Blog Archive - December 2016

THIRDS Thursday - 12/1/16

THIRDS Thursdays

Prompt: I think it would be cute to see Dex try and ride Sloane when he’s in Felid form and just general play. Maybe Dex buys cat toys without telling Sloane and then pulls them out to play with.


It was almost time.

Dex rubbed his hands together in gleeful anticipation.

“How’d you convince Maddock to give his permission for this?” Calvin asked, securing one of the hatches.

Dex surveyed the area. That was the final one. “Easy, I told him Shelley’s Market needed our help, and he agreed.”

“Why?”

“They’re this little family owned market that’s been around for generations. Anyway, they have this amazing little bakery at the back that makes fresh pies. My dad used to drag Tony in there all the time.” Dex smiled wistfully. “Apparently, my dad’s stomach was as bottomless as mine.”

Calvin chuckled. “So you’re helping Shelley’s Market out by buying all the leftover stock?”

“Yep, and everyone’s going to freaking love it. You’ll see. Even Austen showed up for this.” He patted Calvin’s arm before he headed for the gate to let in their Unit Alpha teammates who had all shifted into their Therian forms. Dex had put together the signup, specifying some Therian shenanigans. Thanksgiving was over, and not all agents got to spend it with their friends and family. The holidays were especiallt tough for some Therian agents, whether it was because they were out on the streets trying to keep everyone safe, or because they were reminded of the families they’d lost for simply being Therian.

The THIRDS canteen offered an amazing Thanksgiving spread all week, and invited agents to have their own gettogethers. Not everyone was as lucky as Dex, and he made sure to never forget it. So it became his tradition to lighten the mood, and involve his fellow team members in various shenanigans. Sloane had been skeptical at first, but after last year’s event went so well, he realized how right Dex was.

“You really think Sloane and Ash are going to join in?”

Dex grinned wide. “Oh, ye of little faith.” He’d booked the outdoor training area for the evening since it was less likely to be in use, and Shelley’s Market had dropped off the goods an hour ago. Calvin and the girls helped Dex set everything up before the girls went off to help their Therian teammates with their shifting out back. Now it was time. He climbed the ladder to the instructor’s platform along with Calvin.

“Best seats in the house,” Dex said, stepping up to the console, and pressing one of the buttons. “Pete, you ready?”

The speakers came to life, and Pete’s gruff voice came through loud and clear. “Ready, Dex.”

“Okay, let them in.”

A buzzer sounded, a red light flashed, and the half a dozen steel gates opened. Therian agents in their feral forms came flooding through. Dex wriggled his eyebrows at Calvin.

“Lions, and tigers, and jaguars, oh my!”

“You’re such a dork,” Calvin said through a laugh.

There were about two hundred agents in attendance, a mixture of Felid Therians, wolf Therians, and bear Therians. Dex spotted his teammates right away. He leaned forward and spoke into the microphone.

“You guys ready?”

A cacophony of roars, hisses, howls, and chirps echoed through the massive indoor field. It was almost as big as a football stadium. Around the walls, six ramps led up to six hatches. Dex pressed the button for Pete again.

“Okay, Pete. Let her rip. And make sure Al’s recording this.”

“Got it,” Pete replied. An even louder buzzer than the previous one blared, red lights flashing before the hatches opened, and hundreds of pumpkins came speeding down the platforms. It was sweet pandemonium. The moment they hit the grass, everyone was off. It was the funniest shit he’d ever seen in his life. The tiger Therian agents were so freaking adorable it hurt. Both Seb and Hobbs had each sunk their fangs into a pumpkin and were currently trotting around the ring, pumpkins displayed proudly, tails raised high. Ash’s mane swishing caught Dex’s eye, and he laughed as Ash batted a pumpkin with his paws like he was playing soccer. Cael and Hudson were too cute, pouncing and swatting a smaller pumpkin to each other as if it were a ball. Cael chirped, and Hudson released a series of bark/howls.

