Marked - 1

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and
incidents either are the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living
or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of
either the author or the publisher.
Marked
TOP SHELF
An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers
PO Box 2545
Round Rock, TX 78680
Copyright 2010 by Sean Michael
Cover illustration by S. Clements
Published with permission
ISBN: 978-1-61040-058-9
www.torquerepress.com
All rights reserved, which includes the right to
reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form
whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright
Law. For information address Torquere Press. Inc., PO
Box 2545, Round Rock, TX 78680.
First Torquere Press Printing: September 2010
Printed in the USA

Marked - 2

Marked

Sean Michael

Chapter One

Cody sat at the bar, steadfastly ignoring the shit going
on around him while the whiskey burned from his lips
all the way down to his belly. He was fucking tired of
being alone, but he didn't really feel like trolling -- for
tail or trouble, either one. Still, the walls of the shitty
hotel room were closing in, weighing on his ass, and so
he'd given up, grabbed his jacket and his wallet, and
escaped.
This late, the bars were the only option if you didn't
want to spend your waking hours in a twenty-four hour
greasy spoon, and the idea of the smells there made
Cody shudder, made his lip curl.
No. No, give him the whiskey, the driving beat, the
crowd behind him moving to the music.
He caught the bartender glancing his way, nodded once.
He knew the dark glasses seemed like a ridiculous
affectation, he could read that on the man's face, but the
man had figured out, after the first five-dollar tip, to
keep his fucking mouth shut.
"One more, man?"
Cody bobbed his head to the driving beat. "Yeah. Make
it a double." He slid a twenty across the bar.
The stool beside his was filled: someone tall and broad,
who smelled all fucking male. He licked his lips, kept
Marked - 3

his eyes on the bar, even though his prick took interest
in the scent. Not here for trolling.
"What'll it be?"
The roughest voice he'd ever heard answered. "Whiskey,
no ice." A bill slid across the bar.
He nodded as his own drink was slipped over, the liquid
splashing on his fingers. He hissed softly, licked his
fingers clean.
He felt eyes on him, the man next to him turning to look.
Then a second whiskey was plonked down, one big hand
grabbing it. They drank together, and Cody finished half
of the double with a couple of gulps before taking a
breath. That eased the grind inside him.
His neighbor settled half sideways, and he could feel the
man looking again. "Busy night."
"It is. Lots of folks."
"You're not looking, though."
He looked up, surprised at the words, at the growl. "Just
wanted to be out and about."
"You could have called."
"I wasn't sure you'd answer me." He slammed back the
rest of the drink, just to shut himself up.
"I'm here, aren't I?"
Marked - 4

Cody nodded, closing his eyes against the reflection on
the back of his dark glasses. Yes. Yes, they were both
here.
"I know why you chose this place. The music called you
-- that driving beat."
"Yes. I didn't want to be alone." He was so fucking tired
of being alone, hiding away.
"Like I fucking said: you could have called." There was
heat in that growl now.
He, ever so casually, flipped the asshole off. Butthead.
"Were you going to at all? Christ, Cody. You're in town
so fucking rarely, and you weren't even going to call,
were you?" Barker stood, towering next to him.
"Don't. Just fucking don't. You told me, when I left last
time, not to bother!" He wasn't going to have a fight in a
fucking bar, not when he'd spent days in a hotel where
he could watch Barker move, sleep.
"Since when did you ever fucking listen to me?"
"Fuck this." He headed for the door, head down, furious
snarls bubbling up inside him.
He could feel Barker following him, feel those eyes on
his ass. His fucking body responded eagerly, even
thought he told it to back the fuck down. Sit. Stay.

Marked - 5

hitting the button for the sixth floor. His heart was slamming in his chest." The elevator door opened. to complain -Barker knew exactly how much height and weight he had on Cody. Barker followed. They weren't far from Barker's loft apartment. and he was shoved inside. took a step back. He wasn't given the chance to argue. He blinked behind the glasses. that hand. "You're coming back to mine. looking in." Barker didn't slow down for a second. one of Barker's big hands wrapped around his." Marked . though. and all too soon they were walking through the lobby toward the elevator.6 ." "I just did. Then the man stalked right up to him. dragging him down along the street. That hand.As soon as they were out of the bar. Barker didn't bring their mouths together. His hotel room was just across the street. unable to resist the compulsion. The man just stared down at him. Jesus. his breath huffing out of him. "I hate you. like the motherfucker could will it open. "You can't just drag me in here. "What the fuck?" Fuck.

glaring at each other. and he gasped. Hot and wet. Barker's mouth was on his. opening him wider. the need so sharp he yipped with it. Oh. his body slamming against it. too. His eyes popped open because he had to see this." Barker grabbed his hands and pulled them away from his face." Before he could reply or comply. every minute. that strong body just shoving him up against the wall. Oh. The doors opened and they stood there. Barker's voice was growlier than ever. lips parting. I hate you. right into him. the walls all nothing but windows. eyes just burning. Barker's tongue pushed in." Fuck. "Look at me. "Don't. Then Barker grabbed his wrist and hauled him out of the elevator and into his loft.7 . fingers curling into claws as he squeezed his eyes closed. flung across the room. He groaned. Barker's teeth nipped his bottom lip. He opened."Mmmhmm. fucking his lips. Marked . hands immediately moving to hide his eyes. the flavor crashing over him like a ton of bricks. had to remember every second. Barker's eyes stared right into his own. His glasses were torn from his face. The elevator slid to a stop. the kiss desperate. Barker moved him.

It'll be more fun that way.His cock jerked. spreading in his pants from the heat in those dark eyes. "Can't cheat. His cock started coming back to life and he snarled softly. his feet coming off the ground." Growling hard. Barker started pushing him toward the big bed. Barker's nostrils flared. "Gonna fuck you. warning Barker that he could bite. Marked . embarrassed like he was just a boy. hips grinding into him. he could tell the man was scenting him. and they both knew it.8 . "Cheating. but his legs wrapped around Barker's hips. "Won't let you. demanding every second of his need. but he shook his head. Barker fed from his lips." he snarled." It was a lie. Grabbing his ass." Barker carried him right over to the bed and threw them both down on it." Barker's hands wrapped around his butt cheeks. squeezed. hot spunk spurting from him. Barker groaned. the pressure splitting their lips. He tensed. "Good. lick his wounds." muttered Barker. their lips mashing together. the big body pushing him hard into the mattress. He had to get out of here. His entire body went on high alert. Then Barker's mouth was on his again. "Gonna take this ass. Barker hauled him up against the solid body. No rules. refusing to let him back away. He pushed back. kept pushing him in the direction of the bed. letting Barker keep them moving.

His body submitted. The growl came out. pulling the evil bastard closer. could feel it against his skin. More bites covered his skin. his fingers curling into claws. then Barker shoved him down. and then another bite landed by his ribs. "Better. His Alpha. slicking him up. but Barker's teeth found his throat. bitten. his abs tight as strings at Barker's touch. bit down. had him by the throat.9 . His teeth snapped at the air. The wet lick came again.He tried to get the upper hand." He rolled up. "Stop." muttered Barker once he was naked. his Mate. sexy. His fingers found purchase in Barker's hair and tugged.. Barker began to tear at his clothes. the entire universe shrinking down into this single point. so big. He snapped out a cry. His howl rang out. Barker's tongue stayed there for a moment. He could hear the growl building in Barker. this moment. Barker growling and moaning. His right nipple was taken between Barker's teeth. offered himself over. Barker tongue-fucked him hard and fast. insisting that he stay still. tearing out of his chest. and his knees went up. Words jabbered in his head. Cody arched. triumphant. Barker's tongue slid across his hole. soothing the hurt.. His eyes rolled back in his head. there was no other choice. so fierce. and then Barker's tongue pushed right in. his sob ringing out. Marked .

holding his gaze. Marked ." His eyes opened. Barker didn't move. the low grumble resting in his throat. though. and Cody knew what the fucker was doing: waiting for him to open his fucking eyes. "Look at me.10 ." "No. "Mate!" He screamed with it. arching into the sound. though.. "Yes. desperate and needy and lost with that single thrust. "They're ugly. pride. his heart pounding. So beautiful." growled Barker." They proved his deformity. the thrust hard. landing right on his gland. "Look at me. "Barker." He fucking needed. The man just kept waiting. begging for Barker with all he was.. So wild." Barker pushed into him. "Mine. He gasped in a breath. and the man began to pump into him. A low growl came from the man. They slammed together. and all Cody knew was need. Barker snarled and growled. rutting wildly." The word was little more than a needy snarl. He called out. Barker's cock didn't breach him. the man's hard. Pleasure.When Barker's tongue disappeared. and satisfaction filled Barker's eyes. hot cock pressed against his hole in its place.

spreading Barker's scent. and one big hand petted his skin."I can't be." Barker snarled the word again. he was in sensory overload. "Fuck. "Mine. "Yes. knowing it would only be for a few minutes.. he couldn't let go. He was broken. "Come on. He held on. and the pleasure battered at him." He knew that. Cody." His teeth gnashed. Barker collapsed onto him. slamming into him. but his cock could and did. Marked . Barker put his head back and howled. knowing that touch deep in his bones. Barker knew it. until the pain and the loneliness drove him back close enough to smell his mate.." Barker kept pushing into him. A low sound rumbled from Barker's throat. Cody's body arched.. pressing him into the mattress. Broken.11 . Give me what I want.. seed spraying over his chest. almost a purr." He took a sobbing breath. He couldn't shift. he couldn't come. sliding everywhere. kept pulling on his cock. knowing that shame would have him running the second Barker fell asleep. he was broken! Barker wasn't looking at him like he was broken. He felt the marking. heat pushing deep inside Cody. intending to tell Barker that he couldn't. up onto his face.

His answer was to lick Barker's chin -." The word was whispered this time. Barker's hand wrapping around his arm.the act adoration and apology all at once. Marked ."Mine. That rumble sounded again. Barker clearly pleased.12 . Now all he had to do was file every second in his memory and wait for his mate to fall asleep.

Asshole. eyes glowing. He could feel the sweet lassitude in his muscles. tight little body outlined by the light. The one. He’d twisted and sobbed. Cody Marked . and he'd known this was it. Motherfucker. Ten years he'd done this. and all Barker could do was watch. Only to find nothing but mattress. Humming happily. fucked Cody into the damn mattress. Then he hit the pavement. the only thing left of Cody was the man's scent. Cody was caught between wolf and man -. He got up and threw on his jeans. a T-shirt. Growling. Cody couldn't have gotten that big a head start on him. to pull Cody in close. His. body wracked with pain. Ten years. Barker was going to kill the piece of shit. to the healers. and his jacket. sighed in sorrow for them. he sat up and looked around.teeth unnaturally sharp. and everyone had shaken their heads. He let out a roar.Chapter Two Barker yawned as he woke and stretched. Cold mattress at that. He'd seen his mate on the night before the full moon. They'd had one night of pure fucking bliss. arm out to find his lover's body. muscles tight and trapped. After that night. nose in the air. the feeling that meant he'd had his mate. They'd talked to the Clan. The stupid little son of a bitch. he shifted.13 . The place was empty. then the full moon had come and Cody hadn't changed.

suddenly. No one could stay sane. sir. Barker knew the change was possible. watched him. Able to. "Good. It had to be. or at least. fought the Alpha for daring to suggest it. that Cody sat there. Asshole. Cody hadn't covered it up as well this time. Cody had shown up in the city and he'd chased his mate down. Cody had been chased out. dragged him home. almost morning. Once every few years. He followed Cody's scent to the hotel across the street. hiding his tracks. immediately. the scent of fear and blood the only thing left. His mate needed to stop running. Barker wasn't a pup anymore. Mostly. either. stop spending the full moon in agony and alone. Can I help you?" Marked .should die.14 . No one could be caught like that forever.. stop hiding. Barker growled and started following the scent of his lover. for what was his. Maybe Cody wasn't that far ahead of him. He knew then. And every time Cody had disappeared again. Then William came to him and told him that he had to renounce Cody. had to turn away from his mate and drive him out to die. Across the fucking street. He'd snarled. His lover was still sane. but when the fight was over. He stormed in and went to the front desk. A young Asian man smiled up at him. He was willing to stand up now.. they’d told him. it didn't disappear the minute he was out the door.

glaring down. sir. lovely?" A tiny little slip of a girl in a maid's uniform bounded up to him. "I'll take care of this guest. Matt." He leaned over the counter." The little man was drawing up. "Lisa?" "Mmmhmm. Floor by floor. You're going to give me Cody Donner's room number or I'm going to search for the man myself. sir. "Uncle Barker. didn't I?" "Can I have your name. I knew he was here." He searched his brain for a name before coming up with. trying to be tall.15 . "What are you doing out this time of night?" "Looking for someone. "Barker? James Barker? Is that you. letting the man see just how big he was." He aimed a glare back at "Matt" and then scented the air again. room by room. "You'll have to leave. Are you on his list of accepted contacts?" Barker closed his lips on the growl that wanted out and made himself smile. "Of course I am. Marked . before I call the police. What room?" "I'm sorry."Cody Donner. It is you." She waved to the man at the front desk. He's family. please?" "No." One arm crooked in his. rubbed noses with him. Clan. She was Clan.

And he'd only seen Cody what? Six times in the last ten years? Maybe seven. Smaller than me.16 . Lisa. I can smell it. I will." Dark haired. "Oh. Room 817. A regular." He bit back his snarl.. Yvonne. wearing dark glasses. Recently. dark eyes -. "Tell your mother I said 'hi." His lips went tight and he stopped her." "Oh. turned her so they were looking eye to eye. There's something wrong with him. He always takes it. man. Do you need room service?" she called after him." Her face went tight and she shook her head. Damn it. Had been here.she looked just like his sister." The worry turned to pity. You tell me where he is. Uncle. no way was he going to have the patience to wait for the elevator. even at night. "I. yeah. "He's sick. every time. but couldn't stop his growl. "One of us?" "Yeah.. He's a regular.'" He patted her shoulder and headed for the stairs. "He's mine.Cody was here. You understand? Mine. Marked . "Every time?" How often was Cody here? "That's the rumor.

tugging him close. taking the stairs two at a time. closing the door firmly behind him. bursting through the stairwell door and jogging down the hall to room 817. banging on the door again. incredibly huge.. "Go away.. He banged on the door." The scents of pain and booze were overwhelming. Marked ." He turned from the door long enough to snarl at the lookie-lous. "Let me in!" The sound from inside the room was sudden. entire body fighting to change. people peeking out. sliding open the barest bit. sharp." "No. the man coming here and watching him. He growled and grabbed Cody. "Go away.He didn't bother to answer. The door under his hands moved. He was going to kill Cody. What the fuck? "Cody!" he roared. "Go away. Doors began to open on either side. and then pushed his way into Cody's room. "You're hurting. He was pissed off enough that he made it up them double time.17 ." Cody's muscles were jerking. rolling." Wasn't he just the king of obvious. staying away more times than not if rumor had it right.

You need to go. you'll change. Is this helping at all?" He kept working. "No. twisted muscles.Fuck. this wasn't right." He ground the words out from between his clenched teeth. No one should have to go through this.18 . "Do you take anything for the pain?" Had Cody ever seen a doctor? He was pretty sure he knew the answer to that one would be a big. he'd forgotten how bad this was." "Fuck you. panting softly as Barker massaged one arm. You can't be here. Cody nodded. the muscles like stone under his fingers. "Shut up." Cody arched. Somehow. "Go. Tomorrow. I don't want you to see this. Marked . especially not month after month. then the other. mouth open as he worked. Cody shook his head.. "Just go away. He snarled. "Why are you here?" "You're my mate. fucking no. he'd convinced himself it wasn't this bad." "How long does this go on for?" He pushed Cody onto the bed and began to work those poor. He hadn't seen Cody go through this since the man had first left. God fucking damn it. pushing on those horrifying knots.. "Is it like this every full moon?" He pulled Cody to the hotel bed.." "Too fucking bad." Cody sobbed..

feeling each breath.. holding on. but he pressed down through them. "There. let his mate rest. slowly ease into the mattress. holding him down." Cody's sigh answered him. He felt his mate slowly relax. And when the son of a bitch woke up and tried to run." Marked . *** The moon. his mate breathing easy." He worked the muscles of Cody's back. he was going to watch his mate. something warm and heavy easing him.. Cody groaned. Shudders hit the man every so often."What else helps? Heat? Cold?" "Whiskey. The fucking moon was coming. "The moon. He wasn't going to sleep. and he twined their fingers together. protect him. "It smells like you've already had plenty. Barker was going to kill him.19 . His hand found one of Cody's. slowly making his way down the poor spine." The laugh was pained but real. A sound rumbled in his chest. He slowly lay down on top of Cody. arched. Better. forcing them to loosen their hold.

"Because you are." Marked . isn't it? Just as bad as the first time. to believe that Barker would find another mate. Maybe worse. All of you." He nodded. thank the Goddess. "I'm going to kill you. waited too long. Like it always does. Mostly. "And I'm pissed off. "Don't be an asshole." He would give anything for that not to be true. You're my Mate. he swore Barker's voice got gruffer every time he heard it. but I find out today that you're here a lot. This is mine to deal with. "Why are you here?" Barker needed to leave." Oh. He coped. It didn't matter. The moon was coming. That makes you mine. "It's like this every time." God.20 ." "Bullshit. I'm not Clan. Had to. but he'd kept it too late. "Swear it?" Barker punched him in the arm."It's coming. Not only did you keep this from me." He shouldn't have stayed. A lot more than I knew. Why did you keep this from me?" "This isn't yours.

"Looks to me like you've done pretty fucking well in the survival category. ugly. his pack." Barker seemed to become heavier. He knew. Ten years of unbelievable pain every full moon. "We belong together. He couldn't." Marked . "No. to smell him. Hateful." "I'm defective. He needed to see Barker sometimes. It was wrong of the Clan to kick you out. Everyone knows we mate for life." He lied. bone deep. ease him."Just go away. On your own." That heat never wavered." His need for Barker was stronger than anything but his shame. I'll leave. Barker kept pressed him down. more solid on top of him. I swore it. "I'm doing what I should have done ten years ago. you'll be twice as strong. with guns. Still. forcing his muscles to let go. something in him had run gibbering from the world. Mate. "With the two of us. spied on me. had come with fire. Makes you pretty fucking strong in my book." The heat seemed to bake into him. You know that." "I won't dishonor you.21 . Ten years you've lived with this." He knew that. when his family. with bared teeth. instead you abandoned me. Only the strong survive. I promise. babe. half-formed thing. "Not an option anymore. never let up.

"Look." "Fuck off.His cheeks burned. You can live. writhing on the ground whimpering bait. more accurately. and slipped off the bed. Grabbing his arm." Marked . to run with you." Barker stalked to the window. Barker was strong enough that the man hadn't needed him. He simply." Leave him to his half-light." He would be walking bait. but it won't work." He wished he could." He pulled away. most of them did. Get out of town. "What can I say? I'm a shit. He pushed Barker aside. "I won't leave you here on your own. Do it. You'll change tonight." He headed for the bathroom. You have to go. Or. It was a biological imperative. "Then I'm staying with you. He had to see. But you're my shit. deep in the woods. He hadn't been spying. "You know I can't." "You can't. "Only if you come with me. "My grandfather had a cabin." He knew that Barker headed into the wilds for the change. looking down. looking out..22 . Barker's growl came after him. I'd give my balls to be whole. followed by the man himself. "Yeah. using what little strength he had left. forcing himself to stand strong. so do I.. more than anything. Barker pulled him back around. you are. You know how this is.

we can be at my grandfather's cabin when the change comes." He moaned." "Fine. Maybe Barker would turn on him." He closed his eyes as a wave of agony and need and loss slammed through him. Hide. head falling forward. He could. in wolf form. Pick one. as soon as the moon began fading." "If we leave now." Barker moved to the door and stood in front of it. He would. "You don't trust me. I'm hurt.23 . after the first time. Cody. I can't let you go this time. babe. "Here or in the wild." Marked . He was pulled tight against the solid chest.He looked at the door. he could run. He should have. Barker's arms wrapped around him. I have to pack my things. He should have run. He was strong. He knew this place." His eyebrow arched. "I'll be fine. Always. "I won't. "Go ahead. hands folded across his arms. "I'm sorry. I need my mate. That would be a blessing." He always was." Cody hadn't ever watched Barker change. "Not here. kill him.

"I'm right behind you. Barker would put him down tonight. "Come on. He worked when he could. My truck's parked around the corner." Marked . no. and it didn't take but a few seconds to gather up everything he owned into a duffel bag. saved for his trips here to watch.24 ." Hopefully he'd never have to come back here." He didn't have much. If there was a god."I don't trust you not to try and run.

It's isolated. eyes closed. clean. Cody couldn't disappear on him while he was out howling at the moon. sick. He could feel the full moon hunting him with every second the sun dropped lower in the sky. the cabin would be a safe place. Those glowing eyes cracked open. We'll be there soon. letting the forest air clear the cab out. Cody could lock himself in. He rolled his window down partway. pushing his old truck hard. And he could run out there when the change took him. then the black lenses were pushed back in place. Every time Cody showed up and then disappeared again.Chapter Three Barker drove like his ass was on fire. The man smelled sour to him. "You'll like it out here. skin gray as ash." "You go out often?" "Every now and then." Out in the middle of nowhere. peering at him over the dark glasses." It was a good place to go and howl at the moon. He'd been driving since dawn. he'd go out and run until he was Marked . Cody was silent beside him. fix him. fresh. He knew Cody would be safe at his grandfather's old place.25 . "You need me to drive?" "I'm good. He got a nod. And it was far enough out. He needed to find someone who could help Cody out.

I'm your mate. I didn't belong there. Cody. I didn't. When you aren't stalking me -. Where did Cody go? Where was Cody's home. scared. I'm not Clan. it wasn't easy.where's your home base?" "I don't stalk you. It was private.exhausted. hurting. Someplace he didn't have to see others." Marked ." "You're mine. for God's sake? Would the man even begin to answer him if he asked? "So. just reasons why he'd let it happen." "No. I don't. Not excuses. I had to see you. You show up over and over and hide it from me. No one did. "No." "No? What do you call it. then?" "Weakness.26 . There's a piece of me missing when you're not there. His.then I'd deserve you. damn it!" They bounced over the dirt road and he slowed back down. I don't even deserve you. That means you belong with me. "You deserve better. I didn't ever bother you. If I'd stuck by you when the Clan said you had to go -. hands tight on the steering wheel. did I?" He'd been young. spend some time all on his own. though. I've hated every second we've been apart." "No. knowing what he'd lost when Cody hadn't changed.

Cody shrugged. but.Cody didn't answer him to begin with. I've seen. "A body wants to live. "Better than we have been. I would have helped." He shrugged. We have to deal. you should have come to me with this. I've tried to off myself. I would never have answered your call if I had known. Of course. "It's that bad?" "What part? Wanting to live? It's ridiculous. "I'm fucking sorry. You're mine. friends. "I just needed to see you. I left for weeks at a time." Barker went silent for a long time. "How? You have a life. "I still can't believe you've been here all those times and I never knew.." Marked . a home. but true. head ducking. How could he not have known? That scent… maybe a part of him hadn't wanted to believe it." Cody shrugged." He shot a look at Cody. so was Cody." He shook his head." He was going to help now. You've had lovers.27 ." He was an asshole." "You could kill me. I'm proud of you. working on that one. "It happened." "I meant the offing yourself part.. That you were watching me and I had no clue. Cody. Wandered.

he was a blind fucking idiot. so I move light. right across the fucking street from me. I work when I can." "You know where else you can see me from? My fucking place. "There it is." He nodded at the clearing ahead. I can smell you here. "Nothing wrong with my nose at all." "There's a cooler in the back full of food for you.28 . Cody seemed tiny in the clearing. He wanted to take Cody out Marked ." "So the place you are the most -.Which brought him back to his original question. even from the car. "You come here a lot. "No." he said softly." Fuck. How could he have not known? "I can see you from there. or my appetite. I'll get something while I'm out tonight. as well as the pitifully small duffel bag that was apparently home to all of Cody's worldly possessions." "Nothing wrong with your nose.that's in that hotel room. oddly foreign and draped in layers of sadness. I don't carry much." Cody looked." He pulled the truck to a stop next to the cabin and jumped out to grab the cooler. "So where do you wander to? Where's home?" "Wherever." Cody shook his head.

"It'll keep you safe. though.Cody was usually telling him to let go. not drawing him closer." His eyes widened in surprise -. man. bringing their mouths together in a kiss fueled not a little by the animal lurking beneath the surface. He wanted to stay with Cody and rut. tongue sliding to taste his mouth.29 ." "Come kiss me. Marked . his mate beside him. He went. He would settle for coming home to his mate after he'd changed back. head down. Cody tasted like tears. making sure the windows and back door were secure. just go like the wind. There's an outhouse out the back and a water pump up front. "Let me have my bag." "I've got enough time to get you inside. He wanted to sink into the taste and the scent and the feeling of his lover. all coat and glasses and hat. You don't have much time left and neither do I." He led the way. but the kiss was heartfelt. Cody followed him. Show you how to work the lock. "It's not fancy." He plopped the stuff down on the floor next to the door and prowled around. shouldering open the door.under the light of the moon and then run with him.

as I am now. Snarling. four legs now taking him through the forest. "I want that promise." Then Cody shoved him out the door. the scent of pain almost unbearable." He showed Cody how to lock the door. a light sheen of sweat covering the lean body." "Go. in." "Promise me you're going to lock it and nod let anyone but me.30 . leaping into his wolf form. *** He watched through the window." Cody's hand stroked over his stomach. The sun's down. Barker. "You lock it behind me and you don't let anyone in until I come back at sunrise. "It's time. he transformed. When the moon's rays hit him. ran as far away from the cabin as his legs would take him." "Look. the palm wet with sweat. Go. though." He let his pants fall down around his ankles and worked off his running shoes." "I see how it works. "Promise. "Go. He could feel the tug of the moon. he turned and ran while he still could control the animal." Cody stripped the shirt off him. popped the buckle open on his pants.It was no time at all before Cody pulled away from him. watched the man he loved more than life do the one thing his body needed to Marked . mate. knew it wouldn't be long.

cracked window and iron bars. If he was lucky. let it be over. Let Barker come for him. letting the blood flow free. Another wave of agony hit him and he convulsed. Cody found his pocket knife and a bottle of whiskey in his duffel. He heard the lone howl -. Marked .31 . at least his clothes wouldn't be fouled and he could put them back on. Tonight.Barker. Once. If he wasn't. For me. Please let it be done. or Barker would be so pissed at him tomorrow that the man would. Either way. his body writhing on the dirt for a few torturous minutes before the wave passed. managing to make it out into the clearing in front of the cabin before his legs gave out." He drank deep. Please. he'd be dead come morning. Either way worked. the knife blade pushing deep. legs and arms slamming into the ground. then cut a long line across his arm. his mate. Either the wolf would do it. It was a special kind of hell -watching heaven through a dirty. He sobbed.do more than anything. then he stripped himself down. Barker was going to kill him. his entire body twisting as his muscles jerked and pulled. He watched as long as he could. "Please.

Barker kept licking his arm. Barker yipped and snarled. Barker whimpered and his tongue came out." The wolf was inside him. "Please. Marked . "Always a fucking he. closer this time." He held out his bleeding arm. and his life would be whole. making a clear offer. huge and dark gray. He'd wanted to be enough. began to lick at his wound." Make it stop. The howl came again. Tears streaked his cheeks and he fought to breathe. screaming as the pain stole his sense. excited. cleaning away the blood. he'd wanted to change. eyes shining.32 . kept pushing at him. "Kill me. He groaned. oh. pushing at him. eyes rolling as his muscles jerked." He writhed..Once he'd been happy.. desperate to get out." Still whimpering. "Please. he'd wanted to make Barker proud.. fuck. "Beautiful. Barker threw his head back and howled. He would find his mate and he would change. Barker came bounding out of the woods.. The change was coming. Barker was coming. then the big muzzle pressed against his chest.

in pain. down his arm. pushing him up. glowing eyes. Barker pushed under him. in pure.33 . in frustration. Another whimper sounded. "What? Just. He howled -. barking. If you're not going to bite me. Barker drew back and answered his howl. almost the same as he'd heard when they made love. then bounded away a few steps before coming back and pushing. I wanted to run with you." A low growl sounded. He groaned. Marked . "Beauty.. Barker head-butting his chest again. to be yours.. unadulterated fury. Barker put his head back and howled again. Then his mate barked and started to lick his face. "What do you want?" Barker bounded toward him and then away again. "I. blinking into those amazing. body dragging on the ground. Blood dripped from his fingers.. just go play.. but he didn't have the breath to scream."Asshole! Kill me!" He tried to yell." He sobbed the words out." He started crawling back for the cabin.

"I don't know how to help you." Barker licked his face." So soft. Barker seemed inclined to stay with him. "Love. Barker whimpered again. "I'm sorry. Cody thought he'd close his eyes. mate. pushed closer to him." He eased himself down." He began to sway. just for a few minutes. soft and warm.. Barker curled around him. Just go. too tired to move another inch. "Mate. Barker yipped. the big wolf soft and warm. making him feel protected and safe. Never.staining the ground. stay right here and rest. Please. I'll never bother you again. his face.34 ." His heart beat slower and he pressed into Barker's warmth. the sound of his heart beating odd and so loud in his ears. I promise. He reached out. panting softly. licking his arm.. Barker rumbled at him. I'm sorry. holding on. Marked . Go. tangling in the silky mass. fingers on Barker's fur. Barker pushed the wet nose against his chest again and again. Growling. "Mate. rubbed against him.

Last night he'd stayed with his mate. frowning at the sight of the cut on Cody's arm. What the hell was Cody doing out here instead of safely locked in the cabin? His mate slept hard. Barker didn't want to kill the little fuck. peaceful. "You don't follow orders worth a fuck. they'd hear him. if there wasn't an answer. the grass tickling his nose. He stretched."Please let me die here. That peace in the way of what he knew had been a painful to the soul night was the only reason he didn't wake Cody right then and there and tear him a new one.he didn't usually sleep during his time as a wolf. No one would keep the man alive so long. Had to be. too. curled up with him. the sun warming his skin. *** Barker snuffled and sneezed. He was going to find it. realizing that Cody was there with him." Marked . face relaxed. and for half a second. Growling a little. though. he half sat. let there be gods. Happy. There had to be an answer. Please. Last night had been different. He grunted." If there were gods. He blinked -. He was curled up on the ground. in so much agony. Cody's eyes cracked open. looked at him.35 .

