In celebration, I’m posting all of chapter one for your reading pleasure! Enjoy!
Gay Romance, Shifters, Paranormal, Erotic Romance
Word Count: 51,595
Heat Level: 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing
Ryan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak and heartthrob extraordinaire, isn’t looking for a girlfriend. He’s definitely not looking for a boyfriend, but after the explosive encounter he has with a guy he meets backstage, he realizes he’s more flexisexual than he’d thought. Of course, suddenly being able to shift into a wolf is an unexpected side effect he didn’t expect and can barely control.
Bardulf Forst is Alpha-Heir to his pack, but he can’t resist his little sister when she begs him to meet Ryan Oakley. When he realizes the sexy singer is his mate, he can’t deny instinct. He claims the famous rock star even though he knows his father won’t approve: heirs are supposed to have children and two males can’t reproduce.
Little do they know that they’re about to experience an ancient shifter biological imperative: when two male Alphas mate, unexpected miracles sometimes happen.
Chapter One Excerpt
“You did what?” Bardulf asked his little sister, trying to make sense of what she’d just told him. Her silky blonde hair slid over her shoulder and across her cheeks as she made a pouty face at him. Bardulf resisted the urge to tuck it behind her ears. She was sixteen now and would probably bite him if he tried it. Sometimes he forgot she was growing up. And sometimes I want to pretend she’s still that little girl with the pigtails who drove me crazy when I was a teenager. Her being grown up makes me feel old. He pushed his mug of coffee toward the center of the old wooden table. The caffeine he’d already drunk sloshed in his stomach uncomfortably.
“Well, Dad went all Alpha on me and wouldn’t let me go to the concert, so I put your name on the prize form instead,” Faylen said, bouncing a little on her heels. “He said I didn’t have enough control of my wolf form yet to not lose it if I get excited.” She rolled her eyes. “As if I’d shift in front of humans! In an arena! Ugh. Dad can be such a fossil.” She flung herself down into the chair next to him and tossed the envelope she’d carried into the room on the table. “He’s been impossible lately. I heard him yelling at Mom this morning. Again.”
Bardulf rubbed his forehead. When that didn’t ease his newly blooming tension headache, he gave her a stern look, not that it would do much good. For such a small person, she certainly knew how to create giant problems. “You want me to kiss Ryan Oakley, lead singer of Bad Oak, because you won some fan club contest? At a concert? In front of a thousand people? Are you crazy?”
“It’s backstage, not in front of the audience, Bardulf.” Faylen poked at his arm. “And if I can’t go, you’re the next best thing. You’re gay, so you won’t mind kissing a guy. Plus, you’re Alpha-Heir, so Dad can’t forbid you to go.”
Bardulf choked back an incredulous laugh. “Dad is still pack leader. If he says jump, I jump. Doesn’t matter if I’m heir, little wolf.” He ran his hands through his short hair, then rubbed his face again.
“Don’t call me that,” she grumbled.
“That’s what your name means,” he said, hoping that the change of subject would work. No such luck, he realized as his sister opened her mouth again.
“Yeah, well yours means ‘bright wolf’, but you don’t see me calling you stupid names, even if your hair is super-blond.” She poked him in the arm again, harder this time.
Bardulf winced and grabbed her fingers. “Stop that.”
She ignored him, pulling away from his grasp. “It sucks that you got the pretty hair, and I got this ordinary light-brown stuff.” She lifted a shining strand from her shoulder and wound it around her finger. “Also, don’t think I can’t tell you’re trying to change the subject.”
Bardulf shook his head. “I’m not going to a Bad Oak concert. And your hair is gorgeous and you know it. It’s only a little darker than mine. Stop fishing for compliments.”
Faylen dropped her hair and grabbed the manila envelope from the kitchen table. Obviously, she’d decided to cut to the chase. “Yes, you are going.” She shoved the paper against his chest. The corner poked through his sweater into his skin, and Bardulf shifted his weight irritably. His inner wolf was beginning to take notice of Faylen’s antics, and he wasn’t amused.
Predictably, his sister brushed off his growing annoyance. “The itinerary is all there. You just have to show up at the back door.” She grinned widely. “Ryan Oakley is super hot. Kissing him will be awesome, and you know it. The only reason you don’t want to go is because you’re getting old and crotchety.”
“I’m only twenty-three, Faylen. Give me a break,” Bardulf growled, automatically catching the papers when she let go. “I hate New York. It’s smelly. And there are too many people there. Too many humans. It makes me want to bite things.”
“It’s only a couple hours from us, sheesh. Stop being such a baby.” Faylen rolled her eyes at him.
He glared at her, tipping back in his chair. “I can’t drop everything just because you won a silly contest.”
Faylen’s lips pulled back, and she growled low in her throat. “It’s not silly. I’ve wanted to meet Ryan Oakley since, like, forever, and I can’t go because Dad is being stupid.” She crossed her arms and glared sulkily at him.
Bardulf cocked his head, keeping a firm rein on his instincts. His wolf wanted to smack the petulance from his younger sister, but his human side could tell she was truly upset about not being able to go. She just covered it up well with bravado. “Why is it so important to you that I go in your place? I’m sure one of your friends would jump at the chance,” he said gently.
She stared at him, then suddenly turned away. “It would kill me if Martha or Susie got to go instead of me. It’s my ticket. I won it, and I don’t want them to have it. They’d talk about it for months!”
He sighed, then put a hand on her thin shoulder and tugged. For all her physical maturity she was still very young inside, especially for a werewolf. “In case you forgot, I’m a male. Ryan Oakley might not appreciate having to kiss a dude, you know.”