Dex had never seen so many pouncing Felids in all his life. Everyone was enjoying themselves, swatting, pouncing, dashing here and there. Everyone except Sloane.

Calvin looked at Dex worriedly. “Why’s Sloane sitting there looking so miserable?”

“I don’t know.” Dex climbed down the ladder, and jogged over to his grumpy jaguar Therian boyfriend who looked even grumpier than usual. “Hey, babe. Why aren’t you playing?”

Sloane looked up at him, his big amber eyes bright. He groaned before getting up and rubbing his head against Dex’s legs. Dex crouched down and gave Sloane a good scratch behind his ears and under his chin. “Come on, talk to me. What’s wrong?”

Sloane got up. He padded over to a small pumpkin and gingerly smacked it with his paw until it rolled over to Dex and hit his boot. Then Sloane sat on his haunches and looked up at Dex expectantly. Dex blinked at him.

“You want me to play with you?”

Sloane shut his eyes and opened his mouth, and Dex was suddenly stupidly happy. He dropped to his knees and threw his arms around Sloane, hugging him.

“Aw, you’re such a big softie.”

Sloane huffed, and licked the side of Dex’s face, making him laugh.

“That was gross. Thanks.” He got to his feet and readied his stance. Sloane lowered his head, his tail twitching.

Dex gasped, and pointed behind Sloane. “Holy crap!”

Sloane’s head shot up and he turned.

“Sucker!” Dex grabbed the small pumpkin and took off, laughing at Sloane’s annoyed growl. “I can’t believe you fell for that!” Dex tossed the pumpkin on the grass, and kicked it with his boot, doing his best to keep it away from Sloane who bounded up to him, jumping and pouncing, trying to swat at the wobbly orange vegetable. Sloane played dirty, trying to trip Dex up, at one point succeeding. Dex landed on his ass. He made a leap for Sloane before Sloane could sink his fangs into the pumpkin and run off with it. Unfortunately, in Dex’s desperate attempt to stop Sloane, he made the mistake of grabbing Sloane’s tail. He was lightning quick, twisting his body and smacking Dex upside the head with his paw.

“Ouch, man!” Dex laughed. He scrambled to his feet and dove for the pumpkin, curling himself around it. Sloane tried to shove his muzzle under Dex’s armpit, and Dex broke off into laughter. “That’s not fair. You know I’m ticklish.”

Sloane ignored him, poking Dex with his muzzle before he licked Dex up the side of his face with his sandpapery tongue.

“Right in the ear!” Dex wiped his ear with his sleeve, and Sloane swiftly batted the pumpkin out from under Dex. He tried to reach Sloane before Sloane plunged his fangs into the veggie, but it was too late. For Sloane, it was like biting into an apple. He picked up his pumpkin and darted off. “Come back here!”

Sloane ignored him, and Dex chased Sloane around the grassy pitch, doing his best not to run into any Felids. Austen zoomed past him, a pumpkin in his mouth, and Dex was forced to skid to a halt just as Zach loped past. Holy shit. He’d almost smacked into three hundred pounds of furry brown bear. That would not have been pleasant.

“You get him, Zach!” Dex took off after Sloane again, and spotted Calvin rolling around the grass with Hobbs. Rosa was cursing Ash out as she chased him. Something about him stealing her pumpkin and being a greedy bastard. That was when Dex noticed Ash had somehow managed to get his jaws around two small pumpkins. Letty, of course, was laughing her ass off.

Two hours later, and Dex lay on his back in the grass panting. “Oh my God, I can’t move. I’m done.” Dex flopped his hand in the general direction of the gate. “Babe, I think I need you to carry me.”

Calvin dropped down next to him with a chuckle. “How is Sloane going to carry you? It’s not like you can ride him like a pony.”

“Tried that. It was a very painful experience.”

“Oh, shit! You didn’t!” Calvin fell onto his side he was laughing so hard.

“Did you know that jaguar Therians weigh a fucking ton, and therefore when they land on you it hurts like hell? He grabbed my boot with his jaws, threw himself onto his side, and landed on me. I thought I broke a rib, but no, just hurt like I did. I would not recommend it.”