You just had to be a fucking hero." Marked . I should go. You were made this way for a reason. didn't you?" Growling. didn't you?" Cody didn't flinch away. just a touch. We're going to find it. So many years of pain would do it." He thought Cody had lost it. who came out here where anything could have come along and killed you." He shook his head.36 . to put me out of my misery. "We'll get you fixed. Nicely. and Barker swore he could hear the wolf." One eyebrow arched." "I'm not. "Set you up? I asked. "You wanted me to kill you? You set me up to do it. he rolled over onto Cody and grabbed his neck in one hand. "I'm not doing that. This whole thing is insane. Cody bit the air right above his chest. It's your job. "Stop hitting. "You think that'll help?" He punched Cody in the arm." "Then stop being an idiot." "What reason? What? Am I supposed to wander and hurt forever? For what? I didn't do anything wrong!" Those eyes seemed to have fire in them. see it." "You were supposed to do it. "You know that's not what I meant."I don't follow orders worth a fuck? You're the one who didn't fucking lock the door. mate. but still.

he was sure. They didn't heal faster as humans." "Done what? Watch me piss myself and moan? Lose a night of running?" Look at his mate. turned from him. they needed to figure out how to get it out. Looked for a cure for you. They'd need that fire. how to get his body to finish the change. "You're my mate and we're going to find a way to make you better."No. examining the wound. Cody reached for him. It isn't." "There has to be. I should have done it a long time ago." The door swung back." He stood up and held his hand out to Cody. almost hitting him." "I don't think there's a cure. at that fury. "Don't bitch. Marked . Cody's beast was in there. They didn't. and stalked inside. the knife wound on the lean arm almost healed. "I should have stayed with you.37 . He grabbed Cody's hand and hauled him up. Fought for you." Cody snorted. "Don't you walk away from me!" He snarled and followed Cody in.

demanding its mate. his wolf was at the surface." Those tight muscles jerked. He walked right up to the man and grabbed himself a double handful. Cody tasted like heaven. hard. like truth." Cody just kept walking away from him. not with the moon heavy just on the other side of the earth. He'd never had his mate. He couldn't be gentle. be careful. "These are mine."You spent years spying on me. hungry and growly and ready to throw Cody up against the wall and either fight him or fuck him. This was his. "Hands off. bury himself inside. lean and tight and pale. "I'll prove it. not in the midst of the changing. His." He squeezed again. and he needed. Where the fuck did the man think there was to go? He kept following." "Bullshit. squeezed Cody's ass tighter." Fuck. hungry. Fuck. felt so good.38 . "I don't think so. Marked . He wanted to bite it. He growled. and from Cody's response. he didn't need to be. I think I'm allowed a few bitch sessions." "Nope. hauling him up close as he devoured his mate." He whirled Cody around and took that mouth. fuck it. "Hey!" Cody stepped forward and he held on. He grabbed Cody's ass again. Cody's ass was still the finest he'd ever seen.

sinking into the most amazing heat. wanted him. He quickly pushed in another finger. holding back with all his might." Yes. And Cody needed him." He pushed Cody's legs back. "P. Barker needed as much now as he had ten years ago. "This isn't a good idea. I can smell you. He stared into Cody's glowing eyes. "Do I?" The very tip of his cock spread Cody the tiniest bit.39 . His lover. Mate. the perfection and pure.He pushed them to the floor as he spread Cody's ass cheeks.pushy bastard. "You do. knowing he wasn't going to be able to hold back for much longer." Marked . Cody fit him. pressing his cock against Cody's hole. His mate. "Uh-huh. "I. "Mate. when they had been new to this. yes it was. "You thought it was a good idea the other day. Mate. desperate to mate and change." He snugged up close. It was a fabulous idea." He nudged a bit forward.. leaving that sweet little hole exposed.. "You want me. undeniable rightness of this act hitting him square. His. that tiny.. he held it right there and then pushed in.." Groaning. wrinkled hole kissing the tip of his prick." Cody moaned." Yes. pushing a finger into that little hole.

teeth threatening. near-claw digging into him. bit into Cody's shoulder. Mate. It felt so fucking good." He growled and bit at Cody's neck. Those long fingers dug into his shoulders.. Mate. body moving frenetically on him. marking his lover... a deep growl vibrating in the lean chest. Mine." He leaned down. "No." "You have to. Not with him buried deep." He could feel Cody's heartbeat in his lips." Cody's body gripped his prick tight." Not even Cody could deny that. He started thrusting. "That's it. Barker. "Mate. Cody's eyes rolled back. "Mine. Cody jerked on his cock. taking what was his. Marked ." He swore he could see Cody's face begin to change. then nuzzled the long neck. "Never going to leave you."Yes.. not now." he snarled. He put his head back and howled out his pleasure. "Fuck.40 . Fuck. not in this space." He slammed in as he said it. humping hard into his mate's body. His hips kept pumping. "Yes. Fuck.

harder. I have to do what's best for you. His. Cody blinked at him. and for the barest second. his spunk filling Cody as he slammed into the sweet body one more time. Cody calling for him. his mate making him wild. "Fuck! Yes!" That was his! He howled again. Cody's ass squeezed him. He smelled Cody's need. he could swear he saw wolf.Blood coated his lips. "No running away this time. Then he used it to tie Cody's wrists together. Sharp barks filled the air. His mate. He howled again. look at that outrage. Marked . Promise me. felt his lover's orgasm all around his prick.41 ." "I can't do that. shaking Cody the tiniest bit." He dragged Cody onto the bed. but damn it. he didn't want to wake up alone again. the glow barely visible between the heavy eyelids. "You've been deciding what's best for me for ten years. Naptime. "What the fuck?" Oh. It's my turn now. and then took the other pillowcase and attached Cody's bound wrists to the headboard. moving faster. milked his prick." "Then I have only one option. giving himself to his mate." He grabbed one of the pillows and tugged off the pillowcase. mate. and he bit harder. He growled and barked back.

"This is ridiculous!" Cody snarled." Cody's eyes were closed now. I hate you. Marked . and Barker had him. too.. "I hate you.. You running away from me every time is ridiculous." "Let me up.42 . petting Cody's skin. breath evening out. bunched muscles relaxing. worn down. "Uh-huh. They could figure everything out later. he and his mate could rest.. but the man was tired. Right now. Cody easing. "No. fought. He curled around his mate's body." Cody was stretching. This is me making sure you'll still be here after our nap." He patted Cody's stomach and then slipped his hand around Cody's hip." He kissed his mark on Cody's neck.bastard." The fight was lessening." "Bas. "Mate. "Yeah. you motherfucker..

he was real. but in his dream. "Mmm. the moon calling him. breathing hard down his neck. Barker chuffing. He growled softly. legs driving his paws into the dirt. He sighed and opened his eyes. running. He could feel Barker's breath on his neck. not wanting to wake up. feel his mate near his tail. encouraging Barker to go faster." "We're together here.Chapter Four Cody was running. Barker's heat was all along his back." Marked . his mate's thick cock pressing against his ass. tongue lolling. "Long enough I'm hungry. Going. They did. tail wagging. stroking his fur. Going. Mate. His mate's howl answered his. not yet. happy. Barker started petting him." Yes. He could feel his blood pounding through his veins. Please. his mate so close. He chirruped and barked. Yes! Yes. looking at Barker. "Have we slept long?" Barker shrugged. "Let me dream." Barker bit at his neck. So good. He howled. He panted.43 . moving faster.

"I brought food." He frowned up." "Well." He hurried into the woods. He had the metabolism of a wolf." Barker was always hungry. "I don't care. "Did you remember a can opener?" "There's one here already. "So you're just going to ignore me now?" Marked ." Cody rolled up. heading outside to do his business." "Thanks ever so. "You want beans or beans?" Barker called after him. "Who pissed in your cornflakes?" "Nobody. his hands were free.44 . A cooler with drinks. he headed back toward the cabin. I'll let you do that. Barker kept following him. to have a tail. I just gotta piss."Go eat. trying to forget how it had felt to run. toward the clearing." It all tasted like dirt. Barker trotted up after him. standing next to him as they relieved themselves. As soon as he was done. Canned beans and shit.

" "Have you tried scientists? Magic?" "Because you know I'm dying to be strapped to a table and experimented on. I just don't know what to say. What was he supposed to say to that? Marked . we'll research.. Fuck. He scooped up his pocketknife.45 ." "What? I've been to healers. sticking it into the ground to clean it off. baby. the Elders. I'm done with living my life without my mate. Elders. I would have found it." Well." "I was dreaming I could shift. You can say it's good to wake up together. I just." "There isn't a way. hunting." "I." "Tell me what you've done. If there was." What to do."No. "Hey. We'll go back to the healers. No.." Barker grabbed his shoulders and looked into his eyes." He did. shit. Not going to happen." "I wish. I've tried bleeding out. "You can say good morning. "We're going to find a way." "No. hurting. it seems to me you're dying for me to off you." "We'll find a way to make it real.

eyes feeling like they were burning. distract him. "Shut up and let me love you. "Barker.46 . hand slamming in the center of Barker's chest. the kiss enough to derail him. He opened up. That's what he told himself after each and every time he gave in to his need. man! I'd lived with the Clan my entire life and I was fucking scared." He stepped forward. Barker hauled him up off the ground. Barker had to need him."Yeah. They mated for life. Don't say it. "Don't say that. "What?" Barker growled at him." He didn't want Barker to lie. You knew they were coming for me! I was a fucking kid. "Bullshit! You knew." He stopped. you heard me. The bed hadn't even been made yet. "You don't love me. "Do you have any idea what it's like? To Marked ." Horny ass. He'd never been this easy in his skin during the full moon. but Barker pushed him down on it again." He looked at Barker." "You don't know that. met Barker's eyes. One more time. Ever. still kissing him as Barker pulled them into the cottage." Barker grabbed him close and kissed him. The man didn't love him.

snarling. or you wouldn't have kept coming back to the city to perch above me and watch me. He didn't care. Do you know what I had to do? To eat? To survive? With these fucking eyes?" He shoved Barker away.47 . "Don't say you love me. I needed to see you. Leave the lies out of it. Need me. He didn't care. And I know you don't really want me to." "I was just a kid. either. maybe it wouldn't have been ten years before we started working on this together. And yeah. I didn't do anything about it because I was scared. to know you were well. It's a biological fucking imperative." "You did have a choice. You could have stayed." Marked ." "I didn't have a choice." "Leave me the fuck alone. too. It fucking hurt to have you ripped from my life. He didn't want to hear how the man had hurt. shook his head. Cody. "You want me. too. too." Barker growled and advanced on him." He stepped away. I didn't have it as hard as you did. Fine. "If just one of those times you'd stayed." He turned his back on Barker. you could have showed yourself more than you did. your brothers shooting bullets at your feet? I had fifty fucking dollars and the clothes on my back. but it wasn't fucking easy for me. Okay. your father. because I can't believe love would do that. "I will not.have your family.

"I should have fought harder. we need to eat. the burn easing the growing tension from his muscles. but I was just a kid. his duffel bag with his booze." Barker moved to the tiny counter and pulled out a little portable stove. It was what he did." He waved the bottle. He dressed. Man looked like he could use a belt or two.He shook his head.48 . It takes a stronger man than I was to stand up to them. checked the gas. just poured the beans into a pot and plonked it on the burner. We'll work on this together. No." Barker opened a couple of cans of beans." His smile was bitter and he was glad Barker couldn't see it. "Meanwhile. He rolled his eyes and took a long swig. And you're not running away anymore. found his dark glasses. Barker didn't say anything else. I'm stronger now. He'd have lost what was left of his mind. mate. He would run. "What the hell are you doing?" "Getting a drink. "You want some?" Marked . "Will you stay out here all three days?" Barker turned around and looked at him. No. "You're better off with food. too. he couldn't have. He had to. He was Cast Out.

Except last night. No. Out. headed for the door." "Yeah. Why ask? Why torture himself? "What? The change?" "Yeah. Barker growled." Looked like he had. Barker stirred the beans a few times and then grabbed two spoons and brought the pot over to the old green couch. In. Does it feel good?" He shook his head. and I usually don't on the change." Marked . not trusting himself to speak over the huge lump of shame in his throat.49 . refusing to look at Barker. stroking his skin." "No. In. He put the pot on the coffee table and sat. "It feels like something's missing." He took another sip. "Help me eat this. there was a wealth of satisfaction in Barker's voice. Cody ducked Barker's gaze. Last night felt almost perfect. You'll feel better with food in your belly. Out. "My touch can't be that awful. but he went and sat. Barker's hand slid over to his knee. He stood up." He nodded. "I need to walk. squeezed his eyes shut and focused on breathing. it's fucking heaven."Not on an empty stomach." There was no way he could swallow." Did he say that out loud? "Good.

you just don't run whenever you see me." "Not when I want to fix you. though.. "You don't know that.50 ." He found himself stepping closer. grabbing his arm before he could blink." Barker pulled him right up against all those muscles." "I can't. You can't. "Sure you can. "We haven't tried." "Don't snarl at me!" "Then stop trying to run away!" "I can't!" He didn't know how. hands moving to slide along his back. Marked .. he couldn't help himself."No." "You. "Don't make me force feed you." Barker growled and was next to him. You need to eat. I've tried. "It won't work." "It is if your mate is broken. "You are insane." Barker was so fucking warm." He whipped around and stared at Barker." "What? It's not insane to want to be with your mate." Barker's hands slid around his arms and tugged him even closer.

And I'm yours. not for Barker. I just know we can't keep going on like this. a deep moan vibrating through him." Barker's arms tightened around him." His eyes closed." "I just hurt. "I know. "You're mine. the warm fingers landing on his ass." Barker kissed the top of his head." The words rumbled in his ears. you know?" "That's not an option. but he knew it wasn't. Cody.51 ."I. but that's why you've come so close time after time. Two heads are better than one. Yes. "I hate you." He leaned in. inside." He snorted softly." "You could have killed me last night. You need me.. You might not want to admit it. "Need me. "I could feel you." Marked . Not for him. "We'll figure it out. "You were beautiful. Fuck." He wanted that to be enough. squeezing lightly. cheek on Barker's shoulder. though." He whispered the words.. "What are you? A counselor in your day job?" "Fuck off.

He went eagerly.52 . Son of a bitch. Like it was that fucking easy. and he needed it. hands running over Barker's skin. Marked . Mate. He found himself getting lost in it. Barker found his nipples. His. fascinating. mouth covering his. He sighed. His snarled. The touch was magic. Barker grabbed his ass and tugged him back over to the bed. fingers snagging in his clothing." He didn't want to think anymore. teeth grazing along his lips. the touches like electricity. Barker pushed his shirt out of his waistband. took his mouth." "Then do it. We will. For this once -only once more -. I need. "Please. hands hot against his skin. but he didn't care. the little ache perfect. Lover." Barker growled at him. his worry dissipating with a pop. "I've got you. Hot bastard. The kiss was long and slow and devastatingly intense."We'll get you fixed." Barker pressed him down into the mattress. Barker snarled in reply.Cody let him. arched over Barker's arms. teeth baring. not once Barker's hands were on his skin and that fine body pressed up against him. Something tore. pinching one and then the other. Barker tilted his head.

fiercely. cock driving into him nice and hard. let it take him. the sound tearing from him. filling him up so good. trapped. Barker slid between his legs. not shame. deep inside him. His orgasm was caught inside him. just like he needed. And it was so good." He bore down. "Please. He knew his eyes matched Barker's. Barker howled. "Help me. cock finding his hole and nudging it. mate. and he didn't fight it. gave him everything. hard and fast and strong. overwhelming him." He wasn't sure if he was making sense at all. low growls and deep rumbles coming from his mate's throat. Barker's hand wrapped around his cock. Nodding. tugging it hard with every thrust into his body. Fuck. fuck yeah. completely. His voice answered Barker's." Barker pushed in and in.He opened up. the sound calling to something deep. trying to merge into one. took Barker in. demanding more and harder and oh. Barker's Marked . Help me. bodies twisting. pushing against him. "So fucking tight. "Need. He'd never been fucked during the full moon. Never.53 . Barker started to fuck him. and he arched. They humped and rutted together." He did. let himself have this fully. demanding it. The pleasure was huge.but from need. Wildly. Barker's eyes glowed down at him. His mate gave it to him. swelling and filling him. his entire body aching -.

He screamed out in pure need.mouth closed on his. He tried to speak. seed pulsing out of him.54 . He sobbed. Faster. Barker slammed into him endlessly. marking him where anyone could see. Barker stayed buried. Barker bit his neck hard. punching through his skin. teeth sinking in. Growling. Something inside him twisted. with him. "Yes. more and more maddening. The tension circled inside him." His eyes rolled. He needed to move. "I have you. he bit at the air." He nodded. "Mate." Barker's voice growled and rumbled. faster and faster. trying to agree. Barker answered the sound. mate. mouth open on his throat. trying to escape. breath hot against his skin. vibrated against his skin. Everything in him shuddered. to run. then Barker bit again. shook. but nothing came out. right there. and he keened. Barker's spunk pushed into him as he came. Marked . the kiss leaving him absolutely breathless. the howl filling the cabin. yipping. harder. and he screamed. Something. spun within him. Barker's mouth stayed open on his neck. pure frustration. growled.

even a breathless chuff. ending on hands and knees. He groaned." He looked at the food. growling happily. Into the woods. Mate. He kept up. Barker running them deeper into the forest. with Barker. Little yips and howls came from Barker in reply. sharp. Barker grabbed his hand and pulled him up. not even letting him get dressed again before going out the front door and running with him into the woods.Barker slid out of his body and looked down at him. seeming to split his chest. Barker laughed. tugging him along as they moved deeper into the forest. the world black and white and gray. but happy. Marked . Barker's growls got louder. it was easy. Barker moved faster and faster. rubbing their cheeks together. He laughed. "Come outside with me. Barker bit at his neck. They stopped. heart pounding. panting. a happy growl matching his own. nose twitching. the sound again calling to something deep inside him. They just went and went. Barker put his head back as they ran and howled. toes digging into the dirt. mate. the sound completely inhuman and odd. An answer tore out of him. then nodded. He hadn't thought he would be able to run so far and so long.55 . stood. The sunlight was dimmer here. but somehow. His mate. and it all felt so good. hands like claws in the fallen leaves. legs muscles burning. Mate. the sting wild. the scents of the forest overwhelming. dappled. He licked Barker's chin. Those teeth found that same mark. vibrating inside him.

perfect. offering his palm for more licking. that great. So good.His head ducked. wrapping around him. mate." murmured Barker. hips canting up and offering his submission. panting at the flavor. his spine arching up. possessive. Barker held his hand out. growly voice almost making him shiver. Barker took it. The flavor filled him. relaxing on the soft ground. So good. Mate. Mate. Alpha. He arched. Marked . and he offered his mate his nape. His body shuddered. teeth sinking in. hands running over him. rubbing hard over his shoulders and along his spine. the touch delicious. Barker landed on the ground with him. Barker laughed." He chuffed his agreement. He yipped. "You're beautiful. stretching hard. the heat from his breath warming Cody through. "Mate." whispered Barker. soothed him. Mate.56 . He leaned over. "So good. and he flopped down. mate. licked his mate's wrist. Barker's growls got louder.

God. His very furry. He tilted his head. but I think the important thing here is that you changed. Marked . He kept petting. rubbed Cody's nose. The closed eyes cracked open. That tongue lapped at his fingers. russet-coated wolf. He could howl with joy. Cody had changed while they'd run.Chapter Five Barker lay curled around his mate. "You aren't. stuck like that now. tongue lolling. "I don't get why you changed during the day. there Cody was. someway. "Hey. mate. Look at his mate. but you were a wolf while I was a man and vice versa. heavy and perfect." He grinned. turning into a gorgeous.57 . like. Cody's tail wagged. hot. The man was beautiful. glinting at him. huh? Who knew running in the forest would do it?" Clay blinked up at him." Cody looked at him. "Beautiful. chirruping softly. giving Cody some loving. soft fur. you're so beautiful. fourlegged wolf mate. wet. And yet." Cody rolled over. are you? Because it would suck if you finally changed. eyes rolling. It shouldn't have been possible. then scrambled to his feet. And a wolf during full sunlight. talking softly. Somehow. barked once. head landing in his lap. He rubbed the beautiful.

and mostly human. wavering between wolf and human.. You've shifted. making sure his lover was okay. hands sliding. He stroked and rubbed. Love. shivering against him. I'm not going to kiss that muzzle of yours. the change hard. mate. You made it!" He stroked his hands along Cody's flanks." Barker went onto his knees. Okay."Hey.mate.. Imagine kissing me. "M. "Okay. Those lean muscles shuddered. okay?" Cody's head bobbed. Cody didn't know. You can shift. "Mate. It's okay. hey. body shivering. See? There you go. "This is a good thing. leaving Cody boneless." He touched Cody's naked body. You shifted! In the daylight!" Cody panted. The little barks were frightened now. unsteady. You need to be human to do that.58 . and he realized suddenly that Cody hadn't noticed. gasping for air. nuzzling his cheeks against Cody's furry ones. pushing into his hands." Cody blinked at him. Cody. so you need to be human for that. because trust me. "Okay. obviously dazed. Marked . hands reaching for his mate. This is what we wanted.

turned away from him. your eyes are blue.." "Really?" Cody blinked.. "Your eyes are blue. that's me." "I know. Look at me. "You promise?" "I swear to God. chest heaving. You shifted. looked at him with those pretty eyes.59 . blue.. normal. Cody's eyes weren't glowing. day. You have blue eyes. Those normal eyes. well. My God. wow.." Cody closed his eyes. isn't it? But you changed. Cody." He laughed and pressed their lips together. hands lifting to his face. But I can't. plain as..." "What. "I. And you were just a wolf. Just. I." Marked . It's not nighttime.. I.. "What? What's wrong?" "Your eyes.. He tugged Cody back around." Cody started shivering. Wow. babe."Yeah. And now your eyes are blue." "But.. "Look at me." Cody blinked up. They were human. Yeah. Weird... Barker gasped.

don't fight it. more solid in his arms. Heavy.Barker wrapped around his mate." "But not in pain. kissed him back." "That's the full moon. I can't. Barker pressed his mouth on Cody's." The word turned into a howl. "I don't know ho-oooooooooooooooooooo. right?" "No. face trying to elongate. It's heavy. pushing his tongue in." Cody was panting. makes it heavy." "Yes. his mate growing heavy. I think you're getting ready to do it again.. Not anymore.. "I don't. Marked . It was beautiful to see the long body settle into its form. Even when it's on the other side of the world. Can you feel it?" "I feel. tight. the wiry body trying to shift again. Fuck. holding on. I feel tight. then pulled back. breathless. big." He couldn't believe this was happening in broad daylight. "Change if you need to.. Let it happen -. Cody grabbed him.. "I changed?" "You changed. No.60 . eyes glowing. it calls to the beast." The lean muscles were heaving.

ears twitching. bounced. sniffed. "I can't believe it. how much Cody heard. That would be. then!" He turned and started to run back the way they'd come. I guess.61 ." He chuckled. "Come on. barking at him. nudged him."Oh. Really. Cody chuffed." Cody wagged. Someone was hunting. unadulterated joy. tongue lolling. mate. "You're going to have to wait until tonight to run with me. "I'm going as fast as I can!" Cody stopped.. Laughing. mate. He wasn't sure how much Cody understood. mate. tongue on his thigh. and he laughed at the pure. huh?" Cody barked. Beautiful.. You are. chuffing. he scratched Cody's ears and petted the soft fur. well." Cody leaned into him." Another horrible thought occurred to him. "Back to the cabin before I burn anything important. Cody nipped at his heels. "I can run a little. Marked . What if Cody could only change during the day? Barker could only change at night. better than Cody not being able to change at all. looking down at himself.

and he shouted to the trees." Fuck. He pounced on his mate. Cody at his heels. His mate! His mate was whole! He shouted harder. "You're going to have to change back if you want that. tail thumping. He wanted to scream with joy. Cody leaping. They hit the cabin. that's it. Mate. ran harder.62 . Kiss you. he was so proud. So he did. He could see Cody trying to change again. of kissing me with real lips. thick hair. laughed as Cody nipped at his heels. He could hunt with his mate. I want to celebrate with you. "Yeah. "Come on. so close." Hunting. the human." Marked . white. coming to the fore. "Mate. mate. It just takes practice. mate. He ran and ran. Think of being human. The belly fur was incredibly soft." Those pretty eyes fastened onto his. Cody's paws stretched. Take you. panting hard. jumping on the bed. fingers digging into the lovely." Cody rolled. Beautiful. batting the air. "You can do it. to the earth and the sky. mate. He shook his head."We could go together tonight. So fine. It'll be easier with practice. thick. trying to shift. Revel in the fact that you changed!" He could see Cody.

. painstakingly coming back to him. "Hey. he was still worried it might mean that Cody couldn't change under the moon's light." Cody looked stunned. But you did. While we were running." Cody kissed him. Marked . rubbing against the warm body. "Still a freak. "God. "There you are." Of course. Full sun." "We don't change in the daylight." "I shifted. okay? Let's enjoy that.Cody panted." Cody wrapped around him. slowly. you can change. He laughed and rolled Cody beneath him.. During the day. "What changed? What happened?" "I don't know. then took his mouth. Did you see?" "Of course I saw! You're gorgeous. arms and legs. Cody. "You did!" "I did. Mate." Cody winked. "And you're mine. mate." He pressed kisses over Cody's face. you're something else. But you changed without the moon." "Stubborn." "I know.63 ." He kissed Cody hard again. Let's take that as a good sign. and he heard the worry in those words.

Cody smiled at him and. My mate. Marked . breathe in." He held onto Cody just as tightly. the relief of being pain free almost making him light."Yeah. Cody trusted him." "You did. Barker would nuzzle his neck. I can't wait for sundown. "Smiling.64 ." "That's wonderful. hand on his belly." Barker laughed. it works for me. so he wallowed in it. well... Mate. eyes closing again. They slept. for the first time in. *** They ate. Mate. Can you feel the moon coming?" "All I know is that it doesn't hurt. forever. I changed." "What. opening and pushing his tongue in. In his sleep. what if I don't?" "You will. He pressed their lips together... They slept hard. Barker was curled up around him. He hummed softly. like it was easy. they were together." He put everything into the two words. "Mate. Barker said he changed three times in his sleep. No matter what happened. Cody hadn't slept without pain in a decade. Every now and then.

Except that I saw it. His hands started exploring. too. sliding. Barker pushed against him. decided to just let go for a minute or two and stop worrying. body rubbing against his. You changed during the day. "Me. It'll happen. we're going to run. searching Barker's chest. Barker tasted like pleasure and excitement. Marked . to feel without the constant pressure of shame and pain everywhere.He nodded. "What if I don't know how to hunt?" "I'll teach you." Then Barker took his mouth. he was glad Barker had been part of it. their cocks bumping. He wanted to change with the moon." "Do you think it'll happen again?" He wanted it to." He squeezed Barker's fingers. "Everything's going to be just fine. Grunting. We're going to hunt tonight together. pushing him into the mattress. mate.65 . chuffed softly." He nodded." Even if it never happened again. and his hands felt like heaven on Cody's skin. You and me. mate! I just can't believe it. tugging on the dark curls. "I'm glad you were here. mate. Barker rubbed their cheeks together and whispered. "The sun's going down. It was so easy to open.

humping into his mouth a couple of times before come poured down his throat. The thick cock. Barker broke their kiss and climbed his body. One of Barker's Marked . Barker moaned and groaned." He grinned up. a low sound torn from his throat. wild. Barker seemed to pick up on his hunger. "Mate. Barker grabbed hold of the headboard and pushed his cock in deep. drop of liquid on the tip. He clamped down. was right there for him. pulling hard. Hungry. faster. "Mate!" Barker cried out. pushing in almost desperately. swallowed around the tip of Barker's prick. The flavor exploded inside him and he growled.He groaned. knees coming to rest against his pits. lips around the base of Barker's cock. spreading his lips wide. "Fuck my mouth. Growling. the thick cock pushing in faster and faster. Barker began to rock his hips. Want you. but more. He was so hungry. The flavors were huge. like Barker. his balls tightening as he was filled with the scent and taste of his mate. cock sliding out and back in again. Bigger. suddenly ravenous." He wanted to know if Barker tasted different. "Fuck! Mate!" Growling. hands drawing Barker in.66 . needing more than he'd ever needed this. Cody's cock bobbed. He sucked harder. He pulled hard.

mate. Yes. Fuck. Come for me before the sun sets. He licked and lapped. "What do you want?" He grabbed Barker's hand. It wouldn't take much. I changed! I don't hurt and the moon is coming!" "It is. "Mine. Fuck. Mate. tell me I'm not dreaming.hands slid through his hair. Mate. Doesn't this feel real?" Barker squeezed his cock tight." Barker put his head back and howled. pushing it back over his face. panting. mate." Barker rubbed the tip of his prick. cleaning that fat prick off. Cody." He nodded. "Harder. yes. He met Barker's eyes. "Yes. Soon. "Yes. his entire body jerking with it. He shot. "Fucking good." Barker pulled slowly out." Mate.67 . Marked . pushing into his slit before the jacking off got harder. his toes curling. "Mate. A pleased sound rumbled from Barker's throat. God." Barker growled out the word. got it around his aching cock." "You're not dreaming. the hand around his cock tugging and tight. I. your mate. "Fuck.

" Barker's eyes were getting brighter. and he tensed in anticipation of pain. We'll run through the forest and hunt and howl at the moon. barking in reply. the sound rumbling through him. "M-m-m-m-m-mate. tail wagging furiously. His paws dug into the ground. "Tell me I'll change.68 . Mate! Mate! His world spun and he pounced. too. growling and barking. "I swear it. He would. Barker bit at his muzzle. nudged. Barker leaped from the bed. mate. happy. Barker licked him once and then bounded away." "You will." He could see Barker's eyes begin to glow. the room getting darker as dusk crept in. Barker rubbed his come into his belly." He moaned." "You swear it?" He would believe. calling to him. his voice even rougher. his muscles rolling. claws catching as they Marked . "Yours. calling him to follow his mate into the woods. barking. "That's right. When it didn't come. He bounced over. Mate. eyes holding his. he barked. We'll change together and we'll run.Groaning." He groaned. whined with excitement.

Barker turned. Food. The belly was torn open. his body knowing to keep the prey in range of those flashing. running at his Alpha's heels. entire focus on the hunt. his nose. More running! More hunting! Everything in him screamed for him to follow that happy tail. getting deep in his haunches. vibrating. nostrils twitching. He slowed. violently. the sound joyful. Cody crept closer. He licked his paws. Barker barked and waited there. running a circle around him. His mate leapt and he circled as fast as he could. Barker yipped.. then he smelled it. the. Food. Rabbit. Good. head down.ran.. So good. sharp teeth. He followed. He followed. and took off. Barker took down the rabbit. ready to leap. dancing for a moment in pure ecstasy before he snapped and bit. Hunting! Eating the kill! How his belly rumbled and snarled as he filled it for the first time like this. curious. His mate barked. He followed. Marked . looking smug and licking his jowls. his mate taking the tender meats inside before stepping back. Barker licked his cheek and then bounded off. his muzzle. sniffing. calling to him. Food. perfectly still. nosed him. the offer to feast clear. chuffing happily. following his nose. his Alpha's nose scenting madly. on the prey. His Alpha was ahead of him. rabbit. suddenly. Both ears twitched. the scents and flavors filling him. nose to the ground. He yipped.69 . The scent of blood made him growl. Barker began to weave through the trees.

tail thumping the ground. right?" There was just that one niggling doubt. they had quite the hike to get back to the cabin -they needed to end their nights closer to home. He turned to share the thought with Cody.So he did. He lay down and let the sun melt away his wolf. worn out from hunting and running and playing with his mate. "I've never seen a shifter in the sunlight before you. gasping when he saw the lovely wolf that was his mate. *** Sunrise found Barker panting by a stream. except that anger would take away from the joy he now felt. that it had been stolen from him and Cody. but Cody was still a wolf.. Once again. confused. Man. Cody panted. he scratched behind Cody's ears. though. it would make him angry to know that he'd somehow missed this for ten years. "You can shift back if you want to.70 . but to do so with his mate. his body changing once more into human. Reaching out.. Doubly so now that he wasn't afraid that Cody was cursed with being able to change during the sunlight but not the moonlight. It had always been a pleasure to run through the woods. well. Those glowing eyes looked at him. Marked ." It was amazing. the moon had gone.

." Cody blinked up at him. "I." Cody rumbled softly. "You're incredible. Marked . we were beasts. panting hard.. see Cody willing the change. Cody had been able to change back and forth before. was human and naked in front of him. "Shift for me. What if. No. I'm sore." He slipped down and sat behind Cody. We hunted. All night long." "Yeah. Become human.." Cody moaned. no.71 . we ran. mate. Because you wanted to. started rubbing his lover's shoulders." "We did. head dropping forward.. He was laughing and clapping by the time Cody was done. We hunted. you did. It didn't hurt. and he could see it." "I. "I shifted.. but because you wanted to. Not because the sun or the moon made you.Shit.. I bet you're sore. "We did.using muscles you never have before." Cody was going to shake apart in his hands." "All that running -. It was real. No one could do that -change at will. No one but his amazing mate. Cody.

any stiff spots. I.72 . I don't hurt." He ran his hands over Cody -." Marked . "Cody? Mate? What's wrong?" "I. harsh and violent. Never going to let you leave me again. not so far as he could tell.He wrapped his arms around his mate. "It's okay. "Mate!" The word was almost a bark. Nothing was broken or bruised.." Cody nodded and he got it. Oh. God. Mate. I have you." "Go ahead." The sobs started in a rush. all of a sudden." He growled at Cody. My mate. wracking Cody's body. mate.there wasn't any tension. the pressure -. You can change whenever you want to. "Just try and leave me. "All these years." "Have me. mate. "It was real and you're special." "You can't promise that... mate. He held on tight to Cody." "That's a good thing. The fear... holding on tight. It's okay. unexpectedly gone. the pain. You're the only one." "Yes..everything that had been holding Cody together was suddenly.

You're different. "You are. Hotter. "Not leaving me. breathing hard. "I. and the Alpha rose up in him.Cody growled back." Fucking fickle little bastard. hauling Cody up with him. He rolled Cody onto his back. "Bullshit." Cody relaxed." "So?" A little dirt never hurt any wolf." Cody was panting." Marked . though. "You growled less. Just like before. I'm still me. "You are.. "You're different." "I am not.73 . "Let me up. throwing himself down on top of his mate." "We're in the dirt on the ground." "What are you talking about?" He got up." Cody blinked at him. trying to walk away from him. "I was always this hot." "What? I am not!" He was the same growly bastard. Even if he did have his mate with him now. Whatever. too. those eyes so pretty. sharper and faster than he'd ever experienced." Cody was the one who was different. NOT. "You're." He kept hold of Cody's hand and started heading back for the cabin. He snorted. I don't know.. the sun warm and good on his skin.

