Blog Archive - April 2016

Catch a Tiger by the Tail now available from Audible!

Hello all! I'm super excited to announce that Catch a Tiger by the Tail, THIRDS, Book 6 is now available in audiobook from Audible! Plus, to celebrate the release of the audiobook, on Monday, May 2nd, here on the blog, I'll be posting an exclusive interview with the fabulous Mark Westfield. Mark has so kindly taken time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about narrating the THIRDS, so make sure you check it out!

CatchATigerByTheTailAudioAUDIOBOOK DETAILS

Title: Catch a Tiger by the Tail Series: THIRDS, Book #6 Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance, Shifters Length: Unabridged, 8 hrs and 9 mins Published: April 29th, 2016 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Cover Artist: LC Chase Narrator: Mark Westfield

AUDIOBOOK PURCHASE LINKS

Dreamspinner Press Audible.com (http://bit.ly/CCCATAUDIBLE) Amazon (http://amzn.to/1Szmfc8) iTunes

Calvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs have been best friends since childhood, but somewhere along the line, their friendship evolved into something more. With the Therian Youth Center bombing, Calvin realizes just how short life can be and no longer keeps his feelings for his best friend a secret. Unfortunately, change is difficult for Ethan; most days he does well to deal with his selective mutism and social anxiety. Calvin's confession adds a new struggle for Ethan, one he fears might cost him the friendship that's been his whole world for as long as he can remember.

As partners and Defense Agents at the THIRDS, being on Destructive Delta is tough at the best of times, but between call-outs and life-threatening situations, Calvin and Ethan not only face traversing the challenges of their job, but also working toward a future as more than friends.

©2016 Charlie Cochet (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press

Con il Fiato Sospeso (THIRDS #2) Out Now!

Hello all! I'm super excited to announce the release of Con il Fiato Sospeso, the Italian translation of Blood & Thunder, THIRDS Book 2! Blood&ThunderIT300Titolo: Con il fiato sospeso Titolo originale: Blood & Thunder Autore: Charlie Cochet Serie: THIRDS (#2) Data pubblicazione: 29 Aprile 2016 Casa Editrice: Triskell Edizioni Traduzione: Chiara Seri Genere: M/M (Contemporaneo/Paranormal/Poliziesco) Formato: ebook Prezzo: €5.99 (-10% su Triskell) Pagine: 258 Dove comprarlo: Triskell - Amazon - Kobo

Quando in un Centro Giovanile Teriano, scoppiano delle bombe che feriscono alcuni membri della squadra Destructive Delta dei THIRDS e causano uno screzio tra gli agenti Dexter J. Daley e Sloane Brodie, la pace sembra una meta irraggiungibile. Specialmente quando un nuovo spaventoso gruppo, l’Ordine di Adrastea, sembra essere sempre un passo avanti a loro. Con il diffondersi del panico e dell’intolleranza, e le strade che iniziano a riempirsi della propaganda dell’Ordine, le ostilità tra Umani e Teriani si inaspriscono. Dex e Sloane, assieme al resto della squadra, sono determinati a distruggere l’Ordine e a ristabilire la pace, per non parlare dei conti personali in sospeso da saldare. Ma più la squadra investiga sulle esplosioni, più si rende conto che dietro lo spargimento di sangue e la diffusione del caos si cela una motivazione più sinistra. La scoperta della spaventosa verità che si cela dietro gli intenti dell’Ordine obbliga Sloane ad affrontare i segreti di un passato che pensava di essersi lasciato alle spalle, un passato che non solo potrebbe annientare lui e la sua carriera, ma anche la reputazione dell’organizzazione che lo ha fatto diventare l’uomo che è oggi. Ora più che mai, Dex e Sloane hanno bisogno l’uno dell’altro e, grazie alla fiducia reciproca, la forza del loro legame farà la differenza tra giustizia e guerra senza esclusione di colpi.


THIRDS Thursday - Anthony Maddock's Ten Tips for Surviving Destructive Delta

Anthony MaddockHello all! For today's THIRDS Thursday, we have the man himself, Anthony Maddock to impart some wisdom on how to survive Destructive Delta. As you all know, being the adoptive father of one Dexter J. Daley and Cael Maddock has prepared Tony for a hell of a lot, both on and off the field. Life has thrown Tony all kinds of curve balls, but he is a man with nerves of steel. He's gotta be when raising two boys as prone to mischief and trouble as Dex and Cael. Besides being an awesome--and exceptionally patient--dad, Tony is also the sergeant for Destructive Delta. While many fellow sergeants in Unit Alpha are Therians, Tony is one of the few Human sergeants in Unit Alpha, seeing as how Lieutenant Sparks (a cougar Therian) had been hired by the THIRDS before he joined.