Calvin was wheezing. “Like… I would be… that stupid.”

“Thanks. Sloane, pleeease.”

“This I gotta see,” Calvin rolled onto his side, and propped himself on his elbow.

Dex closed his legs, putting his boots together, and Sloane gently slipped his fangs under Dex’s laces and pulled.

“You’ve got to be shitting me.”

Dex sat up and held onto his legs, though not before waving at Calvin over his shoulder. “See ya, bud.”

“Seriously? You have your boyfriend dragging you?”

“Hey, he’s a jaguar Therian remember? It’s good practice for him. He can drag Seb and Zach at the same time if he had to. I’m a piece of cake. It’s like sledding. Except you’re the sled. And you’re on grass.”

“That is the epitome of laziness.”

Dex shook his head. “Don’t knock it till you try it.” Sloane let out a grunt, and Dex chuckled. “You know, they should make this a sporting event.” He gasped. “Holy shit, we should totally make this a sporting event!”

Sloane let go, and stared at him.

“What?”

With a flick of his tail, Sloane sauntered off.

“Hey, where are you going?”

Sloane ignored him, and Dex whined. “But the door is still so far away!” With a groan, he pushed himself to his feet, and lumbered toward the door. Letty came skipping over, and hooked Dex’s arm in hers.

“This was so much fun, Dex.” She leaned her head against his arm as they walked.

Dex couldn’t help his wicked grin. “Wait until you hear about my idea for next year.”


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press


#TeaserTuesday - 12/6/16 The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts, Book 2)

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! This week's Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from the second Soldati Hearts book The Foxling Soldati which was just contracted by Dreamspinner Press! The first book, The Soldati Prince was just released on November 23rd, and you can find out more about it here.

2016Divider

“You look ridiculous.”

Rayner blinked at Adira as she joined him in the corridor on the way to Khalon’s study. He smiled sweetly. “And a good morning to you, countess. Why am I ridiculous this time?”

“Don’t call me that,” she groused. “You’re smiling like an idiot.”

Rayner chuckled. “It’s good for the soul. Perhaps you should try it sometime.”

Adira released the most indelicate, unladylike snort. “The moment I start smiling like that, I’ll hang up my sword.  You and Khalon are worse than fledgling Soldati. One smile from those pretty boys, and you’re stumbling over yourselves.”

Rayner shrugged. “What’s wrong with smiling? Or pretty boys?”

“Nothing is wrong with either. Smiling is fine, in moderation. There are times I wonder if Khalon has lost his senses.”

“It’s called being in love, Adira.” Had his dear friend ever been in love? He couldn’t recall her ever speaking of it, much less displaying any signs of amorous affection toward any male or female Soldati, or anyone else for that matter. No, wait, there had been that one time during the Soldati Summer Solstice Festival where Rayner had spotted Adira tucked behind one of the tents kissing a stunning Soldati warrior with silky dark skin and the most incredible gold/green eyes he’d ever seen. What was her name? Fiorentina.

Adira’s eyebrows shot up near her hairline. “Are you telling me you’re in love?”

Rayner puckered his lips as if to kiss her. “Why? Would it make you jealous?”

“Not even if you were the last Soldati in the realm.” She narrowed her steel gray eyes at him. “Are you?”

“The last Soldati in the realm?”

Her exasperated sigh was music to his ears. “You exhaust me.”

“Did Fiorentina exhaust you?” He wriggled his eyebrows, and the scandalous expression that crossed her face was too much. Rayner threw his head back and laughed. Teasing Adira was always such fun. Not nearly as fun as aggravating the hell out of Khalon, but still quite fun.


THIRDS Thursday - 12/8/16

Prompt: I would love to see the team play paintball or a similar game and get very competitive.

“This is ridiculous,” Ash growled. “How is shooting each other up a team building exercise? None of us are on a team.”

