Tag - THIRDS Thursday

THIRDS Thursday - 1/18/18

Prompt: Would love to see a prompt from Wolf's POV, just to get a slight insight to how his mind works. It can be from any of the books in which he appeared (doesn't have to be a "new" scene). Would be even better if Dex was somehow involved. It can be of him spying or just a light-hearted scene (whatever that may be for him).

*** Contains spoilers from Catch a Tiger by The Tail (Book 6), and Darkest Hour Before Dawn (Book 9) ***

*** ***

“Listen, there’s no way I could have stopped what happened. It was a drive-by. Besides, even if I’d been there, how was I supposed to know the guy would throw himself in front of his ex-boyfriend?”

Wolf sighed. How he abhorred excuses. “I was informed you were the best at what you did.”

“Fuck you,” Rollins spat out, leaning forward. “I am. You asked me to shadow your man, and that’s what I did. Why the fuck would he not be safe in a bar full of goddamned THIRDS agents?”

Wolf jumped to his feet. “That would be when he’s most in danger, you bloody twat!”

Rollins reeled at Wolf’s indignant outburst.

“Did it not occur to you that a gathering of THIRDS agents would draw unwanted attention from unsavory characters?” Wolf asked, his inner wolf’s hackles rising, and he found himself pacing. The growl that rose up from his chest was low, and feral. There was no settling the beast inside him now. His felt the pain of his fangs elongating, and his pupils had most likely dilated fully.

“I’m sorry! Look, it was a mistake. It won’t happen again.”

“Bloody right it won’t happen again.” Wolf swiped his gun from his holster, and shot Rollin’s in one kneecap then the other, the man’s howls echoing through the vast concrete room.

“I’m sorry! Please! I should have looked into it. I didn’t know this guy was so important to you.”

“Important?” Wolf marched over, tore the straps off Rollins, and grabbed him by the neck, lifting him off the chair, his fingers digging into the man’s flesh. “He’s everything! The remaining sliver of humanity left in the monster you see before you. If I lose my brother, I will lose what’s left of the man I once was, and if I lose that bloody wanker, I’ll never be able to look him in the eye, and then you’ve cost me the only two men in my life who matter!”

Rollins’s eyes widened as he gasped for air, his face turning red, and his voice strained. “Please.”

When Wolf spoke, it was through his teeth. “You put a shag before the safety of my dear baby brother, before my future.”

Rollins stared at him, and as the words sank in, Rollins stilled, a calmness visibly sweeping over him, and a look Wolf knew well coming into his eyes. The look of a man who accepted he was about to die.

“Not only have you failed spectacularly in your task, but you’ve made me lose my temper. I despise losing my temper, Mr. Rollins.”

“Just shoot me already.”

Wolf laughed, utterly amused. “Shoot you? Oh heavens, no. I’m not going to shoot you. Well, I mean, I did, but I know what you meant.” He released Rollins, allowing him to drop down into the chair.

Rollins swallowed hard, and smartly remained silent.

“I’m going to do so much worse. Your death is going to be long, and excruciatingly painful.”

There were times when Wolf took pleasure in utterly destroying another creature. Although his contracts sometimes required him to deal with those who sadly happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and found themselves in someone’s crosshairs, the contracts he most took pleasure in were the ones that required his skills to decimate soulless monsters. Rather hypocritical, he knew. Sending a monster to devour another monster, but even Wolf had his standards. There were times when contracts were voided for one reason or another, but if there was one thing Wolf did not accept, was failure. Especially when he placed his faith in someone he’d employed.

Rollins had failed in most spectacular fashion, which accounted for the man’s blood dripping from Wolf’s gloved hands. He’d taken his time with Rollins, making certain to keep the man alive long enough to make him thoroughly regret his life’s choices. When Wolf was done, he looked down at his Armani suit splattered with blood, and several questionable substances. He sighed heavily.

“Well that’s not going to come out, is it?”

The door opened, and the two bear Therians from earlier entered, both dressed in rubber suits from head to toe, one of them carrying several jugs of chemicals, and equipment. The other held a garment bag, and shiny new pair of black Oxfords.

“Leave those in the locker room for me, please.”

The man nodded, and headed out of the room. Wolf turned to his companion.

“You know what to do.”

A silent nod.

“Thank you.”

Wolf left the room which now resembled something out of the Shining, and walked into the locker room. He undressed, and placed all his clothing into the plastic bag his assistant held out which would immediately be incinerated. He thanked the man, then turned on the shower, the water as hot as he could take as he stood underneath it. Placing a hand to the tiled wall, he leaned heavily into it. When he opened his eyes, his gaze landed on his bruised knuckles.

“Fuck, I’m getting too old for this.” All right, so he wasn’t even into his forties yet, but this life didn’t exactly leave room for aging gracefully. One was lucky to live long enough to age at all. Refusing to reflect anymore on his life. He finished scrubbing then shut the water off, dried himself, and quickly dressed. He pulled on his scarf, coat, and hat before leaving his men to deal with the rest.

Back at the hotel, he was eager to get into bed, but first….

“I’m done here,” Wolf told Wadsworth as he sat wearily on the edge of the bed.

