out his throat and leave him for the coyotes,” Delilah growled.
“Del, you know you don’t mean that,” Jager soothed. “Besides, if you killed him the pack would get even, and you wouldn’t be around to take care of Sammy.”
“That’s true.” Del’s voice held genuine affection. She adored Farro Moon’s son. She’d been watching him for a while now, and she had grown fond of both Sammy and his fathers.
“I’m just glad I didn’t give Madros access to my bank accounts. The bastard would’ve bled me dry,” Jager said.
“That’s because you’re smart and don’t need him. Talk to Anthony and Silver. They’ll set you up right. They owe you for all the help you’ve given them over the years.”
Jager smiled at his sister’s self-righteousness. “They don’t owe me, but I’ll talk to them. Want me to mention you?” He wouldn’t pressure his sister to give up her pack, not because he got himself kicked out.
“You’d better,” Del snarled. “Because if I go back to Madros’ pack, it’s only to rip his stupid head off his shoulders and shove it up his ass.”
Jager laughed. The image of his delicately built sister destroying the Alpha wolf danced in his mind for one brief, glorious moment before evaporating like a wistful dream. Only a few minutes before, he hadn’t thought he’d feel better for quite a while, but a little time spent on the phone with his sister and his world tumbled back together.
“Thanks, sis. I’m feeling better now.”
He disconnected the phone after assuring her he’d call back after he talked to the Moon pack. He didn’t know how long he walked but his feet hurt in his Italian leather shoes by the time he realized he’d crossed to the other side of town and into Moon pack’s territory.
A familiar door stood before him. Silver’s club. Perfect.
If nothing else, he could dance, drink, and maybe find a friendly fuck before he had to face the next day. Hell, the Alpha hadn’t even really given him a choice. He’d bet the rest of the pack knew Madros’ plans long before they shared the news with Jager. It just proved he’d never really been part of the pack. He wondered what they’d have done if he’d agreed to go with them.
Fuck them all. He hoped they had a rabid tick and flea infestation in their back-to-nature experience. It couldn’t happen to a nicer group.
“Hey, you okay, Jag?” Jager looked up to meet Farro’s concerned gaze. The small expression of compassion almost had him bursting into tears. Damn, he’d once hoped Farro would be his mate, but now the other wolf had a pretty fae lover who thought the world wouldn’t revolve without Farro’s help to push it along.
Jager mustered a smile for his friend. “My pack is leaving the city, and they decided I wouldn’t suit their new lifestyle.” The words hurt to say, but he wouldn’t back down from the truth.
They didn’t want him.
“What!” Anger on Jager’s behalf burned brighter than a bonfire in Farro’s eyes. A low growl punctuated his friend’s words. “I’m going to go tell your alpha what an ass he is right before I beat the crap out of him.”
Jager smiled, warming inside from Farro’s reaction. “I don’t think killing Madros will help anything.” He shrugged. “I guess we just weren’t a good fit, after all.”
After talking to his sister and now his good friend, being tossed aside didn’t seem such a big thing. It still hurt, but the sharp stab of pain faded a little more with each bit of support from the people he knew truly cared about him.
Farro scowled. “You were a good fit when they were siphoning money off you like a two-dollar whore.”
Jager nodded. He couldn’t argue over the truth. “I think they decided to go back to nature when I refused to give them everything I owned.” Now that he thought about the financial discussions he’d had with Madros in the past, they had darker overtones. Luckily, he hadn’t handed over his bank information to the alpha. He’d kept his money separate, and although he donated a hefty amount to the group’s care, he never trusted Madros or the pack accountant completely.
Farro squeezed Jager’s shoulder. “Come on in. I’ll buy you a drink.”
“Aren’t you on duty?”
Farro shook his head. “Just got off, and Kylen isn’t expecting me for another hour. He took Sammy to see the latest kiddie flick. I’m not even sure which one.” Farro shuddered. “They all involve improbable plots and as much noise and color as they can cram into one film.”
