Authors: Odessa Lynne
Tags: #Gay Romance Fiction
Copyright © 2014 by Odessa Lynne
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Except for quotes used in any review, the reproduction or utilization of the work in whole or in part by electronic, mechanical or other means is forbidden without written permission of the author.
Cover design by Odessa Lynne
Cover photo © coffee999 | Dreamstime.com
Photo of moon © Paul Ransome | Dreamstime.com
Published by Odelyn Publishing
First Electronic Publication September 2014
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, organizations, events, and incidents portrayed in this novel are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales are entirely coincidental.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only and may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
Once every three years, humans become sexual prey to a species that has no control over the urge to mate because of an unexpected and devastating attraction to human scent
Three years have passed since Matthew switched loyalties in the conflict between humans and the alien species they call “wolves.” In that time, he’s infiltrated the renegades and passed intel through the wolf he knows as Ash. And even though Matthew wants Ash, Ash hasn’t given Matthew any indication his interest is returned.
Then Matthew takes one chance too many with the renegades and ends up in wolf territory, and he’s not alone.
Heat season has arrived, and no matter who else wants to claim Matthew, he’s only interested in the one wolf who seems determined not to take him as a mate…
Book 4 of the Wolves’ Heat series follows
The dank basement was a collection of mold-covered pipes and rivulets of water that came in through the small cracks in the walls and cut across the concrete floor. It’d been raining the last two days and the rain had soaked the uneven floor and left behind shallow puddles in every dip, reflecting the pale glare of the few aged bulbs that still worked.
Matthew tried his card again, but the reader had shorted out a long time ago and he wasn’t getting into the dark room beyond without real effort.
He reached behind him and pulled a thick metal pry bar out of his back pocket where he’d stuffed it less than fifteen minutes ago when he’d realized he was only going to get one chance at this.
His heart pounded hard enough that it felt like the only sound he could hear. In reality, he could hear just fine.
The low hum of the old water recycler, sending fresh water up into the floors above where Tim and Sal slept.
Matthew was supposed to be on watch, but instead he was down here trying to break into the room where he’d seen Gage store a new haul of bullets. He’d traveled the long way around in the abandoned elementary school, one of the many buildings that had been abandoned after the big quake so many years ago, and he’d been sure the back entrance was the best way in, especially after he’d found the stash of keycards in the old janitor’s office.
He wasn’t sure what was going on, but Gage had been overly secretive about those bullets, so Matthew figured he needed to take a look.
He wanted in that room.
Ash was going to be pissed when he discovered Matthew had taken matters into his own hands. He wasn’t supposed to put himself at risk, not for anything.
Matthew thought of Ash as his handler; Ash had been Matthew’s connection to the wolves for as long as he’d been passing intel from the renegades to the wolves, going on three years. Matthew’s standing orders were to keep his head down, observe, and report anything he discovered that could be helpful, and do it all without exposing himself to the renegades as a spy.
Ash, like so many of the wolves, had a name Matthew couldn’t pronounce, a fit and attractive body, and amber eyes brighter than any Matthew had ever seen.
Something about the wolves’ alien eyes made them vibrant and rich in a way human eyes weren’t, and over the years, Matthew had realized that their color changed, sometimes dramatically, with their moods, going darker and lighter around the outer edges of the iris. The eyes were often the first thing anyone noticed about a wolf, even before the sharp eyeteeth and the wicked retractable claws hidden under dark fingernails or the narrow, straight nose. The whole world had been amazed at the arrival of aliens who appeared so similar to humans.
If Matthew could’ve had his way, he and Ash would’ve been fucking for the last three years. But considering how quickly wolves tended to claim those they wanted to mate, Matthew had had to accept a long time ago that Ash wasn’t interested in fucking him, no matter how much Matthew liked Ash or wanted him.
Matthew had dealt with his disappointment over that, soon after he’d accepted the wolves’ offer of a pardon for his former involvement with the renegades and their protection in exchange for his cooperation with their efforts to infiltrate the renegades. He’d just turned twenty, and he’d known he was being given a second chance and that he had to take it.
He couldn’t say he had ever been that loyal to the renegades’ organization anyway. He’d been loyal to Brendan. As Brendan’s loyalties had changed, so had Matthew’s.
Matthew had loved Brendan. He was sure of it. Maybe he’d been only nineteen at the time, and his love hadn’t been all that mature, but he knew how to love and he’d loved Brendan.
Brendan had loved—well, Matthew didn’t know what the hell Brendan had loved, but it hadn’t been him. Then Brendan had been captured by the wolves and everything had changed. Brendan had changed.
Matthew had changed.