Cael contemplated that. “Well, we work as a team every day. Sarge wants us to keep our individual skills sharp.” He finished strapping into his tactical vest. “At least he’s not making us carry our equipment.” Cael grabbed his helmet, turning to Ash before putting it on. “Whatever you do, stay away from Dex.”

Ash looked pained. “Come on, sweetheart. It’s everyone for themselves. I love you, but you don’t really expect me to pass up an opportunity to shoot the shit out of your brother, do you?”

Cael blinked at him. He shook his head when he realized Ash had misunderstood. “I didn’t mean stay away from him so you wouldn’t shoot him, I meant stay away from him so you wouldn’t get shot by him. He’s going to kick all our asses.”

Ash stared at him. “I’m sorry, are you… are you being serious?”

“You’ve never played paintball with my brother, Ash. He turns into like, Rambo. Seriously, he’s kinda competitive, and really good at it. Not even Cal’s going to make it out of this.”

“Cael, I think I can handle your dorky brother.”

Cael smiled sweetly. He patted Ash’s bicep. “If you say so.” He headed into the waiting room where everyone stood except for Dex. Ash looked around before addressing Sloane.

“Where’s your dweeb boyfriend?”

Sloane shrugged. “I don’t know. He said he had to get ready. I’m not really sure what that entails, or why he couldn’t do it in the same changing room.”

The instructor came out, and Cael told him to go ahead. Dex knew this obstacle course like the back of his hand. His dad had already explained to the team that if he attempted to find a course Dex hadn’t done, he’d have to send them out of state. The team laughed when Tony told them not to let Dex beat them too badly. If they didn’t want to believe the man who’d raised Dex, they had no one to blame but themselves. Dex was competitive at the best of times, but put a paintball gun in his hands, and there was no escape.

The instructor led them to their course, and Sloane frowned. “Where the hell is Dex?”

“Here.”

They turned and Ash burst into laughter. “Holy shit, are you wearing camouflage?”

Dex grinned broadly, wriggling his brows before lowering the visor of his helmet. “This is war, Keeler.”

“Oh, I am so looking forward to this.”

They were each handed their paintball rifles containing a different color then escorted out onto the field. The obstacle course was the size of a football field surrounded by shrubs and trees with everything from sandbag bunkers, to car frames, old broken down cars, tire stacks, industrial barrels, and stone structures.

The lion Therian instructor motioned to the field. “When the buzzer rings, game’s over. Whoever has the least amount of paint on them at the end wins. Take your positions.”

Cael ran off, ducking behind a sandbag bunker, and Ash ran behind the car across from him. Dex was nowhere to be seen. It had begun. Cael almost felt bad for his team.

The buzzer sounded, and the game officially started. Cael wasn’t concerned with winning, just keeping himself from getting too much paint on him. He edged close to the end of the bunker and peered out. The coast was clear. Cael ran for the stack of tires ahead of him, diving behind it when he saw movement to his right. Letty fired, hitting the tires where Cael had been seconds ago. She cursed in Spanish and Cael chuckled.

“Nice try,” Cael called out. Playing with his team was nothing like playing with his friends back in high school. Unlike his teenage friends at the time, his team was trained to stalk and remain out of sight, not to mention engage in warfare. For several minutes, they all crept and crawled, dashed, and ducked. And then Dex decided he was tired of waiting for his teammates to come out of hiding.

Dex soared through the air, aimed, and fired, hitting Ash in the back of the head. Cael cringed from his spot where he saw the spectacle clearly. Before Ash was even up, Dex landed on a stack of hay and promptly rolled off right behind a wooden wall.

Ash’s startled expression made Cael giggle.

Dex popped up from behind a stack of tires several feet away and shot Ash in the ass. Ash jumped to his feet.

“What the fuck is happening right now?”

“Ash, you need to move before—”

Dex dove out from behind a car frame and shot twice, and Cael sucked in a breath as both shots hit Ash in the ass. His boyfriend’s howl echoed through the field. By the time Ash turned around, Dex was nowhere to be seen. Everyone else took advantage of Ash’s stupefied state and shot him.