Jager laughed. “Thanks, man, but I need a distraction tonight. Maybe find someone to spend some naked time with. Somehow, I don’t think Kylen would appreciate that much emotional support.”
“Probably not. Have a good evening. Call me if you need to talk.” Farro’s sympathetic smile told Jager his friend didn’t take offense.
If he needed to vent further or find a shoulder to cry on, Farro would provide one. Unlike Jager’s deceitful pack, Farro and many of the Moon pack were true friends. Maybe he would follow his old alpha’s advice and petition Silver for membership.
Ryder Snow took another sip of beer. He needed to contact his brother, to see his only remaining relative in the flesh. So far, all inquiries had resulted in a dead end. No one would talk to him except to say Dare usually worked as a bartender at the club, but they claimed not to know when he’d be back. Ryder hadn’t seen his baby brother in five years, not since Dare had run off to see the world.
For three weeks, he’d been lurking around town, hoping for any sight of his brother. It took the first two weeks to coax an entry into the Moon pack’s club and a whole lot of money in membership. Not that he couldn’t afford it, but damn, Ryder had hoped to run into his brother by now. He needed to check on Dare and let him know their parents were dead. It wasn’t the tiger way to mourn for people who’ve passed; tigers didn’t fixate on their dead, but Dare would want to know.
Ryder watched the mirror, looking for someone who might know something or be willing to at least tell him where the fuck he could find his brother. He’d heard vague rumors about an injury and his brother mating with a wolf. Either fact could be wrong. Why would anyone want a mangy mutt instead of a beautiful feline?
Ryder didn’t try to hide the fact he preferred those of the cat persuasion. Tiger shifters were just more… everything.
A drop in the club volume grabbed his attention. Scanning the mirror for the source, he caught a glimpse of a man in the reflecting surface.
Who was that?
Oddly enough, the man walked like a shifter, but he couldn’t be a tiger, too small in his human form to be any of the large cat breeds.
Confused over his attraction but curious, Ryder watched the man approach, pleased when the strange, stunning creature stopped at the bar a few steps away from him.
“Evening, Jag,” the bartender said. “What can I get for you?”
“A bottle of Pilsner, please.”
“I’ve got a new microbrew people seem to like,” the bartender offered.
Jag nodded his agreement, and a cold bottle quickly spun his way.
“You let me know if there’s anything else I can get you.” The bartender’s sexy smile indicated Jag could ask for anything, including him.
Ryder hissed, his inner cat disliking the friendly server.
Shit, what’s wrong with me?
Stunning blue-gold eyes turned in his direction. “Did you just hiss?”
Ryder took a drink of his beer. “What of it?” He dared the other man to make it an issue.
He didn’t care if the man smelled like heaven. Ryder jerked back when he realized he’d unknowingly leaned closer for another sniff. The lack of fear in Jag’s eyes was the sexiest thing Ryder had ever seen. Usually, his size alone intimidated people.
Jag gave him a slow easy smile. “I don’t run into cat breeds very often. The only other cat I know is Dare.” Jag’s lush mouth turned down at the corners, and a sad expression crossed his face. The same damn thing that happened whenever any of these fuckers mentioned his brother. The wolves had closed ranks around Ryder’s brother, and since Dare hadn’t mentioned Ryder, none of them were willing to tell him what had happened.
His brother’s charm had apparently done its job. Dare got all the personality in the family while Ryder got the strength of will. Where Ryder took what he wanted in true alpha manner, Dare coaxed people into giving him everything with his wide smile and big fucking heart. When Ryder told Dare their parents were dead it would crush Dare even though they hadn’t spoken for a while. Tigers didn’t need to snuggle together in puppy piles like wolf packs to love each other.
“How is Dare?” Ryder asked.
Immediately, the other shifter closed off, and his beautiful eyes grew cautious. “Fine.”
“He didn’t join the fucking secret service!” Ryder roared, his patience snapping.
Grabbing Jag by his shirt, Ryder stood and lifted the man a good five inches from the ground until they met eye to eye. “Now tell me what the fuck is wrong with my brother, or I’m going to rearrange your gorgeous face.”
