Can men who each bridge two worlds make a life together?
Blaze Canis is doing what he loves best. As a shooting range instructor just outside Yellowstone National Park, the former Navy SEAL sniper is still handling firearms. When Shoshoni native Logan Rider walks into his class one morning, the attraction each man feels for the other is sudden, almost mystical. Since Blaze’s teammates never knew he was gay, let alone a werewolf, he’s confident in hiding his wolf nature from Logan, too.
But will keeping his secret work, or will it blow up in Blaze’s face as his relationship with the American native deepens?
The black wolf shuddered as his dark muzzle shortened and the space between his yellow eyes widened. His ears flattened and reshaped, finding their way to the sides of the head. As the face came into focus, the wiry fur disappeared as it softened and lengthened into hair covering a fleshy scalp and bangs brushed across the emerging forehead. His neck shortened and his spine straightened as the back legs lengthened and their paws receded into feet. The forepaws became hands at the end of long arms. His body convulsed as the transition completed and the wolf was once again fully human.
Carrigan Morgan shook his head to clear his mind after the change and think again as a man. From a crouch, he rose and stepped back from the torn human body at his feet.
It was unfortunate the nature lover they’d just killed had wandered into the pack’s secret hunting grounds in the lush Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park. After the excited, wide-eyed, and terrified stranger had videoed Carrigan and his beta shifting into wolf form, they’d had no choice. He had to die. The secret of the wolf shifters in this part of the park had been kept for millennia, and so it must remain for all time.
Too late, the stranger had dropped rifle and camera and run. The wolves were on him in seconds for the strike. The alpha tore his carotids open, and the beta ripped groin arteries and blood vessels with his sharp teeth.
The nature lover screamed and collapsed. His cries changed to a gurgle as his mouth and lungs filled with blood, and he bled out.
Once he was dead, the carnivores withdrew without swallowing even one drop of blood. Despite being in wolf form, eating human flesh or drinking human blood would have been too close to cannibalism.
Carrigan stared at the crumpled form, surprised he’d gotten as much of a rush out of killing his first human as he had when bringing down an elk. Even now, remnants of that thrill stirred his body, particularly in his balls and swelling cock. Even his pucker ached for a good fuck. He shut his eyes and pictured how he would jerk himself off when he was in private.
“Carrigan?” Paul White, the gray wolf who was his beta, and, unlike the alpha, truly gray, brought him back to the moment. “What do we do now?”
“We get rid of the evidence.” Morgan retrieved the camera, deleted the photos, and destroyed the device by stomping it with one boot and crushing it until only pieces were left. “You take his head. I’ll take his feet,” he ordered. “Don’t forget his weapon.”
“If we leave him, a bear or a coyote will feed on him and leave no evidence of a wolf attack.”
“And if a park ranger finds him before they do?”
After a pause, Paul said, “I get your point.”
“Exactly. Now pick up his damned torso.”
The upper body was heavier, so it wasn’t a balanced load. Although Carrigan was the stronger man, he was the Alpha and could do as he pleased. It pleased him to be in control and delegate risky things and the hardest physical labor to others. He saved his strength for the important things, such as going for the necks of elk and, now, bringing down this man…this interloper who had been a dire threat to their secrets.
Paul didn’t protest or offer other solutions. He slung the rifle strap across his chest, letting the gun ride down his back. Then he slid his arms under the dead man’s armpits.
“On three,” Carrigan commanded.
They heaved the body up on Carrigan’s count of three and trudged two miles through tall grasses and trees until, scratched and insect-bitten, they reached a private area where they tossed gun and carcass into a deep part of the flowing Lamar River. The rains had been heavy this year, and the river was still swollen and could handle the size of their kill.
“Good riddance,” Paul said as he sluiced water upstream over his face and hands. “Jeez, that was close, wasn’t it? I’ve never seen visitors in our part of Yellowstone.”
“Neither have I.” Carrigan studied Paul. “You’ve got blood on your shirtsleeves. Wash it off.”
After they’d both cleaned up thoroughly in the icy water, they rested, sitting cross-legged with their backs and heads propped against tree trunks.
Paul lamented, “We could’ve made it here much faster as wolves, without the scratches and bug bites.”
Carrigan’s laugh had a steely edge to it. “That’s a ridiculous notion. How would we have carried him?”
“I guess dragging him would’ve slowed us down.”
“For a smart man, you’re sometimes a little slow on the uptake.”
Paul frowned, probably not pleased at Carrigan’s attack on his intelligence, but he was, after all, only the beta.
Carrigan smiled a smile almost as wide as a wolf’s mouth, tongue lolling out of habit. You don’t have to like me, Paul. I am the leader. You just have to submit to my commands.
He punched him on the shoulder. “Get up. It’s a long way back to my car.”
Paul winced at the hard hit, then sighed and stood with reluctance. Putting his hands on his hips, he arched his back and rolled his head from right side to left and back again, working out the kinks there and in his neck. He hurried to catch up with Carrigan, who was already many long strides ahead of him.