“You sons of bitches!” Ash dove behind a stack of tractor tires. He shouted over the side. “I’m going to kick all your asses, starting with you, Daley!”

Dex’s reply was a swan dive over a haystack, and a shot to Ash’s helmet before he vanished behind a sandbag bunker.

“Fucker!” Ash turned to face Cael. “When did your brother become a fucking ninja?”

“I told you. He’s kinda competitive when it comes to paintball. The guys in his old department used to fight over him when it came to picking teams. Whichever team he was on always won. I tried to warn you.”

“Fuck this. I am not going to lose to that dork.” Ash let out a roar as he ran out, the rest of Destructive Delta rallying at his war cry. They’d decided to unite against the force that was Dex, and Cael could see why. Everyone was covered in dozens of blue splotches—Dex’s color.

Cael shook his head and watched the chaos. It was like a game of Whac-A-Mole the way Dex popped up, except the mole had a paintball gun and sprayed his teammates like he was Tony Montana taking out his enemies. In fact, Cael was pretty sure he heard his brother throw out a couple of Scar Face quotes.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Calvin screamed in frustration. “How is he doing that?”

Ash thrust a finger at Calvin. “Dude, you’re the fucking sniper, snipe him!”

“I’m trying, but he’s like some kind of squirrel on steroids.”

“Enjoying the show?”

Cael gave a start. “Jesus, Dex, you scared the shit out of me.”

Dex laughed. “Ash looks like he’s wearing a blue suit. I’ve run out of places to shoot him.”

Rosa’s curses were loud and vehement. Dex narrowed his eyes. “I may not be an expert of the Spanish language, but I’m pretty sure what she just said was both insulting and frightening.” Dex lifted Cael’s visor, and patted his cheek. “Oh, and I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Cael asked, cocking his head.

“For this.” He shot Cael in the vest before skipping off, calling out over his shoulder. “No favoritism, Chirpy! Love you!”

“You, turd!”

At hearing Dex, everyone charged in his direction, but Dex was already diving behind a rusty pickup. They ran around it, and Cael stood, propping himself against the bunker, chuckling at his unsuspecting teammates.

Dex stood on the roof of the car and shot each one of them on their visors the moment they turned around. They scrambled, bumped into each other, and all went down. Dex blew the end of his rifle as the buzzer sounded. He hopped down, walked over to Sloane, lifted his visor, and held his hand out.

Everyone removed their helmets and stood. Ash looked so confused, Cael found him completely endearing.

“You look like you should be in the Blue Man group,” Cael teased him.

Ash pouted. “I can’t believe I lost to your brother.”

“Aw.” As everyone headed back indoors with a grumble, Cael stood on his toes and kissed Ash. “How about we wash you off, and then when we get home, I’ll help stroke your ego.” He nipped at Ash’s chin. “Among other things.”

Ash’s lips broke off into a grin. He nodded, and followed Cael inside. As they were getting dressed in the locker room after showering, Dex was celebrating his victory.

“So how about it,” Dex said to Ash. “Drinks on me at Dekatria for beating your butt so completely.”

Ash smiled brightly, and Cael braced himself.

“Sorry, pal. I’m going home to do filthy things to your little brother.”

Dex’s jaw dropped.

“Yep, going to pound town.”

Cael groaned and covered his face with his hands. He could not believe Ash just said that.

“Oh God,” Dex gagged. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

“Yep, gonna get him naked, and—”

“I’m not listening!” Dex covered his ears, singing some eighties song at the top if his lungs as he ran from the room. Ash threw his head back and laughed. Cael shook his head at him.

“You just couldn’t help yourself, could you?”

Ash wriggled his eyebrows. He leaned in to nibble at Cael’s ear. “Doesn’t make it any less true.” He grabbed Cael’s hand, said “see ya” to everyone, and winked at Dex as they walked by. Dex yelped, and Ash laughed as they headed for Ash’s truck. Well, Dex won his game, Ash won the last word, but as Ash turned him, and kissed him soundly, a preview of what the evening held, it was pretty clear who the real winner here was.