To Ryder’s shock, the man calmly dangled there. He took a sip from his bottle of beer and met Ryder’s eyes like no one had ever dared before. Ryder’s cock went from semi-interested to rock hard with drag-racing speed.
“Dare never mentioned a brother,” Jag challenged.
“That’s doesn’t mean I don’t exist!” Ryder roared.
“Put me down.” The hard tone in the voice demanded obedience.
Ryder set Jag on his feet before his brain registered the action.
Jag casually straightened his shirt with one hand as if nothing odd had occurred. “How do I know you’re really Dare’s brother?”
“Like you said. How many tiger shifters do you know?”
“Apparently, one too many,” Jag replied raising one brow.
Ryder smiled at Jag’s dry tone. “Sorry. I’ve been trying to find out about my brother. Our parents died and left us some money. I want to make sure Dare gets his inheritance.” Dare deserved half, and Ryder would make sure he got it.
“Hey, Jager.” A tall man with designer clothes and a sexy smile wrapped an arm around the pretty wolf. “Did you just come for a drink, or are you looking for some company? I’m off tomorrow if you want to come by my place.”
There was nothing wrong with the man. Hell, Ryder had fucked his share of tall men with lean muscles, but that didn’t stop him from picking the fucker up and tossing him over the heads of the crowd.
The wolf continued gazing at him with the same unruffled expression. “Is there a particular reason you chucked Mel like a football?”
Ryder’s cat howled his dislike of the slime ball who tried to pick up his pretty wolf.
Instead of answering, Ryder picked up his drink and took a swallow. A smack on his arm startled him.
“You hit me?” Surprise had him putting his beer back down.
“You threw the man I might have wanted to spend the night with!” Jag’s brilliant eyes flashed with irritation, the first sign of annoyance on the man’s handsome face.
Ryder’s inner tiger snarled, struggling to jump out and inform the wolf who he belonged to. His fangs grew. With a snarl, he picked Jag up and flipped the wolf shifter over his right shoulder. Ignoring Jag’s growl, Ryder marched through the crowd but stopped when another shifter stepped forward to block his path.
“You all right, Jag?” the man asked as if Ryder didn’t exist.
His respect for wolves increased with exposure to the puppy pack. This group didn’t appear the least bit cowed by Ryder’s manner. Most shifters would flee before a larger predator. If they were in their animal forms, Ryder could decimate the werekin before him.
“Ask him his name,” Jag grumbled.
The stranger gave Ryder a cool glance. “What’s your name?” he asked.
“Ryder, what’s yours?” He didn’t want to offend the wolf.
The wolves might combine to take him down if they thought he was taking one of their own against his will.
“Thomas.” The shifter’s gaze assessed Ryder as if weighing his worth.
He barely resisted growling. “Well, Thomas, I’m taking Jag home with me. Do you have a problem with that?” He kept his tone even, not challenging but not backing down.
“Do I have a problem with that?” Thomas asked the dangling wolf.
“Nope, I’m fine,” Jag responded as if the two of them were meeting over coffee, and he wasn’t ass up on a stranger’s shoulder.
To Ryder’s shock, Thomas stepped aside and motioned the bouncer to open the door. The crowd parted, and Ryder passed through the rest of the club unscathed. Once outside, he got a small growl from Jag.
He slapped the younger man’s ass. “Shush. No growling or biting the hand of the one who fucks you.”
“What makes you think I’m going to let you anywhere near my ass?” Jag snarled.
“You didn’t let your friend stop me.” Ryder took a deep breath, inhaling the amazing scent of the wolf shifter. “And you smell like a man ready for some action.”
“Action? Did you really say that?” Astonishment filled Jag’s voice.
Ryder flipped Jag over and slid him down his body, making sure every part of the sexy man touched him on the way. Wrapping his arms around the shifter, he pulled Jager close until air couldn’t pass between them. Tilting Jager’s chin, he captured the shifter’s mouth with his own. Heat whipped through Ryder like a firestorm, his inner tiger purring with delight. The urge to devour the man in his arms rose up, making his fingers tremble from the need to rip off Jag’s clothes.
