Bark at the Moon
By Julia Davies
It's just your typical love story: new guy in town meets his ideal man, who turns out to be a werewolf...
Andy McEwen thinks he's going to like it here; new town, new home, new job, and then there's the leather-clad, motorcycle-riding sex-god who's bed he woke up in this morning. And who is about to turn his world upside down.
Ret Alexander is a werewolf. He knew from the moment he met Andy that they were destined to be mates but Andy is human, with no knowledge of their world, much less that werewolves even exist. Ret has never heard of another wolf being mated to a human, but he knows that he has to try, and that means introducing Andy to the knowledge that not only are werewolves real, but that most of the people he's met in town are part of the pack.
When Andy learns the truth, he runs, scared by this new world he's been brought into. Can he learn to trust Ret enough to give their relationship a chance?
Ret watched the world go by through wolf eyes, his vision in black and white. He had shifted and come out here to think, to escape the chaotic everyday workings of the pack and the guard, but all he’d done was bring his problems with him. Usually, shifting to wolf form and going for a run relaxed him, but not today. Despite his good intentions, he found himself turning away from the woods and heading for the playing fields.
Now, he sat in the long grass at the edge of the park, near the houses, keeping low so that no one would see him. He had been here for about two hours, observing and now he watched as a blond man came out of the end house, locking the door behind him. He must have finished his unpacking, Ret thought, for he’d seen the removal van had left an hour ago.
The man pocketed his keys and walked to the bus stop, tugging the collar of his thick jacket up around his neck in an effort to keep out the cold air. Ret followed at a distance until he ran out of cover, then sat on his haunches, watching until the bus came and the man was gone.
An hour later, Ret sat in his office with his feet up on the desk, staring out the window. Images of the blond man sprung into his mind—as if they’d ever really left—and he groaned as he felt himself growing hard again. He hadn’t even spoken to the man, didn’t know his name, and had only seen him a few times as he passed him in the street, yet his body reacted to him each time. If this were anyone else, he would have said that the man was his mate, but it wasn’t possible. The man was human, he was wolf. It couldn’t work.
“Ret, you in there?”
Jai sauntered into the office without bothering to wait for an invitation, let the door swing back, and dropped into the chair opposite Ret.
“Where have you been? You were supposed to meet us at Howlers half an hour ago.”
Ret smiled apologetically. Howlers was their usual after-hours hang out, a biker bar on the edge of town run by one of the pack. The owner, Jake, had named it as a joke, one that the locals didn’t get. Most of the residents had no idea that one of the largest werewolf packs in the country lived among them, never realising that the woodlands around the town were filled with wolves each full moon. Ret, Jai, and five others were the pack guards, protecting and policing the others. Since much of their job involved keeping files on troublesome pack members and organising permissions and security for other wolves to enter their territories, they held a small suite of offices in a building on the main street.
“I had a couple of errands to run,” he told Jai, not wanting to admit where he had really been. There was something a little pathetic about stalking a man he’d never actually met.
“Well, get your arse to the bar,” Jai told him, standing up to leave before grinning and adding, “It’s your round.”
Ret laughed and followed him out, climbing onto his Harley and tailing Jai’s bike to the bar. When they reached Howlers, the car park was already full of motorcycles, the noise from inside spilling out as they opened the door. From across the room, laughter could be heard and he and Jai headed that way. His friends had staked their claim on the pool table again, it seemed.
“At long bloody last!”
Ret growled but Dex just grinned, holding up his empty pint glass.
“I told you it was your round,” Jai said, slapping him on the back.
Ret turned around and went to the bar, grumbling, Dex tagging along. Suddenly, he stopped dead.
Behind the bar stood the blond man, pulling a pint and chatting with a customer, his delicious-looking full lips curving up into a smile at whatever the customer had said as he took the money to the register. The man was in his late twenties, with piercing blue eyes and delicate features, yet he didn’t look feminine. Ret watched the man joke with the customers, pushing a strand of hair that had escaped from the rubber band that held it back behind his ear. He could feel his cock swelling, becoming uncomfortable in his motorcycle leathers.
“Ret? Earth to Ret.”
Dex waved a hand in front of his face, chuckling, and Ret glared at him. He had to get a grip, and get his bloody hormones under control. Ignoring the images his mind was coming up with and the ache in his cock, he leaned on the bar.
It was then that the object of his obsession turned around and looked straight at him. For a moment, he stared and Ret’s breath caught—the man felt it, too. Then the man glanced down at the bar, looking embarrassed, and the spell was broken. He came across to them, asking for their order.
“Is this your first night?” Dex asked. “Jake never mentioned it.”
The guy nodded, his gaze flicking to Ret for a second. “I’m Andy McEwen,” he said, “and yes, it is.”
“I’m Dex, this is Ret.”
Andy got their drinks, and as Ret handed over the money his hand brushed Andy’s by mistake. When their fingers touched it felt as though a shock of electricity ran between them and Ret dropped the note, looking up into Andy’s startled eyes. Fuck. He was right, Andy was his mate, he was practically certain of it now.
He went back to the guards and half-listened to their bickering and teasing, but his mind was elsewhere. A couple of times he looked up and saw Andy watching him curiously across the bar, and it took all of the self control he possessed not to march back across there and see if that delectable mouth felt as good against his as he imagined.
At closing time, when everyone had gone, Ret sat outside Howlers, resting against his motorcycle. He’d left with the others half an hour ago but hadn’t even made it halfway home before turning his bike around and coming back.
Moments later, the door opened and Andy came out, calling goodnight to Jake. When he saw Ret, he paused.
“Are you waiting for someone?” he asked, “because everyone apart from Jake is gone. You’re Ret, right?”
He remembered. “Ret Alexander.” Ret stood, not taking his gaze off Andy. “I was waiting for you, actually.”
He didn’t move as Ret closed the gap between them. Andy was interested and aroused, he knew, his werewolf sense of smell told him that. Reaching out, he cupped his palm to Andy’s cheek before leaning in and brushing his lips over Andy’s. The other man hesitated for a moment before his body relaxed.
Ret felt the first, soft press of Andy’s lips—just a brief touch—and before he knew the other man had slipped his hands around Ret’s waist, holding him close. Ret’s fingers ran underneath Andy’s hair on the nape of his neck as he deepened the kiss.
Ret flicked his tongue along the seam of Andy’s lips, begging for entry, testing to see if the other man would protest but no objection came. Andy opened up to him, tangling his tongue with Ret’s, and Ret could feel his cock growing harder again. The man ought to warn people about that tongue, he thought. He knew he was no slouch himself, but damn, Andy was good. The thought crossed his mind that if Andy could make him feel like this by kissing him, what would it feel like having that skilled mouth on his cock, sucking him, tasting him?
“Come with me,” he said, drawing back to look into Andy’s slightly dazed eyes.
The other man nodded and Ret led him to his bike. Andy looked down at the motorcycle, unsure, but Ret handed him the crash helmet and helped him fasten it. He only had one helmet with him and, as a wolf, he could take it if they had a smash, but Andy wouldn’t fare so well. Andy’s unease about the bike worked to his advantage , as they roared out of the car park. His entire body pressed along Ret’s back, his arms tight around his waist. Mere minutes later, Ret pulled the bike into his driveway and let them both into the house. He could smell the other man’s fear and faint worry as Andy glanced around the house and at him, but under it he was still aroused. Good. Ret didn’t want to be a stranger to Andy.
This time, the kiss was anything but cautious. He kicked his front door closed and turned, pressing Andy to the wall, his mouth claiming Andy’s. Inside him, the animal awoke, hungry for more, but he pushed it aside, knowing it would alarm the other man.