You're whole now. It belonged to both of them and after ten long years." Much as he'd like to make his claim up against the nearest tree. Now the thought made him rumble and the idea of anyone touching Cody made him snarl. I've always growled. and he started pulling Cody back to the cabin again "Barker?" There was a heady mixture of lust and curiosity in that single word." It was his turn to call bullshit. "Okay. Even just thinking it made him growl. eyes rolling. he figured Cody would appreciate his holding back. they finally had it. "You are. "For what?" "What do you think for?" Couldn't Cody feel it? The need to mate." "I'm yours." "Only a little. Marked . This was theirs." Cody looked over at him. he could cat around. to merge into his lover." In a way Cody never had been."Now I know you're full of it. maybe you're fucking different.74 . find a man and fuck him into the ground. hard. "You are. dull the urge." He drew Cody in and kissed him. "We need a bed. never before. mate. Before.

his fingers finding and pushing into Cody's hole.75 . For his claiming. "That's fucking it. Cody snapped at him. he remembered it from the first time. made him need even more and he pushed Cody up against that nearest tree.He got a wild. He swallowed it down and shoved his fingers deep. wild night. from the first. Cody's legs wrapped around his waist. then." He nodded and dove back into the kiss. The howl that pushed between his lips was almost enough to make him come right there. working to get Cody's body ready for his prick. "Tiddlywinks?" He reached down and goosed Cody. but his throat was wrong for the sound." Challenging little fuck." He wanted to howl the word out. "I want you. It riled him up. Growling. The heat. "Mine. the pressure was familiar. tongue pushing in as he pressed his mate harder against the tree. Instead. toothy grin. he pulled out his fingers and lined up his prick with Cody's ass. taking that toothy mouth. teeth almost grazing his skin. "Take me. his mate holding on tight. spread them as wide as he could a few times. like heat and need and things that he didn't understand. Marked . he fused their mouths back together." It was a huge understatement. His mate tasted like magic.

Harder and harder. Yes. Something deep inside him reset. Finally. patted Cody's back. he pushed his cock in. slamming it home. smell his mate's need.76 . the energy between them fiery. thrusting into glorious. Yes! Panting. He could taste the copper of Cody's blood. belly and throat offered to him. tight heat. Take me. he nodded. hot. he ramped up his thrusts." Cody slammed down onto his cock. "Yes! Mine!" He pushed in with every word. teeth grabbing hold. Here. "Mate. His Mate." Cody's eyes were glowing. too. Cody's head landed on his chest. snarling." Yes. "Harder. heavy. He leaned in and bit at Cody's neck. Growling around Cody's flesh. Marked . fuck. he pushed into Cody. something that had been broken and wrong and off clicked into place. Harder. Biting at Cody's lips. The smell of come hit his nose even as Cody's taste filled his mouth. Cody's chin lifted. Growling. body shuddering around him. Cody's cry echoed. Putting back his head."Prove it. spreading the tight ass. Whole. filling his mate with his scent. his. taking Cody hard. birds flying up out of the trees. Oh. alive. he howled out his pleasure and his happiness. he came.

Marked . and he wasn't going to let it go. he looked into Cody's eyes and breathed with his mate.77 . It was a perfect moment.Pressing their foreheads together.

" "Yeah. "Mmm. "Look at you. easy and lazy and happy. "No more sunglasses?" "Only if it's sunny. maddening tension. breathed slowly. Barker nuzzled into his neck." "What?" His eyes crossed as he tried to see. Barker's eyes popped open and he grinned." He let himself trust. That's me. "Mate. He'd felt it. He kept his eyes closed.Chapter Six Cody woke up in Barker's arms." "Yeah?" Oh. Marked . let himself lean back into Barker and be held.78 . the release of this terrible. and let himself enjoy the sensation of not hurting. to focus." Barker gave him a grin. accepting that undeniable fact with more than a little joy. He never believed this could happen. "They're a gorgeous blue." All of a sudden it was hard to breathe. Barker muttered something and tightened his hold. not sure he believed this was real. the late afternoon sun pouring through the windows. be kept close. that click inside his soul." "Yes. He took one deep breath after another. Look at your eyes. "Mate." He nodded. but it had. God.

tongue Marked . wrapping around it. Yet. Barker hummed and pressed their lips together. The weight was good. "Needy mate. "That's the idea." He thought about bringing up the fact that Barker hadn't exactly been virginal. He intended to snap back with something clever and sharp." Barker's hand dropped to his prick. licking and lapping Barker's chin. his cock beginning to take notice.79 . low sounds filling him.He leaned up. Barker rolled him onto his back. necessary. the sounds bubbling out of him easily. pushing him down." "Fuck off." "Do you know? How do you know that?" He was willing to play. but the heavy body felt so good that he didn't want to fuck it up. He stretched. "I know you want me. but what came out was a soft. brought their mouths together." He grinned. Barker kissed him back eagerly. the big body following. spread. babe. Their bodies fit together and he moaned. low moan. "This gives me a bit of an idea." "Your dick's gonna fall off." "I've got ten fucking years to make up for.

pinch Barker's ass. aching where the tip rubbed against his belly. He blinked down at Barker. Barker nodded and growled back. That laugh. One kiss after another stole his breath. searching for more." God. this kiss full of teeth and hunger. his mate heavy. and bare his teeth. Mate.invading. He was pressed into the uncomfortable mattress. Barker rubbed their lower halves together. It was all he could do to reach down. The room started swimming. skin dragging along his. He leaned up. "See?" Barker gave him a smug look and then dove back into his mouth. "Fuck. Marked . shaking his lover gently. taking." Barker moaned and groaned. the universe swinging from side to side. that laugh. growl." Had Barker always been so hot? They rolled off the bed. "Nut. Laughing. "So hot. His cock throbbed. bit Barker's shoulder. Barker leaned up to press more kisses on him. The sting made him cry out. weighted above him. the words almost growls and barks as their bodies moved together. and he found himself pressing closer. The flavor of his mate filled him.80 . He hadn't heard Barker really laugh in so long. Barker snarled and bit at his bottom lip. Wow. It made his mate howl. landing on the floor in a heap. His. elbows landing on either side the man's head.

81 . then leaned down." He loved the son of a bitch. "Are you sure? I'm very good at it. brushed their lips together. Mate. Cody. "Not getting away. body bowing above Barker's. he always had. Cody." "You did." "You are." "Fuck!" He arched. "That's right." "I missed you." Every second. But I'm done letting you escape. I told you that before you suddenly started changing." Marked ." Barker growled. Now we can prove it to them -." He met Barker's eyes. Every day. "What?" "They made you go and they were wrong. All mine. Barker beamed at him." Barker grumbled. "Mine now. "Gonna mark you so everyone knows. the ones we dreamed of that first night. "You did. yours. "I can't wait to bring you home so we can thumb our noses in the Elders' faces. bit hard. babe."No. teasing.we have our lives. pulled back." He groaned. teeth going back to worrying his neck." Barker's mouth went to his neck. letting you go. "Ten fucking years." He reared back.

" "I won't see the Elders. No." That had been made perfectly." Barker's chin had a stubborn set to it. Period. "We can't just not go back. "You'll see." "Of course there is -. "What? Why not?" Barker frowned at him.with me. I think they're kind of going to insist.82 . "Fine. It's our home." He shuddered and pulled away." "No. I won't go back. You're my mate. Stubborn was something Cody excelled at. I don't have one. cut him." Ever." Marked . "They're going to want to see you. "We'll see."No. shook his head.you're my mate. Not ever." Barker kept repeating that as if it was the answer to everything. I told you I'm not letting you get away again. They'd burned him. It's your home. "There isn't a place for me there. impeccably clear." Barker grabbed his arms and pulled him into a hard kiss. "That's our home." He sighed. You're still coming home with me. "I'm not seeing them. "Of course you do -. driven him away. stood." Not now." Barker got up. I'll never go back there. too. You came back time and again before.

He'd missed playing." He couldn't help but wonder what his life would have been like if he had been Barker's from the beginning. digging in deeper. "Braiiiiiiiiiiines. Such a neat man. he wriggled harder. "People with brains do that." Barker winked at him." A lot. "I'm just proving you're mine is all.83 . He chuffed softly. bringing him down as well."You can't solve everything with sex. searching out ticklish spots." Sometimes. grinning at him. Barker's laughter got louder. "You're thinking. so badly. Barker fell back onto the bed. "About having brains?" He grinned back. Marked ." He burst out laughing. I wouldn't know about that. launching himself into Barker's arms. trying to get away from his tickling. They'd played together since they were boys. His fingers dug into Barker's ribs. "Well. "Fuck!" Barker swore and wriggled. "Yep. Barker frowned at him. loving that the tension was easing. sure." It almost sounded like an accusation." Barker crossed his eyes and let his tongue hang out for a minute before going.

"I've got you now!" He leaned down, nipped at one
nipple.
Barker jerked, still laughing, hands moving to hold him
in place. Jesus, the son of a bitch was strong. "I've got
you now."
Something deep inside him shivered, his cock going
suddenly, painfully hard. Barker growled softly and
tugged his head up so they were kissing again, the man
eating his mouth like he was the best feast ever. He
shifted, their cocks sliding together, and his eyes rolled.
"Can you feel it?" Barker asked, biting at his chin. "The
beast inside you?"
"Yes." His hands curled, claws dragging along Barker's
sides.
Jerking against him, Barker got toothier, biting at his
chin, his jaw, mouth moving along his neck. Sounds
started sliding out of him, bubbling from him.
"Mine. Mine." The word was growled against his skin,
made a part of each bite. Every time the word echoed in
him, he wanted to scream, to howl. "Could spend the
rest of my life proving it to you."
"Okay." He could live with that, he thought.
That had Barker laughing before those sharp teeth
scraped over his skin, over marks and bruises already
left on his throat by his lover.
"Burns. I'll look like a leper."
Marked - 84

"No, you'll look like you belong to someone."

"No. Not someone. You."

"Yeah. Yeah, that's right. Me. My mate." Barker nipped

his earlobe. "Want you, Mate. It's like the last ten years
of needing you are all bottled up inside me and need to
come out."
"I wanted to be yours. The entire time."
"It's what I wanted, too." Barker shook his head. "You're

here now."

He nodded, but the worry, the shame were still right

there, just beneath the surface.

Barker growled and pushed him into the mattress.

"Mine. Beautiful. Whole. Special."

"Different. I'm not like others of our kind."

"Special."

"Odd."

"Stubborn."

"Undesirable."

Barker snorted, cock hard, digging into his hip as Barker

pushed it against him. "Very desirable."

Marked - 85

"That's not what I meant..." He groaned, fingers sliding
over the tip.
Barker licked his lips and moaned softly. "I win."
"Hmm?" He brought his fingers to his lips, sucking them
clean.
"Fuck it. We both do."
"Do what?" God, he loved that flavor.
"Win."
Barker's tongue tangled with his own, pulling the flavor
right off it. Cody found himself lost again, focused only
on the way Barker's teeth felt, the way Barker's mouth
tasted, they way they fit together.
"Taste it from the source." Barker rolled as he spoke,
body hard and gleaming in the sun streaming through
the windows, cock hard, red, and once again slick at the
tip.
"Bossy fucker." He swooped down, though, and sucked
the stiff prick in.
"Uh... huh." The words were lost in a groan, Barker's
fingers threading through his hair.
All he knew was that taste and the way that it filled his
mouth. More groans filled the air, Barker's hips
beginning to thrust, pushing the thick meat deeper into
his mouth. Part of him thought he should protest when
Marked - 86

Barker's fingers clenched in his hair. The rest of him
sucked harder.
"Mate. Mate." That chant started again, and it touched
something deep inside him.
He would do anything for this man, anything he could.
"Soon," whispered Barker, fingers rubbing his scalp.
Cody let his lips sink all the way to the base of Barker's
cock, swallowing around the tip.
"Mate!" Barker's shout was the only warning he got, his
mate driving in even further and coming down his
throat.
Bitter and salty, male and hot -- Cody swallowed his
mate down. Barker jerked a few more times, dribbles
coming from him, and then his mate relaxed back
against the bed, all but purring.
He settled in, eyes closing. Somewhere, his tail was
wagging.

Marked - 87

Chapter Seven
Barker stretched and grabbed his bag and Cody's, taking
them to the truck. They'd spent the third night of the
moon running and hunting and playing together. Now
the full moon was over and it was time to go home, to
start life together. It would be easier if Cody would lose
the fur.
He put his hands on his hips. "Are you planning on
staying like that for the whole trip?" Frankly, he was
kind of jealous.
Cody slumped down on the threshold of the cabin, tail
thumping.
"Okay, okay, but I'm putting clothes in the cab for you
in case you decide to change back while we're on the
road." The last thing they needed was to get stopped
because Cody was naked.
Cody yawned, head landing on his paws.
"Come on. It's time to go." He locked up the cabin and
headed for the truck, opening the passenger door for his
stubborn, canine lover. Cody stared at him. Oh, yeah, so
stubborn.
"Come on, Cody. Get in the damn truck."
That heavy tail just wagged.
"Don't make me carry you."
Cody actually bared teeth at him.
Marked - 88

if Cody wanted to talk to him. Cody grumbled and barked. Truck." He could pretend he didn't understand. he stroked Cody's fur. telling him off in the clearest possible terms. Cody stared at him. the man could damn well shift. Moving around. Thank goodness. "Uh-huh. The. He glanced over and couldn't resist reaching for his mate. his mate slinking toward the truck."Damn it. Cody." He refused to look away. we can't stay here all the time. head on his thigh. Cody.and. furry in the sunlight. Shaking his head. He was the Alpha. Cody would respect that. unlike his mate. he climbed in and started the engine. In. then settled. patting the sweet head. Smiling. he followed. Cody groaned. Marked . and he stared back. "I still can't believe you can change whenever you want.89 ." It was fine for a wolf. sliding a hand through all that great fur. he had no choice in the matter. "Get. not so much for humans -. Cody's eyes dropped. damn it. "You're beautiful. and I'll make sure we pick some up at the first drive-through we see." His thigh was given a soft lick. too." A low rumble filled the cab." His magical mate. closing the passenger door as soon as Cody jumped up into the seat. "I like burgers.

the fur twitching.90 .Cody sighed again. yeah?" Cody's panting filled the cab. It was fascinating." Sexy and naked." He glanced over. "That wasn't a challenge. He hummed softly." "You couldn't. looking for the clothes. "Must be nice. "I'm going to pull over any second now. And close. but then his mate was there. I want to be able to talk to you and have you back talk me. "Come on. admiring Cody's body. Cody groaned. his lover coming back to him. "Man. And right there. Cody. to help." Maybe it was a reward for Cody having been in so much pain for so long. babe. hummed. trying to encourage." "Bitch. and he could see the process starting.. couldn't get it up again. solid. "Put the clothes on." Fuck. you'd better put on those clothes I tossed in for you before I pull the truck over and fuck you right there. then draped himself over the back of the seat. He couldn't imagine doing it simply because he chose to. the muscles jerking. the sound almost pained. naked. was it?" Cody nuzzled him. "You're driving. his mate was sexy.. tail thumping slowly. Marked ." Cody nipped his arm.

panting hard." Damn it. clothes in hand. that was funny. He sat back in his seat and willed his prick to behave as he started the truck up. yeah. Cody landed in his arms." he accused. petting him." "You are fucking cute. Marked . "No biting! You fucker! I'll turn into a werewolf!" Oh."Fuck." He pulled the truck over and pounced. "Get some clothes on. "Hey!" He laughed and bit the other cheek. then." He ran his hands over Cody." Cody cuddled in. "Yeah. He couldn't bite again. God." "We should go before the cops drive by.91 . then pulled away. "Dork. Cody was probably right. yeah. laughing just as much as he was. "But I'm cute. One hand slid up along his thigh. Cody slipped into the jeans. "Pretty damn sexy. he was laughing so hard. too." Cody rubbed against him for another second. left the shirt off. Cody yelped as his teeth sank into one taut ass cheek.

"It wouldn't have helped you." "So what happened this time? It's not like it's the first time we've mated." "It's different up here." There was a decade of sorrow in those words." "It might have made me refuse to let you go sooner. isn't it? Like. "We're different. Maybe that's what you needed to change. the man could get him all hot and bothered just by sitting there half-dressed." "I. Cody chuffed with laughter.. I saw.. I tried everything. he thought. "I wish I'd known you were there. "That's what I do!" Grinning. head thrown back. he shook his head.. You're different. I needed to watch you."You're tempting fate. I couldn't not." Marked . "You did okay." Like nothing could touch them. "How have I lived without you for the last ten years?" Fate." "I don't know. owed them. We never have like this." God. natural. Wasn't that how it was supposed to work? Cody shrugged.." He should have felt Cody or something.92 .

The glowing eyes. He wrapped an arm around Cody. and you could fucking do it during the day. mate.93 ." Cody growled back. You're special. You deserved this." Cody slipped out of the seat belt. wasn't it? I had a tail. "I suffered for ten years. "It was real." "No. "That's because I didn't let you run away this time.Of course Cody was different." Cody shuddered. I deserved mercy. the most beautiful coat. To be whole. the agony. You're mine. breath coming quicker." "You are. You could do it now." "You could." He growled low in his throat. I couldn't. pressed closer." "I wanted you to kill me. To be who you really are." "Are you kidding? A tail. I think I could. You're more present. A new breed. never one or the other. man." "I could. "I don't know if I'm any different." Marked . always halfway there. "No. You do remember being four-legged and not wanting to get into the truck? You so can change whenever you want. He could still remember the howls of pain.

I have. "You've been watching me for a long time.94 . being close to me is something you want. You're my mate. I tried never to interfere. "If you've decide to what?" "Stay with you. Period.Cody leaned on him. yeah." Cody sighed. grabbed his boots." "If I decide to. What if we can't live together?" "Why are you borrowing trouble? We'll do fine. panting a little bit. You know my place is big enough for two." He loved the flush on Cody's cheeks. Drop the couple of days and we're good. Cody was his mate and there was no reason for him not to stay anymore. So there's no deciding -it's a done deal. Just like I want you with me. that's not cool. I've been on my own a long time." "For a couple of days. clearly." He took his eyes off the road to glare into Cody's. "Yes." Marked . "You're staying with me." Cody tugged his shirt on.." "So. you're staying with me." "No. his socks. "Shit. Yes." He didn't want to argue about this. if that's cool. "So..

When Cody growled back. "What?" "You're so fucking bossy. During the full moon. Another sound rumbled through him. sweating now.Cody just stared at him. the beast inside him responding to his mate." Cody leaned against him. I can't.." Marked . Yeah.. asshole. "Not so well. "Uh-huh. I don't know.. Stared. Cody's eyes flashed. I guess that's right. began to glow. it goes.95 . I can't control it at all. during the day." Cody growled low and deep. I can. "You know. it comes. he was going to have to pull over again.. Yeah." "That's because I'm the Alpha. it went straight to his balls.. It's new. a little. eyes closed. "Am I about to have a lap full of wolf?" "I. it surprised the hell out of him. Jesus. shivering. It made him growl a little. Jesus.." Cody didn't sound convinced. He frowned." Cody was going to have to get used to it. "You can't control it?" That growl." "I.

With practice. hands desperately tugging at the clothing. babe. He put on his hazards and helped Cody with the clothes. I swear. What do you need to stop for?" There were a couple places along the way if Cody wanted to eat. too. I'll get you to outside.96 . I'm sorry. at Cody taking pride in himself. No running away.. "How long 'til we stop?" "It's another few hours into the city. "I bet you get better at it.." "Okay." There was no other traffic. I can't change with you. face lengthening." There was more than a hint of panic in Cody's voice." He slowed the car." Cody shrugged. "Thank you. Marked . "I. I'm sorry." "What's wrong with my truck?" Cody's eyes flashed. "I swear. pulling off onto the ditch. panting against him.He wanted to howl at the words. and Cody was writhing. fingers pushing buttons through loops and helping his lover get naked.. or rest stops if he needed to change and run. I need to get out of the truck.. "Nothing! I just. though.

"Mate. "Must be nice. Cody -. running around."Shh. they could stay out there more. Lucky butthead. God. He admired the wolf." His mate shuddered. God. Marked . Cody stayed close enough to see. coming back to him again and again.." Cody leaped down. but don't go far.it was something to see. Bouncing and barking. Barker climbed out and leaned against the passenger side of the truck." He kind of wished they didn't have to go back. Okay." He leaned past Cody and opened the door. let Cody run and run. "Butthead. To do that in the sunshine. Cody. stroking. "It's okay." Cody looked over at him. rippling. If the cabin were in better shape. then the wolf was there -huge and strong and beautiful. True to his word. "Hungrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. laughing at him. Barker laughed. You can go out. Leaving the hazards on.97 . shook. rubbing. It's okay. mate. his mate truly was gorgeous.romped. "There. running and playing -. There was no other word for it." Cody crouched on the seat.. enjoying this immensely." He reached out. tail in the air. Mate. panting. weren't so bare bones. you're beautiful. There you go.

He rubbed their cheeks together. The tension he'd been seeing in Cody was gone. growling happily. The wolf leaned into him hard. nuzzling him. Thump. strong mate. He rubbed his face in the fur at Cody's neck. Fuck. tell them how proud he was." Show off his beautiful. aren't you?" Cody's chuffing laughter made him grin. fingers digging into Cody's fur.Somehow. hands sliding along his mate's flanks. He was hoping being able to thumb their noses would be a good incentive. "Damn. "Everything's simpler when you're the wolf. Cody pushed closer. His mate ran for him. tongue lolling as he loped over. Cody's fur was soft. He went down to his haunches and called Cody over. replaced by a wagging tail. He wanted to march right in there with his mate and stick out his tongue and go "Neener. huh?" Thump. you're solid. Marked . Barker wrapped his arms around the beautiful beast. Thump.98 . He knew he wanted to. making him take all the weight. neener. wanting to touch that beautiful fur again. how perfect. melted away. he thought that convincing Cody to go back to the Clan was going to be harder than convincing the wolf to get into the truck.

" He stroked and petted as much of Cody as he could reach. hands still working. "Yeah. Cody came back to him. pushing closer. "Easy does it. "I had to run.. shivering. A man on the side of a road with a dog wouldn't be that weird. "Is it always this cold. after?" "Yeah. leaning hard. trying to get his touch. It's okay.99 ." Marked . "It's okay. Just think of the things that make you human. He laughed." He murmured the words." He could feel the change. Cody whined softly. it was kind of magical. Mate. You're going from fur to naked. A mouth instead of a muzzle. ready to put it on his mate as soon as Cody changed.. He found the man's sweats and passed them over. one with another man who was naked was not so normal. "Sorry. "I can put the heat on in the truck if the clothes don't help. let him lead the way to the truck. well." "For what?" He held out his shirt for Cody.A hot tongue dragged on his throat. gentling his mate. helping him into it. "Skin instead of fur." Cody pushed into his arms. He could feel Cody shivering. He tugged off his shirt. and he knew the change was going to come again." Cody cuddled in even closer." He rubbed Cody's skin. pretty much. This was. and he hummed softly.

" Marked . Or because you didn't change for so long. eyes on the horizon." "Oh. Yeah. Climbing in. I feel much better. and now your wolf wants out. I don't know anything about this. and headed around to the other side. obviously. closed the door. too." He grinned and kissed Cody before hustling him into the truck. "I wonder if that's because you can change during the day. yeah. those pretty blue eyes instead of the shining gold. he started the engine up and headed them back toward the city. figuring out what Cody needed. how exactly his change worked. I'm getting better. "I think so. Cody dozed for a few miles. He squeezed Cody's shoulder." Cody's fingers brushed his wrist. Cody settled in.100 . "Yeah. huh?" It was going to be a learning curve." "I don't know. "Huh. then woke up."You don't have to. eyelids heavy. It was huge. good." He took his hand off the wheel and twined his fingers with Cody's. "You feeling okay?" It was still a little startling. I hate being hot." "Just needed to let the beast out for a bit.

but that much was clear." His mate sighed. bittersweet lover. Cody. squeezed back.101 . What if it's a fluke?" Everything in him tightened for a moment." Cody growled a bit. it doesn't seem tied to the moon at all." "No." He shook his head.you're special. well. "It's okay. "I don't know anything anymore. But. you can control it. "What? You don't think that going back and forth won't help you get control?" It made sense to him. The ability is still there." Marked ." "Yeah. He didn't know what the explanation was. practice is everything.He squeezed Cody's hand. it doesn't seemed tied to the moon." "Only two days. "I honestly don't know. "It's lasted for days. How cool is that?" "I'm trying to control it.. we'll learn together. "You're not a freak -." Cody looked at him like he'd lost his mind. I mean.. "I'm still a freak of nature. That's a hell of a fluke. "I don't know. hmm?" Poor. man.

it has. The man was wide-eyed. So much. You get used to it again.. And it's loud." "The pain's gone." Marked .. You have a normal life.. Yes. it is."It's still better than how it was." Thank God. "Yeah. mate. "Hey.." "I don't know. the city busy with people coming and going. He heard his mate take a deep. yeah. You'll see. It'll all work out." Cody had to remember that. looking almost scared. It'll be fine. right?" Like the eyes had changed." "Yeah?" Cody looked unsure. He never wanted to have to see his mate writhing like that again. He glanced over at Cody to see how his lover was handling it. It's always worse when I first get back. "Yeah. I don't know if I can stay at your house. Has it always been so loud?" "Yeah. deep breath. We're just going to go straight to my place. "Yes." They slowed as the traffic got heavier for rush hour. You've been there before.102 . then." "It smells. Never. It's all right. "Good. mate.

" He wasn't letting Cody get away this time. I feel all fucking wigged out. once we get there. you're going to have to pretend my place is the hotel room you always snuck away to. I couldn't afford it." "It's okay. Once we're there. not have to think. "You know my place. Marked . Especially as there wasn't a reason to go. what kind of life is it you want? Something not normal?" That scent of panic got stronger." One hand found his thigh. Hell. but now that you can change. I tell you what." "I'm sorry." "Hey. I'll drag you into my bed and it'll be just like old times. the beginnings of panic in the cab. you can even shift if you want. At dawn. I traveled around. "I didn't always stay there.He could scent the worry. not at all. "I don't know." He reached over and squeezed Cody's thigh." He heard a soft.103 . We'll be there soon. Really. "Does that mean I leave at dawn?" "No. man. and you can shut everything else out for awhile. husky chuckle. "And you're aiming for what?" "Huh?" "I know you haven't had a normal life so far.

You'll be much easier in your skin once you're there. I don't know about this anymore. I don't know if I can handle this."Now you have a place to stay. "Barker. "Come on.104 ." "Thank you. placing a quick." He climbed out and came right around to give Cody a hand. Trust me. It'll be better at my place. or at least a warm. man." "I know. and he could just imagine the attack on the man's senses. familiar body to lean on. hard kiss on Cody's lips." He pulled into the parking garage." Barker wrapped Marked . that he was going to have his mate. It'll be better once we get home. home with him for good. Cody hadn't ever noticed. He couldn't quite believe it. Subtle things that made all the difference. "I'm fucking wigged out. his lover. Cody sat there on the seat. mate." He had nature sounds on his surround sound." "Trust me. "Still? Even after all this mess?" "You're my mate. disheveled and pale. yeah? Come on upstairs. and the smell of the woods to cover up the asphalt and smog the air filter couldn't quite get rid of." Cody shivered and reached for him. "Welcome home. He parked and leaned over." He dropped his hand to cover Cody's. holding it against his skin.

"Yeah.105 . the noise and smell of the city faded away. "This is the first time I've come here during the day. Although he didn't throw the man up against the wall this time. Door open. He got them into the elevator and moving up to his apartment. He thought for a second that Cody would fight him. making sure no one disappeared while he opened the door." He held onto Cody's hand. Barker could howl with it. just like he had all those times. squeezing it. Nowhere near enough. but he growled softly and Cody came. too. As soon as the door closed. His mate coming home. "Oh." His mate. trusted him. encouraging him to get out of the damn truck." Cody's knees buckled.his hands around Cody's arms and tugged. He kept hold of Cody's wrist. he dragged his mate in. actually. How many times had he done this over the last ten years? Dragged his mate in here and fucked him into the mattress? Not enough times. you're right. I guess. "It's you." "It's the first time you've come here when it's been your home." Marked . The elevator stopped and he pulled Cody out.

made him wild. grinding against the increasingly familiar body. and Barker almost shot his load. Strong fingers tangled in his hair and kept him close while Cody's tongue fucked his lips. Hungry. needing skin. "More." "Yes. Cody's fingers pulled him closer. He sucked on that tongue. legs cradling him." Cody held on. "Fuck me. That suited Barker just fine. mouth devouring as he laid Cody down and pressed on top of him. licking and biting at his lips. "Uh-huh. wild and pure. maybe he was going to throw the man up against the wall.Okay. Home. More. Cody spread for him. hips rocking up into him. made him need to taste and lick and bite every inch of his mate. rubbing all up against him. dragged him in. He tore at Cody's clothing. He climbed onto the bed with his mate." He pressed against Cody." "Yes. not fighting. His mate. wanton mate. his hips imitating it. Marked . moving to his bed. Cody wrapped around him. Sounds filled his mouth. He slammed Cody up against the wall. "Thank God. Cody's cry was pure happiness." He grabbed Cody's ass and raised him off the floor." He bent and took Cody's mouth. not struggling.106 .

He slid his fingers away -. He pushed them deeper. "Gonna fuck you good and hard. he wanted in that tight heat. Everywhere. Feral.enough preparation. rolled. The grunt he got was amazing. More. Deep. pushed them into Cody's body. "More. that sweet hole stretching for him." "Not teasing. God." He reached for the lube and slicked up a couple fingers. Cody's eyes went wide. he spread Cody's legs even farther apart with his knees. He pulled out his fingers and pushed them back in." Pushy. Marked . hard.Growling. "Fuck. could smell the need pouring off the beautiful skin. "Don't fucking tease. "It smells like you. though. bumping against that little gland inside Cody's body. He let his cock nudge Cody's hole. but Barker wasn't sure the man was listening to him. a promise of the rutting to come. it's so good." He added another finger." Cody nodded.107 . wasn't sure Cody was hearing anything at all." He could smell his mate.

Come for me. tugging him in deeper. squeezed it as he thrust harder." Cody was almost howling for him." "Pushy. That tight ass squeezed his prick rhythmically..108 . "Mate. He moved harder. around his cock. He could feel Cody jerk . Marked . didn't he? Thrust harder. mate. Cody wasn't fighting him. Please. "That's it. pulling at him." So fucking good. "Right here. "Harder. let his howl fill his mate's mouth. wasn't hiding. hips slamming up toward him." "Yes." He growled the word and pushed in again. faster. "Yes!" Cody pushed back. though. "Mate. He took Cody's lips. and he felt his heart swell. nailing Cody's gland." He pushed Cody's legs back and thrust into the sweet body." "You. focused."Please. too. Sure." He did it. I need. you feel so good." Cody looked at him.." He pushed in. those blue eyes warm.in his hand. tugged him close. Cody's hands wrapped around his shoulders. He wanted to howl. "Yes. Fuck. He found Cody's cock. Mate.

happy in his bones at the movement. The scent of them filled the air.109 . It made Barker growl a little. God." One hand stroked his hair." "That's right. "Mate. "Thank you. with him. Cody's moan splitting the air.Heat poured over his hand. "Mmm." Cody kissed the corner of his mouth. "With a little bit of you thrown in. This place smells like you. His fingers stroked Cody's belly. special and wonderful and all his. "Barker. Mate. and then came hard. filled his home." Cody stilled at the touch. "Welcome home. "Yes! Mate!" He thrust in two more times. then his chin lifted. let his teeth threaten some. scratching lightly. filling his mate." He felt a surge of pride go through him at having Cody here." he murmured. Marked . petting. Oh. giving Barker access." He nuzzled into Cody's neck. He nibbled and nuzzled. Cody.

"Buy more steak. idiot. There was a note on the fridge. Oh. let Barker know he wasn't gone. A small desk had papers on it. and aside from the bed and barstools. There were a lot of plants spread around the place.Chapter Eight Barker was napping and Cody was curious." Cody chuffed softly. let his voice fill the space. "Mate. Starving. Then he found the milk. found some eggs. He hadn't really looked at Barker's home before. He heard Barker groan. eating three spoonfuls in quick succession. with a bar separating the kitchen and a small hall leading to a huge bathroom and a couple of closets. Better.110 . He thought he heard a murmured. He found a jar of peanut butter and a spoon. He was starving. so he slipped from the bed and started exploring." He found a pan and started scrambling eggs. It was simple. He hummed softly. and a laptop. Marked . shift in his sleep. It didn't hurt that he was starving. there were only two huge armchairs and a great big flat-screen TV. open space. The place was basically one big. utilitarian. and yet everything about it smelled and felt like home.

" "You left yourself a note. eyes like a touch on him. You're still here. found two plates. grinning back." He didn't know what else to say. "Mmm." "I made eggs.you could have opened them all. "Mate. "Plates?" Barker elbowed him back. He could. and he could change." Barker's arms went around him." "Don't make me beat you." "You want to give me a better clue?" He had a spatula. "Try the one over the sink. "I'd like to see you try. nose sliding on his skin. stretched. standing in Barker's home.111 . elbowed his mate gently. "Cupboards. He finished the eggs up. right? I'm not dreaming.It wasn't long before Barker come prowling into the kitchen. "We need steak. There's only six -. let Barker nibble. He met Barker's eyes." He grinned." He let his head fall forward. hit with the realization that he was here." Barker lounged against the counter. "It did happen. Barker looked at the fridge and laughed before getting back to making a snack of him. He was willing to use it." Marked .

telling himself to get it together. "I could take you out for steak. "What? I'm not joking!" He shoved the plate of eggs at his asshole mate." Marked ." He blinked at Barker." Cody nodded. "Yeah." "Hungry. a growl pushing out of him. Yeah." He met Barker's eyes." His belly went tight-tight."It happened. mate. twenty ounces. "You like that idea? Fresh meat. Hungry. "You up to it? There's all the city out there.I could get something delivered. then just cracked up. laughing so hard it hurt." "You can change after if you want. Let's eat. You're a beautiful wolf. You just need to promise not to do your business on my floor. and he took a deep breath." His hands shook for a second. Nice and rare. leaning against the counter and sucking the eggs down. it did.112 . "'S good. I have a guy -. Barker moved over to one of the barstools and dug into the food like he was starving.

