Authors: Becca Jameson
She shut her eyes.
Liam stroked her fur. She recognized his scent already. “Sleep, baby. We’ll watch over you. Rest.”
* * * *
Liam paced outside the cabin while Jaden leaned against the rough log wall. “She’s awfully small. Do you suppose she’s full grown?”
“I’m betting so. I don’t think we would realize she was our mate otherwise. Probably just petite.” Jaden leaned his head back and stared at the sky.
“What are we going to do?”
“Not sure. We need to find out more from her. She’s frail and skinny, as though she’s been on her own in wolf form for a while. Her fur is matted and unkempt. She’s nearly starved herself.”
Liam had noticed all those things too. He ached to have her shift and tell them what her story was. But, for now, she needed to heal, and it was always better to heal in the form one was injured. At least for a few days.
Jaden chuckled. “I thought you said we were going to spend three months alone amongst the trees enjoying nature, female-free?” His eyes sparkled when he smiled.
Liam loved him. He’d never said the words out loud, but it was true. He adored Jaden with all his heart. Sure, Jaden wasn’t as outgoing and adventurous as Liam, but he was kind and considerate. Hell, did it matter? All Liam knew was how he felt, and he’d known for two years he never wanted to be separated from Jaden. He was totally chicken about expressing his feelings for fear Jaden wouldn’t reciprocate.
The thought of having a third between them worried him sick. That was his primary motivation for this trip. He’d wanted a nice long summer where he and Jaden could explore themselves more thoroughly without a woman getting in between them. Sure, he liked women too, but he’d never found one who made him feel the way Jaden did. His heart beat faster when the man was near. He’d do anything for him.
They’d rarely gone more than a few months without finding a new female partner willing to mix it up with two men. All of them had been human. Some had lasted months. In the two years they’d been together and sharing their bed with women, they’d had several short-term relationships, but never anything permanent.
Hell, they’d both always known it wasn’t possible. The complications of holding on to a steady, long-term relationship with a human were monstrous. Finding a female wolf and mating with one had been a quest even more outrageous. There weren’t too many in the area, and Liam had always worried if one of them found a mate, the relationship the two men had would be over.
He should be relieved now instead of more stressed. At least this female wolf of theirs belonged to both of them. But what did that mean for the men? Were they destined to remain on the outskirts of the woman, engaging in only the briefest of contact when they were around her? Few women they’d dated had been on board with their bisexuality. They’d dabbled, stroking each other here and there, but mostly they’d pleasured the female partner and vice versa and left their own needs toward each other out when they were with her.
Did Jaden even feel the same as Liam? Ugh. He needed to grow a set of balls and just tell Jaden how he felt. What was the worst that could happen?
He could turn his back on you, that’s what.
Fear of the unknown had kept Liam silent. What he wanted more than anything in the world was now right at his fingertips. Jaden and a female wolf. But could they sort things out to everyone’s satisfaction and solidify the relationship forever?
What should they do next? After less than half an hour into his dream summer with Jaden, they’d not only picked up another shifter, but one destined to mate with both of them.
He wanted to explore his feelings for her further as soon as possible, but deep inside, he mourned the loss of his perfect summer alone with Jaden.
Now that they had a mate in the cabin with them, Liam worried he and Jaden wouldn’t get the chance to be as intimate together as he had hoped. He’d wanted the opportunity for them to stare into each other’s eyes for days on end. That was a scenario Liam had been looking forward to. He’d intended to pin Jaden down often enough and with enough force to cause Jaden to beg for mercy and admit how he felt about Liam.
It wasn’t that he didn’t think Jaden cared for him. But love? The man seemed too aloof to have even considered that emotion.
Would this mate of theirs be uncomfortable with their sexuality and squelch the interaction between the men as so many women had in the past?
Liam eyed Jaden carefully, trying to assess his thoughts.
“What?” Jaden didn’t even glance in the direction of Liam when he asked that question. “You’re giving me that look.”
“What look is that?” Liam asked as he stalked closer.
“That sexy, come-hither look. Don’t you think we should check on our woman?” Jaden stood tall and pushed away from the side of the cabin.
