Read Full Moon Feral Online

Authors: Jackie Nacht

Tags: #GLBT, #Gay, #Paranormal, #erotic Romance, #Shapeshifter

Full Moon Feral (4 page)

BOOK: Full Moon Feral
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Before Malach could come at him with the chains, Brendan whimpered next to him. Ripley whipped his head around to stare down at him.

“It’ll be okay. You can trust them.” Brendan tried to soothe him.
Brendan is restrained to a damn bed, and he is trying to soothe me?
That, more than anything, helped Ripley to take a much needed breath and hold out his thick wrists.

Malach stepped forward, and a sense of déjà vu hit him, but in his memory, it wasn’t Malach who held the chains. It was someone else. Glancing at the guards, he noticed a man in the back, standing stiffly. That one.
Had this happened before?

Ripley fisted his hands as the chains were wrapped around him.

Two guards took his flanks as the doctor came in and began working on Brendan.

Agitated as he sat, Ripley’s leg began to bounce and sweat built on his temple. He felt himself at the brink.
If Brendan so much as frowns…

“Easy now.” A guard to his left eyed him with amethyst eyes, stroking his cattle prod.

“Ripley?” Brendan called out.

That voice settled him down more than the threat of the guard’s cattle prod.
Focus. You can do this.

Staring at Brendan, he didn’t even pay attention when the doctor turned to check him out and draw blood. Ripley rolled his head as the needle went in, and he might have choked the life out of the doctor had it not been for Brendan staring at him, pleading. He hated needles.

“I’m good.” Ripley tried to sound confident with his own control, but the fact of the matter was since he came out of that damn haze, he felt anything but.

“I’m okay now. Malach, can you release my hands?” Brendan didn’t take his eyes off him as he spoke to the guard.

Malach came forward and undid Brendan’s restraints. After that, the blood vials were marked and the room emptied out.

“Do you want to go to your cell or stay in here, Brendan?” Malach asked as he stood at the entrance. “There’s a risk I’m not sure we should take.”

“I prefer to stay here. It’s worth the risk.” Brendan sat up, rubbing a raw wrist, never taking his eyes off Ripley.

The sound of the doors locking in place let Ripley know they were finally alone.

“How are you?” Brendan's voice was masculine yet soft at the same time. Ripley's entire body chilled in reaction.

“I’m…”
What the hell am I?
“confused?”

Brendan nodded. “What do you remember?”

“Not much. I went home sick from my job and woke up an hour ago. I’m feeling…pretty weird.” Damn, his throat hurt. Felt like every word was swallowing knives.

“What about your family?”

“My dad passed away when I was in college.”

Brendan’s brow furrowed. “Wait. What about your pack?”

Ripley raised a brow at that. “Pack?”

Okay, the guy is hot, but he is also sounding crazy.
Glancing at his surroundings, Ripley thought that maybe they were locked up in some mental institution. Maybe he had lost his damn mind. He always felt something was different about himself.

Brendan gasped before he raised both brows in surprise. “You have no clue, do you?”

If Brendan meant what the hell was going on, then no, Ripley hadn’t the foggiest. “No,” Ripley rubbed the back of his head, feeling cuts and scabs along the way.

His whole body looked like that. His forearms and chest were covered with injuries, like he'd gotten in a fight with a Bengal tiger and came out on the losing end.

Brendan sat up, sympathy in those sad eyes. Long, dark lashes casting shadows over his cheeks. “You’re a wolf shifter, Ripley. You were feral for—how long, we all don’t know.”

Ripley snorted.
Yep, crazy.
At the same time, Ripley wanted to take care of the man.
Now, who was crazy?

“I’m being serious here.”

Ripley stood up and paced. He knew how his dad had found him.
Is this the answer that the two of them never knew or am I losing his damn mind?

“He’s correct.”

Ripley jumped back in surprise then turned to find a man standing at the door of the cell. He hadn’t even heard anyone approach. The man was as tall as Ripley but not as muscular, and there was something about him that made even Ripley want to…submit? He wasn’t sure, but he didn’t like it. Ripley was a take-charge kind of guy. Always went head first into a situation and bulldozed his way to the top. Staring at this man, Ripley realized who the true top dog was in this place.

Ripley stepped toward the bars, and the man didn’t so much as flinch as the others had. “About what?”