" Barker always sounded so confident. huh?" Barker's smile was slow and lazy.He nodded." "We need to buy you more stuff." "I need to wash my clothes at some point." He shrugged. Jeans. mate. a little uncomfortable with that." Marked . I can wash clothes. T-shirts. "You can." Barker gave him one of those wolfish grins of his." "I don't need much." "You're not traveling anymore. "I can go out without my glasses. You're home. Delivered in or go out?" "If we deliver. "I don't know how to do that. Crap like that. "Is the offer of steak still open?" Barker laughed and nodded.113 ." "Or mate. "You bet. "You said I could wash clothes or my mate. "My mate needs washing?" "What?" Barker blinked at him and tilted his head. I travel light." "You'll learn.

Mr. "So delivery and making out?" "Yeah.Barker snorted and then chuckled. Got it. "Right. mate." He yipped happily." "Excellent. "Your dad make my order?" "You know he did. finding his wallet in the back pocket. Marked . *** The knock on the door interrupted Barker's kiss. go back to bed and rub on each other?" "Oh!" He grinned at Barker. but he'd had plenty and could have plenty more." It sounded perfect.114 . He handed over the money as the smell of the food filled his nostrils. Answering the door. Delivery and making out. "I mean or we could mate. Excellent." Cooked nice and rare. he gave Kristos the hot delivery boy a grin." "Butthead. Red meat. Barker." Barker threw a napkin at him. so he wasn't complaining too hard. He grabbed his jeans and slipped into them. Besides. "Bitch. "Food's here." He gave Kristos a good tip and closed the door before the man's scent could penetrate too far into the apartment and worry Cody. You know. that knock came with steak.

"Oh, good." Cody came up, sniffing his shoulder, the
bag.
"Wanna eat in bed?" He was going to have to pick up
some meat to keep in the fridge for when Cody wanted
to eat as a wolf.
"That sounds fun, yeah." Cody's hand slipped over his
hip.
"Take my jeans off me, then, and we'll do that." He
loved that touch.
"I can do that." Those fingers were clever, baring his
cock.
He groaned as one of Cody's fingers brushed against
him. Fuck, you'd think he'd never had sex before, the
way Cody could get him up just by breathing.
"You smell good." Cody smoothed his jeans down and
off, leaving him holding the steak.
"I think that's the steak," he teased, climbing onto the
bed.
"No. That's you." One hand trailed along his cock.
Groaning, he pushed into Cody's hand. "There's food..."
"Mmmhmm. Feed me?" That hand moved up and down
and up and down.
"Not while you're doing that." He could barely think, let
alone operate a knife and fork.
Marked - 115

Cody nibbled his shoulder. "Please, Mate."
"You could eat me..." He grinned, already knowing he'd
give in to what his mate asked for.
"After steak. So hungry."
He imagined his sweet mate's stomach was rumbling
hard. He pulled Cody to come with him as he opened
one of the containers. Cody was bare, cock mostly full,
rubbing against him. He grabbed the little plastic knife
and fork from the containers and cut off a big chunk of
meat, offering it to Cody as he tried to ignore the way
his mate's body was pressing all up against him. Cody
moaned for him, eyes crossing as the blood from the
steak dripped on the outstretched tongue.
"Beast," he teased, his own tongue licking at his lips as
he salivated. God, he wanted some of that.
"Yes." Cody's smile was wild, fierce.
Laughing, he took a kiss. Cody licked and lapped at his
lips, moaning for him.
"Fuck, baby. You make eating a whole new adventure."
"Everything's new now." He could hear the truth in the
words.
"Yeah." He gave Cody another quick kiss and then fed
him another generous mouthful of steak.
Cody's sound was an orgasm.
Marked - 116

"Eating's never going to be the same again."
Cody picked up another bite, slid the juicy steak over his
lips. Growling, he leaned in and licked at Cody's lips, bit
at them. The steak was pushed between his lips, the
meat succulent and perfect. He chewed, groaning at the
delicious flavor -- of both meat and mate.
They fed each other, growling and licking, enjoying
each other like they'd never been able to before. Never.
The steaks were soon gone, the rest of the food ignored
in favor of each other. Cody was in his lap, fingers
combing through his hair, one kiss sliding into another
and another. He brought their groins together, moaning
at the heat they made together.
"Hungry mate." Cody's laugh tasted so good.
"Just matching you."
"Just munching with me."
"No, that was before. Now I'm munching on you."
There was that laugh again, and Barker wanted to growl
for all the years he hadn't known it. They had gotten so
screwed, but it was their time now. He winked and slid
his hand around to squeeze Cody's ass. Cody wiggled,
belly sliding on his.
"Mmm. Want you, mate." Again. Still.
"I'm yours." Oh, fuck, that was hot.
Marked - 117

"All mine." He pulled Cody closer against him.
"Are you going to keep me, now?" Cody's eyes were so
blue.
"I am. Forever."
"Thank God."
Growling, he took his mate's mouth, laying his claim all
over again, without words this time. Cody met his
hunger head on, tongue fucking his lips. He reached for
Cody's hole, teasing it with his index finger, pushing just
the tip in. The soft hum he got vibrated his lips. He
moaned in reply, finger going deeper. His mate was soft,
silky inside, body made for him to fill.
"Mate." He moaned, mouth sliding on Cody's, breathing
in his mate's breath.
"Yes." Cody's eyes began to glow, just around the edges.
He shook his head. "No changing, I want you like this."
He needed Cody like this.
"I know. I'm trying. Breathing."
Barker offered the fingers of his free hand to Cody.
"Suck."
Those kiss-swollen lips parted, dropped over his fingers,
and the sweet suction started. Every pull was like a tug
on his cock, making it throb where it pressed against
Cody's body. Cody moaned around his fingers, tongue
Marked - 118

lashing the fingertips. He pushed the finger inside
Cody's body deeper as Cody drove him crazy with that
tongue. Cody bit his fingers, tugging at them, even as
that ass squeezed him.
"Fuck, mate." If he wasn't careful, Cody would make
him come before they got to the main event.
Cody nodded, smiled, eager. Laughing, he tugged his
fingers out of Cody -- ass and mouth -- and then pushed
the wet ones into that sweet, hot hole.
Cody grunted, arched, belly going taut. "Yes!"
"Gonna take you, right here, like this."
Cody's answer was a single, sharp nod.
He spread his fingers and pushed them deep, working
Cody's ass.
"Fuck. Stretching me." Cody pushed down, riding his
touch.
"Uh-huh. It's going to be my cock in a minute." He was
going to make Cody fly.
"Harder. Harder, mate."
He fucked Cody with his fingers, finding the sweet
gland over and over. His eyelids got heavy, his cock
wanting into that tight sheath.
"Want you."
Marked - 119

Hot." He laughed even harder at that. It made him laugh. Cody growled back."I'm yours. He Marked . Fuck. Blue. body tightening around his prick. "Mate. Groaning. He pushed his cock into Cody's body. Cody's body bucked. His mate's eyes were blue. He wrapped his hands around Cody's hips. mate. He tugged his fingers away. driving down. hips pulling back slightly before humping up hard. Yeah.. lining his prick up with that hole. "I'm coming. riding him and taking him in deep. "Mate." He let his thrust be his answer. meeting Cody's eyes. pushing as deep as he could. "I didn't mean. he took Cody's mouth. just like that. it was hot. Fuck. a whimper of complaint escaping him. Your mate." Fuck it." The simple words made him howl." He growled and bit at Cody's lips.120 .." He groaned. yeah. He slipped one hand down to grab Cody's ass. Hot. stared down into him. Cody was right there with him. That cock's mine. "Yes. it didn't matter. Hot and tight and fucking his. squeezing it as they fucked. the sound free and easy." "Don't you dare. Cody's hands framed his face. moving the man as he worked his hips. That tight ring of muscle squeezed the shaft of his prick.

He howled. Cody's hands landed on his shoulders. Cody's mouth nuzzled his jaw. tongue on his skin. the way Cody's body bore down on his cock. He collapsed back onto the bed. Cody's orgasm stretched his pleasure out. arms tightening around his own werewolf. "Touch me. his orgasm pouring through him. His mate was home where he belonged. Mate. "Yes.put everything he had into it. not ever. slamming down onto him. yes!" Cody arched. tugging Cody down with him. curling around him. working hard and taking his mate. tugging harshly. too.121 . "Can it stay this way?" "If I have anything to say about it." Cody chuckled. come drawing lines across his chest. or did the next best to it with his human throat. Touch me. He wasn't letting Cody go. Not this time. Marked . Wrung dry." Cody's teeth snapped at the air. Yes. it will. Mate. It made him shudder. that wiry strength joining his." He meant it. Having his mate with him like this." He growled. "Mate. "Come on. "This is the life. wrung out." "Fuck. left him shaken. He grabbed hold of Cody's cock." he murmured.

122 . rocking nice and slow. cuddling into him. Settling. Marked .Cody hummed. Like he intended to stay.

their chests slapping together. Whatever there was that paid cash and didn't require too much identification. Or something. he was filthy." Barker growled at him. growling. Cody needed to find something for a few days. lugging furniture. He was sore. I'm broke. There was a day laborer slot about a mile's walk. and made a cup of coffee. Or phoned me. then Barker had to go back to work and so did Cody. "I was working. "You weren't here when I got back.Chapter Nine The laziness lasted for two days. "I need to work.I thought you'd left. He woke early. At least." Barker followed him. He needed a shower.123 . "I didn't notice. "I'm tired!" Marked . The first night. when he got home. Barker pounced on him. "Besides." "Don't growl at me!" He spun around. Fuck. picking up trash. mate. and he was freezing. I thought you'd gone again." "I left my duffel. he got work there painting." "You could have left me a note -. voice rough. shook out his work jeans and the T-shirt he used for construction." Jackass. His funds were tapped. I'm not charging you rent. "You should have left a note is all I'm saying." He snarled softly." He headed for the bathroom.

He bared his teeth. Hot. I want a shower. "Don't push me." Barker tore open his shirt." "You started it. His mate's tongue fucked his mouth.124 . vibrating. then the other. Fuck. He met the need head on. Taking a shower." Barker growled and leaned him back." He bounced a little. hungry asshole. Asshole." God. "Fuck you. "Hey! I only have three!" "I count two. The man ground against him." "Do both. "Fucker. made his cock hard. Barker bit at his lips. too!" Barker's mouth descended on his." Barker pushed him up against the wall. pushing him back toward the bathroom. pressing him back against the wall again. "Asshole." Barker bent and bit one nipple."I thought you'd run away again!" Barker didn't stop growling. hands grabbing Barker's arms. Marked . Barker was warm. dickhead. pulling hard enough that he knew it had to sting. "Not fucking. the kiss hard. cock hot even through the layers of their clothes. needy. He tangled the fingers of one hand in Barker's hair. Growling. "Fuck you. refusing to back down from Barker's hunger.

The hand around his prick Marked . Strength. Barker had his jeans undone and halfway down his thighs just like that. let himself go with it.. Those thick fingers were warm against his skin. leaving as many as he wanted as that hand tugged and worked Cody like it was the best thing Barker'd ever held." Barker went back to work. the sting and ache perfect and exactly what he needed. he'd gained weight." Fuck." He chuffed softly.125 . the tired. too. One of Barker's hands started playing at his waistband. babe. gained muscle. that was good. Just in the last week. just for a second. Grabby bastard."I. Of course I'm a biter. "Do it again?" "You bet. He forgot about the cold. teeth hard and sharp as they dug into his flesh. working open his jeans. more than just his nipples feeling the sharp edge of those teeth." That made Barker laugh. Cody let his head fall back. Fuck.. Toothy. He sucked in his belly. Barker didn't seem the least concerned about that. Barker was still nipping at his skin. fingers pushing into his underwear to grab at his dick. let the sensations take him. Two. "Biter. "I'm a wolf. his prick swelling at the coarse touch. tiny little bruises that covered his chest. There were going to be marks.

" Barker was biting at his chin. licking at his cock. I want to smell your pleasure. Barker looked up and grinned wolfishly at him. That hard cock nudged his hip. worked him harder. "Horny bastard. trying to get less stupid." "Just a fucking note or something. the sound happy.tightened." "Shit! Shit. Like he'd forget that." Barker stood and put an arm around his shoulders. teeth sharp. "Can we shower now?" "Yep. fuck. reminding him that Barker needed. I won't leave you again. Looking was not in his game plan. mouth hot. He swayed. His balls drew up and he got closer. rubbing against him. trying to focus. and bent almost double. They got as far as into the shower before Barker pushed him up against the tile. not without telling you. Barker hummed. "Oh." He was terribly busy shooting his brains out of his cock. look at you. "Give it to me.126 . Barker!" His head slammed back. trying to keep his feet. his orgasm raging through him. his yelps filling the air. Marked . manhandling him into the bathroom. Cody. He blinked down.

Groaning. "Oh.127 . but that tone in his voice said it all. mouth wrapping around that fine. fuck. Moaning for him. guiding his movements. none of it really made sense. Every time the tip came toward his lips." Barker started babbling. The man chuckled. "Fuck! Cody!" Barker's legs spread a little. He took everything Barker offered." Marked . Oh. Cody worked Barker like the man was a Popsicle. refusing to let Barker go. holding his head. "We didn't even get the water on. fuck. humping up against him. Barker started rocking. drops sliding down his throat. Barker shooting down his throat." He dropped to his knees. fat prick. Barker's fingers curled into his hair. lips dragging all the way along the shaft. Yeah. He took it all."Do they have fucking notes?" "Huh? Who?" Barker kept biting. loving the salt of his mate. Yeah. letting him in deep. mate. "Doesn't matter. hips jerking hard. The wild male flavor filled his lips. hips encouraging him to take more. "Fuck!" The word was screamed. Barker collapsed back against the tiles. he sucked hard. pushing that fat cock deep and then bringing it to the tip of his tongue again. Mate.

" He knew. "And you tell that little pup that tends bar that if he ever touches you again. Cody's nerves fired and his entire body shuddered. "That's right." The words made Barker growl. "We better. He growled back." "Yeah. "Still wanting. "Mine.128 . nobody touches you." "You think I wasn't working?" Barker turned the water on. The hair on his nape stood up. "Claim me. Growling. mate?" He met Barker's eyes."Yet. panting a bit. you're a mess. You're mine." Barker's hands were hard and possessive as they touched him." Barker's eyes went wide and his nostrils flared. But each other." growled Barker. Barker turned him to face the tile and pushed apart his legs. We will. he'll die. And you're mine. "You work at night." "Some of us had to work all day. "Prove it." He kissed Barker's belly. He arched into the touches. prick pushing at his hole." "Nobody touches me. the water making them slick. He'd been watching for years. Yeah. Marked ." He would push and push until Barker lost it.

" Marked . "Don't forget it or discount it. He wanted to scream with it. "Mate!" "That's right.mate. Hard. so perfect. spreading him wide. the sting shorting him out." he barked.A deep. the sound echoing. trying to keep control. I'm fucking you." rumbled Barker. vibrating the skin of his neck as Barker held still. the pressure was so good. cock buried deep inside him. "M. cock slamming into him.. He bit at his lips. eager rhythm.. this was fun. "No." "I'm riding you. low rumble came from Barker. mate. focused on the ache. holding him there. "Feels like I'm fucking you to me." "You sure?" "Of course I'm sure!" The words were accompanied by another hard thrust. Barker pulled out and slammed back in. You're mine. Barker set up a hard." He shook. He opened his mouth to tease more when sharp teeth grabbed the back of his neck." He squeezed Barker's prick. "That's right." "Fuck you." Fuck. "Mate. and that hot cock pushed right into him. That rumble continued.129 .

bruising him. "Going to leave a scar. panting harder. "Yes! Yes!" Barker pumped into him. Marked . "Yes. Barker's fingers dug into his hips." Somehow. making this so perfect. hips moving hard and fast. deep within. fighting to come out. He growled back. And you're mine. The wolf rumbled inside him. One hand barely brushed the tip of his cock and he shot. he didn't think Barker minded that thought. and he could feel how close his mate was to coming. Barker pushed into him and howled. Growling lightly. The rumbling. Barker leaned against him and turned off the water. mouth finding his. He yipped." Barker bit and gnawed at his neck. He sobbed out his joy. As did the way Barker bit harder." His voice didn't sound like him. His mate. "Mate. made him need more. filling him with heat. the wolf so close. He snarled. fingers curled into claws. his mate surrounding him with sound and sensation. snapped. The ache made him harder." Barker turned him. Barker pulled out."Yes. teeth back on his neck." "Uh-huh. Barker's howl answered him. hips bucking as he rode.130 . screaming out his pleasure. the bathroom suddenly quiet. His own. purring sound that followed confirmed it.

his stomach snarling. Food time. When their lips parted. Both better.no. I'm sorry." His body convulsed. nostrils flaring. Stay here. eyes soft and warm. they were both panting.. Not here.. Here. Barker led him into the little kitchen and pulled a package of steaks out of the fridge. Barker stealing his breath. Think of the beast..131 . "N. his brains.. breath on Barker's shoulder. "Come on. man. The kiss went on and on. I would." Barker grabbed him and dragged him out of the shower. the way he feels. Naked. mate. too. Hell." Marked . Go on.He growled softly into the kiss." He whined softly. He could eat. "You're not wanting it uncooked.. are you?" Barker didn't sound like that would be a big problem for him. "You want to change and eat it as is?" "I. I. "It's okay. both swaying. if I could. but the warm hands running over his skin did. The low sounds fed into his mouth by Barker weren't helping his control at all. of the shape of him. he could eat an entire buffalo. Barker smiled at him. Not yet. He followed right behind.. He didn't want to change. I think I have to. hands dragging on Barker's body. Stay here and now.

Mate." Marked . He snapped up the steak. He bit off a piece. He barked happily." Bloody and fresh. almost as good as the meat as it filled his belly." He dropped to the floor."Like running. "More?" Barker pushed the other piece of meat toward him. then he headed back for his dinner. then hopped up. helped him. paws on the counter as he searched for more. loving the man. mate. He licked the plate clean." His mate patted his head and then backed off. Mate. tail thumping on the floor. more." Barker's words encouraged him. the sound not quite right. "There you go. but then his mate wasn't a wolf at the moment. He panted. dropping it at his mate's feet. "Beautiful. spine arching impossibly. "You're a piggy wolf. More. More. Let it have you. He lapped at Barker's ankle. meat was put on the floor in front of him. more. letting him finish in peace. Barker rumbled at him. the blood cool and sharp on his tongue. His Mate's chuckle felt good inside. "That's it. petting him gently. One warm hand stroked over his back.132 .

"Ah. lip curling in pleasure. Barker went down under him. Play. Oh.His tongue lolled. He agreed. good. He hopped down. bouncing a little. hindquarters up. hitting the floor with a loud thump. rubbing and scratching. crouching. "This is the life. Too bad he hated the hell out of it. Good. tail thumping hard. with Cody's." murmured Barker as his mate settled next to him. huh?" He settled down. "Oh-ho! I know what you want now!" He yipped. He licked his mate's face. dancing out of the way. His eyes crossed. He'd had his shifts changed from night to day so his schedule coincided. He hadn't ever been so happy. Barker laughed.133 . Who'd have thought? Marked . hands and fingers busy. *** Barker finished his shift at the bar and headed home. all of him. claws clicking. trying not to grumble. chuffing. more or less. Barker suddenly tweaked his ear and leapt away. encouraging more of those wonderful touches. Barker's hands went to his muzzle. His paws scrambled on the tile as he ran to pounce. tail lashing violently. that's the spot.

" Cody jerked away. but the scent was fading. all by himself. the scent of food sudden and strong." Suddenly he could scent blood. He heard the door open about ten minutes later. Need a shower. searching automatically for his mate's scent. "Mate. "A fight with who? Damn it. Shit happens. I work with tough guys.He let himself in. He growled and tossed the bag in the general direction of the kitchen before starting to tear at Cody's clothes." Cody looked exhausted. Tacos. "What happened?" he demanded.134 . but damn it. Fresh blood. the shirt coming off in Barker's hands. he wasn't worried anymore that Cody had disappeared. "Huh? Long day. is it?" "Stop it. taking the bag from Cody's hands." Marked ." He headed for the front door. The house smelled like Cody. It made him growl." "I am. he'd changed his entire schedule around so they could spend time together. Oh. "What happened?" "Fight." "You look worn out. this isn't just a few punches. I brought tacos. nose in the air. Someone wasn't home. "Hey. and yet here he was.

to love. would you? You hate working days. "Who did this to you?" He would kill them." "This has nothing to do with that! Someone hurt you!" Cody was his. It happens a lot. teeth baring. "It happens. Barker.135 . and fucking druggies. I work for cash with gangsters. "This isn't just shit happening. I'm a day laborer. to protect." He was going to rip the asshole who'd hurt his mate limb from limb. It happens. "Go tell them you want your old job back." Marked . "Hey!" He growled some more and stalked after his mate." "Some asshole who wanted money. I need a shower. Stop. Cody growled back." "You need to tell me what the fuck happened. "Stop. "It's my job to protect you. Cody rolled his eyes and headed into the bathroom. Deal with it. You need to tell me who came at you with a knife." "That's exactly what I plan to do. cons." He pushed Cody up against the wall next to the bathroom door." Barker growled.There was a knife slash right across Cody's ribs. A fucking nap. just as soon as you tell me who did this to you.

Or toss him up against the tile and fuck him through it." Cody turned on him. It won't scar. scared. you don't have the right to protect me!" "We've been over this! I was young and scared when that happened. he slammed it open again. eyes flashing gold. Ten years I was on the run. and then you never gave me a chance after that!" "And I'm not young. "What the fuck was that?" "I said you don't have a motherfucking choice!" Cody snapped at him. I'll heal. or in need of protection. Leave it alone!" "I can't!" Cody was asking the impossible. Cut me. "Because you're miserable and I know it." Marked . "Why are you fucking mad at me? I didn't do this to you!" He was going to deck Cody any second now. "You don't have a choice!" The bathroom door slammed between them. You fucking hate this. Throw stones at me! Ten years I starved and hurt and ran! Just because I can change. and I'm not going to be able to stay. Growling. Shoot at me.136 ."Since when?" "Since you're my fucking mate!" "Bullshit. You watched them drive me out. "Ten years.

too. He could smell blood." Cody growled. not caring if he ripped them or not in the process. He got those jeans off with only a little rippage and then it was his own clothes that were in the way. fingers like claws against him. Ridiculous. mouth dropping to cover his mate's. Growling again. to knit at the edges. Ever. their connection. stroking him. "I'll buy you a fucking new pair. sweat. His mate. Someone had hurt his mate." Or make Cody walk around naked. It was a clash of heat and anger and passion and it was perfect. This was the thing that made sense -. Cody's tongue slapping against his. He tore at Cody's pants. That worked. He was torn between growling over Cody being hurt and nuzzling into the sweet touches. Marked . he humped against Cody as he devoured his mate's mouth."You're fucking staying!" He pushed Cody up against the wall. growling into their kiss. "My only pair. He pushed his tongue into Cody's mouth. Growling now. This whole working for cash with dangerous people was ridiculous. he bent to lick at the knife wound. the taste there necessary and right. Sharp sounds pushed between his lips. petting him. asshole. Cody fought back. His. He wasn't ever letting Cody go. His Mate. He felt the anger surging through him again anyway.137 . It was already starting to heal. Cody's fingers combed through his hair.this here.

"Go back to the job you love. turned the water on." "It's not like we're friends. We can fuck in the mornings before I leave for work. "Not happy enough. "Don't exaggerate.138 . "Take the night shift back." "You're my mate. we don't talk. a lot. I'd be leaving as you came in. mate." Why was Cody being like this? He growled. he didn't like the day shift. Barker. Besides. someone had hurt his mate and it had his hackles all up." There was that quiet loss. Make yourself happy again." Cody slid away from him. "What are you talking about?" He was unsettled and growly. but he wanted to spend some time with Cody. We fuck. pushed the man into the shower. "And have what? Five minutes a day to spend with you?" Cody had a fine fucking ass. Barker. "Why can't you be happy?" "I am fucking happy! I'm overfuckingjoyed!" Marked . We don't hang out. that shame in Cody's eyes." It was true." "You make me happy." "I'm not! You're away all day. Sure. "Stop pushing me!" Cody shoved back.

Cody was the only one he knew who could shift outside of the full moon. And hell. "You shifted?" Cody blushed dark. Someone had to have reported that Cody was back. "I'm not going to see them.. I. He's a drunk. He still wasn't sure what the Elders were going to think of a shifter who wasn't subject to the usual laws." Marked . but they tended to keep to themselves under the full moon. he was surprised they hadn't already. "Only one guy. they'll summon us. well. His eyes went wide. glowing eyes. Maybe they hadn't recognized him without the yellow.139 . Did they see?" Shifters weren't a secret. "Was this a shifter-friendly job site?" If it was Clan. I'm pissed right now because someone fucking cut you!" "They did. that would make it both easier and more complicated. head ducking. You're fucking grumpy all the time!" "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about." "No."Liar. I should go. No. If word gets out to the Elders. Do you know how to keep from shifting when you get hurt?" Cody's moods changed like the winds." Hell. "Oh.. shit. huh? Before I cause more problems. you should stay right here.

with me." Cody didn't answer him. "Not my problem." They ran the city. He was shocked.. anyway. Never again. I'm Banished." Cody met his eyes." "I will never be Clan."I'm not sure we're going to have a choice. I was a kid. drove me out like a freak." The Elders were. Barker. I was so fucking scared. "I'm not Clan. "I won't. straight on. "They turned on me. well." Barker opened his mouth. They're not my pack." "But you won't be anymore." "This is your home! Here. though. mate. the werewolf side. the Elders. held him close. mate? There is no home for me." "They run the Clan." Barker tugged Cody to him.140 .. Marked . "You don't want to be here with me?" How could Cody want to leave him again? He didn't understand." "I know. "Don't you just want to be home?" "Don't you understand. but he didn't know what to say. Period.

That's what I want. too. fingers exploring the tight abs. Bed?" "Uh-huh. He forced himself to keep the touches."I want to be here with you. What I've always wanted. mate. He licked at the corner of Cody's lips." He leaned into the shower to turn off the water and then took Cody's hand. His fingers slid just as gently over the warm flesh. Marked . I think the world is conspiring against me." He had to remind himself that Cody had been on his own for ten years. seeking to arouse." "We'll stand together. To hate him. to let go of the idea that this was the last time. A soft rumble sounded. "Want you. Good. "Good. He let his lips explore Cody's face. to hate people. touch gently. The easy touches seemed to melt his mate.141 . and Cody's hands wrapped around his waist. I always wanted to belong here." He licked his way into Cody's mouth." He growled a little for emphasis. mate. taking him to the big bed. "They won't let it happen. "You have me. It's not just you anymore. quiet and easy. He laid Cody out on the bed and stretched next to him. He forced himself to relax. the kisses. That was a long time to be bitter. not tickling." Relief swept through him at Cody's words. seduce him into stepping closer.

142 . that's me. He was going to make Cody wild with need. Cody's little cries were like music. your god. "Oh."Mmm. tiny little shivers that made his cock ache. Oh. He reached for the nipple he'd abandoned. filling the air. relax.the scent filled the air.. Tremors started rocking Cody's body. "Barker. Enjoy this beautiful man." Listen to that need." he teased. God. giving it the same gentle." Cody's fingers danced over his skin. arched for him." No.. "Yeah. He moved down.. flicked across the tip again. He licked at Cody's lips and then began to slowly work his way down. Please.. Mate. and then simply breathed on it. The Marked . ringing out. sweet treatment. Barker. pinching lightly as he continued to tongue the other one." Cody groaned. he wasn't going to stop. tongue heading for those ripped abs. So fine. encouraging it to tighten up. He'd never really been able to take his time. babe. lips and tongue exploring. "Don't stop. He tugged Cody's nipple between his lips. He found one of the little nipples and teased it with the tip of his tongue. He mouthed his way over to Cody's other nipple. His mate wanted him -. So sensual.

Oh. He was going to make the rest of Cody's life right. Cody's hips rose and fell. mate.. picking up the strong musk. The sounds went right to his balls. Cody groaned. pleasure on his tongue." That cock dripped for him. His mate. It had been a hard life for his mate. He breathed on them and memorized where they were. "Mate. fingers brushing through his hair. and he touched each one. tongue dancing over the peaks and valleys of Cody's stomach. He wanted to swallow Cody's prick whole and demand his mate's orgasm. drawing the flavor in." The call was so clear.143 . Soft words filled the air. It made him rumble deep in his chest. "Yes. Cody's voice husky and rough. mouth working as the hard flesh moved in and out of his mouth. He slowly added suction. matched only by the flavor of Cody on his tongue. Marked . There were dozens of tiny faded scars. but he made himself go slowly. rubbing his cheek against Cody's erection." he murmured. licked each one. made himself lick and clean it first.. "Mine. the hot cock sliding on his tongue. so happy. making him harder than ever.scent of his mate was heady. He lapped at the tip. After licking and tracing and nosing the scars on Cody's chest and belly. His mate called softly. He circled Cody's navel. he moved to nuzzle into the dip between hip and cock.

too. Love. Blue eyes met his. pushing it right into Cody's hole. God. Barker. Need. I want you. He slid his fingers between them." He pushed his head between Cody's thighs and began to lick that sweet little hole. Yes." "Good. Please. "Yes. Humming happily. bore down and took him in. pushing as deep as he could. needing more of his mate.144 . "You want me." Cody was babbling for him. He brought their mouths together. "Need you. Marked . Yes. cock pushing against Cody's hole. he licked again. yes. Fuck. he pushed. The smell of Cody overwhelmed him. The muscle shifted for him. and then rose up over Cody. More. hot. a prayer. human and solid and focused. Mate. finding the soft-skinned." It was a chant. moved for him. Groaning. and pointed his tongue." The single word slid down his spine like liquid heat. He fucked the sweet hole with his tongue. left him shaken and groaning. kissing Cody as he pushed into his mate's body again and again. meeting Cody's movements and getting in deep. He got his mate good and wet with his tongue. "Barker.Cody's thighs parted." "Yes. the offer clear. wrinkled little hole. So fucking good. and Cody arched.

staring. I'm not crazy.." Cody nodded. he'd heard that. the scent filling his nose. Boom. filling his mate. Mate. keeping him close.. He reached back. "Love. He smelled Cody's seed. Cody's heartbeat echoed inside him. The word echoed in his head. Head. Fuck. fuck. Marked ." Cody's hands wrapped around his shoulders. breathing his mate in. He watched. As their lips parted." Cody's eyes were glowing. He thrust harder. boom. Cody's voice whispered in his mind. In. "I can feel your heart beating. "Mate. gold. it came out. stared at him." He nuzzled Cody's neck. held the gaze while they came together. "I hear you.145 . inside. Boom." It was crazy. Oh." "That's crazy. his hips snapping. "Mate!" He cried out. the word whispering across Cody's lips. Then he was filling Cody with his spunk. Cody frowned at him. Fuck.Love. His. "Yeah.

" "We're freaks." "I don't know. Mate. How did that happen? "How the hell should I know?" "I don't know. I'd take them. Your Mate." He shrugged again. I'm not picky. "If they had crappy day labor jobs at night. but that's why they're called day labor.. babe. Barker. thought it at Cody. I can live with that. pulling out and settling next to Cody. just. I'm not running. "I've never heard of it happening before. Barker. "Whatever there is. "Go back to your night shift.I'm not crazy." Marked . Cody nodded. I have just enough to pay for a room and food.." "Maybe we can find you a crappy night job?" Cody shrugged.146 . but honestly." He shrugged." Cody licked his bottom lip. "Yes. "As long as you're not running away again. Yes." Cody didn't sound terribly upset. The idea was very appealing.. he wanted to see Cody more than just a few minutes between shifts.." "How?" He could hear Cody inside him. could speak to Cody without speaking. He didn't say it out loud.

