Darren Sumner spent fifteen years hunting werewolves, a member of the elite organization Argenti. But one night of betrayal sent him from his Argenti family to the arms of werewolf Aden Richter—one of the most powerful Alphas in Washington D.C. Neither can deny their passion or their hunger for the other, but as Darren tries to find his place in this new world, he wonders whether desire can be enough.
Rumors of an upcoming power struggle between the packs bring the question of Darren’s role to the forefront. Is he Aden’s partner and a leader of the pack? Or is he nothing more than Aden’s lover, placed outside his family? Darren struggles to prove himself as the tensions between the packs mount and Aden’s ex-lover puts a plan of vengeance into action.
...Part of him had expected Aden to immediately shove him into the wall and pin him there. It wouldn’t have been the first time it had happened, after all. So when Aden folded his arms over his chest and leaned against the edge of the marble vanity to fix an icy hot stare on Darren, he was mildly disappointed.
“We had a deal.”
“I know,” Darren said carefully. “But she said she needed to talk to me. I figured she wouldn’t suggest a place like this if she planned to do any of Jasmine’s dirty work.”
“She’s still Argenti.”
“She was once a friend. And she had information that she thought was helpful.”
“And again, I’ll say, she’s Argenti, gorgeous. Remember them? They’re the ones who want you dead and dismembered.”
“I remember, sunshine, but I gotta say, I would rather take my chances with August here than sit around the house by myself, or wait for Nick or Enzo to finally snap and pick a fight with me.”
“Only problem with that is you didn’t tell me what you were doing. Makes it a little hard to keep my promise.”
Darren moved to Aden’s side and smoothed his fingers down Aden’s jacket. “It’s not going to happen again. I doubt anybody else will want to speak to me, and I don’t want to talk to them.”
Aden’s nostrils flared, but he otherwise didn’t move. “What did she want that was so important?”
Darren hesitated, remembering his promise to August not to repeat her words. If she was right, chances were good Aden already knew. Nobody in his pack could even buy new clothes without Aden somehow being aware of it. “What Jasmine was telling everybody in Argenti. About me. The order to shoot on sight if I ever show my face again. What a traitor I am. Things like that.”
“And she’s telling you these things out of the goodness of her heart, or does she have some other motivation?”
“August is smart. Smart enough not to believe a story like Jasmine’s without some sort of evidence. I think she wanted to hear my side. Or maybe she just wanted to make sure I didn’t look like a…I believe she said a chew toy left under the couch.”
For the first time since entering the bathroom, Aden’s mouth relaxed. It wasn’t quite a smile, but there was enough humor there for Darren to comfortably exhale.
“Obviously, she just didn’t know where to look.” His hand slipped out from within his armpit to dust away invisible lint from Darren’s shirtfront. “You should have told me you were meeting an Argenti agent, though. I would expect anyone in my pack to tell me about potential danger, and whether she’s your friend or not, she’s still dangerous.”
“I know what she’s capable of.” And furthermore, Darren knew what he was capable of. Despite Aden’s warning, Darren wasn’t exactly a weakling. He had been trained for nearly his entire life to fight and kill werewolves. August didn’t have any moves that Darren couldn’t predict. “If any of them ever contact me again, you’ll be the first to know.”
“I better be.” His gaze dropped to Darren’s mouth, heavy-lidded and hungry. “I didn’t choose you just to lose you this soon.”
Darren’s earlier annoyance dissipated, like it always did when Aden looked at him that way. He stepped closer, inhaling the soft, familiar scent of Aden’s cologne. He liked the spicy scent that couldn’t quite hide Aden’s natural musk, and Darren didn’t want anything more than to nuzzle against Aden’s cheek and neck. As near as he could tell, Aden radiated some sort of pheromone or hormone. Something that clouded Darren’s mind and made him forget everything except being as close as humanly possible.
“You’re not going to lose me any time soon. I think you might be stuck with me for awhile.”
A large hand came up to cup the back of Darren’s head. Aden’s strength was implacable, though the last thing Darren wanted was to pull away. He remained motionless as Aden bent his head to drag his tongue along the sharp line of Darren’s jaw. It was slow and deliberate, and left his heart racing, anxious for all the promise that sensual mouth held.
“Are you always going to be this much trouble?” came the silken query. “Because I might have to start thinking of new ways to teach you some lessons if that’s the case.”
Darren shivered at the promise. Before meeting Aden, he hadn’t been interested in anybody teaching him certain lessons. “Honestly? I probably will be. But I think you knew that when you met me.”
His low chuckle reverberated right through Darren, shooting straight to his cock. “Sometimes I think that’s exactly why I chose you.”
Darren turned his head, pressing his lips to Aden’s jaw. His skin wasn’t smooth. Light stubble brushed against his mouth. “You do enjoy a challenge. I’ve noticed that about you.”
Slowly, Aden rubbed his thumb in small, hypnotic circles at the base of Darren’s ear. His breath was already quicker, and when he shifted slightly to pull Darren closer into his body, his cock was hard against Darren’s hip. “How am I supposed to sit through my meeting with you on the other side of the room?” Aden licked along the outer curve of his lobe, catching the fleshy bit between his teeth. “I’m not going to be able to give Mr. Oakes my undivided attention.”
“That is unfortunate.” Darren tilted his head, trying to encourage Aden to move down his neck. There was a spot just below his ear that made everything inside Darren flare to life. Especially when Aden used his teeth. “Would it be easier to concentrate if I finish my lunch somewhere else?”
“No, because then I’ll spend all my time wondering what you’re doing, and why you’re not under the table distracting me even more...”