“That you’re a shifter, Ripley, and you were a feral. We’ve been seeking answers about you since you arrived over a week ago.” The man stared at him, eye to eye, never wavering.

“Elder Lewis, I was just trying to explain to him what was going on.” Brendan stepped closer unsteadily, and Ripley caught him before he went down.

Elder Lewis stepped forward, showing some sort of emotion for the first time. “Easy there, Brendan. Guess I should introduce myself. I’m Elder Lewis, one of the many Elders that help our visitors during their stay at Moon Compound.”

Ripley nodded warily. Too much was going on in such a short span of time that it seemed impossible to keep up.
Stay, my ass.
First chance he got, he was walking out the damn doors. Then, he glanced over at Brendan.
I don’t want to leave him. Fuck, my brain hurts!

“What made you think to give Ripley your blood?”

Brendan clasped Ripley’s hand as he answered Elder Lewis. “I heard Colin saying when he exchanged blood with Sloan that it awoke his wolf. I thought if my mate were to take mine, it would call to him, bring him back.”

Elder Lewis smiled softly. “And you think you are not one of the smartest Omegas in the compound.”

“I’m not,” Brendan said with conviction.

Elder Lewis only shook his head. “The only thing you lack is confidence. You are a fine Omega and one that could have been great for the war.”

“War?” Ripley interjected.

“Another time, perhaps, on the war?” Elder Lewis stared at the two.

“Could have, sir?” Brendan whispered.

“What you did to save your mate has consequences. He was feral. Do you not feel the boiling-hot rage that simmers beneath the surface? That you are on the cusp of lashing out?” Elder Lewis gripped the bars.

Brendan stared back in horror. “But it was to save him. Bring him back.”

“And that, my dear Omega, is a sacrifice that makes you a worthy mate, albeit a reckless one.”

“Is there anything that can help us?” Brendan asked.

“Right now, you are stable, so we’ll run the blood tests and possibly find out more answers. There are more ferals that could gain from this knowledge. In the meantime, we are going to do our best to find out where you come in.” Elder Lewis stared at Ripley.

Ripley was still too shocked to even believe he was a wolf shifter, but as he stood there, he felt him. He felt that damn wolf inside him, ready to attack. No one needed to tell him he was a wolf shifter; he knew he was a wolf shifter. No matter how long he had thought shifters were a thing of fiction.

“What do you need to know?” Ripley gripped Brendan’s hand tighter, looking for some sort of grounding. He had a few questions of his own. The first, why he was so attached to a complete stranger.

“I need to know everything. Where you grew up and with whom. Where you were when you had your first shift. Birthday.” Elder Lewis grabbed a chair in the hallway and sat as if he was going to stay for a while.

Ripley had to wonder why the Elder, with all the power he exuded, would not enter the cell.

“Are you not less tense? More clearheaded to answer my questions?” The Elder smirked at him.

“Did you just read my thoughts?” Ripley asked.

The Elder shrugged. “All that matters is that you stay focused on the questions and not protecting your mate from me.”

“Mate? Is that why…” Ripley glanced at Brendan for help, but it came from Elder Lewis.

“Why you feel protective of Brendan? Yes. Mates have a pull. You’ll feel drawn to take care of Brendan’s needs and be protective of him.”

Ripley held his hand out. “No offense, but are you saying I don’t have a choice in the matter?”

“I’m saying you feel a pull. Want to protect Brendan. Getting to know each other and possibly falling in love, that is all up to you two. Matings can’t be that easy, that you instantly love each other and live happily ever after.”

Ripley had read a romance novel or two in his day and thought of the crazy sex that happened.
Huh…I don’t feel like ripping off Brendan’s clothes.
Glancing over at Brendan, whose eyes were near panic, Ripley felt more like he wanted to comfort the poor guy and settle him down..

“That, too, will come in time.” Elder Lewis smirked at him.

“Stay out of my head,” Ripley growled.

“Oh trust me, I try to, but you telegraph far more severely than the rest of the residents here.” The Elder frowned. “Maybe we want to look into that, too. So, shall we begin?” Elder Lewis pulled out a tablet.

Ripley sat down, pulling Brendan to sit in front of him and helping Brendan rest on his chest. Right then, Ripley needed the assurance. He had never talked about his past.

