Werewolf Jason is pretty sure he doesn't want to open his heart again to anyone, male or female. His last male lover left him in a cloud of drama, and his last best girl was taken out by demon hunters. So, when his friends set him up on a blind date, he doesn't even want to go, let alone deal with the mix-up when two people show up. Coyote shifter Scott thinks it's a great idea, though, and he's willing to put his head together with foxy lady Rita to help Jason loosen up, even if it might put them all in danger.
Praise for Outfoxed
"...well written and deeply erotic..."
-- J9, The Romance Reviews
"Scott was loveable and infectious and allowed Jason to look beyond his grief. Rita completed the trio with her overt sassiness... a well written short read which I found enjoyable."
Mixed Breeds: Outfoxed
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2012 Julia Talbot
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"I don't need you to set me up, Rob. Thanks, but no." Jason swirled the wine in his glass, watching the red stuff go round and round. It had been really nice of his buddies Rob and Lonnie to have him over for an extremely rare steak and some bacon and cheese concoction they said included vegetables. Too bad they had, just as he'd figured they would, begun trying to set him up on blind dates before they even got to dessert.
Rob stared at Jason over the horn rims of his glasses. The man was a software engineer, and liked to pretend he wasn't a unibrow type who went all alpha on the full moon. The glasses were a pretty good disguise; they made Rob look owlish. "You need to get out more. It's been nearly a year since..." Rob trailed off with a grunt and a start, which meant Lonnie had kicked Rob under the table. Lonnie had far more tact, even if he looked like he should be in San Quentin selling cigarettes and making all sorts of criminals his bitches.
"What he means," Lonnie said, smiling. "Is that you need to get back on the horse. You don't have to win the derby or anything. Just get going at a trot."
"Wow." Jason tossed his wine back in a single gulp. "Nice to know I'm a prize pony."
"Don't be ridiculous." Rob flapped one big, square hand. "You're a healthy, not-yet-over-the-hill werewolf. You have a steady job, a nice duplex with a big yard and an SUV big enough for all the pups Lon and I will never have. You need to get with the program and find a nice girl. I have the perfect one."
Lonnie snorted. "No. Jason needs a boy. We've talked about this."
Jason rolled his eyes, watching his friends digress into a discussion of his sexuality. The truth was, Jason had tried both men and women, and while he enjoyed swinging either way, he'd had no luck settling down with any of the people he'd dated.
Having to hide the werewolf thing was an issue in most of his relationships, and the one time he hadn't had to worry about that had ended a year ago, disastrously, if he did say so himself.
Which he did, often. It bore repeating, though. Now. "Guys. Guys! I appreciate the thought. I do. I'm just not interested. You're right, it's been a year. In case you haven't noticed, I still have scars from that." Jason gestured at his face, where he knew his wicked, jagged scar made him look a little like an axe murderer. Iron blades dipped in silver and blessed by pagan werewolf hunters did damage which took a long while to heal.
Lonnie pulled a sympathetic face. "I know. It sucked. Amy was a nice kid; she didn't deserve to go like that. You have to start moving on, man. I have just the guy. Moved to town three weeks ago."
Jason stared. It was all he could do at the moment. He stared down Rob and Lonnie both, waiting until they looked away. Then he cleared his throat and smiled. "Thanks, guys, but no. Can we just have cheesecake and coffee?"
Lonnie and Rob exchanged a long glance, then turned to grin at him as one, both of them nodding. "Sure, Jason," Rob said, sounding cheerful as ever. "We'll leave it alone."
Lonnie chuckled. "At least long enough to eat dessert."
* * *
Scott Alvarez wondered what he was doing at the CafÈ Lupo, for like, the millionth time. The smell of garlic bread and red sauce was making his mouth water, the half bottle of Chianti he'd consumed was making his head spin, and he felt like an idiot for accepting a blind date from a guy he'd only worked with for two weeks.
Oh, Lonnie was nice enough, and he seemed awfully sure Scott would like this Jason guy, but it still seemed pretty stupid to try going out with one of the local pack when Scott hadn't even gotten approval from the alpha to stay in the area.
The truth was, he knew he wouldn't get that approval if he ran with the pack on the full moon, which would be one of the criteria for membership. It always was, and Scott always failed.
Scott shoved the sleeve of his Henley back so he could check his watch. His date was now officially five minutes late. He sighed. He'd give it three more minutes. Then he was ordering his food to go and sitting in front of the TV the rest of the night.
"Are you Jason?"
Shit! Scott damned near jumped out of his skin. How he'd missed the lady who stood next to his table, he had no idea. She was a redhead, stacked to the ceiling, her curvy figure stuffed into a glittery green dress that managed to be both revealing and demure. Hot.
Scott managed a smile. "Sorry. No. My name is Scott."
"Oh." Her lips curled in a delicious little smile, even as she managed to appear disappointed. "Bummer. I'm Rita, and I was really hoping you were supposed to be my blind date."
"Well, I am here for a blind date..." Scott frowned. "With a guy named Jason."
She raised a brow, which was darker than her hair, more of a mahogany color. "That's a hell of a coincidence. Sorry you're not my type, though."
Now it was his turn to raise his brows. He sucked at putting just one up, damn it. "Who says I'm not? I might surprise you."
Rita slipped into the seat across from him and planted her elbows on the table. The pose did amazing things to her breasts, which looked firm and pale with a smattering of freckles across the upper regions. "Do tell."
"I will if you have a glass of wine with me."
"I'd like that." She stayed put, and he waved down the waiter to get another glass.
"So, what Jason are you meeting?" he asked, clinking his glass against hers.
"Tyson, his name is. Some kind of..." she gestured with her newly filled glass, "outdoor kind of guy. Does water quality testing."
Scott sat back in his seat, starting to really get the idea he was being played. "No shit? Who set you up with him?"
"My friend, Rob. Pretty size queen? Does tech work?"
"Mine is named Lonnie. He's a mechanic."
Now it was Rita's turn to frown. "That's Rob's lover. What the hell?"
"I was just thinking the same thing." He had no idea what kind of sick game this was, but Scott was pretty sure he didn't approve.
"I'll just call Rob." Rita slipped an iPhone out of her purse and started punching numbers. That was probably the best solution, since Scott didn't have a personal number for Lonnie yet.
No one answered Rita's call, and she huffed. "Well, shit."
"You gonna leave a voicemail?"
"I guess I'll call back and..."
They both paused when they heard someone with a deep voice talking to the waiter. "I'm Tyson, party of two. I'm really late."
"Your party is still here, sir. If you'd come this way."
The man who came into view was definitely worth waiting for. He was tall, well-built in the way of men who worked with their hands, and had dark blond hair. A square jaw with a jagged scar and a pair of arresting gray eyes completed the look. In fact, Jason Tyson might actually be worth hearing whatever shitty story there was to explain all this. Maybe.
The guy paused when he saw Scott and Rita at the table together, his eyebrows going up. Then he came forward, nodding politely at the waiter who was grumbling about getting more bread.
"Hi. Uh, my name is Jason. Are you... I'm supposed to meet someone here for dinner. Lonnie and Rob wouldn't tell me who; they just assured me I would know my date because they were perfect for me. Am I in the wrong place?"
Rita stared at Jason, then gave Scott a look, which he answered with a shrug. What a messed up situation this was turning out to be. Then Rita's lips curved in a sexy, devious smile. She leaned back and crossed one leg over the other. "Well, Rob sent me and Lonnie sent him. Why don't you tell us which one is perfect?"