Sometimes it's harder to be together than it is to be apart.
Rabb is an alpha shifter, a werewolf, who likes to defy both the odds and authority. He prefers the city lights over the open spaces most shifters enjoy.
Brant is a politician with a secret that's becoming harder and harder to contain. As mayor of Bright City, he's determined to keep the city free of shifters to protect his secret.
The two men share a fair amount of distrust, along with a smoldering history that threatens to drag them under again. But when shifters begin to die in Bright City, Rabb and Brant need to find a way to work together again. Especially when one of them inadvertently steps right into the murderer's deadly path.
Brant slammed the hard, rubber ball against the wall and flipped around to hit it with his other hand, sending it slamming back. Sweat dripped from his head and he swiped at it with the band around his wrist. The rubber ball hit the corner and skewed off course, sailing past him toward the back of the room.
He turned to catch it when it came sailing back.
It never hit the wall.
Rabb Miller stood just inside the door of the court, his big body seeming to fill the small, glass-enclosed room. Brant’s first thought was that the man looked characteristically delicious. He wore tight, well-worn jeans and a pecs-hugging, round-necked t-shirt. His chin-length wavy, dark brown hair was combed back, away from his face, showcasing his strong features. Rabb’s hostile gaze was locked on Brant, his eyes glowing with golden lights. His wide, sensual lips pressed together, the big shifter’s jaw was tight with anger. Without a word, Rabb lifted his hand and opened his fingers, dropping the ball to the floor, where it dribbled a few feet and bumped up against Brant’s sneaker.
Unable to stop himself, Brant’s gaze slipped upward, to the row of windows along the top of the court.
“They won’t get here in time,” Rabb told him in a voice that was mostly growl. His hands clenched in fists at his sides, the werewolf vibrated with rage.
Rabb’s eyes glowed with unmistakable magic. “You dare to ask me that?”
The pain in Rabb’s gaze was palpable and fear for the other man made Brant lose his temper. “I have to ask you that because I don’t know, dammit!”
Rabb’s gaze lost some of its unearthly power and his stance softened slightly. “You expect me to believe that you had nothing to do with Mica?”
Brant stared at Rabb, squaring his shoulders to show he wasn’t intimidated, though he’d be an idiot not to be. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Rabb. What’s happened to Mica?”
Rabb’s mouth twisted as if he’d bitten into a lemon. “He’s dead. Along with a young pup who’d been brutalized before she was killed. Is this your way of running us out of Bright City, mayor? Because if you want a war we’ll be happy to indulge you. What we won’t do is back down or leave. You’ll have to kill every last one of us if you want us gone.”
Brant felt sick. His pulse picked up and his mouth watered from the nausea roiling in his gut. “Oh my god.” His legs weakened and he let his knees bend, crouching on the floor and supporting himself with one hand. He’d gone too long without eating and the strenuous workout hadn’t helped. But the picture Rabb’s words played across his mind was the last straw on his already weakened system.
Rabb didn’t say anything, but he moved closer. As usual, Brant was amazed at how silently the big man could move. He didn’t look up but jerked a little when Rabb’s hand landed on his shoulder, heavy and so deliciously warm. “Are you okay?”
The words were spoken in the husky murmur Brant remembered all too well. His eyes closed under the pain engendered by the memory. “Yeah. I’m fine. I just need to eat.”
Rabb’s hand lifted and he took a step back, making Brant see red. “I see your compassion is still limited by your capacity for self protection.” He pushed himself off the floor, his anger helping him ride out the dizziness that followed.
Rabb’s impossibly handsome face turned hard again. “Someone’s killing my people, Brant. If it isn’t you then we have an even bigger problem. You have as much to lose as I do.”
Brant scraped a hand over his face, the dizziness turning to something far more troublesome as Rabb’s delightful scent infused the air he breathed. “I agree.” He frowned, realizing where they were headed and terrified. “You’ll keep me apprised?”
Rabb laughed but there was no humor in it. “Nice try cowardly lion. We’ll need to work together on this one. I don’t trust you and you don’t trust me. So we’ll have to keep each other close.”
Brant closed his eyes, despair washing through him. Finally he sighed, nodding. “You’re right. Okay, how do you want to do this?”
Rabb’s sexy mouth turned up in a tight smile. “I don’t think you’d pass for my new bartender, so I guess I’m gonna have to play on your field for a while.”
Brant blinked at him, unwilling to understand what he’d just been told. Finally he opened his mouth, not sure how he was going to say no, hell no without getting about three hundred pounds of werewolf down his throat.
The visual his traitorous mind played at the thought brought sudden heat to his face—and other places. “Oh hell no, Rabb.”
Rabb’s smile widened. “Mr. Mayor, meet your new assistant.”
“God help me,” Brant murmured weakly.
Rabb turned away. “I’ll start on Monday. Tomorrow we need to put our fallen pack members to rest…” His voice shuddered and trailed off, telling Brant more than words how much Mica’s loss meant to the big shifter.
“Can I do anything? Where will the funeral be?”
Rabb grasped the door handle. “No funeral. We’ll take them to the running grounds. I’ll see you on Monday, fang.” He opened the door and walked out, leaving behind an aura of pain so thick Brant suddenly found it hard to breathe.