Once Upon A Time…Has Never Been This Hot.
Caden Brady skidded the truck backwards then headed down the driveway, slamming his hand on the steering wheel. He saw his brother wince out of the corner of his eye, but it didn’t matter. He knew Talon was just as pissed as he was, the only difference was that Talon was still thinking about getting into Rebecca’s pants, instead of worrying about how they were going to stop good, old Mayor Carson from stealing their ranch out from underneath them. The man had been hounding them for nearly two years, and if this latest stunt got enough public support, he might just succeed in getting their refuge permits revoked and their ranch closed down.
“You know, Caden, if you don’t stop frowning like that, your mouth might stay that way. And you’d look pretty stupid in your coyote form with that look stuck on your snout.”
Caden huffed and gave Talon a hardened stare. “Perhaps you should spend more time thinking about how we’re going to stop Mayor Carson from stealing our land and a bit less about how you’re going to convince Rebecca to join us in bed.”
Talon shrugged, glancing at her Jeep following close behind. “Go ahead and brush it off, but I know you feel the pull of the moon as much as I do. Hell, it was all I could do to scent the kill site over Rebecca’s pheromones, and even then I was too distracted to decipher anything remotely useful. It’s mid-February—the height of mating season—and it’s been forever since we even had sex, let alone thought about taking a mate.” He nodded at the slight tremble in Caden’s hands. “It’s time to face facts, bro. Either we find a way to get Rebecca to see us as more than just a couple of awkward teens she used to know and accept us as her mates, or what happens to the ranch won’t really matter...we’re dying inside without her.”
Caden sighed at the hurt expression on Talon’s face, looking back at the endless white road. They’d known years ago, when Rebecca had first moved to town with her father, that she was their intended mate. But being eighteen with their shifting abilities still new, they hadn’t been able to do more than watch her from afar before she’d headed off to university.
He grunted, choosing not to meet Talon’s gaze. “Well, if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Otherwise, it’d serve us better to get our heads out of her pants and on the task at hand.”
Talon growled. “I swear, if Darrin puts one finger on her—”
“We’re not about to let anything happen to her. But if we want to keep her safe, we need to know why Carson and his son are so hell-bent on getting our ranch. I just can’t see his hatred toward coyotes being his only motivation. I think he’s using it as an excuse—one the town council will believe.” He gave Talon a sly smile. “You know how much folks here distrust coyotes.”
Talon nodded toward Rebecca’s Jeep. “From the way Darrin was talking, it doesn’t sound as if Rebecca shares those views.”
“Well, we’d better hope she fucking loves them, or there’s not a hope in hell she’ll agree to sleep with us.” He shook his head. “Damn, I don’t even know if she’d be into two normal guys at once, let alone a couple of misfits like us.”
“Only one way to find out.”
Caden chuckled. “You always did have more luck than sense. But perhaps instead of blindsiding her for a threesome, we can get an idea of her feelings while she’s looking around the compound. She can’t hide from us forever.”
Caden prayed he was right as he turned up the dirt road that led to their ranch. Even with the windows up, he could hear the high-pitched yips of the animals residing within their compound. Though it was rare to see coyotes in their natural habitat, the animals pranced along the fence edging their land, as the truck rolled to a stop.
He jumped out and took a deep, soothing breath. The smell of pine and winter infused his senses, but they weren’t enough to mask the scent of each coyote in their pack. The animals whined at the fence, and he finally managed a smile. Their unconditional love and respect always humbled him and he found himself standing at the enclosure, down on one knee as he greeted his native brothers.
“Wow. I didn’t realize they were so tame.”
Rebecca’s voice snapped his focus back, and he quickly pushed to his feet, taking two steps back. He stared as she neared the fence, her eyes wide, but unafraid, her attention on the dark-brown male watching her from behind the wire. The animal pawed at the ground, but didn’t move, looking at her with the same intensity it did him and Talon. Caden eased his fingers around her arm, keeping her from getting too close.
“They aren’t usually that good with others. They recognize Talon and me, but generally growl at strangers.”
Rebecca raised her eyebrow at him, looking back at the coyote still standing by the fence. A slow smile spread across her face, and she brushed off his hand, bending down on one knee as she eased closer to the animal. “Guess he doesn’t see me as a stranger.”
Caden chuckled, eyeing the animal, but it simply tilted its head and sat on its hunches, wagging its tail. “Looks like you’ve made a friend.” Caden knelt beside her, jabbing her playfully in the ribs. “Or should we be worried that you’ve been sneaking around here at night, playing with our coyotes?”
Rebecca laughed, following his lead when he stood up and joined Talon by the truck. Caden moved so they formed a triangle, allowing her just enough space that she wouldn’t feel smothered.
Talon motioned toward the large male coyote still waiting nearby. “Is it just me, or are you part coyote?”
Rebecca glanced at the animal. “Well, they are cunning hunters with exceptional adaptability, so I’ll gladly be half coyote.” She snorted and crossed her arms on her chest. “Not all of us share Darrin’s perspective...or his father’s. If they had their way, there wouldn’t be any predators left in the wild.”
Caden merely nodded, too overwhelmed by the simple beauty of her to care where the conversation was headed. He drank in her features, starting with the cascading waves of chestnut hair, loosely tied at the sides. He hadn’t seen it fully down since she’d returned, and he longed to run his hands through the silky tresses, wrapping the strands around his fingers as his brother peppered kisses along her shoulders and back, skimming her skin until she moaned for more and finally took his aching cock deep into her velvety mouth.
Pressure built inside his crotch, and he cursed under his breath for allowing his thoughts to get him hard...as if he hadn’t been hard for her for the past several years, the last one being the toughest. Having her in town, but not at their side, had taken a toll on both men, and he realized Talon was right. If they didn’t get Rebecca to accept them for who, and what they were, what happened to the land, and the refuge, wouldn’t matter. They’d fade into nothing without her.