Rifter needed a woman, Brother Wolf needed to run wild, and their appetites for sex and destruction mingled, rose with a hot howl as Rifter’s Harley roared through the winter night.
Both knew which appetite would have to be sated firstthe fucking; then the running. Rifter and his wolf were usually on the same page in that regard. Tonight was no different, and he slammed his Harley to a stop in front of Bite, one of the many bars along the strip, because he smelled danger. He stomped inside, ignoring the way the room stilled and everyone turned to watch him. After hundreds of years, that shit got old, and he was well aware of what he looked like.
He was also well aware that no one in this room would want to be him, if given the chance. He could only pray no one ever would be put in that position again.
No, he was already part of a pack of the last six living Dire wolves, who cursed their immortality and wore their ferocity on their sleeves because they literally had nothing to lose.
Created by Hati, son of a Norse god, and watched over by a mystical clan of Elders, Rifter was six feet eight inches of raw muscle and more than seven feet, three hundred pounds when he was Brother Wolf, which explained the pain of the transition..
Brother Wolf was part of himwhen he was driving the ship, Rifter could request things, and vice versa, but they were both equal in power. It was the only way they could inhabit one body. He had a great deal of respect for his wolf, knew what Brother needed and when he needed it. Brother did the same for him.
If one of them died, the other would too.
We should be that lucky, he thought, and Brother howled in response inside his head, reminding him of why they’d come here in the first place.
Brother Wolf’s biggest goalbeyond chasing moonswas to become Father Wolf. That could happen only by mating, and that shit was not happening anytime soon.
Rifter’s main goal was to die, but again, he’d be waiting on that one forever.
One of the female Weres, laced into a black bustier, caught up to him when he was halfway to the bar and rubbed her body against his. Where’ve you been, Rift?” she purred.
Prison,” he said as he pushed past her, semidisgusted that his response seemed to turn her on. Prison couldn’t hold Rifter and Brother Wolf, and God knew humans had tried more than once over the last centuries.
He took in the human motorcycle gang and the pack of wolves who’d started their own version of Hells Angels, only far more deadly, and then his nose led him to the young woman sitting alone at the bar. She was doing shots and swaying to the music, and she’d caught the bikers’ attentionhuman and wolfneither of which was a good thing.
He knew immediately from the rumblings that she’d been here too long.
Typically, the wolves stayed among their own, but lately, they’d been mixing it up with the locals, and that wasn’t going over all that well with the weretrappers. This bar was owned and operated by a Werebut catered to humans as well. The thing was, most humans beyond the weretrappers didn’t believe that Weres existed at all, and the Weres and the Dires had been able to pass as full human for as long as they could remember.
He could deal with a fight to get his blood going. But first things first. He moved next to her, watched her turn to him, look up at him. Her eyes widenedappreciation rather than fear, and yeah, what the hell?
You’re not in a good place,” he growled over the music.
I’ve got a seat at the barthat’s the best place,” she told him, not slurring her words yet, but by the way she was motioning to the bartender, she’d find herself doing so soon enough.
She was human and he was drawn to her.
Making sure she’s safe.
Right, because he was a goddamned Boy Scout. He didn’t give a shit about humansthose who knew about the existence of Weres were either terrified, or idiot groupies, or hunting his kind. The wider the berth, the safer for all involved. But there was something that yanked him to her, a zing right to his cock that had him by her side, watching her lick the salt from her hand, down the tequila and suck on the lemon while staring at him with green eyes that were far from innocent.
I’m Gwen,” she said, her voice all hot and smoky sounding even though there wasn’t a cigarette in sight. She leaned back and stared at him again and let a smile tug one corner of her lips.
He knew she wanted to comment on the name, but she didn’t. Instead, she reached out and played with a zipper on his black leather jacket, then let a long finger roam over the soft, smooth fabric. He could picture the black against her creamy skin.
I want to wear this,” she murmured.
Later. Naked,” he told her and she stared at him, her neck graceful, her body more so, and she looked like some kind of aristocrat, like she should be in a ballroom instead of here.
But she was here. There would be no female Weres for him tonight, even though more were already circling. He picked up on the low growls, because Dires never went for humans. Everyone was confused, and he was president of the club.
He expected this to be all over fucking Facebook within the hour. I want to take you home,” he emphasized, in case the naked part hadn’t been enough of a clue.
Have to. Need to. Fuck, he felt like dropping to his knees and howling and it had nothing to do with the full moon.
She tilted her head and continued to study him.
I’m not into anything beyond sex.” Blunt for sure, but he had to make that clear.
A small smile played on her lips. Don’t worryI won’t be around long enough to stalk your tall ass.”
Dying.” Rifter froze and she shrugged. You’re not going to let a little thing like that stop you from coming home with me, right?”
No, I don’t joke about death. Well, that’s not trueI’m a doctorwe have to. Gallows humor keeps us from getting too emotional.”
You’re dying and so you’ve decided to pick up strange men in dangerous bars.”
It’s like one of those bad game-show questionsif you found out you only had a short time left to live, what would you do?” She laughed but there was little humor behind it. I have no idea what I want to do, besides not die.”
She looked healthy to himhealthy and beautiful, with long blond hair, wearing leather, and she did fit in here, in a weird way. And Christ, he could think of nothing more he wanted to do than die. I-fucking-ronic, as Vice would say. How long do you have?”
At least through the night. And it’s not catching,” she added as an afterthought. Are you worth it?”
He didn’t know how the hell to answer that. So he did so truthfully. Hell yes.”
Then let’s go.”
Rifter checked to see if Vice was hanging around, because women sometimes acted this way with his packmate, who was a walking ball of sin. But no, Vice was nowhere in sight and everyone was antsy.
Goddamned full fucking moon. Like a bitch with a whip.
He didn’t bother to fight the urge to pick her up, and he slung her over his shoulder, caveman-style, grabbing her jacket off the back of her chair. He heard her startled, soft gasp, but she didn’t protest as he walked out with her, daring any of the wolves to follow him.
They all knew what he wasthey may not like him, but they sure as hell knew to respect his power.
When he got to his bike, he set her down and handed her the coat. Her hair tumbled over her shoulders, her black tank top had ridden up a little along her belly and her cheeks flushed from the cold. Thanks for the ride.”
That was nothing.”
She refused the helmet he offered, instead wrapping her arms around as much of his waist as she could, and off they went. Normally, he didn’t give a shit about the icy roads, but his passenger wasn’t as indestructible as he was. Though he gave the bike lots of gas, he didn’t get stupid on icy corners and snowy shoulders. After a while, she was no longer holding on and had put her hands in the air, yelling into the wind. He went faster because it seemed to excite her.
When he stopped in front of her house, a pretty little Victorian in the middle of nowhere, she hopped off and he followed her as she walked up the path. Before she could get to the door, he took her arm and pulled her close and brought his mouth down on hers before he could stop himself. She tasted like sugar and cranberriestart and sweetand he wanted more. Wanted it all, and Brother Wolf seemed to agree, as he was ignoring the running in favor of letting Rifter take his time.
When he pulled back, her lips were swollen and she was breathing hard and he was glad about that. Every guy in that bar wanted to take you home tonight. Why me?”
Her eyes flicked over him coolly. You were the biggest.”
He couldn’t tell if she was joking.