Liam swallowed his pride and nodded assent. His best-laid plans for the summer had gone up in smoke. And he wasn’t even sure how to react to that since a soft female now lay inside their home away from home.
Emma opened her eyes and stared at her surroundings. Where was she? And why was her mouth so dry?
Her memory caught up with her, and she lifted her head to glance around. No one was in the cabin just now. How long had she slept? No way to know. She’d been so tired. A bowl of water sat on a chair next to her head. Bless those two men who’d rescued her. She lapped at the water as though she’d never had a drink before.
As soon as she’d licked the bowl dry, the door squeaked open, and the blond, Liam was his name, stepped inside.
“You’re up.” He smiled and hurried to her side. “How do you feel?” He lifted her broken leg and held it up. He gently peeled away the bandage and set it aside. “Looks much better. Let me get Jaden. Maybe you could shift now.” Just as fast as he’d breezed through, he was gone.
Seconds later both men appeared.
Emma struggled to sit up on her haunches, wincing at the dull throb in her hind leg. It wasn’t nearly as bad as earlier, but it still hurt.
Jaden knelt beside her and helped her to sit. The room spun as she righted herself. She was so hungry. Her stomach growled.
“Honey, you think you can shift? You’ve been asleep two days. You must be hungry. It’ll be easier to feed you in human form. I think your leg is healed enough to withstand the shift.” He gripped her front paws, steadying her as she wove back and forth.
Liam sat next to her on the coach.
The two nodded at each other and lifted her gingerly from the couch to set her on the floor.
“You’ll need more space,” Liam stated.
Her reality slammed into her. She needed to shift. It was going to hurt, and then she was going to be naked on the floor at the mercy of two sexy men.
She stared at both men, her glance switching back and forth between them. It wasn’t as though they weren’t going to see her naked for the rest of her life, but this wasn’t the way she’d ever intended to greet her mate…or mates…for the first time. Hell, she’d never wanted a mate, not even one, and certainly not two.
She’d just fled her home over a hundred miles away to avoid just such a fate and now look.
, she thought again.
Jaden snapped his fingers and dashed across the room toward the bed. He came back a moment later dragging a sheet from the bed. “Sorry. I didn’t think. You probably don’t want to meet us completely naked.” He turned toward Liam. “Turn around. Let’s give her some privacy.”
Both men turned when Jaden grabbed Liam’s hand and pulled him away from her. They didn’t release the touch they had on one another. In fact, they stepped closer together. A chill went down Emma’s spine. They stood so close, invading each other’s space. She had no idea what to think about their proximity, but she wished she were in their huddle.
Emma turned her attention to the floor. She needed to concentrate to shift. She was weak and injured. Not the best scenario.
It took her a minute, but finally she sat on the rough floor of the cabin, naked as the day she was born. She glanced down and stifled a gasp. She was so thin. She snatched the sheet from the ground in front of her and wrapped it around her torso.
When she cleared her throat, both men turned toward her.
She watched their expressions closely. She knew she was a wreck. Her hair would be a matted mess by now, and she was filthy.
Jaden spoke first. “You okay?”
She nodded and bit her lower lip. The entire cabin smelled of these two men. Now that she was in human form, she couldn’t fight off the natural pull toward them. A deep need to be possessed by both of them consumed her entirely. The air sucked from the room. The drive to mate and be claimed burrowed under her skin and wouldn’t be abated until she heeded the calling.
She gripped her legs together and pulled her knees up under the sheet. She heaved, her chest rising and falling with each breath. Her sex gripped tight, a ball forming low in her belly that begged release. She moaned. The first noise out of her lips, and it was a moan. God.
Jaden and Liam approached and knelt on either side of her.
Liam cleared his throat. He seemed to be holding his breath. No doubt if he was in as much turmoil as she, he’d need to keep from inhaling the oxygen in the cabin. “Can I look at your leg?” He reached for her ankle and held it in his hands gently. The sheet lifted only enough to allow him to examine her leg.