"You're staying here. What do you want?" "I don't want anything. all those years ago? Hadn't the man had dreams? Ambitions? Barker wracked his brain. close to the surface." "Mate. trying to remember something about Cody before things went to hell. Cody shrugged. stabbed. He would never tire of this flavor." "You have to want something. tasting his mate again. you can turn anytime you want. of the feelings inside. "Still. "I don't hurt." Everybody wanted something. be. I have to help. Cody blinked." "I'm not hurting for money. then those lips parted. mugged." He didn't like thinking of Cody out there being hurt by assholes. He could feel the wolf inside Cody now... surprised. "You want to go back to my grandfather's cabin this weekend?" Cody could run and run and not worry about Marked . what had Cody wanted to do. mate?" "With your life.. close to the edge. "If you could do anything. God." "With what. You're not broken anymore." he growled.147 . It's enough." He pressed a fierce kiss on Cody. He slid his tongue in..

" That made him want to kiss Cody hard again. "I brought food home." On cue. whether he was wolf or man. The smells are everywhere. Cody's nose slid on his collarbone. Mate. It startled him again to hear Cody inside him. right?" "This place -. I know you. "Smells like peace. suddenly wet and cold." "Smells like us. This place is. Cody's laughter made him snort. Mate.is good..148 . "I would love that." "Oh. He liked it up there. He rolled them. the change faster now that the moon was closer again." At the moment it smelled strongly of them having sex. though. and long fingers tickled his ribs." "It's good here. "I can still hear you!" Marked . Mate. huge now.your home -. Cody kissed his wrist.anyone seeing him. his stomach rumbled loudly. trying to get away from those unerring fingers..

laughing at him. Mate. Marked . he started laughing. chuffing softly. He didn't have to concentrate or anything. tail wagging.bounced away. The satisfaction was obvious. Yes. Cody's tongue lolled. the move lazy and happy.and Cody was a stunning wolf -. Cody's tongue swiped across his belly. it was wonderful. Yeah. Come back here! Cody bounced back up to him. panting hard. Perfect. Love you like this. This is good.149 . He found a spot that made one leg kick. The wolf -. Love being whole. He wondered if it would still work when he was shifted as well. He couldn't help it. mate. Mate? He chuckled and rubbed Cody's face. his thoughts just slipping into Cody's mind like they were talking. He batted his mate and mentally stuck out his tongue. He dug his fingers along Cody's flanks. Cody flopped on his legs. Cody's eyes crossing with pleasure. rubbing hard. huh? And this being able to talk to Cody while he was wolfed out was awesome.Cody blinked at him. Cody slumped down against him. Mine. muzzle sliding on his cheek.

Right now he wouldn't trade their life.150 . for anything. this was what made everything else worth it. all of it.This moment. Marked . right here.

It made for long. the night shift bouncer giving him a little salute. long after Barker had gone home. Barker was more than happy to be knocking off. but he wasn't willing to give up being on the same schedule as Cody. black T-shirt. The day shift still sucked. Barker scanned the place before leaning against the end of the bar. "Busy night?" Barker asked. Marked . no. knowing the answer already from the feral grin on Julio's face. trying not to miss it too much. big shoulders moving beneath the tight. boring days. It was pretty empty at this time of day. from where he could see everything going on. By three.Chapter Ten Barker nodded at Julio. wouldn't really get busy until ten or eleven tonight." "Busted some heads?" Barker asked. "The usual. "Got it in one. Julio shrugged. Even if the asshole was wolfing out a lot." Julio waved at Matty behind the bar and headed out.151 . He wanted to get home. needed to get Cody out of the city so they could run together on his grandfather's land when the change took him. Broke up a few fights. needed to. Matty handed over the take-out bag with steak that he'd ordered and went to draw a glass of beer for the guy at the other end of the bar who'd been drinking steadily since noon.

but I'm actually here..." "He's not hurting anyone. not on Clan business per se. Congratulations on becoming an Elder. Harry was an old friend and newly appointed Elder. "Harry." Barker kept it light." Barker's eyes narrowed. Harry Bongard. willed his heart to keep steady and not beat like a runaway train." Marked . He hadn't talked to the man in. He tried to hide his worry. I wish I could say this was a social visit.." "So what if he is?" Harry's eyes narrowed at his tone.One of the few patrons got up from the tables on the other side of the dance floor and slowly made his way over. "James Barker. "Rumor always does. well. He was only a few feet away before Barker recognized him. "Someone claims they saw a wolf a week or two ago." He nodded." "Thanks." "Rumor's busy having it. long enough it made Barker nervous that Harry was seeking him out now.. "He's Outcast." "Rumor has it his eyes don't glow anymore. He didn't want Harry smelling anything on him. "What does that mean?" "Rumor has it Cody Donner is back." Harry shrugged casually.152 . it seems.

It's not a good time for strange wolves to be here. though. "Are you threatening me?" Make Harry think he was worried about himself. I don't think you should spend the full moon in the city. really. but Barker thought he saw a hint of pity in them. About what might happen to him if the Elders of the City got a hold of him. dissect it to see what went so wrong. the tension clear in the way he was standing. Marked . but shit." "Good. That would be for the best. The Elders knew and they wanted to tear Cody apart to find out what made him different. "I usually leave town for the change. Must have been a big dog. Good. we'd want to inspect it. "It's more of a warning." Harry's eyes narrowed. pretend he didn't have a clue what else the Elder could mean." Harry's eyes were hard." "Maybe. if I knew a wolf who couldn't change and then suddenly did change. I mean something like that. "I'd be worried. not looking back once. lurking somewhere in the back. only not on the full moon."In the city? In our city? That doesn't seem right. he wasn't so casual anymore." Harry patted his arm and then turned and walked out.153 ." Barker tried not to react. I'd be worried about that wolf. They knew.

. Mate! "Hey. Cody hopped up on the window. He hadn't been able to remember how to shift for the last day. Marked . more reasonable.. more. mate. I'm home. Oh. but still he had tried. He'd gotten the truck gassed up. quieter. He could feel Barker getting closer. His tail wagged. picked up groceries after work. And I have fresh meat. Love you. Not talking to him. "Hey. he'd be honest. mate.154 .Chapter Eleven The moon was coming. They were going out to Barker's grandfather's for the full moon. Barker gasped and buried his face in Cody's neck. Barker rolled with him. So maybe he hadn't tried hard." He bounded over. welcoming Barker home. to run." Barker dropped down and started petting and scritching. happy to be close. The door opened and closed. He wanted to go. rubbing against his fur. he was happier wolfed out -. and it was almost as good as having his mate as a wolf. hard. could hear Barker in his head. Cody licked and lapped. Well.the world was easier. looked out over the city. Smell so good! His thoughts tumbled from him. tail pounding.

" Barker grabbed the bag he'd left by the door and pulled out a package of steak. "I'm sure. so happy.155 . "Go for it." Barker sounded in a hurry. fatten ourselves up for the full moon nights. "You ready to go." His head bobbed and he snapped the bite up." Barker got the steak out of the stupid plastic and put it on the floor for him. nuzzling. panted. His mouth started watering and he bounced. but it'll do. Raw meat won't be on my diet until the moon comes up. I bought you meat. tugged on his ruff." He nosed the piece over. He snapped the steak up.He panted. I had something on the way home. love? It's so good. Barker lounged on the ground while he ate. So good. You're sure. Smells good! "Nice and fresh. mate? If we leave now. "You should eat first. Laughing. Marked . Barker rubbed a hand over his head. leaving the best part for his mate. Not as fresh as what we'll get up at the cabin. mate. His mate wanted to run with him! He nodded. we'll be there before the moon comes. Barker kissed the top of his head. mate. Tonight we'll bring down something good.

it's okay. warmer. "You just forgot how. Cody waited. You touching me.156 . Kissing you. legs driving him. suddenly scared." rolling beneath him."You feel like a little fun before the drive?" He chuffed softly. hmm?" Barker touched him softly. every day. It'd been so long. then leaped. Marked . huh?" He panted. Barker went down with an "oof. so many days. Yes. "Okay. Yes. Making love. Remember kissing me. Can't do that as the wolf. "Mate! You're supposed to shift. Just think." Barker rubbed his neck. mate. His mate was growing more affectionate. Of course he did." He rested his paws on Barker's shoulders and thought about his human form. Nothing happened. Let's see who can hit the bed first!" Barker hauled himself up and ran for the big bed. "Cody?" Mate? He yipped. headbutting his lover. "Hey. "Cool.

His lover." He chuffed. the kiss hot. losing his tail. "Hey. arms wrapped around his lover. nibbled the strong jaw. holding Barker's gaze. Oh. Cody." He licked Barker's jaw.157 . He could feel himself changing.Help me. "Come on. Cody panted. I'm stuck. Images of him and Barker kissing filled his head. trying so hard to get what he needed. He liked sex." Marked . eyes on Barker's. Sex. "Hey. Barker laughed. feel himself growing longer. "Fuck." He opened. Oh. and it's yours. his mate. Haven't seen this side of you in a few days. His. Barker rolled him. Touching him. grinding their lower halves together. His Barker. "Mate. But I'm not humping your wolf. Please. yes. Change for me." Barker's mouth latched onto his. loving him. Sex is good. putting him beneath the hard body. Mate. mate.

He curled up. "Yes. wanting. Barker moaned and bucked into his hand.158 ." "Feel good. "It's okay. The moon was coming and he didn't hurt. and started rocking.." He grunted. "Yeah. Barker's mouth closed over his throat. teeth marking him. mostly. Their hands moved on their cocks." "Mmm. Just missed doing this. mate. The kisses left him breathless and went on and on. Barker bit down harder. fuzzy. sliding together. hand joining his around their cocks. Come with me. needing. Missed this. Cody laughed. Mine. pushing them closer to the edge. Come. Barker took his mouth. He hummed softly. It's easier. Yours. kissed him soundly."I know." He should have been working. I'm sorry. balls drawing up. head thrown back. and suddenly Cody was hungry. yeah. "Mate. dragged their cocks together." His hips jerked faster." Barker's growl vibrated along his skin. Marked . Please. Cody's eyes flew open and he howled. feeling light and free. better than the meat had.." He agreed. Barker tasted good.

Still amazing. "We should probably get going so I'm not still driving when the moon shows up. "Maybe we can stay for longer than just the full moon.159 . You smell so good. "Wow." He lapped at Barker's throat." "You are. nuzzling into the strong neck. Come on." Marked . "Yours. Barker panted and moaned softly." He hummed." To being free. eyelids getting heavy. out of the city." "Yeah." Barker's lips slid along his collarbone. "You looking forward to the country?" "I'm looking forward to running with you." He sighed happily. pleasure flooding him." Barker kissed his skin. "Yeah. "Mmm."Yes. "Yes. "Mate. "I smell like yours. Barker understood." Cody hummed. It's going to be awesome. His teeth rattled as he shot." Barker knew." Barker squeezed their pricks. My mate. Yes!" More heat bubbled up between them as Barker came. too.

" "Okay.160 . too." He stole another kiss." Barker gave him a hard kiss and then bounced up and started getting dressed. body awake and aware and alive." He stretched and wiggled. Mate." He waited for Barker's laughter." "Are you laughing at me?" He chuffed softly. mate. Barker deserved company on the drive." That had Barker laughing. It's going to be a good couple nights. I can feel the moon tugging at me. "I can't wait to get out there. I've almost forgotten what clothes feel like." "Me. but he tried not to. Barker did laugh this time. "Yeah. No nakedness until we're at the cabin. "If we leave in the next ten minutes. His first moon with no pain. it won't be an issue." "Let's go play. Barker snorted. "You could start a nudist colony for our kind." The wolf wanted him." Marked . "Better get dressed. "I would. "Would I do that?" "You would."I can drive. rubbing their noses together. He was liable to shift at the slightest provocation and this was only his second full moon.

He relaxed. Barker squeezed his hand and led him down the stairwell." He stumbled along behind. I'm still a freak. cheek on Barker's shoulder. Barker grabbed his hand and tugged him toward the door. No.161 . Grinning. the word "love" echoed back into his head. along with the feeling of it wrapping around him. He shivered. the moon seeming to call them from everywhere. mate. He hummed. then the urge to go to Barker was irresistible. His mate was eager." "Sounds perfect. sheltered him. Barker's arms went around him. Let's get out of here and leave the world behind for a while. soft. so he went. suddenly chilled. "Time to go. moving quickly. He wasn't. He didn't have a kind. Barker kissed him again. Marked .He shook his head. He wasn't weak. They bounded down the stairs. You're special. He went to pull on his only pair of jeans. the unwelcome tension sliding away down his spine. chuffing softly. There wasn't anyone like him." Love. "Come on. one of Barker's shirts. Mate? The touch to his mind was tentative.

Barker soon had them on the open road, headed for his
grandfather's cabin, headed for where they could be free.
***
Barker waited, naked, by the truck, the moon's power
right there, moments away from turning him into his
wolf. Cody was already there, running rings around him,
and Barker would have sworn his mate was laughing at
him. It made him growl, and he glared at the sky. Come
on! He needed to change. Nothing else mattered right
now. They were safe up here, away from the city.
Cody was giddy, and Barker knew that part of it was
relief after ten years of agony, that finally his mate could
run, jump, feel.
Mate! Love! Come play!
"Yeah, yeah. Soon, mate." This was Cody's reward for
having to go through that -- being able to change
whenever he wanted. Barker growled at the sky again.
Cody's tongue slid over his thigh, muzzle dangerously
close to his balls.
"Careful, mate!" He needed those.
A cold, wet nose nudged them playfully.
"Hey!" His laughter turned into yips as the change began
to take him.

Marked - 162

His mate danced away, barking happily, calling to him.
He called back and bounded after the lean flanks, soon
overtaking his mate and leading them deeper into the
forest.
His mate was beautiful -- sleek and long, fast and lightfooted. The moon shone down, giving everything, his
mate, a glow. Those glowing eyes shone with happiness,
and Cody headbutted him happily, the scent of pleasure
and home and health filling his nose. He pounced and
rolled with Cody, barking and chuffing as they played.
Then the scent of a rabbit caught his nose and he froze,
entire body on alert as he scented the air. Mate! Rabbit!
Cody stilled, nostrils flaring, muscles tensed to pounce.
He wanted to take the lead, he wanted that very badly,
but he held himself back. For Cody. Get it, mate!
Cody didn't hesitate, leaped forward and pounced,
snapping the hare up, the wild scream cut short. Barker
gave a proud bark. Look at his mate, hunting,
succeeding. The treat was brought to him, the prey
offered over with a deep bow.
He tore into it, ripping open the belly and taking the
choicest bits for himself, then he nipped at Cody's
muzzle, leaving the rest of the rabbit for his mate.
The carcass disappeared quickly, then Cody was running
again, tail up. Chuffing happily, he gave chase, his
muscles stretching, warming up. It felt so good to just let
go and run. It felt even better to do it with his mate.
Marked - 163

He'd spent dozens of moons here, running and hunting,
searching. Now he only needed to play. He stopped and
put his head back, howling to the moon, to his mate. It
only took a heartbeat before his lover's voice joined his,
the harmony perfect to his ears.
Yes!
He howled once more and then began running again, the
wind in his fur, a thousand scents in his nose.
The biggest one of all was Cody.

Marked - 164

Chapter Twelve
Barker lay on the grass in a clearing, the sunlight warm
and good on his skin. He didn't have a clue how far
away from the cabin they were, but he didn't much care
either. He and Cody had run and hunted and played all
night long, and now he was exhausted. The grass felt
good under his back, though, and the sun was making
him sleepy.
Just one thing was missing. Mate? he called out for his
lover.
Cody loped over to him, plopped down beside him, still
fuzzy. Mate.
Barker laughed. "You're still wolfed out, babe."
Oops. Cody stared at him, and Barker could see the man
trying.
"You like the wolf better than the man." He was teasing,
but he also thought maybe it was true.
Of course, Cody had ten years' worth of full moons to
make up for.
The human slowly appeared, slowly took form. "No. It's
easier, fuzzy."
He nodded. It was. Everything got distilled down to base
instincts. He slid his hand over Cody's belly. "Some
things are better like this, though."
"Mmm." Cody's cock started filling, slowly.
Marked - 165

"Yes. That." He laughed and rolled over onto his mate,
finding Cody's mouth for a lazy kiss.
"Your butt's going to sunburn..."
"I'll risk it." Some things were more important.
He let himself look at Cody for a minute, admire. His
mate was filling out, becoming healthier, happier. There
wasn't even a scar from where that asshole had knifed
his lover. The memory of that and how it had probably
exposed Cody had him growling again, and he bent to
take Cody's mouth to keep from vocalizing it.
Easy. I'm right here .Yes. And Cody would stay that
way.
Mate. Mine. He rubbed their bodies together, the need
right there at the surface, just like always -- moon or no
moon.
Cody's belly was warm, fuzzy, soft against his cock. He
licked into Cody's mouth, his mate tasting so good, so
right.
"Horny bastard." Cody's tongue slipped against his,
caressing him lazily.
"And you're not?" Don't you want me, mate?
With every inch of me.
"Well, then. You're a pot and I'm a kettle."
Marked - 166

"Looking good. standing between the woman and his mate. still on full alert. and there wasn't a hint of fear on her. kissing his mate hard. growling. He let Cody lead the kiss this time. "Stop wallowing in the dirt. We've got business to discuss. Cody. What if the Elders had sent her? He dismissed the thought immediately. Cody diving into the kiss. nodded." "I don't think -. Cody. Blue eyes rolled.Cody whistled and then cracked up. He leaped up. along with Cody's tongue. the laughter pushing between his lips. fingers tangling in his hair.I know this is private land. opening his mouth to his mate. The female looked just like Cody. except for the breasts and the hugely pregnant belly." He stilled. The laughter died away. "You think?" Long blonde hair was twisted up into a casual bun. don't you know me? Even a little bit?" Marked . You grew up well." he snarled." Who the hell was this woman? She laughed. still protecting his mate. you two. "I'm fully aware that this is John's land." John? His grandfather? "Just who the hell are you?" He stayed between her and Cody. "This is private land. It belongs to me. body covering Cody's as he looked up into shockingly familiar blue eyes. shocked. She was pregnant and he would have seen her before. Just. He sucked it in.167 . "Don't snarl at me. Well.

"Cody. "Cast out. that's for sure.who the fuck are you?" He might have been more polite to a woman. No." He could feel Cody shiver." Cody stumbled forward. There wasn't supposed to be anyone else here. her face changing. Cody growled softly. No way. She'd died years ago." "Don't make me ask you again -. and Riana stepped closer." "You're too young to be her.Cody shook his head. "No.168 . stepping to one side. "Riana. this woman was changing." The word was a deep growl. Just like Cody could. Marked . Too fucking old to be whelping again. except he and Cody were naked as jaybirds and she was trespassing on his fucking land. Not only that. the instinct to protect his mate still strong. I don't think so. body trying to change behind him." Her eyes began to glow." Barker repeated the words flatly. "You're dead!" Riana? Cody's oldest sister? No. He wrapped his arms around Cody." Riana snorted. "You're dead. "I'm almost forty. This wasn't making any sense. in full sunlight. "Brother. tossed her hair. and a pregnant one at that.

boys. He didn't like this. His land where Cody was supposed to be safe from the Elders.169 . We have to talk. This woman who looked so much like his Cody. and headed back toward the cabin. "I don't know you. unafraid. The Clan's coming for you." Those glowing eyes met Cody's. but I don't know if she's who she says she is. She's there. "Sure. mate. "Want to run with me?" I don't trust her. from the Clan. Cody's fingers clenched his. Is she real? Is it her? He could smell the panic on Cody. Don't let her know you can change during the day. winked. Barker growled. He took Cody's hand and slowly followed." She smiled. not for a second." "Liar. mate. mate. "I'm not going away. acting like she owned his land.Don't." "You going to let us put on some clothes first?" he asked. *** Marked . Stay calm. Cody frowned at her. He didn't trust her. Not at all.

I was born. trying to remember what he knew of his oldest sister.when she died. Barker puffed up. "You're like Cody. Cody? How they come all in a group -. four families and two outcasts. He'd been a child -. From the beginning.how there are guns and knives and rocks? How they drive you to the end of the packlands? How they whip you until you bleed?" Cody growled. They drove me out and my mate followed me." She was laughing at him. you know? I thought you'd have done it already if you were like us." "Stop it." Riana was dead. and the change didn't come. Then Mom whelped this little shithead. Those blue eyes went hard as glass." Cody stared at the woman. his mate already having pulled on a pair of his own. stepping half in front of him -protecting him. but the sound was oddly joyous. Went away. Barker growled and handed him his jeans. I was mated. "Start talking. "You were so cute when you were born.five or six -. Got boobs. so quick. We're up in the high mountains -.about six of us from all over the continent. Their Marked . Grew up. teeth baring. My sister is dead. Well. "Should I remind you."I didn't think you'd ever change.170 . then. Disappeared." "Well. You couldn't change and now you can?" "Yes.

outside the moon. make sure no one's coming." "I won't deal with the Clan. Barker looked at him. Check the road." He hated them." Barker backed him up immediately. I'm not losing you. met his eyes and held them.171 . "The Clan have done enough because he couldn't change. Marked .mates didn't come. Promise? He needed to know. boys. Ever. "You heard him. "You mean they'd take him apart to figure it out. This is my land." "You don't think the Elders want to know why?" Barker sucked in a breath. There are four. Get off it. This is my land. check the road. there was no way. He wasn't going back. and the first time you change in the light. The Clan. they're not touching him again. then come back and we'll figure it out. I have to get out of here. "Go away. No. Barker growled. they'll make you pay." "They're coming." Cody listened to her go on and on. you should be safe here. this is number five. I have babies. No. don't you?" Mate. They'll say they're sorry and then draw you in.

" Barker started pacing. "Three hundred miles away with my family!" Her teeth flashed." "That's for damn sure. "We can get in the truck." "Where the hell were you when he didn't change on his first full moon?" Barker demanded. but you're my baby brother and I'm risking my mate's hissy fit by coming to help you. they have to go through me first. mate. I thought it would be worse. shrugged. Asshole." Cody chuffed softly.172 . that he was in trouble. Riana.. "I got a call warning me that he'd changed." She met Cody's eyes. This was ridiculous. and Cody thought he heard guilt in the words.Mine." "Go where?" That exhaustion hit him again." "And you didn't come for him. a low growl in his chest. knowing you were screwed." Barker snarled.. "No. "I didn't get pregnant. go until the moon hits again. I thought. if that was really her." Marked . "I changed when I got pregnant. "Are you listening to me?" "Aren't you supposed to be leaving?" "Yes. deep and low. growled at them. If they come for you. being with us. For always. "I don't have any connections with the Pack.

you have a weird birthmark on your inner thigh. Riana growled back. Your return had my phone ringing. you're allergic to strawberries. obviously." growled Barker. and you had a stuffed cat named 'Wicket' that you slept with until the other boys found out and teased you. "That's easy. yes.. but I do. "And if you want to make a stand here. we will. They can't just come here and take you. You're also my baby brother. "What?" "Prove you're Riana. So she's real."No. All of it? No. Because she's not explaining anything. stay.. You're an adult." "Prove it. mate? Would anyone else know that? He shook his head. It was storming when you were born. You were scared of roosters when you were a little boy. "I'm not taking anyone. we can plan. One or two. If you want to stay.173 .. What do you want to do? If we make her go away." Her laughter surprised him." Does that make her legit." Barker growled at Riana as he said this last." "We're safe here. Marked .. my. This is my land." He'd had enough.

but my mate knows how to use a phone. I'm there. "I can't do this. I have a family to get back to. You obviously survived it. Mate?" Barker turned to him. offer you somewhere safe. If you need me. So did you. Marked ." "Hey. stay." She flipped him off. I'll be fuzzy in about two weeks until the pups are old enough. "I did. not saying another word. clearly still not happy about her presence. reached out for him. go. "I should go." That made Cody blink." Barker stepped forward again. "You've been told to get out. making Riana take a step back. kiddo. shake his head." "You didn't say anything when I was driven out." This was all fucked up." Her eyes met his." Barker bristled and growled. not right now. Think how much nicer it would have been if there was someone there for you who knew what the fuck was going on. Whatever.174 . Then she just turned and headed away."Look.. chilly." "No. "Fucking hell. just stop with the one-upmanship. "Whatever you want. a home in the country. lady. now go. Just think how much more fun it is for a girl who's still reeling from losing her virginity. I wanted to warn you.. Well.

angry and frighten. "You're not running away from me. head so heavy. petting him. rubbed his fur.. "Cody. head butting into Barker. Mate. "I've got you.. Was he so wrong. That word rushed through him.175 . hands still petting him. If you're going somewhere. Mate. What were they going to do? Where would they go? "Do you trust her?" Barker asked him. You're not alone. I'm not going anywhere. lost and a little ill. I." He howled softly. Mate. I love you. Are you okay. He let himself push closer. Mate.Barker shook his head. I'm coming with you. Love. I have you." Barker growled a little. He keened." Barker took his arm and drew him close. Why are we like this? She could change. so quickly he couldn't stop it. Whatever's coming. mate? No! No. Love you. Barker dropped and held him. Yes. so ill-made that no one could welcome him? Barker just kept holding him. a human-sounding howl answering him. Marked . It's going to be okay. stroking over his flanks. we face together. The wolf was on him. Mate.

Barker pressed their lips together." He rested his muzzle on Barker's thigh. long and lean." Groaning.176 . Change back? He wouldn't. staring into those worried eyes. I'd change if I could. Broken. You are special. To run. To do something." He pressed into Barker's hands. "No! There's nothing wrong with you. except for the need in Barker's voice. "Not broken. vocalizing softly. He focused on his skin. I guess. his legs. He nodded. The rest of us are. "You are not! Look at you! You're the wolf in the sunshine! You can speak to me in my head. Barker's need to touch him clear through their link. We can't do what you can do. The strong hands slid over him. You so aren't broken. You should have killed me." Fingers digging into his fur. mate. Marked . "Cody. rubbing against his fur. Barker snarled at him. He needed to think. Mate.Something in your family. Barker shook him a little. his body. I don't know.

Barker sealed it with a kiss. "You swear it?" "I swear it." "And I won't leave you." Barker was all growl." "You have a life here. but we'll do it together. This was his mate."Together." Marked . "What do you want to do. I swear." "Riana seemed to think they were coming for you anyway. I won't abandon you. "I won't leave you again. We'll run or fight or hide. And I won't let them have you. She's right. Swear it. Needed to stop chasing their tails.177 . with the Clan. Barker didn't stop kissing him until they were both breathless and panting." "I had a half-life in the city until I got you back. Swear. Mate. They belonged together. and I won't let them have you. in the city. And do you think I want to stay with people who would take you apart?" He hoped not. We haven't done anything wrong. You're amazing and you're mine. They needed to stop running in circles. "We'll face it together." murmured Barker. now. mate?" "We need to figure this out." The words echoed through their link as well.

"I just assumed he was. "I don't. They hate me. tell them to leave us alone? They haven't done anything yet." "Yet. either."Is my father still alive?" His mother had died when Riana did." "Where would we go? You have a job. When Riana left.. I don't know.178 . a life." There was something hard and sad in Barker's voice. they're not going to let you just be. "And I think we need to assume we're on our own. too. Your family was." He shook his head. Barker. a place. "He died around when... I don't know.." Barker shook his head. mate. I thought he was there with my brothers. Marked . Barker he shook his head. Maybe he is. "I remember what they did to you when you didn't change." "He wasn't there. but now. He thought so. well." He had." "None of this makes sense.. Maybe we don't go back at all. Now I can't remember him being there at all." Barker growled.. Barker held him close." "So what do we do? Do we go to them." "Then we don't go to them. but Da wasn't. my uncles." He shivered.. Riana was right. "I don't trust them. pulled into himself a bit..

" "But." He could stay fuzzy. This would be easy.. hunt. "Too risky. "Did we or did we not already talk about how we weren't leaving each other this time?" "We did." He lifted his head. It makes me think you don't believe me when I tell you I'm not letting you go. "Well." He sighed. But if we go back.." "You don't have to let me go. I'll stay here. mate. He almost grinned. they'll try to do something to you. though. There's a difference. stop offering." Barker shook his head." "You could go back." He'd waited on Barker for ten years." Barker growled and wrapped both arms around him. We can't risk it. hurting. "I don't know. I was offering. wait for you. leaned in.. I could stay here."I don't know. "Am I risking you? Now?" "I didn't mean for me." Marked .179 . mate.. "Why did you have to mate with a freak?" "Stop that." "You're special." Butthead. "It's true.

trying to out-alpha his Alpha. He bit Barker's bottom lip. body arching with the zing of the sensation. invaded. "Touchy. but it felt so right. "Fuck..almost -. Barker's kisses grew toothy. You're my mate." muttered Barker.tickled. He grinned. one hand roaming over his skin. mouth covering his. tugging. Barker chuckled and deepened the kiss. His eyes went wide. grabbing his tongue and pulling on it. and their legs twined together. Barker growled and bit back."I'm a circus freak.. groaned." Jerking against him. denim rasping." "Your freaky mate. sharp. Marked . He pushed into the kiss. nodded." Oh. shutting him up. Barker had the advantage of position. making him feel so good. "You're not. "Stop it. "Don't laugh at me.180 . Barker dove into loving on him." He was -. Mate. His back slid along the smooth. old floor. pushing the words between Barker's lips." he grumbled low. leaning over him and pressing him into the ground as his mouth was opened. maybe he could get a job doing that. "Stop it!" Barker growled and pushed him down." Barker demanded again. though. They should be planning. Barker wasn't smooth in the least. Or something.

The Clan could wait."Yes. The suction got stronger. lips tight as they slid along his shaft. done. and his mate shimmied down. taking him down." He reached down. Now he needed." Marked . drawing out his orgasm. "Mate!" His head banged against the floor.181 . bucked up toward the touch. thrusting up into the heat. happy. dragging them down off his ass. He could feel Barker's smile. and then his mate took in more of him. Barker tugged at his jeans." That would work for him. Barker swallowed. crashing over him. his hips pumping. He tilted his hips. The heat was perfect. "Okay. taking the head in." "Yes. Barker's head bobbed. driving all his worries out of his mind. then popped back up and slapped his stomach. around him. fingers tangling in the heavy mass of hair. It left him melted. "Mate. His eyes were squeezed shut. His prick caught at the waistband. "I wish we could stay right here like this. His orgasm hit him like a wave." He could handle that. and boneless. worn out. Barker pulling hard on him. It made Barker moan. Barker rested his head on Cody's belly.

"How about we stay here until we have to hit the head?" "Okay. "I can hold it a long time.182 ." He grinned." Marked .His laughter chuffed out of him and Barker's joined his in short order.

and came barreling toward him. He was so fucking proud of his beautiful mate who could change whenever he wanted. though. Their allegiance would be with Clan. spun around. His mate. Hell. Cody's tail was up. All his life. Cody's allegiance was with him. the moon so close. proud. Mate!" Barker laughed. his mate would be safe. barking happily. looking for strangers. though. wishing the moon was on them already so he could run with his mate. they already knew. though. "Hey. Marked . feeling the beast right there beneath the surface. as he ran near the cabin. Cody squealed to a halt. Cody had changed hours ago. the Clan had been there. He paced. The problem was. He didn't trust them. He'd thought they'd have time. God only knew what they'd do if they found out he could shift whenever he wanted. He wished he had someone he could ask. the Elders and the Alpha making the big decisions. He thought Harry had been trying to tell him that as long as Cody was out of the city.Chapter Thirteen Barker didn't know what to do and he hated that. Harry had as much as told Barker.183 . someone he could confide in. Solely. All his friends were thick with the Clan. had been running. setting out the laws. Barker was afraid Cody needed to look for friends. They'd run Cody off ten years ago.

Four paws left the ground as his mate leaped." He closed his eyes and held on tight. back hitting the ground with a thump. "Enjoying the beast. He wanted Cody to feel like this all the time. Cody's love clear. huh?" He knew that. tongue lolling out to one side in pure joy. though.." Soon.184 . He laughed and turned his face. his chin. Cody chuffed softly. after ten years of pain and not being able to change. Mate. "Wish I could be beastly with you. "Cody. his body was eager to give over to the wolf.."Oh fuck. he ran his fingers through Cody's fur. LOVE! He went down under the force of Cody's leap. The big head landed on the center of his chest. long tongue cleaned his throat. Laughing. free and easy and happy. Between the moon and his mate's closeness. Cody's tail thumped against his legs. "Hey! Cold and wet." He braced himself. as at home in his form as any shifter he'd ever known. especially out here in the wild. filling him. paws holding him close. The hot. fingers digging into fur. Cody licked him. the wind totally knocked out of him. mate!" Marked . ear over his heart. He managed to get his arms around Cody. this had to be amazing for Cody. Next it was Cody's cold nose nudging his skin.

As if he had even the smallest chance of getting away. giving him a head start. a chance.looking for a soft place to land. It made him laugh." Marked . Still.He could feel Cody's laughter. Come play. His initial instinct was to curl up to protect his belly. "Think you can catch me?" he shouted. God. he wanted to wolf out already and run and hunt and play with Cody. made him put on as much speed as he could. Damn. He put on a last burst. his knees.185 . It was a good thing he didn't want to. he wriggled around so he was lying on his back. but because it was his mate. Instead." He could feel it under his skin. even though this was his mate. The moon's almost here. looking up into Cody's furry face. Beautiful mate. He shook his head. He could feel Cody's admiration. "Soon. It meant something that Cody let him go. Come play with me. Cody's teeth were on his shoulder. he pushed Cody off and stood. It's not fair play while I'm like this. trying to get clear of the patch of rocks he was running over -. "You got me. Cody chased slowly. Cody was fast. he didn't. let him land on the soft grass. He could feel his mate's breath on his thighs. but still he ran toward the trees.