Being a Human sergeant for a team like Destructive Delta is not easy, especially when his sons are part of his team. It requires a lot of patience. Seriously, the man deserves a medal or five for what he's had to put up with over the years. Still, Tony manages to strike a balance between father and sergeant. He's a stern man, yet not even he is immune to his son's antics, and buried underneath all that gruff is a sharp wit he's not afraid to use.

Now, onto Maddock's Ten Tips for Surviving Destructive Delta. Take it away, Tony.

  1. Don't get involved in their love lives. That's just asking for trouble. It's tough, and at times I fail pretty bad, but they're big boys--in Hobb's case literally--so they can figure their own shit out. Okay, okay, so occasionally they might need a little pep talk, or in a certain lion Therian's case, a boot up the ass, but they get there. There's only so much you can do, and sweet Jesus, it's like one of those reality TV shows. Will he, won't he, what the hell is that fireman's name? Who the hell goes around letting people call him Dimples? Something's wrong with that boy. You never let my son nickname you. Ever. If you do, you deserve whatever you get. Just warning you now.
  2. For your own sanity, don't even think about telling Dex what to do. Unless it's an official order--and even then that's not a guarantee of compliance--that boy will do whatever he damn well pleases. Thirty-one years. I know what I'm talking about.
  3. Don't leave any boxes unattended. Trust me. You work in a department full of Felid Therians. Leaving a large box unattended is asking for trouble, and when you're coming up to the end of your rotation, the last thing you want to do is get some Felid Therian in their Therian form out of a damned box. Doesn't matter if their big, fat, cat ass doesn't fit, they will be wedged in there content as shit, and then it's up to you to try and get them out without losing a fucking limb. Sure, you could order someone else to do it, but by the time you hear the purring, your team is out the door so fast you think they were giving away free donuts in the canteen.
  4. Make peace with the fact something is going to fuck with your day. Whether it's a call to let you know that Dex is running through Sparta naked as the day he was born after pissing off Sloane while in his jaguar Therian form, or that you have three agents in the infirmary because they were stupid enough to challenge Ash and question his role in the bedroom. Of course if they're stupid enough to do that then I have no sympathy. Stupid is as stupid does. Hobbs will blow up something he shouldn't have. Calvin will lose his shit and break something that's not in the budget. Letty will scare some poor rookie into tears, and Rosa will be so pissed off with Ash that she all but burn your skin off when trying to tend to your cut. Oh, and someone will think it's funny to switch out Cael's hot chocolate for a mocha latte. That guy's cleaning the pool now. Permanently. Oh, and this just one day. Two weeks ago Tuesday, actually. I hope you have a good health insurance policy.
  5. Property Damage. There's no use even trying. You can talk until your blue in the face about the mayor breathing down your neck about property damage, it won't do shit. In fact, it's almost a guarantee something will blow up or spontaneously combust. It's like being in a fucking Michael Bay movie. And despite what Dex says, I do know movies. I just like to annoy him. Makes me feel like I have some balance in my life.
  6. Do not attempt to drive the BearCat. If Hobbs can't do it for some reason, let someone else do it unless absolutely necessary. Hell, let Dex drive the damn thing. Yeah, I just said that. Here's why. If you do, you'll do something wrong. Even if it's moving the damned rear-view mirror because you're not a seven foot tall tiger Therian. You will never hear the end of all the things you did wrong to his baby. I know what you're thinking, the guy doesn't talk. Let me tell you something about Ethan Hobbs, he doesn't have to use words to talk. You ever sit through a two hour PowerPoint presentation on the proper handling of a tactical vehicle? I don't mean handling the thing in the usual sense. I mean how to treat the thing like it was damned lover. Frankly, it disturbs me greatly. Consider me disturbed. You can't just drive the damn thing. Oh no. You have to be gentle. It's a damned truck. Not to him. And you can't just tell him to fuck off like you would Ash or Sloane. It would be like kicking a puppy. You're better off letting someone else drive.
  7. It's not okay. It's far from okay. Yet all you're hear is: I'm okay. Your team, which is made up of Humans and Therians all in their twenties and thirties have more baggage and emotional shit to deal with than a cheetah Therian has spots. Asking will do nothing. Trying to help will do nothing. Ignoring it will have you sprouting gray hairs by the dozens. There's no win/win situation here, kids. The only way through this is to deal with your own shit, and as long as they show up to work with their head in the game, then that's all you can hope for. Luckily, they have each other's backs, which is why I can afford to sit on the sidelines. Sometimes they just have to work shit out for themselves.
  8. Don't leave any food in your office. At least nothing you actually intend on eating at any point in time, because the moment you turn your back, it's gone. I don't think I need to tell you who's taken it. You got a wall safe. Use it. Don't rely on the vending machines unless you intend to take a trip down to one of the other  units because in Unit Alpha, if it can be digested, it's gone by lunch time. You don't want to have to wait until the vending machine guy comes in. Yeah, there's the canteen, but sometimes you don't have time to wait for Dex to place his order and then have Sloane step in with his list of substitutions. As glad as I am that Sloane is attempting to change Dex's eating habits, I don't have time for his low-calorie, whole wheat, high fiber, egg-whites bullshit. I just want a damned Diet Coke and chocolate croissant.
  9. Pills. Lots of pills. Indigestion, headache, cold, flu, you name it. Have it in your office. Get a whole medicine cabinet. You're going to need it.
  10. A love for the job. At the end of the day, even when I want to kick their asses and send them to the corner for a time out, I love my job, and I love my team. Remember that phrase, because you're going to be repeating it several times a day. I love my team. I love my job. I love my team. I love my team. Good luck. You're going to need it.

