Authors: A. J. Jarrett
He sighed as he thought about running his fingers through the soft, shaggy, blond hair on Cole’s head. It was cut short in the back and trimmed close to the scalp around the ears and back and laid floppy on the top. He had a straight nose and sharp jawline, covered in a light covering of stubble. The hairs were a little darker than the hair on his head and stood out against his tan skin.
Josef wanted to reach out and touch the spiky little hairs and feel them tickle along the underside of his palm, then lean forward, closing the distance between their lips and kissing Cole’s breath away.
Josef pushed harder on the gas pedal and sped down the road. He needed to focus on work, not getting into the pants of his new employee.
“Just my luck. The only place to hire me just so happens to belong to my mate,” he whispered. “Freaking perfect.”
Cole could smell Josef before he even walked through the door. It knocked him off his axis and he couldn’t think straight. That was why he knocked instead of opening the door.
He knew Josef couldn’t smell him, but he could see the desire in the other man’s brown eyes. It was distracting, but Cole did his best to ignore it. The last thing he needed to add to his list of problems was a mate.
Cole had enough problems with his pack without involving Josef. He could smell the wolf on Josef. He didn’t know what the situation was with Josef’s pack and thought it best to keep his identity a secret for the time being. The last thing he wanted was to have another pack of wolves playing tug-of-war over him.
His father was the alpha of their pack, and his twin older brothers were the betas, and Cole the omega. His father practiced the traditional ways of werewolf life and governed with the old laws. There were three tiers in the hierarchy. Alpha, betas, and omegas were the leaders of the pack, and they were to be respected.
Being the omega meant Cole had the ability to mask his scent from others. He also had the ability to calm others. At times he was referred to as a shrink by his old pack members. In fact that was what he had been attending school for. Cole wanted to be a psychologist, but his father was only humoring him by letting him go to college. He never had any intentions of letting Cole have a life away from the pack, and once Cole figured it out he confronted his father. Nothing good ever came from questioning an alpha, and that was why Cole sat in an office filling out paperwork for a job.
Leaving his pack had been a tough choice. It was the only life he had ever known and he had never been apart from his brothers, Jacob and Joshua. They understood Cole’s need to leave but weren’t strong enough to follow suit. They would stay and follow their father to hell and back if the old man asked them to. His brothers were loyal to a fault. They were also strong as fuck. The stars were aligned the day his brothers had been born. Two identical, strong betas born to an alpha. It was like a werewolf lottery. Then to have a third son being an omega, some pack members joked that his father must of sold his soul to be so lucky.
Cole didn’t think himself lucky at all. It wasn’t until he met another wolf, Cody, on campus did he realize not all packs followed the old ways. Granted, he didn’t know they were the old ways until he talked with Cody then to his father. Cole also learned that his ability as an omega didn’t necessarily work on other wolves not raised to believe in an omega’s gift. Most packs just had an alpha and lived their lives the best way they could to fit in with human society. They didn’t think themselves better than other wolves or humans, unlike his father.
His father didn’t mingle well with others and didn’t like other wolves or humans on his property. Cole always found it funny that his father chose law enforcement for his career, considering that he basically hated everyone but his sons and pack members. But when he thought about it, his dad wasn’t always like this. It wasn’t until his mother was killed by a drunk driver that his father became prejudiced toward others.
Cole was only five when his mother died. She had taken him and his brothers to the local park. Joshua kicked a ball, and it went into the street. His mother told the older boys to stay put and keep an eye on him then jogged after it. She had just reached the ball when a car came whipping around the corner. The driver never saw her until it was too late.
He remembered seeing her body go flying up into the air at the initial impact. She fell into a heap at the side of the road, and the driver in the car sped away. Cole tried to run to her, but his brothers held him back. He stood there helpless while he watched other people in the park call for help.
Tears ran down his chubby little cheeks, but he didn’t make a sound. Joshua hugged him to his chest and held onto him until their father arrived. Everything that happened after that had been a blur. According to one of his professors his mind blocked out those harmful memories, and Cole had to agree. He didn’t want to think about it.
The door behind him opened up, and Cole turned to see an older man in his late forties standing in the entryway smiling.
