Checks, Balances, and Manipulation
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Charlie Richards
Word Count :30578
Publication Date :2019-05-17
Series : Wolves of Stone Ridge#48
Heat Level :
Category : Erotic Romance
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2532-6
Out of the Cage: A man with a sordid past that comes back to bite him must decide how best to protect those he loves.
Jared Templeton has been mated to his wolf shifter, Carson Angeni, for over a decade. Having spent the first half of his adult life as a high-paid assassin, Jared thought he’d struck a decent balance with pack life. Everything changes when their beta takes a position on the Shifter Council. That forces Alpha Declan to hold a challenge for a new Stone Ridge pack beta, which draws in unfamiliar wolves. The way one of the contestants—Larson—watches Jared arouses his suspicions, but he tells himself he’s being paranoid. Jared wasn’t being paranoid, and Declan’s daughter Sara is kidnapped. Even though they manage to save her, Jared still blames himself and acts rashly in an attempt to catch the culprits. His choice puts not only him but Carson in a tight spot with their alpha and a few others in the pack. Will Jared remember that pack is there for each other and aren’t just people to protect? Or will Jared’s past catching up with him create too big a wedge to overcome?
Carson’s roar of his name echoed in the night air. Jared hummed as he slowed his hips, reveling in the exquisite sensations floating through his body. Sighing deeply, Jared settled back against his lover, allowing the lethargy that could only be created by an amazing orgasm to settle over his senses.
Feeling Carson’s lips on his neck, Jared instantly tilted his head. He felt the scrape of his wolf’s sharp teeth and grinned. “You wanna bite me,” Jared crooned. He loved the feel of Carson’s mouth on him…anywhere.
In answer, Carson sank his teeth into the flesh where Jared’s neck met his shoulder. The spike of pain almost instantly morphed into a bloom of heat that shot straight to his groin. His dick swelled, and his balls rolled.
Moaning Carson’s name, Jared shuddered in the throes of ecstasy as a second orgasm bowled through him. Spots danced across his vision. Resting heavily against his wolf, Jared lowered his arms and reached behind him, rubbing his palms over the sides of his man’s smooth, toned thighs.
“Damn, Injun,” Jared mumbled as he felt Carson slide his teeth out of his flesh, then lick over the mark. He figured his smile appeared almost drunken, but he didn’t care. “Somehow, you always make me feel better.”
Carson nuzzled the side of his neck as he rubbed his palms under Jared’s shirt. The touches were meant to soothe, to express how much his wolf cared. They did the job, too.
“Always, Jared,” Carson murmured back. He pressed a kiss to Jared’s neck, then softly asked, “Gonna tell me what had you so tensed up now?”
Jared inhaled deeply, then blew out the breath between slightly parted lips. He should have known his man wouldn’t drop it. Nodding his head where it rested against Carson’s shoulder, Jared struggled with how to explain.
“I’d struck a balance in the pack after I joined a decade ago. I had a purpose.”
“Hunting the scientists,” Carson commented.
Humming acknowledgment, Jared continued, “And while I don’t think we’ve found them all, we ran out of leads after we wiped out LeReux and that dick general’s network.”
Carson continued to pet Jared’s torso as he listened. “When we found the bongo and rabid wolf shifter.”
“Right,” Jared confirmed, glad the pack had eventually been able to help both traumatized shifters. “But we still haven’t found the wolf shifter’s brother…Ishmael.”
“So you grew bored,” Carson guessed.
“A little,” Jared admitted. “And then the Shifter Council started sniffing around.”
Carson nipped at Jared’s neck as he mumbled, “And you had to be good.”
Snorting, Jared turned his head and offered Carson an eyebrow waggle. “Oh, Injun. I’m always good.”
Scoffing, Carson dipped his head and pressed a kiss to Jared’s lips. “Not that kind of good, my mate,” he stated huskily as he drew a hand out from under Jared’s shirt. Carson used it to cradle Jared’s jaw, urging him to tilt his head. “You’ve been a little reserved ever since Shane left and we held the Right for Position challenge.” Dipping his head once more, Carson captured Jared’s mouth in a short, primal kiss that left them both panting. “Why?”
Jared gasped, catching his breath. “I thought I was just being paranoid, but now I’m not so sure.”
Carson’s brows furrowed. “Paranoid? About what?”
“I didn’t want to concern you if it was nothing, but after what happened with Sara, Stephani, and the gangs…I think someone from my past caught wind of who and where I am.” Jared tipped his head and leveled a serious frown Carson’s way. “I think Larson is an informant for someone, but I’m having trouble finding out who.”
“Why do you think that?” Carson asked, his expression showing his concern. He lifted his hand and threaded it through Jared’s short, light-brown hair. “What happened?”
“You remember when I stopped you from getting into the black SUV we rented in Los Angeles, and we took the gang’s car?”
Jared heaved a sigh, then admitted, “It was because I found a bomb on it.”