The Five Senses Blog Tour - Therian senses and a giveaway!

autism

Hello all! Thank you so much for joining me here today. I'm honored to be a part of R.J. Scott's annual month long blog hop highlighting Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd). This year's theme is the five senses, and we have folks throughout the hop offering personal experiences, stories, snippets from books, and more covering the different senses. For my post, I'll be chatting about the senses in the THIRDS world, but not the senses as we know them.

In the THIRDS world, the mutation that gives Therians the ability to shift into animals, also gives them heightened senses. Their eyesight is sharper than a Human's even when they're in Human form. They have no trouble seeing in the dark, and in fact it's the tapedum lucidum that gives them away as Therians. When you shine a light on their eyes, it's as if their eyes are glowing, just like what you'd see reflected in animals. Therians also have a heightened sense of smell, and can hear at greater distances than Humans. Their instincts are also sharper. They're stronger, faster, more agile, and heal quicker than Humans. Their strongest senses are also determined by the type of animal they shift into. So wolf Therians even in Human form have a greater sense of smell than big cat Therians, while the big cat Therians will have sharper eyesight.

Although most Therians are accustomed to these enhanced traits, Human society is still growing accustomed to them. After all, Therians have only been around some forty-odd years. It's easy for a Human to forget that a Therian can hear their whispers at a distance where a Human wouldn't. The way Therians move are also connected to their animal halves which explains why big cat Therians tend to move as if they're stalking, making very little to no noise at all when entering a room. In the THIRDS series, the majority of Destructive Delta and its fellow agents are big cat Therians. We get to see how they use their heightened senses, whether they're chasing down a perpetrator, or pouncing on their boyfriend.

Then we have Ethan Hobbs. Ethan is a tiger Therian. He weighs nearly 300 pounds and is almost 7 feet tall. He has selective mutism and suffers from sever social anxiety. He's also the Public Safety Bomb Technician and demolitions expert for Destructive Delta. As you can imagine, his senses play a big part in his job, but they also make things harder for him when he'd having a rough day. As a Therian, Ethan already has heightened senses, so when he's hit by an anxiety attack, his senses leave him debilitated and in physical pain. Luckily, Ethan has the support and understanding of his boyfriend, their family, and their friends. Whatever Ethan needs, there are people who love him there to help.

Check out the master post here.

GIVEAWAY (Ends April 30th at midnight Eastern US time)

For a signed copy of a THIRDS book (winner's choice) and a set of character art cards, leave a comment below. If you were a Therian, what kind would you be? Tiger, jaguar, lion, cheetah, wolf...