“I’m afraid not, Sir.”

Wolf arched an eyebrow. “Oh?”

“You have a new objective, Sir.”

Wolf sighed. No rest for the wicked. “Very well. Send it through.”

Wolf stood, and walked to the elegant desk, taking a seat behind it. He opened his laptop, pressed his finger to the pad, and once it scanned his print, the screen went black with a single slim box for his password. He logged into his secure mail service, and downloaded the new file containing the information for his new target.

An image of a very handsome man popped onto the screen, and Wolf’s eyes widened. It was rare for him to be caught by surprise. He’d seen that face just last night. Had marveled at the blue of those eyes, and the fullness of those plump lips. It appeared they’d be seeing each other again very soon. Wolf’s lips curled into a wicked grin. Things had just become interesting.

“Well, hello, Agent Dexter J. Daley.”

Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 1/11/18

Prompt: Would love to see a prompt from Wolf's POV, just to get a slight insight to how his mind works. It can be from any of the books in which he appeared (doesn't have to be a "new" scene). Would be even better if Dex was somehow involved. It can be of him spying or just a light-hearted scene (whatever that may be for him).

*** Contains spoilers from Catch a Tiger by The Tail (Book 6), and Darkest Hour Before Dawn (Book 9) ***

*** ***

Wolf removed a hand from his pocket, and brushed Hudson’s hair away from his brow. “Oh, Hudson. You big-hearted, sentimental fool.” He leaned in, and murmured quietly. “I’m very cross with you.” He straightened, and brushed the back of his fingers down Hudson’s cheek. “When will you get your head out of your arse? Just let that big oaf love you. It’s rather exhausting watching you two. When did your love life become so shambolic? It’s like an episode of Downton Abbey.” Wolf let out a heavy sigh, and took a seat on the settee beside the bed. He brought his ankle to rest on his opposite knee, and lay an arm on the back of the settee.

“What am I to do with you, little brother?” He shook his head, and pressed his lips together. He’d spent years away, had done a stellar job at keeping an eye on Hudson from a distance. The idea of being in the same room as his younger brother would never have so much as crossed his mind, and if it had, it would have quickly been brushed aside. “I shouldn’t be here. You can’t know I’m alive. That would be… disastrous for the both of us.” And yet Wolf sensed a shift happening. Something was coming. He had a keen instinct for these things, and his inner wolf had been restless for some time. As if it could sense a storm on the horizon.

Tapping his fingers against the rough fabric of the settee, he tilted his head, and studied his brother. Bloody hell, but his baby brother looked more like him by the day. The only difference being that Wolf was larger, wider, possessed a squarer jaw, and wore contacts instead of glasses. The trendy thick black frames suited Hudson. There was also the fact his little brother wasn’t a cold-blooded killer. In that sense, they couldn't be more opposite.

Wolf’s mouth twisted into a sneer. “What would you think of your Alfie now?” Standing, he stepped up to Hudson’s bedside. His brother was paler than usual, the rosiness gone from his cheeks. He looked so small and fragile. “How am I supposed to leave you when it appears you need me more than ever?” He took hold of Hudson’s hand in his, his heart slamming into his chest when he felt Hudson weakly squeeze back. Bollocks. He stilled, waiting to see if Hudson stirred, but he didn’t. The disappointment was fierce, as was the reprimand he gave himself. Revealing his current state of living would only succeed in bringing them both a world of trouble. No. Wolf would continue to watch over his brother from a distance, the way he’d been doing for years. With one exception.

With a kiss to Hudson’s brow, he murmured quietly. “I will never be far from you. Not again. Anyone who lays a hand on you will answer to me.” He swallowed hard. “And do stay alive. I fear what would become of me if you departed this world and took what remained of my blackened heart with you.”

Straightening, he removed his hat from his pocket, and placed it on his head. With one last look at his little brother, he left the room, lowering his head, and turning it away slightly as Sebastian Hobbs moved away from the nurse’s station and hurried toward Hudson’s room. Poor bloke. Had it been anyone else, Wolf would have been furious his brother had made such a sacrifice, but no one loved Hudson as fiercely as the gentle-hearted tiger Therian. Now the man needed to find his bloody bollocks, and do something about Hudson’s infernal dithering.

Outside, the snow was coming down, but the ice sweeping through his veins had nothing to do with the weather. He climbed into his awaiting car, thanking the driver before the door was closed behind him.

“Whereto, Sir?”


“Very good, Sir.”

The car drove off, and Wolf removed his phone from his pocket. Wadsworth picked up on the first ring. “Yes, Sir?”

“Bring him to me.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The drive up was slow, but it gave him plenty of time to center himself. He closed his eyes, and summoned his inner wolf. The beast stirred, and Wolf smiled. Time to play. His inner wolf howled, pacing excitedly, his fur bristled. When Wolf opened his eyes, his vision was sharp, his senses humming. It had been a while since he’d used this particular location, but then he’d done his best to stay away form New York City. It would appear Lady Liberty would be seeing far more of him. Once he’d been dropped off, Wolf entered the empty underground bunker. The lights flickered momentarily after being switched on, the cold certainly not helping the ancient wiring, but then he was hardly here for the atmosphere.