“You must be Cole.” He held his hand out and Cole got up to greet him.
“Sir?” The man grinned at him. “I like that. You just might work out after all. Hopefully you can rub off some of those manners on the other fellows we got working here.” He patted Cole on the shoulder. “Sir’s nice, but you can call me Dave. You ready?”
Cole nodded his head and left the tax forms where Josef said to and followed Dave out the door. Dave said to just follow behind him. When he asked if Cole had a cell phone, Cole said no.
When Cole left the pack his father took that, too.
Dave said he’d have Cole work half the day then send him into town to get a cell phone. The company paid for all field employees to have a phone. Dave laughed and said it was to keep tabs on the guys. Cole didn’t care the whys of it but was grateful. He hated not having a phone, but until he found steady work he couldn’t afford it, and now he didn’t have to.
Forty minutes later Dave introduced him to a group of men. They were working on putting the roof on a house they had just finished constructing. Dave said they were planning on putting up the Sheetrock tomorrow, but today they wanted to finish the outside work as much as possible. It was supposed to rain later, and Dave didn’t want the inside to get wet or it’d set them back a day.
The rest of the day went by fast. One of the men, Jamie, took Cole under his wing and showed him the ropes. He gave Cole an extra tool belt with nails and a hammer. Jamie and Dave were both really helpful and answered all his questions, and before long Cole was working on his own. He had always been good with his hands. His brothers and he would help pack members with building projects, so this type of work wasn’t all that new to him.
Like Dave said, he had Cole call off around one. He gave Cole a card with Carsten and Son’s information and the place to go to get the phone. Cole tried to give Jamie back the tool belt, but he wouldn’t take it. Said Cole would need it tomorrow, and Cole thanked him and took the offered belt.
The drive to town was quiet because the radio in his truck didn’t work. When he left home, he only took what was in his savings account before his father put a block on it. He only had a little over three thousand dollars that he had to make last. He rented a little apartment in Silver Creek from a nice older lady who he swore was cutting him a deal and bought some groceries. With the remainder, he bought this rusty old truck. Beggars couldn’t be choosers, and for a thousand dollars it was the right price for what he could afford.
The woman at the AT&T store knew the owners of Carsten and Son’s and set him up with the latest iPhone that all the employees had. Cole fell in love with the little piece of machinery. It was nicer than what he had when he lived at home, and since he didn’t have a television this little guy would offer him some entertainment.
After he left the store he headed home. He yawned and got the chance to stretch when he stopped at a stop sign. The Early Bean Café was right across the street, and he saw Margie, his landlady, standing outside talking to one of her employees. Cole thought his name was Shane, but he couldn’t remember. They both waved as his truck coughed and sputtered down the road. He waved back, and his cheeks heated with embarrassment. He used to drive a brand-new Dodge Ram, but like his phone, his dad took that, too.
He pulled his truck up along the curb and got out. He returned their wave then climbed the steps to the front door. Cole slowly climbed the two flights of stairs to his little studio apartment. His quads and calve muscles were killing him. He had to do so much squatting on the rooftop today and his body just wasn’t use to that. All the time he spent in the gym didn’t prepare him for manual labor.
Cole unlocked the door and stepped inside. He couldn’t help but smile in pride at his little home. It wasn’t much, but it was his. Cole kicked off his boats by the door and went into the kitchen. He pulled out a frozen pizza and popped it into the oven. After setting the timer he headed to the bathroom to grab a quick shower.
Within seconds steam filled the small room, and Cole stepped under the waterfall of hot water. The water cascaded down over his head to run in rivers down his back and chest. His muscles eased a bit, and he started to relax. He soaped up his washcloth and scrubbed his face and body then shampooed his hair. When he was done he spun in a circle, rinsing off the soap bubbles.
As he stood there soaking up the warmth from the water, his mind drifted off to thoughts of Josef. His black hair stood out in contrast to his pale, creamy skin. Cole would guess the man was older than him but not by too much. Josef’s warm brown eyes held a maturity that only belonged to a person who knew hardships and heartache.