Love in Retrograde Exclusive Cover Reveal and Giveaway over at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews!

SinfullyButtonHello all! I'm super excited to be revealing the cover to my upcoming sci-fi romance novella Love in Retrograde over at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews! There's also a giveaway! Love in Retrograde is now available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press, and is due to go up for pre-order on third party sites like Amazon and ARe any day now. Hope you enjoy this sweet little novella packed with action, suspense, and plenty of romance.

Sinfully: http://sinfullymmbookreviews.blogspot.com/ Dreamspinner Press pre-order link:  http://bit.ly/CCDSPLIR

THIRDS Thursday - 4/21/16

THIRDS Thursdays

PromptTaylor’s reaction the first time he realizes Sloane has marked Dex. We saw a posturing scene briefly, but the first time he caught a whiff of the mark I wonder what his reaction was and what he thinks about it. Like did he notice the mark in the locker room showers or just as Dex passed by his office? It could be any number of chance encounters. That would be interesting he totally is a walking sexual harassment case just waiting to be reported to Sparks. Has he ever been reprimanded by Spark’s? I certainly would not want to be in her crosshairs, or rather in front of her bow. Heck, just her glare would be enough I think. She’s freaking awesome. 


Man, he hated reports. Fucking bane of his existence. He’d just finished typing up the last paragraph of his incident report when Herrera popped his head into Taylor’s office.

“Dude, guess who’s back on duty?”

Taylor tapped “save” before turning his attention to his teammate. There was a sudden roar of applause and Taylor couldn’t help his sneer. “Let me guess, the prodigal son has returned.”

Herrera shook his head. “Man, let it go. You never stood a chance.”

“Fuck you, Herrera.” Taylor flipped him off and turned back to his desk’s interface. Sloane should have never even been in the picture. The guy was Team Leader, and Dex was his partner. He should have never gotten involved with Dex. Asshole didn’t even give Taylor a chance. No wonder he’d been so pissed off the first time Taylor had talked about Dex and what he wanted to do to him. Fucker had already been screwing his partner.

“You coming out or what?” Herrera asked, sounding frustrated. Like Taylor gave a fuck.

“Since when do we congratulate people for not fucking dying?” Taylor growled.

“That’s harsh, man.” Herrera shook his head and walked out.

So now he was the dick? He wasn’t the one who’d planted the bomb in Keeler’s truck. He wasn’t the dumb fuck who went out there and set off the bomb, getting caught in the explosion. Why the hell should he feel sorry for Sloane Brodie. The guy had fucking everything. Taylor looked out into the bullpen, straightening when he saw a blond head of hair and a familiar smile.

The guy was hard to miss even in a room full of Therians who were bigger, taller, and bulkier. It was that damned smile. Taylor had never seen anything like it. It was the first thing he’d noticed about Dex. His mouth. And his eyes. But his mouth was fucking sexy. Full pouting lips that spread into a smile that could light up any room. It was strange. Usually the first thing Taylor noticed about a guy was his ass. And although Dex possessed a beautiful perky ass that made Taylor drool, it wasn’t the first thing he’d noticed about the guy.

From the moment Taylor had spotted Dexter J. Daley, he’d been consumed by lust. His mistake—he discovered all too late—had come when he’d approached Dex like any other potential lay. Taylor had never been interested in more than a quick fuck or one-night stand, and he never found himself attracted to Humans. He liked it rough in the bedroom, and sometimes he enjoyed a little kink, but Humans had trouble keeping up with him. Clearly Dex didn’t have any trouble keeping up with a Therian lover, considering he was still with that douchebag Sloane Brodie. The thought alone was enough to make him hiss.

It wasn’t that he disliked Destructive Delta. In fact, he respected them. They were one of Unit Alpha’s top teams for a reason. They had a track record that couldn’t be beat. Sure, they caused a hell of a lot of property damage, and had a habit of breaking the rules, but there was no one who would go to war to make things right like those guys. If Beta Ambush was going into the fucking fray, there was no one else who he’d rather have his back. Still, they pissed him off. No one got away with shit like Destructive Delta. Especially with Sparks. All she had to do was look at someone and they were ready to shit their pants, but not when it concerned Sloane Brodie. The fucking golden boy of Unit Alpha. If the dude weren’t solely into cock, Taylor would have guessed he was banging Sparks.