At first contact she stifled a gasp. His warm hands on her skin shot electricity through her from her ankle to her sex. She felt the instant pulsing between her legs. Why were his hands so smooth? The men were out in the woods dressed for wilderness living. Now that she glanced from one to the other, she determined they weren’t mountain men. They were clean-shaven with fresh haircuts. Their clothes were meant for outdoors, but they were new and creased. The hand holding her leg was not that of a hardworking outdoorsman.
Jaden leaned forward. “The break’s clean, and it’s healing. The bone didn’t cut through the skin. The cut was from the trap. It looks good, honey.” He turned toward her. With one finger, he brushed her long waves of hair out of her face. “How about a bath first and then we’ll talk. You’ll feel much more yourself after you wash.”
The feel of his fingers dancing across her forehead heated her upper body to match the lower section warmed by Liam. She cleared her throat. “That sounds like heaven,” she squeaked.
“What’s your name?” Liam asked.
“Oh.” She giggled. “Emma.” Giggled? She never giggled. She was totally not herself. And she needed to get a grip. Her body was ruling her mind. She couldn’t allow that. These men had every right to know more about her before she mated with either of them…or both. Hell, she needed to know a lot more about them too.
“Beautiful,” he stated. Her name or herself? “I’ll run water.” Liam bounced up from the ground and headed toward the only door leading from the room except the front entrance. Thank God there was a bathroom. The cabin seemed rather rustic.
Did these guys live here, or were they on some sort of vacation?
Jaden helped her stand, and when she hobbled precariously on one foot, he swung her up into his arms and carried her from the room. He was careful to keep her covered, and she was grateful. But she held her breath as so much of his body formed to hers. Her nipples puckered under the sheet as they brushed against his chest. Her cheek bounced into his neck and she inhaled his clean scent mixed with…Jaden. She had to concentrate not to moan. Her senses were overwhelmed.
When they reached the bathroom, Jaden set her down on the lid of the toilet and stepped back. “Can you manage alone?”
She nodded as she glanced at the tub that was already filling with steamy water.
Both men backed out of the room and shut the door.
She exhaled finally, relaxed her shoulders a few inches, and lowered the sheet. She was a total mess. No, that was too kind. She was a disaster. Scrapes and bruises covered her body from running and hiding for weeks. And dirt was caked on her skin.
Emma hopped on her one good leg and lowered herself into the water. It was perfect. She sighed as she eased back and let the warmth encompass her. Her eyes slid shut as the water rose in the tub.
Finally, she twisted the faucet off with her good foot and relaxed. How long before her men grew concerned? Minutes? She hoped not. She couldn’t bring herself to move yet.
Her muscles relaxed. She shouldn’t let her guard down like this. It wasn’t safe. But at this point she was at the mercy of Liam and Jaden. Her saviors. It wasn’t as though she could take off running across the forest again right now. If it weren’t for those two men out there, she wouldn’t be alive. She’d have died in that trap.
When she could move her arm again, she reached for the shampoo on the edge of the tub. It wasn’t girly, but then she’d rarely had anything girly before anyway. Why would she care now? If it made her smell like Liam and Jaden, she’d be content.
It took two washes to get her hair clean, and then she tackled the body wash until all the dirt was swirling in the water. She drained the tub and refilled it to rinse.
Exhaustion took over. She needed fuel. When she’d stepped into the trap, she’d already been hungry. Now, it’d been over two days since she’d last eaten. She’d never been overweight, but this was ridiculous. She was bordering on emaciated. Even her breasts were smaller. Her nipples puckered as she looked down at herself.
When the water grew cool, she released the stopper and reached for a towel. Her strength was waning fast. The most she could do was wrap the terrycloth around her and lean back, too exhausted to stand.
A knock at the door roused her sleepy self. “Come in,” she mumbled. She was decent and too tired to lift herself out of the tub.
“Ah, baby, you’re so tired.” Liam lifted her easily. He held her close to his chest and carried her to the main room to set her on the bed. “Don’t fall asleep again yet. You need to eat something.” She hated when he released her. He smelled as good as Jaden. Not quite the same. They clearly shared the same soap and body wash, the ones she’d just used herself, but they each had their own personal scents too. And those scents mingled with each other in a curious way.