Cael.


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.


Win a Rein Dear Goodie Bag!

Hello, all! I'm taking part in several fabulous holiday events to celebrate the release of Disarming Donner, out Dec 21st! First up, I'm a guest of the fabulous RJ Scott. Drop by and leave a comment for a chance to win a Rein Dear goodie bag! The giveaway is open internationally as well!

http://rjscottauthor.blogspot.com/2016/12/twelve-days-of-christmas-day-12-charlie.html

Disarming Donner Blurb As a beloved Rein Dear and Christmas elf for Mayor Kringle, Donner prides himself on his flawless reputation, good sense, and wise decisions. Donner never does anything until he’s thought it through properly. He’s certainly not one to get flustered, infuriated, or fall prey to romantic nonsense. At least not until the most unlikely of elves begins chipping away at Donner’s defenses. Calder is a Dockalfar—a dark elf. He’s wicked, untrustworthy, and armed with lethal magic. At least that’s what everyone thinks. It’s easy for them to believe the worst and mistrust him before they’ve even spoken to him, but Calder is out to prove that he’s more than his Dockalfar blood, especially to a certain Rein Dear who has caught his eye. But it will take more than sweet words for Donner to admit what’s in his heart. Out December 21, 2016 Pre-order from:  Dreamspinner | AmazonKindle| ARe


Forgive and Forget on Sale for $3.50 at Dreamspinner Press

Hello, all! Dreamspinner Press is celebrating Poppy Dennison's birthday, and all the Dreamspun Desire ebooks are on sale for $3.50 December 12th and 13th, including my sweet category romance Forgive and Forget!

http://bit.ly/CCFFDSPeBook

Genre: Gay Contemporary Category Romance Length: Novel, 194 Pages Published: April 1st, 2016 Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Cover Artist: Paul Richmond Ebook ISBN-13:9781634770170 Paperback ISBN-13: 9781634770163

As the owner of Apple’n Pies, Joe Applin leads a quiet, uneventful life, content to spend his days serving customers who come from all over to eat his delicious homemade pies. Along with his motley crew—Bea, Elsie, and Donnie—Joe couldn’t be happier in his little kingdom of baked goods and java.

Experience has taught Joe that love is overrated—and at times dangerous. He has no intention of repeating past mistakes. But then he meets a mysterious, handsome man with amnesia, and Joe can’t deny something sweet is in the works. He isn’t one to take risks, not with his heart and certainly not with his life, but the more time he spends with the man he knows as Tom, the closer he is to losing both.

Excerpt- goodreads-badge-add-plus

THIRDS Thursday - 12/15/16

*** CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR SMOKE & MIRRORS *** Prompt: I would like to read the scene where Dex is found in the woods in Smoke & Mirrors from Sloane’s point of view.

He had to find him.

Damn TIN for wasting so much time. Sloane should have been out here searching for Dex hours ago. Instead the bastards had knocked him out. Did Sparks really think he was going to just sit around on his ass and do nothing? His mate was out there somewhere, in trouble and in pain. Sloane could feel it down to his bones. He didn’t care if he drew attention to himself in the bright orange muscle car, he needed to have it with him. Needed to feel close to Dex, sit in his seat, grip the steering wheel. It was stupid, but driving the Challenger kept his hopes up. Like the damn thing might actually lead him to its owner.

As he drove, he told himself over and over that they would find Dex and he’d be alive. His man was made of tough stuff, tougher than a lot of people gave him credit for. Dex would survive. He’d do whatever was necessary to get back to Sloane, to Cael and Maddock. His family.

“Come on, baby, you gotta come home. I need you to come home.” Sloane’s phone rang and he tapped his earpiece after the first ring. “Who is this?”

“It’s me.”

Sloane almost slammed the breaks. For a second, he was afraid maybe he was hearing things, but he’d never mistake Dex’s sultry tones for anyone else’s. His voice was hoarse, sounding as if he were on the verge of tears, and Sloane had to blink away his own. He was so relieved, but until Dex was safe in his arms, he’d maintain focus.