Taking a deep breath, Ripley began, “It all started when my dad found me twenty-two years ago north of Houghton. I was a toddler, covered in blood, and no one ever came forward to claim me.”

Chapter Five

 

 

The deep rumble of Ripley’s voice seemed to bring Brendan from his chaotic thoughts as he listened to his mate’s history.

Brendan still felt fuzzy about what happened to him. His skin felt like it was stretched too tight, and he felt…off. There was no other word for it. The only person he wanted around him right now was Ripley.

His limbs trembled as he tried to rub his face, which felt as if ants were crawling all over it. Internally, he was a mess, agitated when he was usually calm. His mind kept jumping from one thing to the next instead of focusing on the task at hand. His muscles felt tense to the point where he was sure that in the last hour he had to have gone through a shift. He felt like utter shit.

What the hell has happened to me?
Whatever it was, it was worth it to see Ripley up and talking, holding him. Brendan sunk into the embrace, trying to absorb the feel of the man he wanted to touch.

Lost in the sensation of being in Ripley’s arm, Brendan tried to return his focus to the conversation.

“I grew up with my dad who was a police officer in Lansing. There’s not much to tell about my childhood, pretty typical really. Graduated from high school and went to State before working as a financial analyst in the city. I had a pretty normal life until…what’s the date?” Ripley tensed behind him.

“November twenty-third,” Elder Lewis replied calmly.

“Three months,” Ripley whispered behind him. “I can’t remember three months. What happened?” Worry laced through Ripley’s words.

Brendan grabbed a hold of Ripley’s hand. The man might be large and exude dominance, but right then, he seemed lost as he was told about a world he'd never known existed.

“Honestly, we don’t know much about you or what happened in those three months. We’re looking into it for you. Do you have any memory of the last three months?” Elder Lewis stood, eyes on the cement floor as he began to pace as if he was trying to put pieces of a puzzle together.

Ripley coughed. “I think the only thing I remember is Brendan’s eyes.”

 

* * * *

 

Ripley could not believe he had just admitted that. In front of the Elder, no less. Brendan sat in front of him, silent, but his body was tensed like at any moment he might jump out of Ripley’s arms and begin tearing up the room.

Glancing around at the remains, the room certainly couldn’t look worse. Apparently, when he had been feral, he had done a bang-up job.

“I see.” Elder Lewis broke Ripley out of his thoughts. “We need to observe you two for the next couple of days to see what effects took place. You’ll need to be in lockdown during that timeframe. Just call out if you need anything in the meantime.”

Elder Lewis rubbed at his short hair before walking away.

Finally alone, Ripley stared down at the mop of brown hair, trying to come up with something to say when Brendan shot up and began pacing as he bit his nail. Ripley felt like he was watching a damn tennis match. Back and forth, back and forth. If he watched this for much longer, he was bound to get sick.

“You must have a lot of questions.” Brendan glanced swiftly at Ripley while chewing on his thumbnail. It was cute as hell.

Standing and rubbing his hair, the first thing he thought was, “Can I have a shower?”

Brendan’s eyes widened before he shouted out for Malach to get a towel and shaving implements.

A few minutes later, Malach returned, handing towels and sweats over to Ripley so he could make his way into the shower.

He was trying to figure out what he was going to ask Brendan and getting his thoughts together. So much had been thrown at him.

He took the fastest shower of his life, shaving and watching the whiskers circle the drain.
Damn, a shave never felt so good.
He knew he must have looked rough.

Climbing out of the shower, Ripley pulled his thoughts together as he dressed. Walking out of the small bathroom, he saw Brendan sitting on the bed, back resting against the stone wall. Apparently, they got a couple of new mattresses and clean sheets while he was in the shower.

Sitting and facing Brendan, he asked the first question that came to mind. “How could I possibly be a wolf?” Ripley blurted out.

He'd heard a lot of stories and saw a lot of movies. He sure as hell knew he wasn’t bitten. It was really hard for Ripley to wrap his mind around all this. If he hadn’t felt the wolf stirring within as he sat there, he would have told everyone to quit fucking with him.

“Your parents were wolves.” Brendan soft voice carried through the cell.

Ripley knew his dad hadn’t been his biological father, but he was a damn good father and loved him dearly.

“So, we’re born this way then?” Ripley was lost. He didn’t remember feeling this way all his life.

BOOK: Full Moon Feral
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ads

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