“Are you going to argue semantics or let me fuck you?” Ryder asked.
“Argue?” Jager’s voice held more question than conviction.
Ryder gave the statement as much attention as it deserved. None.
He kissed Jager again. He’d never had such a strong reaction to another person before. Cats were often bi-sexual, but Ryder had never had a man or woman that attracted him as much as this one sexy wolf.
A long whistle and a shouted “get a room” broke the men apart.
Ryder flashed fangs at the speaker until the obnoxious man paled and rushed into the club. He should rip off the fucker’s arms and beat him with them. Ryder calmed. It took him a moment to realize Jag stroked his chest in a soothing gesture. The touch warmed him down to his toes.
“Come on, my hotel room is only a few miles from here,” Ryder said.
Jager almost dug in his heels to stop the tiger shifter from dragging him off, but why bother? He didn’t have anywhere else to go. He had no mate, and returning to his condo alone held zero appeal. He’d gone inside the club to find a man for sex and had found one. The way the tiger manhandled him sent shivers down Jager’s spine. At six-feet two inches, he didn’t usually find larger men to haul him around.
Ryder must have sensed Jager’s hesitation because he stopped. “Problem?”
Jager had a swift debate with his inner wolf, and neither of them could find any issues with the plan. After all, there were enough sparks between the two of them to power a small city.
“No. Not a one,” Jager said.
“Good,” Ryder growled.
The deep rumble of Ryder’s voice thrilled Jager’s wolf. The beast wanted to come out and play with the big cat, but Jager’s human side definitely had different ideas.
“Do you need to get your car?”
Jager shook his head. “No, I walked here.”
“Not particularly.” Jager lived in a condo on the other side of town. His walk had brought him several miles away from home, but he wouldn’t discuss the trauma of his day with his fuck of the night. Pushing the memories of his alpha encounter to the back of his mind, Jager focused on the man in front of him. “Can we get going?”
Ryder gave him a curious look before he shrugged and dropped the subject. “Okay.”
They walked to a large pickup with the words Two Cat Construction emblazoned on the side.
“You have a partner?”
Ryder’s tone indicated he didn’t want to talk either.
Fair enough. They both had things neither wanted to discuss. It wouldn’t be fair to push Ryder when Jager didn’t want to talk either. He hadn’t let Ryder pick him up to have a heart to heart conversation. He needed sex—hard, grinding physical activity to make everything disappear except the touch of another person.
Neither said much during the drive to Ryder’s hotel. Jager watched the man out of the corner of his eye and took a deep breath to regain his calm. Odd. People rarely made him nervous, but he couldn’t deny the jangled excitement pulsing through his body at the mental image of Ryder naked.
“Fuck. Stop that!” Ryder growled.
“Stop what?” Jager bit his lip.
How had he already screwed up a one-night stand? Damn, he couldn’t do anything right today.
Ryder reached over and stroked Jager’s head as if trying to soothe a pet. “You smell amazing, and I don’t know what you’re thinking, but your arousal increased and I can’t take it anymore.”
“Umm, sorry.” Jager didn’t really know what he could do about his scent.
Ryder flicked Jager a look out of the corner of his eye. “I’m being a prick. I’ve never wanted someone so damned much and you’re not even a tiger.”
“Is that a requirement?” Jager asked coolly.
His stomach sank while he waited for Ryder’s reply. He’d already proven insufficient once today.
“No, it isn’t a requirement. I just don’t usually go for non-cat shifters. I’ve never been interested in a wolf before.”
“Why don’t you turn around and take me back to the club?” Jager sighed and leaned back against the headrest.
Apparently, his crappy day hadn’t gotten any better.
A low snarl filled the truck’s cab.
“There’s no way you’re going back to that club and letting someone else take you home. You’re mine. I found you first, and I’m going to take you to my hotel room and fuck you until I’m the only man you can remember.”
Jager shrugged and turned his head away so Ryder didn’t see his smile. The growly cat could end up being the perfect solution to his shitty day.