He laughed. He caught the scent of a rabbit and called to his mate. squeezing just the barest bit before turning it into a good scratch." He grabbed it with his hand. back leg thumping on the ground. He leaped up and pounced on his mate.186 . making the barest bit of noise to distract the hare while Cody inched closer. muzzle rubbing along Cody's. batted at him. He put his head back and howled. hunching and slowed. The moon was fat and full. They barreled through the trees. MATE! That sound was pure joy. That cold nose touched his belly. nostrils flaring. Food! Cody crouched down.Love you. He pushed back and nipped at Cody's haunches. rolling his mate under him. Cody's eyes rolled back. heading for the creek. the ground flying beneath their feet. then Cody offered him the long neck. for the water. They leaped up and started running. but he was a natural. his mate's voice harmonizing with him. Marked .Cody hadn't been hunting very long. "Oh. the pleasure running between them. clean kill. grabbing the rabbit at the neck and shaking it. He circled around one side. Cody's paws nudged him. the sound turning into a growl as the change came over him. As he watched. mate. He was so proud of his mate -. The happy bark had him chuffing. his mate pounced. a quick.

bouncing back.one of the Clan. a warning this time. head tilted. Chuffing. tail up. he thought. Cody brought the prey to him. almost puppy-like. He licked along Cody's jaw and then took his share of the organs before leaving the rest for Cody. He put his head back and howled again. He loved this. This was his land. Cody pounced happily. the freedom intoxicating.187 . Marked . wagging hard. his heart. he pretended to be headed the other way and then pounced to the side.Teeth bared and bloodied. He put his head back and howled out his happiness. Another wolf howled back and Cody stilled. keeping an eye on the forest around them. He felt Cody's paws batting at him. His and Cody's. bowing deep. still chuffing. Cody's scent filled his nose. The howl came again -. His muzzle grabbed Cody's ribs. going for his mate. whimpering softly. the happy snarling making him pant. Harry had lied about them being safe here. Barker fell silent. He pranced around his mate. Maybe the man had just wanted them out of the city. where they could take him and Cody down without anyone else knowing. his mate scrabbling on the ground. mock fighting. Cody nipped his heels. They'd chased him. loved playing and just being. He rolled them.

They're here. from this place that was his. The air went electric. You'll need your things. Cody sniffed the air. Good mate. Cody ducked his head. nose wrinkling. You can try. Cody sighed. They'll be here by then. If you suggest I go one more time.188 . from the Clan. There was no time. He hated the thought of running from his land. We don't need to fight each other right now. submitting immediately. We should go. You should go if you want to. run. but they were there. North? It would take them the farthest away from the city. but if the Clan had come out in full force. He snarled. I'm going to beat you. he and Cody couldn't stand up against them. Not and survive. tail dropping. Stand and fight. Cody would need to decide what he wanted to do. You'll be human in the morning. go find Riana: the choices were limited. They would be trapped if they stayed. Which way? He didn't have a clue. mate. What? You'll wander around naked tomorrow? Marked .

. snorted at him. We'll get the truck. really. snapping at his mate's heels. He snapped and snarled.189 . he followed his mate. grab supplies. Your truck is there. Asshole. Hello. head north. Wolf. I won't leave you helpless in the sun. No. What would it be like. to be the wolf while Cody was a man? Cody didn't answer. Wrong way. I can. nipping at those haunches. The Clan would be looking for them there. Cody just kept moving. Cody tossed his head. Marked . Can't drive. He stopped. He growled and started trotting off. Cody headed for the cabin. Where was Cody's head? Cody's eyes met his. Hello. Hell. I just never thought. You're my mate. Growling. The Clan would be all wolfed out and Cody could get right by them. we can go back to your place. It was ingenious. He went after Cody. Cody could be a man during the moon? Why not? Cody stared at him. Yipped. heading north.. just kept moving. Freak.If it keeps you safe.

then his mate started to run.190 . He howled to Cody.His mate. Marked . Cody's eyes danced. putting his admiration into it. His stunning mate. twinkled for him.

Beautiful wolf. The Clan could travel hard at night as wolves. You hurt. I know. food. Still.. Or we can stop. but it worked. backing off and huffing. and I can drive. Now he just had to drive until the sun was up." Marked . and he had Barker.Chapter Fourteen Hurt. but they'd be stuck during the day. money. mate. head resting on his thigh. Barker's things. Barker's shaving kit -things they would need on the run. and supplies all packed in the truck. It hurt. He chuckled. iPod. Don't be sorry. his bag.. I'm. Barker kept sniffing him. Smell funny.191 . You still smell funny. You rescued my clothes. It hurt to be human during the moon. I'm sorry. Barker growled a little and licked his hand. Not mind-to-mind. Barker moved closer. and it wasn't like there'd be cars or weapons or anything waiting for them when the moon made them change. The sun will be here soon. breathing shallowly. "We'll be safe. He couldn't lie. He stroked Barker's head. Mate. He took a handful of pain pills and kept driving. Clothes.

Barker stood and pushed the great muzzle into his face. "Such a good wolf. Barker licking his hand again. He hummed. killed the engine. Sun's coming. Pull over. moving closer so more of his body pressed against Cody's thigh. on keeping it together. gave a soft woof. Barker moved. buried his face in the soft fur.A bark answered him. mate. Love you. pleased. Breath leaving him in a huff. He found his mate a smile. Marked .192 . and the long tail thumped hard against the truck's seat. Maybe you should pull over. Barker's low growls were happy." Barker chuffed for him." He loved his mate with a fiery. fingers rubbing the fuzzy ears. "You're so warm. Only wolf human during the moon. So strong. pushing against his hand. He could hear the whine of pleasure caught in his mate's voice. Barker growled softly and nudged his arm. He managed to get the truck to the side of the road. focusing on the road. mate. He draped his arms around Barker. burning passion. "So soon? Has the night gone so fast?" He was starting to waver.

"I've ruined your life. I'm sorry. trying to avoid the questions. and the urge to change was huge. mate." He watched. and then the sound morphed as Barker began to change. I know. Marked . God. the sun peeking up over the edge of the horizon. what if they don't want me? What if it was a lie? Why do they hate me?" Another jolt of pain rocked him. wetting his face. Tired." Barker bared his teeth.193 . "Don't argue with me. He chuckled. though. sharp." He closed his eyes. Barker barked sharply. "I don't know. I don't know. Because they're assholes? I'd rather figure it out from a distance. smiling through his pain. Don't laugh at me! That made the laughter worse. Why would the Clan care if he could change? Barker kept licking. trying to rest. Hurt. Barker licked his face." The bark he got was short.Love. "Shh. more hysterical. It should be me taking care of you. a low growl sounding. "Mate. he loved that noise.

" "Sorry. Better. He backed off. too tired to even more. What about you -. nose sliding back into his face. Barker took his mouth again. And now we've got the day to put more distance between us and the Clan." "Yeah. the wolf knocking at his door. Go ahead. rubbing and touching. head going up and shifting. tongue pushing between his lips. his mate lay next to him. panting.Barker growled and stretched. mate. "Kiss me?" Leaning in." He tore out of his clothing. Strong fingers slid along his spine. huh?" He nodded. "It's okay." Barker rose up and kissed him hard. human and utterly naked.you looked wiped. mate. Thanks to you. "Are you sure you're okay?" "I'm fine. Barker responded eagerly. the kiss going deeper. In a matter of moments. You got us far. He leaned harder. "Hey. We made it. "Guess I'd better get dressed. holding the moon off like that. I can't imagine what it was like. Go ahead and change. body lengthening." Marked . He sank into this kiss. Better. trusting in Barker to ease him.194 . "It's okay. desperate." "Yeah?" His wolf battered at him.

" He panted. Toward the Northern Packs. Protect my Mate. This part would have sucked without clothes. we'll get further with the truck. There's the telepathy thing. you can be human. yeah?" Yes. Better. He curled into the seat.By the time he was changed. his bones relaxing." Barker started the engine up and steered the truck back onto the road. fingers rubbing through his fur." Barker petted him. you did a good job of that. "Yeah. you can be furry. and when it isn't. Not to mention. tail thumping." Marked . I mean. Better. outside the Clan holdings. I don't know what we'll find up north. "See what you can really do. but it'll give us time to think. Better.195 . Barker was pulling on clothes. "Smart wolf. low and comforting. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. I headed due north. you can change when you want. His eyes dropped closed. panting softly. Figure things out a little. mate? We're well past the cabin. at his skin beneath it. Even when the moon's on you. God knows what else you've got up your sleeves. "So how far did we get. and he settled. Only the City Pack called itself a Clan. Music filled the cab.

"Hopefully we can find someplace out of the way where we can take time to figure some stuff out. petting him. mate. So tired." His eyes closed. They had to. then boom. The scratches felt so good. mate. healing sleep. I've got this. "You picked up the money from my stash in my underwear drawer. They would. Your safe from the bottom of the closet. So good. He was a good mate.He stretched his paws out playfully. He was. because Barker petted him. Barker's eyes left the road for a minute to look at him. right?" He chuffed softly. "I'm not letting them hurt you anymore." He licked Barker's wrist. so heavy. hand rubbing his head." He rested his muzzle on Barker's leg. That. stroking. It must have leaked through the bond. Heavenly. Marked . Your checkbook and your laptop. "You thought of everything. Barker's hand landed on his head. "Go to sleep. Barker laughed. mate. So tired. They'll have to come through me." Cody preened.196 .

197 . alone this time. Chuffing. He pulled off his clothes. nipping at his lover's muzzle.Chapter Fifteen Barker tried to find a place to stop for the night. Cody sniffed him. Cody's voice joined his. Love. There was nothing like this feeling. paws digging into the ground. but in the end. He was stronger than Cody. He managed to open the driver's side door. tall. staying close. tail up. of admiration. the yips of welcome. life. the trees with his mate. Come on. To his Mate. He howled once more and then gave chase. nose nudging him. Love. He put his head back and howled it out to Cody. He paraded up and down a little. Forever. feeling the moon about to take him. barking as the wolf took him. Not for anything or anyone. showing off for his mate. He wasn't going to give this up. Cody took off like a shot. he'd cut it close. He loved the happy bounce. Cody was awake and bouncing. going all out to follow his mate. Marked . like running freely through the fields. Perfect. and then he was bounding out. Yes. but his mate was running flat out. making him work for it. He finally had wholeness. he followed. mate. My Mate. He turned and smelled Cody in return. encouraging him to hurry. Look at me. Forever. hoping the tall grass would keep them hidden from what little traffic there might be. he drove the truck into a field off the road. Let's run.

Good. He spun around. He leapt forward to nip at Cody's muzzle. He didn't know how much there was to do when they were non-furry. Cody was unpracticed. twisting to face Cody. He growled softly.198 . trying to fool him. Cody circled him. getting more serious now.they sat heavily on his shoulders when he was wolfed out. Cody leaped over his back. Now was the time to run and play and hunt and be with his mate. Barker kept up the chase. It would be a good place to stay. He gave chase. paws barely ruffling his fur. rolling him to nibble at the soft fur of his belly. Then he remembered the bond. He shook off the thoughts -. though. He barked in surprise. tail wagging. So good. He almost got it. light on his feet. mate. the wolf careening to the left. to live. trying to get in there. but Cody danced away in time. going for Cody's in return. Cody wagged happily. leaping in the same direction. He matched the move. to get the bites in first. heading to nip at his heels. It made him chuff and bark and nip. If they were both wolves all the time. telling his mate how good he was. His mate was fast. chuffing. Cody's head lowered. He would get Cody.The air was cooler here. almost crisp. and Barker took him down fairly easily. He rubbed their muzzles together. Why can't we just do this forever? Marked . Cody chuffed softly.

sex and pleasure and comfort. Mate. not missing a beat. They would need to work together. Deer. It felt amazing. springing up. Cody panted. The smell was home and happiness.I don't know. claws digging into the dirt. learning how to move as a pack. just going all out. It felt right. running for the deer. It was Cody's turn to chase him. A small deer. eyes happy. chasing it toward Cody. I'll flush it that way. He heard something to the right and turned. to coordinate. Go right. simply circled around to head the deer toward his mate. Now! He sprang forward. nodded. crouched low. rocks on the ground. He woofed and licked one more time before bouncing away. Cody ducked his head and came. He didn't wait to see if Cody had heard him. pulling all the scent of Cody in. This prey was larger than a rabbit. dodging low-hanging tree branches and some roots. teeth sinking into the deer's throat. Cody right there with him. panted together. Cody bounded just at the last minute. He licked his mate's muzzle this time. Barker ran. Cody panted.199 . focused. Cody's eyes were fastened on it. They breathed together. Marked .

Cody had to run. Cody's pain. to get away.200 . suddenly.He stepping forward to help when a click sounded. rough. Mate! Careful! Go! He growled and twisted back. Panic filled him. The words were snapped. A part of him knew he couldn't just pull out of it. they might shoot him. but he still couldn't stop himself. a surprised whimper coming from him. Be still. trying to push his mate away. The pain began to grow -. What if it was the Clan? That didn't make sense. He heard Cody barking. mate. snarling. looking back. If they saw Cody. Mate. cried out. to get away. Mate? His lover's attention was on him. not listening. Cody came to him. His back end went out from under him.his pain. fully. Someone could be coming. a red-hot pain searing through his back leg. growling low. I will never leave you. He whimpered. Be safe. Mate! Run! Go! Cody needed to go. He started panicking again. Go. Go! Don't get trapped. taking the deer down. sniffing his leg. Clamped around his leg. Marked . A snare. He snarled. Then Cody began to try and shift. No. trying to figure out what had him. but he couldn't shake it. but he couldn't get free. He yanked on the snare.

" Hurts. Change back. He could ignore the pain for Cody. I have to look at your leg. We'll wrap it up. then his mate lifted him like he weighed nothing. human. "I bet. twice. Don't hurt. I'm going to get you out. look at it. "I've got you. hurting." I can make it the rest of the way. Maybe even more now that he was out of the trap. Here. mate. I don't think it's broken. He had a good mate.201 . "Shh. He stopped arguing and let Cody do what he was going to do." The care his lover took of him made his heart soar. worried for his mate's safety. Marked . "I'm sorry. naked. Okay?" He whimpered. then get you to the truck and check your leg. He tried to ignore the throbbing in his leg. You hurt. Cody had to stop. "Hush. catch his breath." He licked Cody's face. mate. and ease him down. "Okay. I'll open it. Barker.Cody knelt before him." The human hands worked the snare open.

"It didn't get the bone. the cool splash almost helping. Cody kept murmuring to him. "Thank the Moon I was here. "I need to feed you.202 ." His fur was smoothed. I'll be back. I need to clean it. Cody had to be hurting. tearing a shirt to make a bandage." Hurts. mate. spreading a cream." He didn't want to make Cody have to work." Cody leaned against him. Would they ever be able to go back to his grandfather's cabin? "Damn trappers. stuck as a man again during the moon." Cody found a bottle of water.He was placed carefully in the bed of the truck." Marked . "You stay here. Your poor leg. He whimpered softly. "Hush. Cody rested their heads together. Cody's hands so gentle. I'm sorry. quiet. "I know. Who knew what would have happened if he'd been out here on his own? It was just one more advantage of having his own land." He barked his agreement. the pain filling his head. His back end twitched and he rested his head on his front paws with a sigh. but he hadn't really had much to eat while human -.they'd focused more on the distance driven than physical comfort. So good to me.

Careful. hurting. He chuffed and thumped his tail once more before settling his muzzle back on his paws. then his mate ran back into the grass.203 . Trapped. Marked . mate. The sun was barely lightening the sky when Cody returned.Careful. but you need food. far more than he needed to eat. bleeding. "Stay put." He wagged his tail for his mate. Hunting. He tried not to worry. Barker could feel the change coming. his mate would be trapped until sunrise. Who knows what else? "I will. mate. Good. but he couldn't help it. knowing he couldn't eat it once he'd changed. Come back. If Cody tripped another snare. Safe? He needed Cody to be okay. You need food. Good. Mate! Shh. and he snapped up the meat. I'm being careful. He growled. Cody's mind brushed over him. yelping at him. Such a stubborn mate. There's traps. a haunch of the deer dangling from his jaws." Cody shifted back. Cody rested beside him.

a pharmacy. "Shit. He let Cody wash it.. does it?" It took Cody a minute to answer.He'd barely finished the meal when the sun crested the horizon and Barker felt himself change." He even maybe was going to have to let Cody take care of it. I think it's going to have to work that way. the bone was whole. slowly losing his fur. oh growly one. "It doesn't hurt when the moon's not up." "That wasn't very convincing. but. and he clenched his teeth hard. holding back a cry. The leg hurt about five hundred times more as a human. cleaning it. where Cody was licking it. he was torn up.204 . It could be worse -. "Up. "You wanna change and help me get into the cab?" He felt Cody's soft sigh." He hadn't even tried walking on it. His leg was whole.. then watched as Cody changed. I need to get us to a town. Fuck. but it hurt like a son of a bitch." Marked . and he was sure any sort of pressure on it was only going to add to that. He looked down at it. "No." Cody winked.it would heal quicker. Let me help you. I'll drive.a lot worse. "Yeah. You'll rest. Mate. knowing it was the best thing for it -. that's not going to make driving easy.

Cody walked up between his legs and lifted him. grunting under his weight." He got the door open and grabbed onto the sides of the truck." Cody started rummaging." Cody panted. he was not looking forward to standing. "I grabbed that bag in the bathroom. "Cody! Put me down. He nodded. "Easy! Easy. the pain shooting through him. though." "I'm not feeling very lucky just now."Yeah. I think there's something in that.. Oh." He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the truck bed. lucky bastard.. Oh. eased him in. you fool. eyebrows furrowed." "Your fool. He nearly passed out when his leg hit the side of the truck. Penicillin.205 . "Do you have any painkillers?" "I don't know -. getting knocked out." Marked . dude.he wasn't feeling particularly picky. a shot of something strong -." "Bingo." Cody growled. "Yeah." He could sure use something. Fuck. "Open the fucking door. You get all three.you're the one who packed the truck up. helping get himself into the passenger seat. Here's a Vicodin and an energy bar. just don't hurt yourself. Painkillers. leaning his head back against the seat. yeah.

pain and anger making him short. Cheating. man. breathed deep through his nose. "That works. He settled them in his lap so they covered him up and gave Cody what he hoped was a winning smile. but he couldn't seem to stop and he was too pissed off about the snare to care. Possibly put him in two of them. okay?" "Okay. Marked . Cody didn't argue. "What?" he snapped. Barker closed his eyes. The shorts he just looked at. Fucking hunters. I tell you what. "Barker?" Cody looked at him."Why not? The leg's not broken." "Hurts like a mother.206 . worried. swallowing them dry and following them with the rest of the water. He wasn't sure he wanted to fuck around with pulling them up over his bad leg. He was going to find the asshole who'd set the snare and put him in it." The engine came on and the truck lurched forward. the muscle looks bruised but whole. He took the water and drank half the bottle down before grabbing the Vicodin and penicillin. Let me get us to a town." "Okay. I'll feel lucky when it's better. and a pair of shorts. He knew he was growling. just nodded." A lukewarm bottle of water was handed over.

If they'd lied to him about being safe at his grandfather's. Keep driving. Just drive until you can't anymore." "As long as you keep driving. "We can't chance it.207 . Okay." In fact." He growled. the pain was beginning to ease off a little as the Vicodin kicked in. Please." He could feel his head roll on his shoulders." "I am driving. then he would bet they'd chase Cody even farther. I can't protect you. I can sleep here." "I hear that.A flash of emotion bled through their connection. Sorry. He shook his head. I'm a turd. We'll get you a hotel somewhere." Cody's fingers twined with his. "No. mate. "It'll be okay." "Okay. I'll protect you." Cody sounded as unsure as he felt. then it went silent. I will." Marked . "We need to keep moving. Don't stop for this turd." "Fine. "Do you need me to stop?" "No. I'm driving. let you sleep. Mate. "Rest." He shook his head. he knew better. "I just need fucking hunters to get caught in their own goddamned traps. You're a turd." "They won't chase us.

" Butthead." "I'm your mate. Marked . "We move on as soon as we've got those things."Just keep on doing it." He'd take on the fucking Clan if they came. get food. Caffeine." He closed his eyes and sighed." "I don't need protection. easing his nerves a little." "Stop it. I can't protect you. He growled softly. then he searched for a pharmacy. *** Cody drove until he found a town big enough for anonymity. I'm fine.208 . "We have to keep moving. He needed to clean Barker's leg." "Uh-huh. find somewhere for Barker to rest. It's my job. I need to sleep. You need antiseptic." Barker was being crazy. Cody's chuckle was wry and quiet. find work for a day or two for cash. We're getting a fucking hotel. Barker blinked awake when the truck stopped at a stop sign. He squeezed the hand holding his and let the sound of the engine lull him into a doze. You need to bathe. "Why are we stopping?" "I need food.

If they're coming for anyone. "They drove me out." "Came to you? Who did?" What had Barker been keeping from him? Barker grimaced.Barker shook his head." Barker shook his head. "An old friend. I will. They want to know why and they won't stop at killing you if that's what it Marked . Or so I thought. We keep moving. Shit. "No." Barker sighed and rubbed his face. they would have had to. "Listen to me. "They came to me before we left for my granddad's place. I'm leaving. it's you. started growling. He came to warn me. To get you out of town. you asshole. From when you got mugged. "Word got out that you can change now. You don't understand. Had to be. I'll fucking drive if I have to. "We're getting a hotel room. he'd been skulking in the city off and on for years." This was not working for him." "Why? Why do they want me?" Hell. Someone would have seen him. Cody. "No." He growled right back." "When you start making sense. then pulled over. The Clan doesn't leave the city.209 ." "Why are you being so fucking stubborn? The Clan is coming for you." He stared at Barker. get it?" "We've driven eight hundred miles.

eyes full of pain. You staying alive is not on their agenda. committed suicide. "They will have to kill me first." Barker looked at him.takes to figure out why. Afraid of anyone different from them. I'm so sorry. They didn't deserve to be animals. and he fought the change. "I won't let them hurt you. Cody." "No. Cody. you're going to let me find a hotel and get a room for a day or two. God." "And I'm not worried? You're hurt! I'm hungry and tired and it's not supposed to be like this!" The wolf hit him. but I didn't. We can stop. "They want to. though. "Mate! Fight it!" Barker growled." Marked . Mate." He shrugged." "Now you want to stop for a day or two?" Barker growled. and also fire. either. mate. I'm sorry. Assholes. hard. I should have stood up to them." Cody shook his head." Hell. "Okay. I'm worried about you. Monsters." "I'm not going to let you do that. No changing until we're in a hotel. Hold on. "And I should have died. he needed rest." "No one's going to hurt me. but we have to get you somewhere to rest. "Damn it. square.210 .

There's a motel up there. They didn't want you back then. Not a chain." "I need the fucking Clan to back the hell off." "I can agree to that. he winced. a wink." Barker winked and then winced as they went over a bump. a bed. "Sorry." It was so much easier to be fuzzy." "Well. One story. Barker's smile looked a little forced." He wasn't sure what else to say." He found Barker a grin. we agreed on something today. I think I'd rather die than face stairs. No stairs." Despite the words. hating that he was hurting his mate. You need a shower. huh?" "I promise.211 . huh?" "I'm trying. too.He nodded. they can't have you now. "Don't get used to it. Marked ." "Hey. "We're stopping soon. "We're going to be fine. Barker's hand wrapped around his thigh." "Not your fault. Barker's laugh was strained. then. "Just get us somewhere private. the truck jostling. head bobbing as he did." "Thank fuck. panting.

"Stay. head back against his seat. a key.212 . for a place that needed a dishwasher for the night or something for a little underthe-table cash." He tore the door open. he'd go look for food." He parked. Once the man was in and settled. eyes closed. He was looking a little white along the edges." He bared his teeth. get me a towel or something to throw around my waist. carrying in supplies and ignoring Barker completely." "I'll carry you in. "Good. "We have a room in the back. Marked . but I have to get the door open first." Barker was growling again. It didn't take a second to get them a room. and tapped on the window. I'll be back. "Then get out of my fucking way so I can get in and lie down. Shit." "Fine.Barker just grunted. I'm pretty sure I'm not getting these shorts on." Cody started the truck up. jogged up to the office. "Quit growling at me. Barker was where he'd left him. puffed up a little. moved them around." "You are not going to carry me in. Thank God they were coming up on the motel.

By the time he came around from the bed of the truck.213 . looking like he was about to pass out. "Shh." The tub was small but clean. pale as a fucking ghost. gasping as his body slid into the water. mate. He wouldn't. and start healing faster. Barker sat on the edge of the tub and put his hand in." "I think you need to cool off. hotter than usual. mate. even without the moon. If Barker got too bad." Barker slipped into the tub at his urging. And he was hot." "Sure. Marked ." The sounds coming from Barker's throat were more like whimpers than growls at the moment. "Hurts. and he got the lukewarm water going. He arched an eyebrow. then we'll make it more comfortable." muttered Barker. then grabbed the man and carried him into the room. "Sorry. the man would succumb to the wolf. "Feels cold." "It'll help your fever. letting Cody manhandle him. You want a little more hot?" "Whatever you want. "I'll get you in the tub and get you another antibiotic. Barker was a few steps from the truck." He didn't panic.

"No." Marked . "I gonna live?" Barker asked. "Good to me. already looking slightly better for being in the cool water. You're going to be sore. It was ugly. Barker could whine when he was hurt. "Just bad enough to make me miserable. let some of the cold water out. "You are." "Love you. I'll take care of you. but not as bad as it could be. a drink of water. "I'm getting cold. money.214 . Cody turned the hot water on." God. I would have already. He let Barker soak while he found more meds." "I should be taking care of you. "'Kay." "I'll find food." Silly mate. huh?" He poured the water over Barker's chest. but it's not bad enough to make you change. Barker shook his head. some clothes." "You can tomorrow.He looked at Barker's leg." He got a weak grin." Barker closed his eyes and leaned his head against the lip of the tub.

suddenly exhausted. his chin. mate. Marked . He licked Barker's jaw." "Okay." His shoulders relaxed. "No. "I'll be back to normal tomorrow. "I'm going to find food. "You said you brought the safe as well as my stash from the underwear drawer. the tension easing. I just want out. got them both moving to the bed. I want to lie down and go to sleep and not be moving for a bit. "You're leaving?" "Don't we need some cash?" He lived hand to mouth. see if I can't find a place that'll give me a few hours' work. a flannel shirt.215 . the wolf trying to come again." Barker frowned. I don't want you to go. Barker leaned on him." He got Barker upright. right? We've got money. Besides." He went to switch the water out again. though.Cody dressed in his work jeans." "Okay." "Yeah? I can find work for you. Let me help you up. "Let's wait until we start running low. at best. Barker shook his head." growled Barker. head on his shoulder.

" "Yes. let himself relax. No one would attack his mate. "Trust you." He kissed the closed eyelid.Barker pushed their lips together." "Good. the kiss lazy." He swore it.216 . watch." He waited until Barker was sound asleep before he changed. Stand guard. more a press of skin. Marked . I'll guard you. Boss. Barker kissed his fingers. "My mate. "Only you. "Yes." One of Barker's eyes opened.

" Better. hindering him. well. nightmares." God. Cody blinked for him. tongue cleaning it. then eased him back onto the bed. He let his hands drop to Cody's head. Cody cleaned him. barking. He woke up. He thought. Are you okay? You were screaming! Did they come? Cody's exhaustion poured from his mate. pounding. He was pretty sure. checking for threats. He looked around wild-eyed. he needed some fucking painkillers. fingers digging through the fur. sniffing him. Again. his voice was rough. the Elders tearing Cody open to see how he worked. Marked . "Mate. going into a crouch and ignoring the pain. the sound strange in his human throat. Mate! What is it? His heart was pounding.217 .. his lover clearly tired to the point of near insanity. He ran and he fought.Chapter Sixteen Barker's sleep was troubled by dreams. Cody was on all four legs. I was dreaming. "I'm good.. rusty. Dreaming. then the soft nose brushed his leg. bouncing from window to door. scenting him. anyway. The Clan chasing them. but he was gonna live. his leg dragging behind him. snarling. His fever was gone and the pain was.

"Mate. "Come on. For him. Hungry." Cody kissed him. laughing at him. Mate.. Marked . Come on. to stretch. Cody had changed for him. "I don't suppose this place does room service?" He needed food. Let me feel skin instead of fur. Slowly. "Mmm. nuzzled him. Of course. how much his mate wanted to just lie down and sleep. He knew how tired Cody was." He let his pleasure at being with his mate purr from him. "You're going to have to change. Cody changed for him. eyes staring at him over huge dark circles." Cody's face started to change. the town was big enough there might be a pizza joint. headed to him.218 . Skin on skin.. but instead." His lover tried so hard for him. painfully. Cody chuffed softly. "Aren't you hungry?" Cody had to be as hungry as he was. So good. muzzle on the bed. maybe even more so. "Mmm. mate. He leaned in and pressed their foreheads together. Wolves don't eat pizza." Cody chuffed again.Cody whimpered for him.

unable to resist. I killed the squirrel before you ate it. and it felt good to do it. both of them periodically cracking up. he tugged Cody up onto the bed beside him." Cody pressed close. "Oh. responding to him. Cody's muscles jerked and trembled. Cody called. letting him see the long. He kept touching as Cody opened the drawer and grabbed out the phone book. to release some of the tension the dreams had left in him." Assuming they ordered it. "Pepperoni." He gave Cody a grin and nodded at the little table holding the lamp and phone. bacon. fingers sliding along Cody's spine." Cody rolled over. lean back. and hamburger?" "Mmmhmm. "You call -. Marked . yum." "Hey. "You feel better." That had him laughing. He reached out." "There are some protein bars to tide you over 'til the pizza shows. I just know the fucking ache in my leg has turned into a huge hole in my gut. ordered them two large pizzas and a twoliter of Coke. "There should be a local phone book in there.When their lips parted." "I guess.I sound like something died in my throat.219 .

You don't want to answer the door naked. trust me. We're trying to fly below the radar. "Maybe. mate. "We'll see. yeah. He wasn't going to let that happen. man." "Yeah." Stubborn mate. "Go get some clothes on." He was past the change. he could drive. I'm seeing things. droopy." Hurt or not. feeling more tired than he liked to admit. they had to keep going.he was supposed to be taking care of his mate." Marked . looking out for Cody." He hated having to lean on Cody as hard as he was -. "Shh. Barker snorted." "I'll be well enough by this evening to take it on. both of them." "Good. not getting injured and making Cody do all the taking care of. but the man dressed quickly.220 . I thought you needed sleep. "Three days. "How long did you pay for?" They needed another day of sleep. but we can sleep until tonight. He knew what the Clan would do if they ever caught up with Cody.He lay back on the bed with a sigh. You'll eat and rest. not make some poor pizza boy call the local cops. mate." Cody looked exhausted. "Sorry. I don't think we should stay that long. I can't drive yet.

" He let his pride and admiration show." Cody moaned for him.221 . dismissing him. He stuck his tongue out at his mate." He nuzzled his mate. eyes glowing. He kept touching lightly." Still. wanting his mate close." He could feel his mate leaning close. "Mmm. Marked . eyelids heavy for a second before they popped open." Cody nodded. nipping sharply now and then. "I have to wait for the pizza.you look like you went ten rounds with Sugar Fists McLean. Cody chuffed softly. "So strong. "You don't have to wait for it by the door." Cody panted softly. rubbed their cheeks together. "Yeah? Not like sickness?" "No. keeping his mate from falling asleep. Watching. mate. at his cheeks. No infection. careful of his leg. he opened his arms. then jerking awake. rolled his eyes. Grinning." "Good. "You smell good. Cody pushed into his arms. He needed Cody to stay awake until he'd eaten. Waking up hungry was a lousy way to start the day. "Not sleeping."And so will you -." He nibbled at Cody's lips.

"I know. went to the door. The smell made him growl and rumble. but soon." Marked ." Cody got some money. "Not right now." "My job. Barker tensed. come on. "Pizza." he growled. the chain up on it.222 . His mate was exhausted. stood before Cody got the door open. shoulders taut. ready to leap to Cody's defense until his mate relaxed marginally. and got the door locked again. Cody traded cash for pizza boxes and drinks. "Come on. He stroked his fingers through Cody's hair. checked the door. thumb rubbing along the side of one eye. They both jumped when the knock at the door sounded." He growled a little. "Just fucking check. made him toss his head. I'm hungry enough to eat the damn box. Will protect you. "Check before taking off the chain. He didn't care if the reminder had pissed Cody off. it was too important. So good. Barker stayed tense. It was the pizza boy."Love you." The knock came again. eyes flashing." No. Cody nodded." Cody growled back.