“Oh thank God. Dex, where are you?”

“I… I have no idea. There’s lots of trees. I don’t see any signs. There was a road, but I don’t know what it was. Can you get Cael to find my location using the phone’s GPS?”

“Give me a sec,” Sloane murmured, sending Cael a quick emergency message asking him to trace the phone Dex was calling from. A heartbeat later he received a reply. “He’s on it. Are you okay? Talk to me. What happened?”

“It’s a really, really long story. I just… I need you.”

The whimper, the fear and need crept into Dex’s voice, and Sloane wanted nothing more than to be there with him. To hold him close and never let him go. “I’m on my way, sweetheart. Are you somewhere safe?”

“Home was safe.”

Sloane swallowed hard. Those sons of bitches. Whoever did this, whoever made Dex feel unsafe in his—their—own home was going to pay. “We’ll sort that out. Right now, let’s get you to me, okay? I’m your home.” Sloane rubbed at one eye then the other. He had to keep his shit together.

“Thank you. I really needed to hear that right now.”

Always. His earpiece beeped, and he tapped it, hearing Cael’s voice come in through the car’s speaker. Sloane hit the gas. “We have your location. I’ll be there soon. Stay on the line with me.”

“I’m tired.”

No. No. No. Who knew what shape Dex was in. Sloane couldn’t lose him. He tried to keep the panic form his voice. “Stay awake, sweetheart. Please.”

“I don’t think I can. I’m kinda in bad shape here.”

There was a tremble in Dex’s voice, and as Sloane headed north, speeding through the city and breaking who knew how many traffic laws, he scrambled to think of something that would keep Dex awake until he got there. Stay with me. Please stay with me. An idea struck him, and he turned the radio on. It was tuned in to Retro Radio, same as it always was.

“Sing with me.”

“What?”

“Come on. Listen.” Sloane turned up the radio, blasting the Romantics “What I Like About You.” Sloane sang and urged Dex to sing with him, his husky voice wrapping Sloane up in its warmth. Dex was trying his best to keep up with the lyrics which was no easy feat considering the fast-paced tune.

Dex loved this song. It came on while Dex cooked dinner last week. Sloane had joined in when Dex grabbed him and begged him to dance. He’d laughed and tried to pull away, but his boyfriend was an adorable goofball, so Sloane ended up getting swept up in the crazy. It had been fun, just jumping around, acting like a couple of dorks, singing along.

Sloane’s heart squeezed in his chest when he thought about that night, and every other night since he’d moved in with Dex. Sloane told Dex he was Dex’s home, but the reverse applied as well. Dex was his home. Wherever they were, if Dex was there, Sloane was okay. His sparkling blue eyes, his beautiful smile, and infectious laughter, Sloane needed him. All of him.

“Keep singing, sweetheart,” Sloane pleaded.

Dex was trying, and it broke Sloane’s heart. His voice was rough, his words barely audible, but he tried. As the song ended, the car became frightfully silent.

“Dex? Dex! Stay with me, baby, please.”

Breathing. He could hear breathing. Finally he pulled up on the street in the car’s GPS. He parked, turned off the headlights, and locked up before running up the incline where he spotted several TIN operatives. They’d started searching the thick greenery. The rest of their team arrived, and Cael ran to Sloane, his big gray eyes filled with fear.

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know. He’s got to be in there somewhere. Everyone spread out. If you find him, I want to know immediately.” They joined the search, and Sloane tried to catch his mate’s scent. “Dex! Dex, where are you?”

A faint croaking sound caught his ear and he stilled. He sniffed at the air, and his stomach flipped. He ran toward the scent, his inner Felid stirring. He was close. TIN operatives caught onto something as well and they followed him as he ran through the trees, emerging to find the most beautiful man he’d ever seen. Sloane sped over and dropped to his knees, cradling Dex in his arms.