Taylor had bided his time. He figured Sloane would fuck things up with Dex the way he seemed to fuck up everything else. After Gabe died, Sloane had practically run his fucking team into the ground. For months Taylor wondered why the hell Sparks didn’t bench Sloane. Permanently. Then Dex showed up and everything changed.

As the crowd outside dispersed, and Sloane headed after Sparks, Taylor left the office and followed Dex into his. Before Dex could sit, Taylor knocked on the glass wall.

“Hey.” Taylor felt like an idiot. He hated the way his voice sounded unsure, and he especially hated the way Dex looked at him. Like he was waiting to defend himself against Taylor. Okay, so maybe his past actions were to blame, but it wasn’t like he was going to assault the guy. He cringed at the memory. He’d pretty much already done that. Shit. Why the fuck didn’t the guy hate him?

“Hey.” Dex sat on the edge of his desk studying Taylor.

“Welcome back.”

“Thanks, man.” Dex smiled widely. It was genuine and sweet.

Taylor found himself smiling like a moron. He’d come to know Dex’s smiles pretty well. He wondered how many people knew the guy had different smiles. There was the one he had for his friends and teammates, the one he had for his father and sergeant, the one for the rest of their teammates, the one he used when he was just trying to be polite, and the one he used when he didn’t trust someone and was trying to get a read on them. Then there was the one he had for Sloane. It made Taylor’s insides twist. Sloane didn’t deserve that smile. He didn’t deserve the little creases that formed at the corners of Dex’s bright blue eyes when he smiled. Or the dreamy look that came into his eyes. Like all he could see was Sloane and no one else.

Taylor was about to ask how Dex was feeling when his inner Felid stirred. He stepped into the room and sniffed. Something was… different.

“You okay?” Dex asked.

The scent suddenly intensified, and it filled Taylor’s nostrils. It was heady. A mixture of citrus shampoo, Dex’s scent, Sloane’s, and something else. All at once, Taylor crossed the distance between them. He grabbed Dex’s arm, tugged at the cuff, and pushed his sleeve up, ignoring Dex’s protest.

“What the fuck, Taylor? Get off!”

Taylor was stronger. He held onto Dex’s arm and gasped when he saw the bandage. He stared at Dex.

“You let him fucking mark you?”

Dex jerked his arm out of Taylor’s grip, and quickly rolled down his sleeve, his voice clipped when he spoke. “It’s none of your damned business.”

Taylor couldn’t believe it. Sloane had marked Dex. “How could you?” He shook his head. “Why?”

“Why?” Dex’s expression softened. Was it pity? Understanding? Did he somehow know that Taylor had been thinking about him on and off for months? No, that wasn’t possible. Taylor had done his best to keep his distance.

“I asked him to mark me because I love him, and I’m his.”

Taylor’s chest felt tight. Man, he was such a fucking loser. Had he really thought he had a chance? He kept telling himself Dex would get fed up with Sloane’s shit and dump his ass. The guy was fucking neck deep in baggage, it was bound to send Dex running. Instead, Dex fell in love with him and asked Sloane to mark him? It made no fucking sense.

“You really think he’s going to change?” Taylor spat out, feeling humiliated at his own stupidity. Of course Dex would never leave Sloane. Dex was so fucking good. He was patient, understanding, and so damned loyal it hurt. “Sloane Brodie will never change. He’s been a miserable bastard from the day he showed up here. Everything he touches turns poisonous and dies.”

“That’s enough,” Dex said through his teeth. “My relationship with Sloane is none of your business. Thanks for the welcome, but I think you should go.” Dex turned, and Taylor caught his arm. Dex was furious, and he had every right to be. Taylor tried to find the right words. He was so shit at this.

“Look, I’m sorry for being such an asshole. I just….” Taylor swallowed hard, trying to get the words out, especially with Dex looking at him the way he was. Like he was searching for something inside Taylor. No one had ever looked at him like that. Probably because no one ever gave a shit about him long enough to try and figure him out. “I don’t deserve you. I get that. But neither does he. All he does is hurt you.”

Dex stared at him. “What the hell, man?”

“Do you really think I’m that oblivious?” Taylor let go of Dex’s arm and shook his head. “You’re a really shitty liar, and your wear your heart on your sleeve. It would take a fucking moron not to see when you’re upset.”

“Have you been watching me?” It wasn’t an accusation, more like he was curious.