She let him pull her into an awkward hug, and that calmed his inner beast. From the way her shoulders relaxed, the closeness calmed hers, too. Family units were very tight in the pack. He stroked her hair and let their wilder instincts settle down.
“It doesn’t say anything about the kisser having to be a girl,” she mumbled into his chest after a minute.
He wrinkled his nose. “You could just send a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ note. There’s no real reason for me to go to the city.”
Faylen pulled back. “Uh-uh. No way. You need to get away from the house anyway. I can smell your wolf getting more and more restless as the months go by. This will be good for you.” She tapped at the envelope they’d crushed between them. “This is your ticket out of here,” she said melodramatically.
Bardulf grimaced. “That doesn’t mean I should take off for the biggest city on the east coast.” He stood up and put the envelope back on the table in front of her. “I can always go for a run,” he murmured, thinking about how good it would feel to slip out of his human skin for a few hours. He walked to the window. Twilight had come and gone since they’d begun talking, and now the meadow beyond the kitchen was dark. Alluring. His wolf pushed at the inside of his skull, wanting him to go out into the wilderness. He needed to shift. He needed to run.
“You need to find your mate, Bardulf,” Faylen said softly.
His spine went tense. “You know that the likelihood of my finding a compatible gay werewolf is almost zero, Faylen. And Dad isn’t going to appreciate me bringing home a stray male. He wants heirs, remember? You need to stop provoking him, sis. Dad’s got a lot on his plate with the Council meeting this year.” Bardulf didn’t want to talk about this. He knew she worried about him. Hell, he could feel the entire pack’s worry, but it wasn’t like he could do a damn thing about it. He was gay. He was alpha. Most likely he would go mad from trying to lead the pack when his father stepped down while ignoring his own nature, but if that was the price he had to pay to keep his wolves safe, he would gladly do so. He shook his head, dismissing that train of thought. He just needed some fresh air. He began to strip out of his clothes. “I need to run.”
“You’re going to be Alpha, brother. You don’t need a run, you need a mate.” She stepped up to the window and tapped on the glass. “And you won’t find one out in the woods.”
Ryan Oakley frowned at his band’s manager and publicist. “Wait, what? The girl who won backed out of the ‘Win a Kiss’ contest?” He shook his head, confused. This had never happened before, not since they’d begun doing the kissing promo a few years ago. His band, Bad Oak, usually had to fight off fans everywhere they went. Having a legitimate contest winner cancel a meet-and-greet, especially when it involved a kiss, was unheard of. “Is she sick?”
Charlie shrugged. “She said her father wouldn’t let her come, so she’s sending her older brother in her place.” He shifted closer to the wall as three men rolled equipment out to the stage, and Ryan moved with him. The noise level was slowly increasing as the arena filled with fans. They had one more show here tonight, and then they headed for New York to do their special acoustic show in the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Ryan was looking forward to it. He loved touring and he loved their regular shows, but once in a while it felt good to quiet things down and show the critics that Bad Oak had more to offer than wailing guitars and massive percussion. Not that there’s anything wrong with wailing guitars and huge drumbeats, he thought.
“His name is Bardulf Forst,” Charlie continued, reading information off of his cell phone. “Huh. Says here he’s blond, blue-eyed, and available, as if we need to know that information.” He laughed. “The girl told us she’d make him wear a red shirt so he’d be easy to pick out. Sounds like she’s got her older brother wrapped around her little finger.” He looked up, grinning. “That’s cute.”
“See, this is where I get really confused. She’s sending her brother? Not her sister or a girlfriend?” Ryan rubbed his eyes, wishing he’d gotten more sleep last night. He was too tired to make sense of this. He slumped against the painted cinderblock wall and let the hard edges dig into his shoulder blades. Maybe the pain would wake him up.
“Well, you always insisted that the contest should be an equal opportunity promo event,” Charlie said, tucking his cell into his pocket.
Ryan rolled his eyes. “I meant it shouldn’t have an age limit. I seriously didn’t think any dudes would want to kiss me.” He scratched at the stubble on his cheek.
Charlie grinned wider. “Really? You are so naïve, which is hilarious for a rock star. You have a ton of gay fans.”
Ryan shrugged. “Yeah, but this contest mainly draws teenage girls.” He glanced down the hallway. He had to wrap this up if he wanted to have any time to warm up his voice.
“Doesn’t matter. The entry is still valid. In two nights’ time, you’ll be kissing Mr. Forst.” Charlie smirked. “I can’t wait.”
“Can’t Josh do it this time?” Ryan asked, not sure why he felt so uneasy. It was just a silly little kiss. Yeah, he was straight, but one kiss wasn’t going to kill him. And it wasn’t like he hadn’t fooled around with guys before. He’d even gone so far as to exchange blowjobs with a groupie a couple of years ago, so it wasn’t like he was squeamish about dudes or anything. And you swore off random hookups last year, remember? This will mean nothing.
“It’s your turn, Ryan,” Josh said, holding his two guitars over his head so they wouldn’t bang into anything. “I did the kiss thing last time, remember? And it was that sixty-year-old grandma who insisted on Frenchingme, dear God. I was traumatized for weeks. So, no weaseling out of this. It’s bad for our image, big brother.”
Ryan sighed and gave in. “Yeah, okay. Whatever. Set it up, Charlie.” He clapped their manager on his back and headed to his dressing room. He didn’t have the energy to worry about what might happen two days from now. He had a show to do in twenty minutes.