“Dex, look at me. Sweetheart, open your eyes.” Oh God, what have they done to you? Sloane couldn’t focus on the blood stains, bruising, or swelling. He had to look past the state Dex was in to the man he loved. “Dex, I’m here, sweetheart. I’m here.” Sloane gently hugged him close, one hand around Dex’s back, the other cradling Dex’s head to him, enveloping Dex in the hopes of giving him some of his warmth. Relief flooded through him.

“I stayed awake,” Dex murmured, nuzzling his face against Sloane’s shirt, inhaling his scent. Sloane blinked back his tears.

“You did good, babe. It’s okay.”

Dex nodded.

TIN operatives were ordered to span out and search, and Dex went limp in his arms. Sloane checked his pulse. He was out cold. With a shuddered breath, he rubbed his cheek against Dex’s hair, rocking him gently, murmuring comfort against his air.

“I love you, Dex. I love you so damn much.”

“Sloane, we need to take him.

Sloane snarled up at the operative, a fierce sense of possession flooding through him. He held Dex close to his chest, his fangs elongating as he dared anyone to lay a hand on his wounded mate. He’d tear them apart.

“Try it,” Sloane hissed. “Lay one finger on him and I’ll rip your throat out.”

The operative put his hands up and took a quick step back.

Sloane kissed Dex’s temple, a growl rising in his throat at the unfamiliar scent. A wolf Therian.

“Sloane?” Sparks crouched down beside him. “Dex is hurt. We need to get him medical attention.”

Sloane’s inner Felid fought against him. He didn’t want anyone touching his mate, but Sloane’s Human senses prevailed. Dex needed help. Who knew the extent of his injuries? He had to think of Dex, had to help him. Sloane’s chest tightened, and his inner Felid wailed as he nodded. Lifting Dex in his arms, he stood, and although his instincts fought to hold onto the man he loved, he allowed the large bear Therian to take Dex.

Sloane stood, his heart breaking as the operative carried Dex away. The pain coursing through him was like nothing he’d ever felt before. Never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined falling so deep and so hard for someone. Dex was his life, and Sloane would do whatever it took to keep him.


Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.


Dreamspinner Press 30% Off Sale!

Hello, all! Dreamspinner Press is having a fabulous sale! Get 30% off the entire store! Sale ends Dec 17th!

Charlie's Books on Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/CharlieCochetDSP NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER: 

DISARMING DONNER - NORTH POLE CITY TALES, Book 5 As a beloved Rein Dear and Christmas elf for Mayor Kringle, Donner prides himself on his flawless reputation, good sense, and wise decisions. Donner never does anything until he’s thought it through properly. He’s certainly not one to get flustered, infuriated, or fall prey to romantic nonsense. At least not until the most unlikely of elves begins chipping away at Donner’s defenses.

Calder is a Dockalfar—a dark elf. He’s wicked, untrustworthy, and armed with lethal magic. At least that’s what everyone thinks. It’s easy for them to believe the worst and mistrust him before they’ve even spoken to him, but Calder is out to prove that he’s more than his Dockalfar blood, especially to a certain Rein Dear who has caught his eye. But it will take more than sweet words for Donner to admit what’s in his heart.

Pre-Order your copy from: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | ARe | B&N | Kobo

LATEST RELEASE: 

THE SOLDATI PRINCE - SOLDATI HEARTS, Book 1 One moment, Riley Murrough is living a normal life working in a coffee shop, and the next, he’s running for his life from demons, learns he bears the mark of a shape-shifter king from a magical realm, and—worst of all—he’s destined to become the mated prince to the arrogant tiger-shifter he would rather strangle.

Khalon, the shifter king, is equally distraught at the idea of being bound to a human prince, and along with his Soldati warriors, he sets out to return Riley to his own world, where he belongs. On their journey, they might discover why the goddess brought them together—if they can escape the demons and make it to her alive.

Order your copy today from: Dreamspinner Press | AmazonKindle | All Romance eBooks


Displaying 1 to 7 (of 18 posts)

Join Charlie's mailing list to receive news on upcoming books, exclusive content, giveaways, first access to extras, and more.