He drank some more Coke and then collapsed onto the bed with a sigh. "You think there's anywhere we'll be safe?" They were headed north. mate. "Good pizza. Mostly. He'd eaten nearly the entire pizza before he was full. and sucked down a quarter of the Coke straight from the bottle. double checked the locks on the doors. but exactly where. eyes glowing gold at him. He wolfed the first three slices down like he hadn't eaten in days. "Don't drink so much of that it keeps you awake." Cody grunted. quietly. Marked .trust me on this one. nostrils flaring. Cody flipped him off." Cody's answer was a nod. his stomach feeling like it was bulging. eating quickly." He tore open the first box and grabbed two slices. and then finally slowed down long enough to take a few long gulps of the Coke and wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. Cody grabbed the other box. to reply in any manner at all. He was too busy shoving pizza into his mouth. Unless you want to go ahead and get us moving after we've eaten. "Finish the pizza before you shift. taking a bite from one slice and the other. he didn't know. Pizza and wolf stomachs are not the best match -.Cody tossed the pizzas to him. he didn't know who to trust.223 .

even Cast Out Clan. far away. we'll be okay. He'd never lived anywhere else.he was pretty sure if they found out about that. You should rest. he didn't know how suspicious they'd be of Clan. He wasn't so sure about that. What they could do together was. "They can't keep coming.. Marked . "I don't think they know about the bond.. though.The Clan and whoever answered to them were a distinct and definite threat. "Okay. I think you're right. The Northern Packs. he was Clan. He was pretty sure they wouldn't hurt Cody. The less they know. Cody's sister and whoever else was in the mountains with them.224 . I think if we stay away. They shouldn't follow us. the better.." He shook his head." He wasn't sure if Cody being able to change whenever he wanted would set a high enough price on his head that they'd never be able to stop running." Cody's distress was leaking through the bond. but the bond thing -. "No. What Cody could do was something special. He didn't know if he could trust them. he and Cody would never be free." "Unless they decide we're part of their territory.he was normal. "Good. Wolves are territorial.. his grandfather's land the farthest he'd ever been from home." Barker nodded slowly.." He still wasn't sure where they were going to go.. though. sensational. He'd bet they wouldn't want much to do with him -. making him tremble. either.

Mate! He cried out through their bond. Damn it. Cody. His mate was hallucinating. he pushed Cody so his mate was lying down." "Wrong? Nothing. I'm your mate. Wrong?" "Nothing!" Cody snarled softly. He pushed the pizza boxes out of the way and latched onto Cody. teeth bared. Marked . What.It immediately put him on the alert. Seeing things. After you tell me what's wrong." Cody snapped at him." "Protecting you. Not to mention I can feel it your worry in my head. "What is wrong with you?" he growled. "Sure. dragging his mate to him." Liar. Growling. Is. crying out." Cody fought him. "Get some sleep. mate." Cody was trembling. pretty sure Cody wouldn't be able to hide from him when they communicated like this. Why hadn't Cody just told him? Stubborn asshole. Tiredtiredtiredtiredsleepsleepsleep. "Nothing.225 . eyes rolling. teeth clicking. "You can feed that shit to someone else. "Don't feed me that bullshit. His mate.

He stretched ignoring the pain in his leg, and lay mostly
on top of his mate. "You're done for today. It's my turn.
Go to sleep before you do something crazy."
"Protecting. Keeping watch. My mate." Cody wasn't
even seeing him.
Sleep. It's safe now. I'll watch. He growled softly.
Change and sleep, mate.
"I'm watching..." Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
"I'm watching. You sleep." Stubborn mate.
"No."
"Don't you make me knock you out." He growled and
glared down at Cody.
Cody growled back, almost wolfy again.
"Go on, change. Sleep. I need you with it when we start
moving again."
Cody's head rolled, poor eyes staring at him. He kissed
his mate, tongue pushing in, demanding Cody's
surrender. The kiss was toothy, sloppy, and Cody fought
him, but only for a moment. He found Cody's cock with
one hand, jacking it, determined to do what it took to
send his mate to sleep.
Mate? Cody sounded surprised.
Yes. Mate. Making you come. Making Cody sleep.
Marked - 226

Have to watch... He could feel Cody's need like an ache.
No. Your mate will watch. He tugged harder, thumb
rubbing across the head of Cody's cock.
Mate. Mate. Cody's need hit him.
He groaned as his own cock firmed, responding to
Cody's need. Cody hummed, growled, head tossing. He
went back to kissing, to jacking, pushing at Cody to
come. He could hear Cody, hear the desperate, shattered
little thoughts.
He bit at Cody's bottom lip, tugging on it. Gimme.
Mate. Love. Need. Yes!
Heat sprayed over his hands. He growled happily into
the kiss and then slid down Cody's body, licking the
come from his mate's belly. Cody moaned, boneless,
quiet.
He kissed Cody's face. Sleep, mate.
Love. Safe.
"Yes, mate. Safe. Sleep."
Those eyes held his for a second, and then he was
holding a wolf. A deeply asleep, limp wolf.
Sighing in relief, Barker laid his own head down on the
pillow and held on as he drifted off, one ear still tuned to
the noises around them.
Marked - 227

***
Chasing him. They were chasing him.
"Brother." He looked over at the woman, his sister.
"What? Can't you leave me alone?"
"I'm trying to help you, you ingrate!"
"Ingrate? Where the hell have you been?"
She snapped at him. "Banished. Just like you!"
Mate? Wake up, mate, you're dreaming.
His sister gasped. "Who is that?"

"My mate. You can hear him?"

"I'm in your head, in your dream, Brother, of course I

can hear him!" Her eyes narrowed. "How come you

can?"

"What?" He scrambled away, back. Fuck. Wake up.

Wake up.

"Cody. Come on. Wake up." Barker shook, him.

His eyes popped open. "She knows."

"Cody? Who knows what?" Barker stared down at him,

growling, bristling.

"My sister. She heard you in my dream."

Marked - 228

"In your dream." Barker blinked and then relaxed down
beside him. "You were dreaming, mate. Having a
nightmare, really."
He nodded, heart racing. "She knows about us. Our
bond."
"But it was just a nightmare, mate."
"I..." He shook his head. No. No, it was her.
"You think it was real?"
"I... I don't know. It was weird." He was so tired of
nothing being normal.
Barker growled. "I hate not knowing what the hell is
going on. Is there anyone we can trust? Anyone we can
talk to?"
"I don't know. You're the only one I trust. You're the one
with friends, Barker. Family."
"Family who advised me to stay away while you were
being run off, who advised me to forget you. And yes,
friends -- who came to warn me the Clan was going to
grab you and tear you to pieces trying to figure out how
you work. I wish my grandfather was still alive."
"I do, too." He wished things weren't... broken. Maybe
he was cursed.
Barker pulled him close. "We'll get through it."
Marked - 229

"You think so? I didn't mean to bring this on you."

"You've had it hard way longer than I have, mate. This

isn't your fault."

"How can it not be?" How could it not be?

Barker shrugged, frowned. "Because... because I came

after you."

"What?" That didn't make sense.

"I followed you, made you come up to the cabin with

me. So it's not your fault, 'cause I did it."

"You don't regret it?"

"Are you kidding? I got to see you change. I have a mate

who's with me now. A beautiful wolf who can be a wolf
any time! Shit, babe, you're something special." Barker
gave him a hard kiss. "Besides, my life was fucking
boring."
Warmth filled him up, pushing the sick, sad loss aside.
Pushing him onto the bed, Barker kept kissing him. My

mate. Mine. Love you. Won't give you up. Won't.

Your leg? The kisses made him dizzy, made him hard.

Better enough to ignore.

Need. He needed.

Marked - 230

He let his fingers slip free. one hand sliding on his skin. too. needing. Barker groaned. and it felt like his mate was looking into him. His cock filled. mated. then wet his hole. legs on either side of Barker's thighs. Barker shifted him. mate." "God. "Ride me. hands wrapping around his hip. Barker rolled them so he was on top. He could feel Barker's need through the bond as well." Barker kissed him again. "I can feel your need through the bond. Barker kept kissing. then growled. pressed the tip of the hard cock against him.I know. but not enough. "Want you. wet them. Me. the stretch sweet." He was Barker's." Barker met his eyes. "Take me. He pressed two fingers inside. the need filling their bond as well. needed to feel wanted. "Do you like it?" "Mmmhmm. Deep. hungry and all for him. Marked . tongue twisting with his. whole." Barker told him." He sucked his fingers into his mouth. his body tight. He needed this. deep. let Barker press in.231 . yes.

More. slammed himself down. "Mate! Mate!" Barker's voice rang out. his own movements driving it along his lover's palm. Barker's hand slid around his cock. twisting. grunting. He nodded. Again. "Yes!" His toes curled." He fought the urge to howl as Barker buried himself up to the root. He threw his head back." He drove himself up."Oh. "More. For the first time in days. hips pushing the thick prick into him. Please. Mate. Yes. mate! He couldn't answer. They moved together for a long time. the pleasure building. He simply felt and moved and rode. Lots and lots more." Barker pressed up. Barker's skin became limned Marked . their skin slapping together. Barker met his thrust. hands pulling his hips up and bringing them back down. throat working. adding his power to it. fuck. "Mate. the need there echoed by their bond. you're tight. Please. I feel you. Pleasure so sharp it was almost pain shot up his spine.232 ." "Uh-huh. Cody felt whole. Barker's gaze burned into him. Then Barker pulled out and thrust back in.

relaxed down against his mate. Marked ." muttered Barker as love and need and Barker's strength pushed toward him. Barker's hands slid around to hold onto him. but heartfelt. "Yes." He slammed back. his ass hitting Barker's thighs. "I don't know what we're supposed to do. "Fuck!" Barker cried out." More than breathing. "Take. heat spraying deep inside him.233 . His howl rang out. his lover matching him breath for breath. mate. panting hard. Then we can think without it hanging over us. Barker's climax followed his almost immediately." Barker's voice rumbled up along where their chests were pressed together." "I say we run until we feel like we've put enough miles between us and the Clan. the sound of their bodies coming together loud. "Okay. the sounds not quite right from their human throats. his." He nodded. filling the air. cheek on Barker's shoulder. his ass squeezing Barker's prick. the hand on his cock going so tight Cody thought the skin might split. Spunk shot out of him. rejoicing.with sweat. real. too. "Need. He leaned down. hummed softly. Barker's met it. almost like a purr soothing through him.

I swear." Just then. "It is okay. mate.234 . No one will hurt you. the door of the motel room burst open. undeniable blackness. Marked . the sting of a dart in his neck sending him winding into a sudden.Barker kissed the top of his head.

Barker. The thought was distant. His mate was special. He needed Cody to wake up.Chapter Seventeen The sound of the door slamming open startled Barker. mate. Ignoring the pain in his leg. he went to his haunches. He's abnormal. snarling as he faced the threat. better than the rest of them. Move. Mate! He called out through the bond. "Please. "Yes. friends become enemies." He stayed crouched where he was. friend." "He's mine. Barker. the entire bed between Cody and these assholes.235 ." Harry looked at him. putting himself between his mate and the door. "He's an abomination. Howling. He saw faces he'd grown up with. Marked ." Trying. the Elder's eyes actually sad. He'll expose us. he shoved Cody off him. snarling. He's not one of us. Unnatural. "Let him go. Wake up. fuzzy." He reached behind him.. "Expose us?" He snorted. making him jerk as Cody became a dead weight on top of him.. We cannot accept him. pushing Cody until his mate's body fell onto the floor with a thump.

leaping from behind the bed. pointed at him. he launched himself at Harry. Leave us be.236 . He's mine." "You can't have him. and Barker didn't know how they were all fitting." They knew what being mates meant. Shit. I could really use a distraction about now.. mate.pointing at the ceiling. You got it. they should have known better than to even ask.. The rifle went off -." He barred his teeth." He snarled. "We're going to take him. caught between human and wolf. Mate. wanting the gun out of the asshole's hands before Cody was hurt.Now. growled softly. thank fuck -and Barker wrestled Harry for it. "Brother!" "Get back. Marked . you silly bitch!" Three more people pushed into the room. Leave us before I tear you to pieces. "Don't make us kill you. Cody growled. I need you to run. If you walk away now. They were going to be lucky if they weren't both shot. "My mate. "We aren't hurting you. going for the arm holding the rifle. Growling himself." The rifle lifted.

and a large. He'd bet the manager had called the cops after the gun shots." Cody -. Now. Mate. heard barking and the sounds of flesh hitting flesh behind him. He had no idea who some of these people were. Who are these wolves? Hadn't there been more people just a few moments ago? Sirens sounded in the distance. Let's go. and he wasn't taking any chances.who was fully fuzzy. hard. before aiming it at the crowd in general. if Barker remembered rightly.trotted over to him. "We have to move. Shit. Both other wolves barked. He finally got the rifle out of Harry's hands and knocked the butt of it across the man's head.237 . Marked . Then he stood and shot the fucking rifle at the ceiling. Mate. Now. while the third man had indeed frozen where he stood. on purpose this time. "Everyone fucking freeze. along with a painfully pregnant wolf and a huge gray male -. gnarled man who looked oddly familiar peered through the door.He heard Cody's snarl." The pregnant wolf's head bobbed. another Clan member whimpering and curling over a badly mauled arm. Dirk was his name. Harry was passed out on the floor. My sister. and he was mostly kept around for his muscles.

He'd let them pass him once they were away from the motel and the cops who were descending upon it. pulling out and heading for the exit. the sirens were getting closer every second.Barker didn't know if he was ready to entirely trust Cody's sister. There was a wealth of pride in that thought. growled." Cody panted. "My truck's just outside. Marked ." In fact. too. Go. "You three stay. and he could see the big man lifting the pregnant wolf into the Jeep." Barker waved the rifle at them. and I'll stop you with your own fucking piece. nipping at his heels. "I'm going. glancing back to make sure the Jeep made it out. "We're in the Jeep. Go." He growled a little and got to the truck. You were so brave." The man looked at the Clan.238 . but she had come to their rescue and he suspected she was their best bet. He ran around to the other side of the truck and started the engine. Now. Follow us. They certainly couldn't stay here. tossing the duffel bag into the bed and opening the passenger door for Cody." He grabbed the duffel bag Cody'd brought in. Can you drive? Your leg? "I'm fine. until Cody had mentioned it. it was starting to throb like crazy. He had a hunch they were going to have to swap out when the adrenaline wore off. he hadn't even felt his leg. "You try and follow us. Cody leaped up. of course.

" And his leg was really starting to throb. Let me drive. "More unknowns. He followed the Jeep out of town and toward the mountains in the distance. coming from his mate.239 . I'm pissed off -. muzzle on the seat of the truck. Let me try to change. He clenched his teeth together. mate." Cody didn't answer. He pulled to the side of the road a few blocks from the hotel. He wasn't even sure that Cody could change back yet." He growled. hands gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles were white. "It's okay if you can't. though. Cody chuffed. mate. "How did she know where we were? How did the Clan know?" I don't know. He glanced at Cody. "I'm not sorry. A wave of regret flooded him. head bobbing gently. "We don't even know where we're going."I was just protecting my mate. remember?" Right. letting the black Jeep pass him. "Four paws. but I don't regret having my mate with me for a second." What did they put in me? Marked . the throbbing in his leg getting worse by the second.fucking angry as all hell at the Clan." It made him smile. I'm good for awhile longer.

mate?" Cody groaned. He was going to have to refocus and deal with the driving on his own. and when I heard you. panted. right?" Yeah. struggling. Cody slumped to the seat. "Let's wait until I'm a little more desperate. I think fuzzy is where I go now. right? Try. "Food? Painkillers?" Marked . huh?" He wouldn't let Cody sacrifice or hurt himself for him. "Like when you're hurt? So you should be able to change back. I was fuzzy. Cody would do anything for him." Cody whimpered.240 . "Stop. Sorry. eyes closing. Trying. so fucking slowly and painfully. panting harder. Sorry. "Are you trying to tell me there was something in whatever they shot you with that turned you fuzzy?" Shit. It made him wince. He glanced over and frowned. For you. and slowly." He could feel Cody trying. "You need anything. the change started."It knocked you out for a bit. feeling that struggle. That wasn't good. I don't need you to drive yet.

"Mate. right? Right. "What's the matter?" He needed to know Cody was all right. two-lane road. "Yeah? You sure?" The black Jeep moved faster. He growled.. "Oh. and he followed it as it turned off the highway and then onto a small.241 ." Cody's mind was quiet. and he had to speed to catch up. still. Marked . And it would wear off. Where the hell were they? He was getting fucking tired of not knowing what the hell was going on. He didn't see any signs as they continued to zoom along in the growing twilight and the landscape became more and more forested. The Jeep ahead signaled.. "Mate?" Mate! Shh.. Cody didn't answer." He relaxed a little at that. he'd just promised Cody he'd protect his mate when the Clan had come in and done something to him! Stoned. The thought was distant.. and it could explain the inability to change. Damn it. Stoned wasn't hurt. fuzzy.I'm okay.

wasn't fucked up.Cody's muzzle landed in his lap. Men came out of the car.. his mate's head heavy. "Just a day or two off my damn leg. "How's he doing?" "They shot him up full of something -. hot tongue brushed his wrist. a huge gate opening. letting them all drive inside. "You need a doctor?" He shook his head. She headed for them. "It's going to be okay. "Poor baby." She sniffled. "Mmm. "You can rest there... then the super-pregnant Riana. what they wanted." He kept the worry out of his voice and tried to believe his own words." She pointed to a cabin -." "We can do that. He tried to tell himself that this wasn't a trap. He didn't know these people." Marked .242 . He dropped one hand to Cody's head. I need to. though. but it's solid and we have generator power. It hasn't been used in a couple of years.the thing wasn't beautiful. He couldn't stop the worry." He continued petting. let his feelings for his mate push through their bond. They all slowed.he's pretty groggy. but it looked solid. mate. A soft. what they'd do to his mate. rubbing the soft fur there.. There's a cabin." He didn't make any attempt to get out of the truck yet.

Solid. "She needs to rest." "We just need to be left alone. Mate? There's shelter. a rug. He pushed Cody toward the dilapidated cabin." He was about done." "Thanks. There was a couch. He stayed where he was.. The guy nodded. The laughter got worse. The cabin was simple: a little dusty. though. You really are stoned. until he and Cody were alone. but it was solid and there was a lock on the inside. Cody panted. "See ya.243 . fingers curling into the fur around Cody's neck. everyone else having scattered.The large man from earlier wrapped his arm around her waist. smiled. Really. The door needed a hard tug to be opened. Cody's eyes opened. almost laughing." He managed to remember his manners at the last minute. we're in the red house. but decent. and his mate sort of. Marked .. He rolled his eyes and kept heading Cody in the right direction. He was really hoping he didn't have to. Okay. a chair. Like a house. mate? Good. He growled. If you need anything. a table. fell out of the truck before scrambling to his feet. He'd carry Cody if he had to. She's carrying twins.

He opened it up and patted it. At least it was a good trip. wrapping his arms around Cody and pulling the wolf close. it was a pull-out.that was much better than the dust. He threw himself onto the bed.He looked for a bed and. Felt like a sanctuary. He breathed in and sneezed at the dust. and he could hear laughter and singing. I'll take your word for it. "Some of us are stuck in our skin for another month. checked the couch." He buried his nose in Cody's fur -. He curled around Cody and held on. turning around and around in the sheets. Jesus. Mate." Cody leaped up. He started to relax. Home. Marked . random joy leaking from his mate. Home. Sure enough. went boneless. the throbbing in his leg backing off a bit now that he wasn't using it anymore. petting and stroking and digging his fingers in.244 . letting his mate's giddiness roll through him. Home? Mate? Smells so good here. The wolf must have caught the scents beneath that. Cody groaned. The word hummed and buzzed through Cody. The place was quiet and felt safe. when he didn't find it. Home. You need to sleep it off. He rubbed at Cody's fur. The soft laughter made him want to beat Cody. "Come on.

Cody's eyes stared at him. petting and loving on Cody. You saw. what if they'd shot him up with something that made it so he couldn't ever change back? Shh." Cody's eyes crossed. "It's okay. at least not deliberately. A little niggling voice said. his body relaxing. easing. though it bothered him that Cody couldn't change. it was adorable. tongue lolling out. What what? I didn't say anything. he felt like he could breathe. It was hard. He chuckled. mate. "Probably just some weird side effect from the drugs. He lay there. Out of your brain. mate. Marked . In the truck.Cody snuggled back against him. "What?" He hadn't said anything out loud -. rubbing his mate's fur again. At least his mate wasn't hurting. boneless and relaxed. "You're stoned. and for the first time in weeks.or through the bond. Don't worry about it. How did you know what I was thinking? Cody's head tilted and he could feel the confusion." He rubbed the spot on the top of Cody's head between his ears." Still. but I was getting there.245 .

finding a lazy. diving into the kiss with a happy growl. Be a man for me. a half-laugh. "Mate. He could feel Barker's body responding to him. He could feel Barker's Marked . yeah. rolling rhythm. He nuzzled the soft balls. but it happened. Barker was beside him. "Oh.Chapter Eighteen He slept hard. and shifted.246 .not fast. prick going hard. Barker made a chuffing sound. nuzzled Barker's wrist. tongue sliding along his own." He chuffed. His cock swelled. pushing up against his belly. Barker opened up for him." Barker's hand dropped to his head. fingers sliding through his fur. Cody sniffed and licked. focused on his skin. Cody. You can do it. cleaning his mate gently. sighed. "Mate. smiling. his dreams vague and distant. then cleaned the scabbed wounds on Barker's leg. and when he woke. so happy to have Barker awake and easy. and he was sprawled across Barker. his long legs." The change happened -." Chuckling. "You feeling better?" He nodded. So beautiful. Barker drew him up a little more and brought their mouths together. and they started rocking together. that's it. happy. He wrapped around Barker. "Mmm.

" He arched into the touch. sucking up a dark mark. lips reaching for his once more. He licked a line down Barker's throat. cock sliding through his fingers. Mate. Good. "Uh-huh. He nibbled and licked." Why would he? "Good. beginning to pant. "Cody!" Barker arched. moaned into the kiss. rumbling noise came from Barker's throat.247 . "Feeling better?" He bit Barker's bottom lip. head going back further to give him more room.pleasure through their bond as Barker's hands landed on his ass." Don't stop. His fingers wrapped around Barker's cock and he loved that the man was dripping for him. "I won't. "Yeah. Don't stop. His. "Good to hear." Groaning." Barker groaned. pressing him down against the strong body. It's just a little sore now. "Hmm?" "More. A low." Barker grinned. Barker's agreement was more a sound in their kiss. the strong body moving beneath his. fingers digging in. mate. pleasure Marked . Barker moved faster. Easy to ignore.

sucked harder. So good. My mate. Marked . So good. "My mate. "Please.248 . "Marking me." He snarled." muttered Barker. sliding up his body to take his mouth. he couldn't bear it. Mine. down to his prick. his belly." "Yes. bucked against Barker's hip. heat pouring over his fingers. I am. Sharp yips left his throat." He bared his throat. sucking on his balls. He needed." His entire body bucked. Barker's mouth moved from his balls and wrapped around his cock.emanating from his mate. and he pushed deep into Barker's throat. working a mark into his throat. Barker rolled on top of him. taking him all in. He was suddenly so fucking happy. hips jerking. He could feel his lover swallowing down around his cockhead. "Mine. "Mate!" Heat poured from him. "Cody!" Barker cried out. his belly. rolled. His." Barker's fingers slid down along his hip. "Yeah. his balls. Barker growled softly for him. Barker let him go. pulsed from him. pushing. He groaned. his whole world spinning. Yes. Yes. mate.

"Good. His cheek found a resting place on Barker's shoulder." He could handle that. the itch intensifying the harder he tried to ignore it." "Okay. and he didn't want to let it go. holding him. though. He tried very hard not to let it get to him. *** Barker closed his eyes and held onto Cody and tried to keep everything else out. Just this. Marked . Cody licked at Barker's mouth.share his taste with him." Barker seemed content to lie there. You're happy.249 . "Mmmhmm." He was. He didn't believe it. and he listened to the man's steady heartbeat. It smelled real here. and he just knew that once he moved. And he needed a shower in the worst way. His leg started throbbing. but he could handle it. "I want it to be like this. the moment would be over. He could feel how happy Cody was in this moment. He couldn't scratch it without moving. stroking his skin. lazy and easy in his bones. He probably could have ignored all that if his shoulder hadn't started itching. but he could feel himself slowly getting tighter.

he had to do that. all but drooling as the itch was relieved. From there. he shifted Cody and scratched his shoulder. There had to be." The initial flash of panic at a stranger at their window faded slightly as the words sank in. making a face when the tiny fridge proved not only to be empty. He found a door in the kitchen leading to the outside. but not running. just like Cody had him. he went to the kitchen. and Barker nodded stiffly. giving up on being able to hold onto the moment forever. a bathroom. He opened some windows. clean air pushing into the place. Laughing. even a tiny bedroom in the back that they'd missed the night before with a regular bed. all these wolves had mates. "You have to flip the breakers in the back. Of course. too. and he undid each one carefully. "I can show you. A try at the light switch confirmed it was the electricity that was missing. It had three locks on it. yeah. maybe they didn't have amenities for humans." Oh." A young man's face appeared at the window." You never knew. this place has a bathroom.250 . "Yeah.. Someone had built this place with ease of escape Marked . It was no wonder Cody's wolf had been excited. and if everyone could change at will. A kitchen.. noting that they were well oiled and worked easily.Cody looked up at him. a rush of fresh. And a kitchen. "Hopefully. There was.

so like Cody's.251 . Would the Clan come here? He'd seen the look in Harry's eyes. with your mate. during the moon.and defensibility in mind. on the faces of the others who'd come. they'd mated between full moon nights." "Cody?" It was true. they wanted Cody. "You know. When they'd gotten together this time. by the way." Caleb pinked.. "The breaker box is back here. uh. If someone had told them. too. then.. dead or alive. There's going to be a grocery store run today. He could see the truth of Caleb's words in his eyes -. He and Cody had mated before their first change. if they'd only known. Can I meet him soon? Can he change like Mom? I can't wait to find my mate and change. "I'm Caleb. That's when it's supposed to happen. he can change whenever he wants. for flour and potatoes and things. too." "Yeah. mate. "Yeah." He grunted. and then Cody had been sent away. That could explain it. God. huh? When you find your mate?" So how come Cody hadn't changed ten years ago? "Mom says you have to." Marked . The hunters are out. It made him wonder if all the homes here were like it. That's my uncle in there. And how soon they'd need those defenses. Cody's sister was still alive and had come to their rescue.

too. easy." They hadn't eaten since pizza yesterday. Okay." The breaker box was opened. really.252 . can I meet him? Please?" "What? Oh." Those eyes that were blue like Cody's twinkled. Cody sounded relaxed. we'll have to go see him now. Me. There's like a pack store of food. "I know well enough to leave them alone.. Barker chuckled and watched. but I don't know how that works.. Cody. the fuses clearly marked. "Thanks." Mate. He said to tell you to come see him when you're rested and settled."Is there someone in charge I can talk to?" "My dad is the Alpha. Can. then." "Ladies with babies in their bellies." He nodded." "Yeah." "You'll have to talk to my dad. "Come on in. very grumpy today. I wouldn't see her. I don't suppose we can borrow some steak or something. "Uncle?" Marked . "Mom is very. "Okay. The new babies will be here soon." "Okay." He held the door open for Caleb. and that felt like forever ago. I'm dressed. he called softly. The boy headed in and Cody's eyes went wide. Someone wants to meet you. Sure.

You knew they were coming after us. "Are you Riana's boy?" The kid nodded." How could they know they were safe here? "No. Cody told me. "You look like me. You look like me." Barker chuckled. why didn't she ever come see him.leaned against the doorframe. Mom talks about you a lot. damn it. "Why? How did you find out he wasn't?" He hated bullying her in her condition. help him?" "We all thought he was dead." "If she talks about him so damn much. A sympathetic family member." Cody's sister -.Cody blinked.253 ." "So you still have ties back to the Clan. kid." "What?" Marked . after Cody.who was the most pregnant woman he'd ever seen -." "No way. but Cody was his mate. "One of your people sent a message. "She was my only sister. "He's got you there. He's older than you." Cody shrugged." "I think it's so cool that you're here.

He growled. You came into my dream and you told me. our place." "That was real?" She nodded. "We've got trouble following us. I'm glad you are whole and that you have your mate." Caleb smiled." "We protect our own." Barker pointed out. If they want to fight." "And you're taking us in as your own?" He didn't want to get blindsided if they were in the middle of a fight.254 . putting himself between Riana and his mate. It could ruin your safe place here. but they know Cody isn't. "It's her gift. I'm not sure they're going to stop hunting him. "What are you talking about?" "You told me. I was dreaming and there he was. "Yeah. Even if I never see you again." "You might want us to leave. Barker asked. if you leave. too. Didn't it feel real?" "Mom can dream me. "So did you instigate the dream or did Cody?" "I have no idea. Marked .Cody looked shocked. The Clan thought you were dead. This is our land." Her gift? Is our bond your gift? Out loud. you know." She smiled. they have to leave the safety of the city to do it. "I'm glad.

You are Pack." He nodded. The big guy with the bushel of hair. We just need to eat." He held out his hand for Cody. waiting until his mate's fingers slid along his before following her out. It's a group thing. I'll show you to the food. We're. "Come on. mate." "We're hardly pups. Mick's your mate? The Alpha?" "Yes. I don't know if you pups are old enough to remember him. Sally says any second. obviously. nodded. "We need to raid your fridge. The teasing laughter trickled through the bond. hand rolling over her belly." "Of course.255 . He growled softly. they would accept him because he was Cody's mate. Fuckers."You are our own. We hunt. "When are you due? Yesterday?" "I think so. I can smell it. Riana." Marked . by the way. grow vegetables. We're starving. buy odds and ends. He'd take that. yes. fairly self-sufficient here. Just like his Clan should have accepted Cody because Cody was his. Mick wants to meet you. We don't have to make any decisions now." She winked. Cody's hand slipped over the small of his back. Easy. This was Cody's family.

you need to go sit down. Riana. Riana opened the doors. snapped at him." Marked . We'll ask that you contribute. Take what you need. Only one in a pairing. He laughed as they followed Cody's sister. How could he share what he shared with Cody and then have it suddenly disappear? Cody's fingers squeezed his as they came to a little warehouse. "No. "Please try to avoid eating the goats and the chickens in the pen. feeling better than he had in days. Some of us make things to sell. You only function fully together. but the meats are in there." He could understand that. too? She shook her head." Her eyes danced at them. We all have something."Is he like you and Cody?" Could the man change whenever he wanted. When you die. blonde hair swinging. Talk to the one who'll be beastly before then." "I'm not furry for another month. It keeps us going. "This is the dry stores. and the one who changes needs their mate. showed him a stash of food. "Some of us are hunters. vegetables." He grinned at Cody. Cody growled playfully. "We're stocking for the winter. We all do.256 . milk." "Contribute how?" A deep. farmers. he'll come with you in short order. rough voice sounded.

He was guilty of not being there for Cody. "We've met now." Barker noted as he started going through the fridge. picking up red meat. noticing she didn't go. go. the powerful force making Barker want to give the man his belly." Barker nodded to her before facing Mick again. nostrils flaring. How's the house? It's little." Barker didn't want to be mean." "Welcome. She cried over him for years.257 . it needs work. Mick. He Marked ."Boys. Mick nodded like he understood." He wasn't promising anyone anything right now. what weirdness ran in the family gene pool." "It does. Maybe he did. too. Baby. You're tired. We can do the work on it if we stay. but he wasn't willing to just ignore the last ten years when Cody could have used her help. "I can pay for the food we eat." "Uh-huh." Mick nodded. Mick. "She would have come back for him. this is my brother and his mate. but it's solid. Mick nodded. eyes on his mate." "Thanks. but there was no guarantee he was like her. "I'm Barker. Riana. He couldn't just pretend everything was all sweetness and light now. but at least he hadn't known what was possible. This is Cody.

Mick growled. Cody answered a few. The little guy followed them." "We're good. drawing Caleb away. He did not want to see that." He carted their groceries out of the storeroom. Okay?" Mick nodded. People will be interested to meet you. Either way. Resting. He didn't want to think it. Barker looked over at Cody. Cody's laughter was soft. he'd live and not limp. Cody was staring at his sister. "This isn't a prison camp.didn't know if Cody would go fuzzy to eat or stay human. You good. Soon as we settle in. "Okay. Eww. "You like it here. Eating. You can see the babies moving. warm. but they'll give you time. that's Sally. That works. don't you?" Marked . eyes wide. Mmmhmm.258 . asking questions. they both preferred the red stuff." His leg wasn't bad now that they weren't moving. If you need medical attention. "We're going back to the house. jabbering at Cody. but before it could become really irritating. curious. mate? Cody'd been pretty quiet. Between his ability to heal quickly and Cody's cleaning of it." "Thanks.