Matthew liked Brendan more now than he’d liked him when he’d been in love with him, and some days—some days he still wondered how he’d let himself fall in love with someone so fucked up as Brendan had been at the time.
Seemed like he was destined to fall for people he could never really have. First Brendan, who’d been an emotionally unavailable asshole back then. Then Ash, a wolf who’d once confessed to Matthew in that solemn way he had of speaking that fate would deliver him his mate when the time was right.
A kick in the balls might have hurt less than realizing Ash believed he had some destined mate, someone who sure as hell wasn’t Matthew.
The hinges of the heavy wood door had rusted over the many years since the earthquake had led to the abandonment of the school, and Matthew worked as quickly as he could and still remain quiet. He spent almost fifteen minutes on one hinge, but one of the thick screws finally broke, a piece of it snapping loose to crack against the wall behind Matthew and then clink against the floor.
He let his breath out slowly, his exhale a soft sigh of sound in the wide hall.
His hands shook with the effort of controlling how forcefully he pried at the remaining screws.
Another fifteen minutes slipped by and Matthew started to wonder if he was going to have time to finish this. If he had to leave it for later, he might—might—get one more chance, but he couldn’t count on it.
He continued, wiping his sweaty temple against his shoulder awkwardly before the sting in his eye could get worse.
His distraction caused his hand to slip and the pry bar’s sharp edge jabbed into the soft tissue of his palm.
A bright stab of pain shot through the nerves of his hand and up his arm. He jerked and fumbled the pry bar, catching it just in time to keep it from clanging against the floor.
“Shit,” he muttered.
He shook his hand out, blood flecking the door and splattering his navy t-shirt. The bleeding stopped even as he wiped his hand across the hem of his shirt. He glanced at his hand, watching as the blood stopped welling up out of the two inch long gash. There’d be no sign of it tomorrow. The scab for such a shallow injury would come and go within an hour and when it fell away, his palm would look as if the injury had never existed.
He still marveled at that knowledge.
Someday he would learn to understand the biotechnology that was now inside him, that made it possible for his body to heal an injury like this one so inhumanly fast.
Matthew had been eleven years old when the aliens had arrived in Earth’s orbit and negotiated trade with the governments of Earth.
Wolves they’d come to be called later, after some boy had made a widely broadcast remark on the news stream asking if the aliens were werewolves.
Matthew had been watching that day and he still remembered how his mother had laughed at the notion that the aliens who’d found Earth had anything in common with that old myth.
But the name had stuck, and everyone Matthew had ever met called them wolves.
But wolves they weren’t, in any real sense of the word; they were aliens who’d been living on Earth for the last eleven years, ever since they’d discovered Earth and had bartered for a home in Earth’s forested mountain regions with advanced alien technology and knowledge. Wolves were stronger than humans, and had a remarkable healing ability, and they shared many amazing things with humans in their first year on Earth.
At eleven, all Matthew had wanted was to be a doctor, just like his mother.
Evie Bryant had been ecstatic when she’d been granted a special privilege to join a group of scientists studying the many medical technologies the wolves had offered as trade. She’d even been assigned to work with a small group of the wolves’ own scientists for a few months.
For more than a year, Matthew had talked to his mother through the
every couple of days, and then imagined being granted the same special privilege to work with the wolves’ technology when he grew up.
Then the world fell apart, and in an instant, Matthew’s life had changed forever.
Heat season, they called it, humans and wolves both. When their once-every-three-Earth-years reproductive cycle came, everyone had discovered a terrible incompatibility between wolves and humans.
The human scent trigger.
For a species that chose mates by scent and strength, the human scent trigger caused unimaginable chaos. For that first month, Matthew thought the world was ending. Wolves and humans suffered. Terrifying fights ensued. Riots followed, then economic chaos, as people believed the once peaceful aliens had decided to attack after all.
In the end, humans learned one thing could save them during the heat season.
But submission didn’t sit well with most humans and even though the governments that were left after the economic collapse claimed to want only peace with the wolves, they did nothing to stop the growing number of renegades taking up arms against the wolves.
In the wildly confusing days following the onset of that first heat season, his mother had stopped communicating with him. Matthew had never seen her again.
He didn’t know what had happened to her; his aunt had refused to tell him more than that Evie had died in the sudden and unexpected violence. Matthew had gone from being a visitor in his aunt’s home to being her ward.
And Matthew had stopped wanting to be a doctor or a scientist, in favor of just getting by day to day in a house full of his cousins and an aunt who could keep them fed but couldn’t afford much else. Because of the instability of the economy and the reorganization of the government and the rise of the protectorate, Matthew’s aunt had been unable to collect the generous life insurance policy that would have kept Matthew from being a burden.