Taylor shrugged. “I notice things.” He met Dex’s gaze. “I notice you.”

Dex nodded slowly, his eyes never leaving Taylor’s. “I really think you should go.”

“I agree.”

At the sound of the gruff voice, Taylor bristled. At least he would have if he were in his Therian form. Teeth clenched, he turned to find Sloane in the doorway, eyes narrowed.

“There something you want, Taylor?”

Taylor looked over his shoulder at Dex. His big blue eyes filled with concern as he looked between Taylor and Sloane. As much as Taylor would have loved to plant one in Sloane’s face, he didn’t want Dex to think any less of him than he already did.

Taylor shook his head as he swept by Sloane. He paused then leaned into Sloane, his voice low. “When you fuck this up—and you will—I’ll be the man he needs. The one you never could be.”

Fury flashed in Sloane’s eyes, and Taylor readied himself for a punch that never landed. He frowned, staring at the back of a blond head. Goddamn it, Dex.

“Babe, please.” Dex put his hand on Sloane’s arm, and Taylor witnessed the anger drain out of the huge jaguar Therian. His expression softened, his amber eyes filled with so much adoration it made Taylor feel sick to his stomach. Afraid he might lose his breakfast, he stormed back to his office. He dropped into his chair, and was so lost in his own pitiful thoughts, he was startled by the movement in front of his face. He blinked down at the coffee cup on his desk. Looking up, he found Herrera standing next to his desk, a strange expression on his face.

“Large triple shot skinny mocha with chocolate powder. Thought it might cheer you up.”

It was his favorite. “Uh, thanks.” Taylor took the hot cup in his hands, feeling his cold insides grow warmer. He took a sip and sighed. Damn that was good.

Herrera gave him a smile. Then it fell away and he shifted uncomfortably. “Listen, I’m sorry about Dex. I know you really like him.”

Taylor shrugged and took another sip of his drink.

“You’re a great guy, Taylor. I’m sure the right guy is somewhere out there.” With that he turned and walked away. It was weird, hearing those words from Herrera. Usually they just cursed at each other, messing around. Herrera was his friend, but the guy never got emotional on him. Most likely because he knew Taylor would tease the fuck out of him.

As he sipped his coffee, he thought about Dex being marked by Sloane. Those stupid fucks had no idea what they’d gotten themselves into. If Taylor had felt that pull toward Dex, he could just imagine what it would be like for Dex out there. He hoped Brodie was prepared. The best thing for Taylor to do would be to stay as far away from Dex as possible. Yep, that’s what he’d do.

Easy.


Copyright © 2014 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 4/14/16

THIRDS Thursdays PromptThat last scene in Catch a Tiger by the Tail but from Sloane’s point of view…from the minute he wakes up to when Sparks leaves. 

Part 3

Sloane had heard enough. He headed for the door when Sparks stopped in her tracks. She turned, blocking his path.

“Where do you think you’re going?”

Was she serious?

“I’m going to find Dex, and I’m going to make whoever took him feel the pain I feel before I make them fucking bleed.” His anger was boiling over, and if anyone got in his way they were going to regret it.

Sparks narrowed her eyes at him. “You’re staying here. All of you are. My operatives have everything under control. The area is secure, and a team is out searching for Dex. Stay put.”

“You’re out of your fucking mind!” Sloane balled his hands into fists, his canines growing in. “You really expect me to stand here and do fuck all while he’s out there?” He stepped up to her, his vision growing sharp. “Get the hell out of my way.”

Sparks studied him. “The last thing I need is you and your team running around the city stirring up trouble we don’t need, drawing attention we don’t need. My operatives are handling it.”

“Fuck your operatives,” Sloane snarled, “and fuck you.” His inner Felid roared and Sloane shoved Sparks up against the wall. The front door slammed open and a wave of Therians in black suits flooded into the house. A blond jaguar Therian rushed him, and Sloane released Sparks, twisting and throwing a punch that landed across the guy’s jaw. The jaguar Therian barely blinked. He slammed into Sloane, throwing his arms around Sloane’s waist and knocking him back into the wall.

“Sloane!”

From the corner of his eye Sloane saw Ash take action, but he didn’t get far before he was up against several operatives. His team was surrounded, and Ash put himself between them and Sparks’s TIN Men. Sloane struggled against the blond jaguar Therian. The guy was as tall and muscular as Sloane was, and as trained as Sloane was, this guy was obviously on a whole different level. That didn’t mean Sloane wasn’t going to give it his all.