Before our stomachs crawl out and eat us. wander. the rest doesn't matter. arms around him. "Food. Piss on trees. See what all is here. mate. too. He stuck his tongue out at his mate." He pushed their mouths together.. "As long as we're together. right?" Cody sucked in a deep breath nodded. tongue sliding between Cody's lips." "Uh-huh." Cody closed the door behind them." He winked at Cody. eyes a little desperate. "We should explore later. then he leaned back. We can make friends." He put the food down and pulled Cody into his arms. put the steaks in it. Cody's laugh made him feel sixteen again. "Grr.. he found a pan in one of the cupboards in the little kitchen and set it on the stove." "I do. I really do. "Right. eyes twinkling. "Hey. Marked . Laughing. how many people." "Yeah? I hope it is." Cody was teasing him." Cody growled softly."It smells like home. Cody pushed into the kiss for a heartbeat.259 ." "Mmmhmm.

If Cody didn't stop that. He forced himself to pull the steaks off the heat and plate them instead of pouncing on his mate. "Now I have you. Fuck. offered Cody a bite. he rubbed his finger along Cody's teeth.He bumped their hips together as the steaks started to sizzle." Grabbing another piece of meat. "Yummy. teeth teasing his fingertips. Marked . Cody stayed human. The happy sound made his cock jerk. Cody nipped the beef from his fingers. they weren't going to get much to eat. Cody sucked his finger clean. "Your turn. and then held another piece out to his mate. He cut their steaks up quickly." Look at his mate. "Mmmhmm." That was a happy growl. Cody hummed. He leaned in and licked the juices from Cody's lips. tossing it into his own mouth. humming and growling and rubbing against his side." He grabbed a piece of steak. He grabbed his mate and pushed him against the counter. and the press of lips against his didn't help. it was hot. making him chase that amazing mouth. He didn't ask his mate to stop.260 . "Rare?" Like Cody wanted them any other way. he put it between his own lips and offered it over. Playing. Groaning.

bending to flick his tongue across the sweet little hole. holding it there. Growling. He wrapped his hand around Cody's leg. chasing them with soft kisses. He returned the favor. he pushed Cody harder against the kitchen counter.261 . Yes. leg sliding up along his thigh. Mine. the need like a drug. his fingers rubbing along Cody's lips as he popped the meat into his mate's mouth. pressing them close together. eating had never been so fucking sexy. He pushed Cody back a bit. mate. He pushed a couple more pieces of steak into Cody's mouth. popped three into his own. He was keeping this forever -. Cody lifted himself up onto the edge of the counter. his hand squeezing his mate's leg. His mate was better than any steak.this lazy. I'm yours. He could feel Cody's desire. Want you. "Uh-huh. Cody nipped at his fingers again. relaxed happiness. He licked his mate's mouth. His hunger for food was quickly abating. God."We need to finish the steak." He wasn't sure if he was telling Cody or himself. Marked . Cody snapped the bite up. the offer clear. This place was good for Cody. one hand finding and sliding on Cody's belly as he grabbed another piece of steak for his lover to eat." Cody fed him two more pieces.

262 . pulling off his sweats and pushing his cock into his mate. Marked . So fucking beautiful. His heart. the lust like a drug. "I will. It made him want. Made him need. tongue pushing in over and over. then back in again. Cody took him in and in. He fucking loved that sound. Cody was driving down onto his tongue. "Yes!" Cody's biceps bulged as the strength was added to his. "All mine. and he wanted more. Need you to take me. When Cody was good and wet."Fuck. the musk pure Cody. spreading his legs wider." he growled. sexy. Cody's howl rang through the air. Fuck. He nodded and licked more firmly. Barker. cries echoing out. His mate. He fucked Cody's ass." The words were little yelps. He pulled most of the way out. Cody's hands clawing in his hair." The words were sand-paper rough. hands moving to the insides of Cody's thighs. he stood up again." He pointed his tongue and pushed it into Cody's body. "Want you. The scent of the beast was strong here. head back. taking every inch and then demanding more.

"Mate. He began thrusting. being joined. He thrust harder. He wrapped his mouth around Cody's throat.263 . working his prick into Cody's body again and again. Fill me. "Fuck! Mate!" He pushed in hard. come pouring from him into Cody. grunted. Right where everyone could see it. Heat sprayed up between them. He was going to leave a dark. That heat wrapped around him. both of them panting. He let his pleasure and love go through the bond. sucking hard. His. dragged at him.Cody was too far gone to answer." He laughed as he slid out. Marked . They stayed there. "Bed. his mate just nodded. Being buried inside Cody. Cody's ass like a fist around his cock. That worked for him. being buried inside his mate. His man. He could feel the blood under the surface of the tanned skin. shaking. taking his mate." He grabbed Cody's ass. His wolf. pulling his mate into each thrust. Cody's hand pushed between them. He bit at the mark he'd made. Cody perched on the edge of the counter. tried to keep him in. Yes. fingers tight around that needy prick. His mate. This was the best thing ever. touching him deep inside. raising up for his lips. This counter is biting into my butt. lurid mark. picked Cody up to carry him to bed. teeth scraping along his skin.

that was worth fighting for." He squeezed Cody tight. human and melted for the first time in his memory." he said quietly.264 . He pressed their foreheads together."Do you think we can stay?" "Maybe. "Love. mate. Cody curled around him. they fucking deserved it." He'd do his best for his mate. nodded. "Love you." Cody kissed his jaw. Marked . that's the important part. After the last ten years. The happiness there. "As long as I'm with you. smiling into his mate's eyes. Cody deserved to be somewhere he was happy.

"Brother. He must smell like Pack. "If Barker's uncomfortable. Riana was at one of the larger homes.265 ." "I'm ready to pop. I'll go with him. "I didn't know you could get the Marked . Then Cody slipped out while Barker was sleeping and went to explore. cuddling in. "Are you staying?" "I hope so. This smells like home. surprised as the little girl slid from her mother's arms into his. Two boys.eating and resting and making love -." "Finally came out of hibernation. hmm?" He grinned.Chapter Nineteen They stayed in the cabin -. "Winter is coming. isn't it?" "It is. "How are you feeling? You're the size of a house. I don't know why they're waiting. "Yeah. there are." "Where? Where would you go? You fit here.for three days." He arched an eyebrow. shrugged. a young girl in her arms." She gave him a sharp look." She reached out and touched his cheek. resting on the porch." She rubbed her belly." "Are there two?" He came closer. He nodded. You belong here." "Riana.

lean woman." She nodded. just a bit. this is where they asked him to leave. The hand around his waist was solid." Barker came up behind him. "Yes." "No more than you are. and Cody could all but hear Barker's growls through their bond." Mick came out of the house with three other men and one tall. "You wouldn't be biased at all. "It's easier for the rest of the Clan if everyone believes that." The Alpha's voice made him shiver." He felt a soft stroke through the bond he shared with his mate. "They will. then.266 .change if you mated with another male. Great. I thought you were dead. The little girl in his arms looked up to Barker. though. "What's more. "Well. He leaned into Barker's warmth. and they'll come for him." Barker was perfect. arm looping around his waist." "They know Cody's alive. Barker stiffened slightly next to him. smiled. voice rough. Riana snorted softly. they know he doesn't need the moon to change. We'd all better get prepared. "Because I'm not giving up a single one of my Pack. and settled back down." Barker agreed." Marked . puffing up a little. He makes you happy?" "He's amazing.

a gentle welcome." Barker's arm tightened around his waist. His mate was making his claim very clear. "I'll fight proudly by my Alpha's side. "We're going to need a plan." Mick winked. we need some introductions." Mate. making himself vulnerable to Mick. Marked . "I'm in. Mick sounded sure. They want us. no doubt. but his mate quickly relaxed. As if the lurid mark on his throat wouldn't do that. mate. when Mick's lips touched Barker's throat. "Sure.Barker met Mick's eyes." Barker looked at Mick and then tilted his head back. "You're counting Cody and me in that number?" "Yes. Then everyone looked at him. Yes." No waffling. There was a wealth of pride in Barker's thoughts. then the touch was gone. lips quirking in something that could be a smile. He nodded. "Thank you.267 . You're sure this is where you want to be? He nodded." He vibrated a little." "First. He'd felt Barker tense. Yes. Mick's lips touched his throat. You have a Pack to meet.

"I'm Vince." Riana's voice was sure. Wait." "Are you like Riana?" Cody could see Barker putting people together. "No offense. both. we're from the Northern Hill Pack. how things worked. Everything she plants. someone find Sally.." "Oh. I was the Alpha until Mick came. replying for both of them. we were." "Thanks." Marked .. What if he didn't have anything to offer? What if."No." An older man drew them to the side as Mick sent a young girl to another cabin. "First. figuring things out. Welcome." Warm brown eyes turned to him. by the way. Wait." Barker actually took a step backward. "Excellent. "I am. baring his teeth. man. You're Cody and Barker. "I worked in construction for years." "Yeah? I'm good at guarding things." Barker growled a little.268 . but I am so glad I'm not female." "You and me. "And you?" He shrugged. and Leeah grows things. I think my water just broke. if a little breathless." Barker shook the man's hand. "Who are you related to?" "My lady and me. suddenly worried. Well. it thrives.

No one knew that could happen. He can be human when everyone else succumbs to the wolf. You'll learn about all of them. There are ten families. "And all of them have a wolf who can beast out whenever they want?" "Yes. "Yes." "Cody's special. You're the only same sex pair." "Of course not." "Ten!" Barker grabbed his hand and they followed Vince."He hunts. You've got to be the strongest man I know. Before he could answer. shining from Barker.269 ." Vince laughed." There was that pride again. "Are you new?" Marked . a group of kids all younger than Caleb came barreling over. He's strong." Barker suggested. suffering." "You'll never regret inviting Cody to be a part of your Pack. "I can't imagine going for ten years. "Excellent. You don't know how much we've needed help just keeping things up." Cody could feel Barker's pride in him wash over him." Those eyes met his. "Come meet Layla and Ben. though. Mark and Hettie.

He looked down at all of them -. They were bringing trouble with them. tired smile on his face. but there it was -.and nodded. While Cody was off playing with the kids again. Marked . at Vince. that wasn't what worried him. mate. *** Barker knew he and Cody could contribute more than their share to the Pack.270 . It was home.there had to be nine of them -. though.the Clan wasn't going to just let Cody go. roaring playfully and chasing the kids into the trees. They hadn't asked for it. Barker rolled his eyes and shook his head. He could hear the fondness in the thoughts. and mother and babies were doing fine." "Wanna come play hide and seek?" He chuckled. "I'm Cody. Riana had given birth to two beautiful boys two days ago. he searched Mick out. Going to play! He waved. "You know what? I do. Crazy." He grinned at Barker. Mick was sitting on the front porch of his house with a lazy. ran.

" He grinned sheepishly. two beautiful boys sleeping away. There were two bassinets in the main room. I. How are you? Have you seen my sons?" "No. Your mate is good with the kids.obviously a home. and they just want to have fun." He'd never really been around babies. "Hey. "They're so little..271 . but they're in their cribs. Sure?" He wasn't going to insult the Alpha by not wanting to see his new pups. "I've never been too good around babies.. either." There was an ease about Cody here that had been missing. uh. They love him. Of course." Mick nodded. "Would you like to? Riana is sleeping. moving to sit in the empty chair next to Mick's. He was led into the house. "They're going to be strong wolves. what with being a bachelor and all." "Oh. "That they do." Barker called out as he approached." "I think he likes them because they're uncomplicated." "They're going to need to be protected until then." Marked . which was filled with decorations and toys -. And perfect. They say what they mean. he'd better make sure he didn't insult the Alpha by dropping said pups on their heads. even in the first days after Cody's change."Hey. Little perfect people.

" Mick drew him out of the house." "Exactly." "Do we have a plan? Because before Cody and I left the city. we call in the Northern Clans. About what they would do to Cody. "I think we ought to make it clear. that we aren't open to negotiations."They are. Mick. but your Alpha's a dickcheese and there's not an Alpha one that won't stand with us. but he was willing to do it if he had to. "I think if we've got the threat of the Northern Clans behind us. We'll make a show. letting the babies sleep. "I dare anyone to come take what's ours. I was warned. Marked ." He laughed out loud. surprised by Mick's words. and if they try. He didn't want to have to take a whole bunch of packs to war. "So we'll meet on neutral ground. Harrison and Starla from the Northern Packs." "You want me to contact them?" Although he had a hunch William would be more likely to treat it as a real meeting and not just a chance to snatch Cody if it came from another Alpha. against him. They banished Riana and Cody. they'll be reasonable." He hoped so. Barker." Barker nodded. anyway. bring Dorian and Kerry. And he's not my Alpha anymore. No offense." Mick met his eyes. They want to take him apart and see what makes him able to change whenever he wants." "They can't. They don't get to claim them.272 ." "Good. though. "No offense taken.

I want you to make sure the Pack is safe while we're gone. "I'm the security? Are you sure I'm enough?" "You're going to have to be. Then he let the man go tend to his family while he wandered toward the forest that surrounded the clearing holding the Pack's houses." "Okay. Okay." He blinked.273 . Make sure there's enough coverage."No. Tell Vince that he'll be in charge here. "I didn't say you weren't coming. Mick's eyebrow arched." "If I'm not going with you." He nodded. but Cody was his." Mick might be their Alpha now. He would prove to his new Pack that he could protect them. neither is Cody." "When are we going?" "Let me make some calls. I'll let you know. "Okay. Marked ." "Oh. I said you were in charge of assuring our Pack is safe when we go." He held his hand out and shook with Mick." He would do it. "Good. the sound lost and scared. "I'll leave you to it. I will be." One of the babies started wailing.

felt for where he thought Cody's thoughts had come from. Cody was human. walking. He kept walking. started walking in that direction. "I'll look at you. Or maybe through the bond. Want company? He closed his eyes and." Good. Mate.274 . stretched." He spoke the word out loud. how things changed. only not. the children gone.. What have you been up to? Working on getting us free of the Clan. This is a good place. It was funny. "Look at you.Mate? Hmm? Cody was near water. he didn't know.. Cody looked healthier." Marked . "Mate. You were right. He met Cody's eyes as he walked into a clearing. Better than the city he'd thought he loved. lazing in the sun. Yes. less haunted. and it didn't matter." He growled a little and started stripping as he admired the sun-kissed skin. The bond was getting stronger with every passing day. "Barker." Cody smiled at him. following that feeling that said "Cody. Every day. Beautiful.

" Cody's face was relaxed. lying down with his mate.275 . low. the kiss slow and sweet." He gave Cody a toothy grin." He wanted Cody to love everything about him.It made him strut and flex. The deep moan was gratifying. Barker was watching his lover age backward. They rested together on the blanket that Cody had brought. "Apparently there's little love lost between William and the Northern Packs. "They'll go to war for me? That doesn't seem right. make it clear that they mess with you." He pressed their lips together. they mess with everyone. He pulled off his clothes. "You taste good. tanned. "Barker. Appreciative." Cody's words were warm on his lips. His mate's skin was so soft." Marked .. Work out a truce. I guess." Cody shrugged." Cody frowned. So why not you?" "I just." "Why not? We're a part of Mick's Pack now. both of them breathing into the kisses. "What did Mick say?" "We're going to meet up with William and the City Clan. "Guilt. calling to his fingertips. Us and representatives from the Northern Packs. showing off for his lover. "Cody. "Good. Would they go to war over the littlest pup? Of course they would..

though. happy. He touched Cody. Marked . The tease was easy. You've got a mate who's really present in your life now." It's real. lazy."You've more than paid your dues. Cody's cock firmed. mate. This is important stuff. showing his mate how solid he was. No more. Horndog. Don't we have work to do? This first. Cody's laugh rang through the trees. You were alone and hurting for ten years. Cody's laughter was surprised. his tongue sliding between Cody's lips. he deepened the kiss. He rolled on top of Cody. swelled.276 . Yeah." "It doesn't seem real. agreeing with him. tickled as hell. Skin warm from the sun. how there. and you can change at will.it's yours. Not right now. pressed against his thigh. Groaning. a pack. fusing their mouths together. Take it -. We're real and I can change. sometimes. You're real. The important stuff. Cody felt so good under him.

I have good men at my back. "Why aren't you sleeping?" "Huh? I. but William is. Then we can settle. stretched. I don't know..there were three couples from different packs coming south.. with this Pack. The autumn was threatening to become winter." "Then come here. Cody had worked on the roof.Chapter Twenty The Packs were meeting -. No." Cody sighed. I'm nervous.277 .. our first full moon here. and resealed the plumbing in the bathroom. He had a feeling he would Marked ." "He's worse than a creep.. coming to get Mick and Barker and meet with William. I guess? The meeting." "It will. and sooner than normal. He kissed Barker's nose. I don't trust him. hands sliding on him. shored up the foundation. His first winter with Barker. Everything. Cody was feeling a little on edge. a creep. too." Barker dragged him close. though. "Are you ready for the meeting?" "Yes." They'd already done a bit of settling. "It'll be good to have it over. Barker growled at him.

I don't want to share it. He shook his head. together. "I'm just a growly old wolf. Special. Like you. No. Have you told anyone about this? Barker waved a hand between them. He didn't think so.learn a lot about septic systems. Real.. It's ours. More than he ever wanted to. Barker's fingers slid on his cheek. but Riana had been in his dream. It's you. Barker had gone around. but I think they've guessed. What makes you think they've guessed? Do other pairs have this gift? He shook his head. something about their chemistry. they had something special." "My growly old wolf. They were a part of this. When do we leave?" Marked . eyes shining for him. mate. You're the special one.. mate. All the pairs have a. He'd seen the other couples -. too. making suggestions for places to put fences. Barker snorted. patching up the Pack's defenses. gift. He thought it was them.278 . guards.the ones that had to change with the moon.

the four of them moving fast and low. so I'll do it. "Careful." Stay safe. fingers in the fur on Cody's head. nostrils working overtime." "Okay." rumbled Mick. "What is it?" growled Barker." Barker nodded. They'll be human. Mick came out. That sounds. and they could have weapons. "I can't wolf out. just like a goodly portion of his Pack. shotgun in hand. pointing to where three other wolves were already loping out toward the eastern edge of the property.279 . Barker growled and they both leaped out of bed." The alarm whistle went off from guards on the east side." A battered truck filled with several men with guns in the bed stopped by Mick. Cody was fuzzy before he hit the door."As soon as the last couple from the Northern Pack get here. "I need someone to stay with Riana. If it was William. their hackles raised.. Marked . and he jumped into the passenger seat. Cody ran with the other wolves. "Go with the others. mate. guard the children. heading for the door. they'd be there for him. I will..

" Cody heard Mick and the others before William and his men did. they spread out. "We're not used to the woods. spoke. before Mick made their presence known. They had guns." Another nodded." Cody and the others came forward. creeping toward the invaders.they were going to have the upper hand in this because of him and his ability to report back. "Which way's their base. there's four of them and they're armed. Clan from the City. "We are. she's down. I see Hannah. You're trespassing.They soon found the interlopers. Taking Vince's lead. but he could also feel his mate's pride -. He snarled softly. And they're our woods. teeth bared. Marked . all werewolves. Cody would know the scent anywhere. More of the weird darts.280 . I'll tell him. four fully grown wolves. On it. so he was ready for the sound of the shotgun cocking. sniffing. for it to come out of from the cover of the trees. Guns. circling the men. Be careful. Mate? If you can get a message to Mick. too. four men at least. Walkie-talkie. William? This shit's creepy. The eastern guard was awfully still. They moved closer. He could feel Barker's worry through the bond.

" Mick said softly. "If you don't kill him." The others were close." "You can try. "There's the abomination. The others slid around and he barked. Over here. keeping the rifles trained on him." "Back off and leave now and no one gets hurt. don't think I won't. drawing the man's attention. ready to attack. teeth bared. "You might have the animals on your side.William and his men all brought their own guns up.281 ." Mick's reply was simple. So his pack could attack. They were all armed as well. giving them a chance. clear." Mick's aim never wavered. and you're just one man. William's gun shifted to him. and he growled deep in his throat. Pay attention. Before he sullies our bloodlines. Marked . some of them aiming at him and the other wolves. "Fuck you. the man sneering. but they're no match for guns. Here. Cody snarled." Mick chuckled as Vinnie and the men from the Northern Packs who'd already arrived slid out from the forest. Right here. a dangerous note in his voice. William himself aiming at Mick's head. I will. "I'll kill him.

Marked . There's no one here. The winter was coming. Barker's answer was simply a growl. He could hear Barker growling as if his mate were right there. Mick came. Mate! Barker's worry filled his mind. pulling the wolves off them. Mate.282 . angry. Fire burned into Cody's side and he cried out. finger squeezing the trigger. Are you safe? Mick and the men he was with swarmed around the remaining interlopers. low and worried. Are the babies safe? He could hear his heartbeat. What happened? They have guns. legs collapsing underneath him. Love you. so loud. They'll bring me to you. More gunfire sounded. I'm coming to you. He couldn't lie. Oh. They're fine. No.William shouted. Your Pack. You protect the pups. He panted through a wave of pain that was followed by bitter cold. William going down. Mate.

Always. Mate.Vinnie came over. Mate! Mate! Barker felt frantic in his mind.283 . Home. So tired. Mate! "Mick! We need to get Cody to Sally. muscles going lax." Love you. Hold on. He needed Barker to know that. He hurt. mate. Mate. You protect the pups. I'm coming. his chest. Finally came home. Where does it hurt?" He cried out when Vinnie touched his side. You did good. hands gentle on him. He was placed in the truck and they took off. So cold. Mate. each bounce bringing with it a fresh pain. Mate. Marked . "We've got them. He sighed. Love you. Cody. Love. and he heard the muffled curse. whined. Somebody lifted him and he barked. Now. Don't you leave me.

They went over another bump. Marked . and the last thing he heard as the pain disappeared into darkness was Barker yelling out his name.284 .

he wasn't letting anyone else take his mate. That's it. blood pooling under him. He could feel Cody through the bond." Sally's dark eyes met his. He paced up and down on Riana's porch. "We need to move him." "I'll do it. "Cody's been shot!" "Fuck!" Barker climbed onto the truck bed and pushed Vinnie out of the way. anesthetize him. Don't you dare leave me. Cody. a flutter. all his focus and concentration on Cody. His mate was breathing slowly.285 . howling brokenly until the truck came bouncing into the clearing. on connecting with his mate and lending his strength to Cody's. "Sally! We need you!" Vinnie's voice rang out. "Cody!" Mate! He screamed through their bond. "We have to stop the bleeding. Marked . tongue out. making for the truck before it even pulled to a stop." He ground the words out. and then nothing. I swear. He felt something. absolutely nothing. a whisper.Chapter Twenty-One Barker was fucking beside himself. He was off like a shot. you better stay here with me. see his heart. mate. knew his mate was hurt. Yes. He barely noticed Sally joining him in the truck. a whimper.

Mate. "In here. He chanted the words over and over through their bond. Cody was going to live. Barker looked at Sally. "Oh. no worrying. "Did they stop them?" They sure as shit better have. Stay with me. Brother!" "He's going to be fine. with a set of cabinets and a covered table. "Yes!" He gathered Cody's body close. Mick has the other three. "What are you waiting for? Fix him!" Marked .286 ." Vince nodded. he was going to be even more pissed if Cody'd been hurt in vain. Barker. A small part of him would have liked to have dispatched William himself. The word was there when his slid his hands under the limp body. Stay with me. but his Pack had done the job and that was good enough. going with Vince." Barker snarled the words." Satisfaction went through Barker at Vince's words. there was no lamenting. Riana came up. no. Someone get me more light!" The makeshift clinic was a room in Sally's house. the fur matted with blood. "What can we do?" Riana asked. "Yeah. "William is dead. Danny's going back with rope and the truck.

"Get the hell out of the way. and then started working. His poor mate. Mate.287 . "Okay. "Sally's going to make you better. Jesus. Don't let him move. Barker?" Sally's eyes met his." You hear that. The Pack would have to finish up whatever they needed to without him. Love you. Sally. through their bond. No response. Mate. huh? It helps. Barker. I'll need someone to stay. There it is." "That'll be me." "I'm not leaving him." He wasn't leaving Cody's side. He's my mate. so you're just going to have to get better. The bullet's in there." He babbled away. Don't let him fucking move. None. hardly paying any attention to his words." Marked . and we'll have to dig it out. started an IV." She shaved Cody's leg." "Talk to him. "Just do it." Barker closed his eyes and nodded. Cody? I'm not leaving you. "There. Love you. hold him. The whole time he kept murmuring. "It will be messy. I'm giving him something to keep him out. Pray. "Are you sure.

"I've almost got it. Barker. but it might hurt. "It's out. I know. don't let him move. I know. bind it. Don't move. fuck." He did. I promise. "Stay still.288 . mate. growling as he saw the metal that had injured his mate." No moving." Sally held up a bullet. It's night.. almost howling. Don't move. Mate. There. Look. You'll piss Sally off if you do. Love. Sally is helping. but. Keep 'em closed. He almost chuckled. Barker.. mate. using both hands. "Here. Cody's eyes were closed. Just lie there and let Sally fix you. it's dark. "There. For me. Mother Moon. And your eyes are closed. mate. Cody." Don't move. mate. mate.He held his mate down. it's the best case scenario. Barker? Love! Oh. Cody whimpered. It'll be over soon. Don't move. I'll pack the wound. And then you'll heal and we'll go romp in the woods. Oh." Marked . Please. Please.

Heal. Sleep. we need you to identify these men with the other Alphas present." "I'll be there in a minute. He might never let Cody out of his sight again. "Thank you." He pushed strength and love through the bond. He couldn't keep the relief out of his thoughts. He kissed his mate's muzzle. Shh."Good. Mick's head popped in. now that I know the bullet's out. trying to take the pain from his mate. mate. Yes. mate. Sleep. Sleep and heal." He stroked Cody's fur." Marked . The words were fuzzy." You're going to sleep now. I have you mate. Sleep. Hurt. mate.289 . "I'm going to put him deeper into sleep." You're going to be okay. Cody whimpering. Love. Sally was washing the wound." "Okay. I love you. mate. "Barker. I'll be here when you wake up. Sally. Hurt. distant. We need this over. Cody's thoughts were quiet buzzes. "Shh.

"If they do. His whole family.290 ." He growled. Was."He'll be fine. "That's right. spitting." Barker crossed his arms and held his ground. The Alphas that had arrived today were snarling. Barker couldn't contain his fierce grin. Clan Alpha. Barker. from one of the northern packs. the corner of his upper lip curling. three standing. he headed out to identify the Clan members who'd come to try and take away his heart. There were four of them. These men used to be his Clan. you'll see. "Traitor." "He's an abomination. and Mick was right in the middle of it. Barker pointed at the man on the ground. I'll kill them myself. pacing. "That's William." "Was. though. "Seems to me your Alpha waged war on another pack." Dorian. "You let them kill our Alpha. "You tried to kill my mate. That's Harry O'Neal and Junior." That was Junior." "Yeah. snorted. They didn't invade your lands." He pointed to each of the others in turn." Mick's lips twisted. Harry had been his friend. He's going to live. You didn't. Go make sure they never come back and bother our Pack." With one last stroke to Cody's flank." Marked . one on the ground.

" Harrison said. But that would never occur to a bunch of dinosaurs like you. they're strong. and they both have sibs in this pack. "Maybe he's the next evolutionary step. I think this is a compromise you should take and be fucking grateful. but if this meant the Marked .Mick snarled. It annoyed Barker that Harry and the others were going to get away with what they'd done." That was Rosa. that was definitely the wrong thing to say on the Packland of a Pack built around "abominations" like Cody. Yeah. "Or we could move the seconds from the pack and the eastern pack in." Mick suggested. would it?" "I don't give a fuck what they think." Harry started sputtering. Barker wanted more than that. "They're mated. and both were educated in the city. with a wicked grin. Vinnie's mate. "I want you on trial. the rifle butt popping out. "I want them on trial for attempted murder." "Jenna and Dean are strong. They're a good choice. savvy. and Barker snarled." "We could just kill them all. taking Junior in the chin and felling the man. Mick wants you dead." Mick growled deep.291 . Harry. I want them gone.

but Junior grabbed his arm and tugged him back. my pups. They invaded my home. "They shot my packmate. but Barker could feel it in the air." "They won't. Junior and O'Neil pushed Harry forward. he'd swallow his need for further vengeance." "I just. We need a new Alpha -. It would have to do.you really want all the young bucks fighting each other for it? The city would be a mess. they all Marked . "Oops." The men started talking hard." Rose was one strong bitch. Finally." The words were grudgingly spoken. Mick chuffed." "And they aren't even sorry.Clan would leave Cody and the Pack alone." "No?" Mick growled. Harry looked like he was going to protest again. Slipped.. "William is dead. "You're not helping." added Barker.292 . but Barker knew. "They'll do it again if they think they can get away with it. They threatened my family. They were going to break." Rosa looked at Mick. "We'll swear loyalty to the new Alphas.. William was dead. They'll have new Alphas. Harry opened his mouth again and the rifle butt swung out again.

mate. "He won't settle. Can you come?" He nodded and sent one parting shot in Harry's direction. I will kill you. "If you come near my mate again. a wolf wouldn't go back on his word. that once loyalty had been sworn." Then he turned and headed for Sally's house. I'm coming. "Barker?" Sally came over.293 . touched his arm. Marked .knew.

the moon calling to him. Good. snapping the first steak up before starting on the second. Barker laughed and set a bowl with two -. a pull in his side. always whispering in his ear of love and home and their life together. "I thought some raw meat might tempt you back to life. Hunger and the scent of steak. too. hushing him. There was an ache. but the burn was gone.294 .raw steaks on it. Meat. Good. though. Mate. They shot me." He panted. The dreams were simple -. Good. and tried to move. grinned.two! -. It was hunger that drove him up out of the dreams finally. They've paid for it.Chapter Twenty-Two Every time he tried to wake up. Barker was there. mate. Barker chuckled as he blinked his eyes open. "William is dead and two Northern Pack members are now Alpha. holding him. and easing him down. petting him." Barker's grin was positively evil. "All yours. Barker was in his dreams. Good dreams. running with him. I'm hungry. chasing him over fields and through the forest." They're gone? A fierce relief swept him." He got to his feet.running and hunting. "I know. Marked .

Barker needed to know that he could. While you healed. landing in Barker's arms. He concentrated on his human form. "Mate. He vocalized softly. He wanted that. and feel your hands on my body. "Good. rubbing his fur." Marked . for the pleasure and the sensations that form gave him. and he reached for his human self. ripped belly. then crawled close to Barker. "You feel well enough to change. mate?" Barker said it casually. so happy he couldn't bear it. his breath. I want to kiss you and touch your skin and see the scar. mate. I want to lick you all over and fuck you and make you come. naked and bare and shuddering.Barker's hand slid over his head and down along his body. He felt the change coming. mate. I want to see your face with those beautiful blue eyes." He moaned." Barker.295 . too. but he could feel his mate's need through the bond. "I've been talking to you for days. Talk to me. "I want to kiss you. You're almost there." I dreamed about you. mate. Now I want to see my human mate. He licked the bowl clean. I want arms and legs and your lovely. his mate.

relief in his lover's eyes as the strong arms wrapped around him and tugged him close. melting into each thought. Barker growled softly. One kiss followed the next. their teeth clacking. Mate. and he relaxed and let Barker in. sliding along the skin. Barker's hair tangled in his fingers. Mate. Barker's hands on him were gentle. He agreed wholeheartedly. Cody nodded. More thoughts than words. careful on his chest. and he moved closer so that their bellies rubbed. Whole. "Barker. Barker's joy and happiness surrounded him. for him. Mine. Mate. hard this time. And so was Barker. tasting salt. Home. Safe. though. Barker was clearly starving for this. Marked ." growled Barker before taking his mouth again. He was safe. they filled his mind with Barker. "Mine. soaring with them. breathing as Barker began to tremble. Mate. He held on. For them. the need building sharply. Whole."Cody!" Barker beamed at him. mashing against their lips. let Barker taste.296 ." His mouth found Barker's jaw. harder than ever. on the mostly-healed wound. head tilting so their mouths pressed together. Home.

297 . Barker put his head back. Teasing. "Home to run. pulling Cody up to straddle the strong body.Barker rolled onto his back. panting as Barker stretched him. Here. I'm right here." "Yes!" Barker's hips snapped. From outside their cabin. He licked at Barker's lips. The moon's coming soon." For the first time. demanding entrance. My mate. sliding. Barker humped up beneath him. Ride me.wolf and human -. Mate. He eased himself down.joined in. many other voices -. Marked . That wet-tipped cock bumped his hole. nibbling. Home. pulling at the bottom lip with his teeth. mate. "Yes. driving his mate's cock deep. Barker's need a tangible thing. They were home. his call joining his mate's. Whole and healthy and home. Their Pack. they'd run together with a pack. Need you. "Home with our Pack. hips moving. Cody threw his own head back. a decent howl coming from his human throat." He met Barker's eyes. Barker's hands wrapped around his hips. Let me in.

298 .They were home and safe. End. Marked .

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