Cole ran his hands leisurely down his chest. His cock perked up and stood out in front of him. Letting one hand move upward toward a pebbled nipped, Cole dropped the other to his growing shaft.
He’d never forget seeing the surprise in Josef’s eyes when he opened the door. Josef was a little taller than him but Cole was every bit as broad as Josef. They stared at each other for what felt like hours until Cole broke Josef out of his trance.
It wasn’t easy for Cole to be around Josef, and it clearly wasn’t easy for the other man. But Cole kept his true scent hidden from Josef. If the man caught one little whiff that he and Cole were mates, they’d probably had gone at it like rabbits right there in his office.
His hand gripped his cock tight as the image of bedding Josef over the edge of his desk overcame him. Cole wanted to rip away the snugfitting cotton polo Josef wore with his teeth. He stroked his length as he visualized how Josef’s muscles would jump and pulse as Cole rubbed along his spine going downward until he reached the firm globes of Josef’s ass.
“Oh, God.” Cole’s hand sped up as he jerked his cock. He dropped his other hand down to fondle his balls.
Cole just bet the dark hair that sat on Josef’s head covered his whole body. A nice pelt over his chest that ran a thin line of hair down his treasure trail until it reached his groin. Cole wanted to bury his face in the tight thatch of curls surrounding Josef’s thick cock and breathe in his manly scent. And Cole new it was thick by the outline in Josef’s pants. The man had a mighty fine piece of meat behind his zipper.
He pictured running his tongue down the groove of Josef’s spine until he reached the top of his ass. Then he’d pull his cheeks apart and stare at the dark sprinkles of hair shrouding Josef’s entrance.
Cole’s hand faltered for a moment as he envisioned licking and sucking at the other man’s opening. He took a deep breath and stroked faster. His balls drew up close to his dick as his orgasm climbed to the surface. Two more pulls had him shooting white arcs over the tiled wall of the shower.
He rested his head back against the wall and tried to catch his breath. Cole desperately wanted to do all those things to Josef, but Cole had to get his life in order first. He could only imagine what his father would say if Cole brought home his mate who just so happened to be a wolf, which would please his father, but also a man, which would not please his father.
Beep, beep, beep.
The timer on the oven sounded, and Cole turned off the water. He quickly dried off, threw on some boxers, and went to save his pizza from burning.
Cole got out a plate, stacked some slices on it, and grabbed some juice from the fridge. He carried it all back to the front seating area, sat down on the couch, and began to eat. He was starving.
The whole being gay thing never bothered Cole before, but he knew his dad wouldn’t like it one bit. He wanted his sons to marry and have a shit load of kids, giving him grandchildren. Being gay didn’t mean Cole couldn’t give him grandchildren. It just meant that said grandkids would more than likely be human. Cole still wanted to have a family one day, and adopting was an option for him that he totally intended to explore.
But his father would never accept humans into his life. Even if they were Cole’s children through adoption.
“Fuck him,” Cole grumbled as he bit into another piece of pizza. “I don’t need your approval, Dad.” And he didn’t. When he chose to finally let Josef know they were mates, he wouldn’t let his dad poison what he and Josef had.
After he finished his dinner Cole played around on his phone. Around ten o’clock Cole decided to call it a night. He got under the soft cool sheets. His body ached from a hard day’s work but the mattress hugged his body to perfection, putting Cole at ease. He let his eyes fall shut. Behind his eyelids all he could see was Josef’s smiling face.
Cole groaned and rolled over onto his stomach. He pulled the pillow over his head as if that would block out Josef’s sexy image. Cole didn’t know how long he could wait before he revealed himself to Josef. After his wank in the shower, his body craved the real thing.
After Josef met up with Jensen Collins, the architect who designed the Anderson house, he had to really question Jensen’s motives for the meeting. Nothing on the blueprints had changed, and most of the time they stood around talking about the fucking weather.
Not that Josef didn’t like spending time with Jensen, he just had other things to do than waste his time away doing nothing. The guy was a cute redhead, not typically his type, but a week ago had Jensen propositioned him he would have accepted. But now he wasn’t so sure. Luckily he got a call from Devon and made his escape before that awkward conversation came up.