“Get the fuck off me!” Sloane thrust his head forward, head-butting the guy and sending him staggering back.

“Sloane,” Sparks hissed. “Stop, and let us do our job, or I’m going to have to do something you won’t like.”

Sloane’s eyesight sharpened, and he let out a fierce roar as he charged the blond Therian. He dodged the guy’s fists, and managed to deliver a punch to the kidneys. The guy snarled, and thrust his fists down against Sloane’s back. Sloane fell to his knees, but he quickly rolled out of the way before he could get kneed in the face. He popped up on his feet and put his fists up, rolling his shoulders as he waited for blondie to make the first move.

“Come on you Armani asshole.”

Blondie smoothed down his suit, and ran a hand through his hair before he charged Sloane. They crashed to the floor, thrashing, and landing blows. Sloane straddled the guy, his fury all he could feel as he delivered another blow across the face. They were trying to keep him from Dex.

“Get the fuck out of my way,” Ash snarled. “He needs me!”

Sloane pulled back his hand, his claws razor sharp when his arm was seized. They grabbed a hold of him wherever they could grab him. His arms, legs, torso, and neck. He twisted his body, and struggled fiercely, trying to free himself. His muscles began to burn, and he let out another fierce inhuman roar.

“He’s going to shift!” Someone yelled, and the light in the room began to dim. “Get the injector!”

“No!” Sloane pulled at his arms, but it was no use. There were too many of them. They pushed him down onto the couch, a wall of black suits holding him down. “Get the fuck off me! I need to find him!” His skin felt like it was on fire as he strained against the Therians holding him.

“I’m sorry, Sloane. This is for your own good.” Sparks looked down at him, her expression almost sympathetic.

“Please,” Sloane begged. Tears blurred his vision, and he tried to shake his head, but they held it firmly. “Please don’t do this. I need to find him.”

The blond Therian pressed the injector to Sloane’s neck, but even then Sloane didn’t stop struggling. He met Sparks’s gaze.

“You’re going to have to keep me under, because I won’t stop. I won’t stop fighting until he’s back in my arms, safe.”

Sparks nodded, and the injector fired. Sloane gasped for breath, his back arching violently off the couch cushions, his muscles seizing as the drug surged through his blood. The agents released him, and Ash pushed through.

“Get the fuck out of my way, assholes!” He dropped to his knees beside Sloane, his face pained. “I’m so sorry, Sloane. I couldn’t….”

Sloane gritted his teeth, but he smiled at Ash. You tried. It’s okay.

Ash nodded, his eyes red as he put a hand to Sloane’s forehead. “We’ll get him back to you. I swear. Have faith in him. He’s one tough little son of a bitch.”

Sloane would have laughed if he could. His body stopped seizing, and his limbs grew heavy. There was no instant knock out. Whatever the hell it was, it worked its way through his system slowly. He was in a daze, but still awake, gradually slipping under. It was like being in quicksand, sinking inch by inch. Struggling would only make him sink faster. All he could do was wait to be pulled under. Ash soothed him. He ran his fingers through Sloane’s hair. His best friend always seemed to know what he needed.

“It’s okay, buddy. I got you. I’ll be right here.” Ash’s other hand went to Sloane’s arm and he gave it a gently squeeze. “Hey, remember the first day we met Dex? When he came running in like a bat out of hell, smacked into you, and then brought that weapons display down on you, him, and Zach? All over a packet of Cheesy Doodles?”

That seemed like a lifetime ago. Sloane smiled, and he felt a tear roll down the side of his face. Ash wiped it away with his thumb. How could he forget?

“You were so pissed off,” Ash said with a soft laugh. “You didn’t know whether to beat the shit out of him or get him hauled off to the psych ward.”

Sloane turned his hand over, closing his eyes when he felt Ash take hold of his hand and squeeze, his voice quiet when he spoke.

“He’ll be back in your arms soon.”

Heaviness seeped in Sloane’s bones, and as the darkness came for him, he held onto the light. The light that was Dex. The warmth of his smile. His infectious laughter. The unconditional love he had for Sloane. Sloane needed that light. He needed Dex. They’d find him. Alive.

They had to.


Copyright © 2014 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

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