Entering one of the empty rooms, he removed his scarf, and coat, laying them neatly over one of the steel chairs. The other was bolted to the floor. His Canid hearing picked up shouting and cursing in the distance, and he smiled. Ah, his guest was arriving.

The door opened, and two huge bear Therians dragged in a struggling man with a black hood over his head.

“What the fuck is going on? Where am I?”

Wolf motioned to the chair before him, and they shoved the man down. Another nod, and they strapped the cursing man in before pulling the hood off.

“Hello, mate.”

Rollins stared up at him. “What the—who the fuck are you?”

Wolf turned his attention to the two bear Therians. “Thank you. I’ll see you in an hour.”

“I asked you a fucking question!”

Wolf took a seat across from Rollins with a pleasant smile. “I’m the man who contracted you to look after Dr. Hudson Colbourn. You know, the fellow who’s in hospital recovering from several gunshot wounds. You abandoned your post, for what? A quick shag. I hope she was worth it, because the only one about to get fucked, and not in a fun way, is you.”

Rollins’s eyes went huge. “Shit.”

FINAL PART 1/18/18
Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press

THIRDS Thursday - 1/4/18

Prompt: Would love to see a prompt from Wolf's POV, just to get a slight insight to how his mind works. It can be from any of the books in which he appeared (doesn't have to be a "new" scene). Would be even better if Dex was somehow involved. It can be of him spying or just a light-hearted scene (whatever that may be for him).

*** Contains spoilers from Catch a Tiger by The Tail (Book 6), and Darkest Hour Before Dawn (Book 9) ***





“Yes, Wadsworth.”

“I’m afraid I have some unpleasant news.”

Wolf sighed. “You do know how much I detest unpleasant news.” He took a sip of the expensive whiskey, and waited. Whatever it was, it was clearly important, or Wadsworth wouldn’t have called. He knew Wolf was in the middle of an assignment.

“Yes, Sir. Forgive me, Sir. Unfortunately, this news will be particularly unpleasant. Perhaps even upsetting.”

Wolf’s hand stilled, his next sip interrupted by Wadsworth’s words. “What is it?”

“You may consider a visit to the States, Sir. Mr. Rollins has failed in his objective.”

Wolf slowly sat up, his grip tightening on the whiskey glass. “How?”

“The gentleman Mr. Rollins was watching is in hospital. Multiple gunshot wounds.”

The glass in Wolf’s gloved hand shattered, and he closed his eyes, willing himself to calm before his inner wolf could cause unneeded discord. Rage simmered below the surface like a tempestuous sea, and he forced it down, allowing the tranquil darkness to spread through him. Opening his eyes, he stood, and spoke evenly. “Make the necessary arrangement, Wadsworth. You know where I am.”

“A car is on its way, Sir, and your plane is waiting for you at the airfield. Your itinerary has been sent, and your bags will be in your room at the Waldorf Astoria in New York when you arrive. Shall I send the Housekeeper in?”

Wolf stepped over the lifeless body face down on the carpet, the man’s blood seeping into the carpet fibers. “Please do.”

“And Mr. Rollins?”

“I’ll have a chat with him once I’ve had a visit with….” Wolf swallowed hard, unable to complete the sentence.

“Very well, Sir.”

Wolf brushed the tiny shards of glass off his trousers, then picked up his gun with silencer, and returned it to the holster beneath his suit jacket. Once his tie was straight, he buttoned his suit jacket, wrapped his scarf around his neck, and slipped back into his black pea coat. He fastened the buttons of his coat as he headed for the hotel room door then left the room, making his way to the lift. The doors opened, and he stepped in, flashing a warm smile, and a nod in greeting to the young woman holding a baby. Her cheeks flushed as she returned his smile, and the little boy in her arms giggled when Wolf wiggled his fingers at him.

“He’s darling,” Wolf said.

“Thank you,” she replied shyly.

They made idle chit chat on their way down, and when they reached lobby level, he held the door open for her before following. Outside, his car was waiting for him. He thanked the driver who held the backdoor open.

“Let’s make this quick,” Wolf said when the driver climbed in behind the wheel. “I have a plane to catch.”

“Yes, Sir.”

The driver didn’t disappoint, but then no one in his employment ever did. Until now. His hand clenched into a fist at his side, the leather taut over his knuckles. In twenty-three minutes they were at the airfield. Wolf quickly exited the car, thanking the driver once again, and hurried across the asphalt to the awaiting private jet. Climbing the stairs, the door closed immediately behind him, and he quickly removed his outerwear, handing it to the sweet-faced attendant who scurried off to hang up his coat and scarf. Wolf made himself comfortable in one of the supple leather seats, and as soon as the plane was in the air, the attendant returned with a silver tray and a glass of whiskey on the rocks. The young man licked at his plump bottom lip, his big gray eyes filled with heat.

“Drink, Sir?”

“Thank you, love.” He took the whiskey, and downed it in one gulp. He returned the glass to the tray. “It’s best you bring the bottle.”

Looking somewhat disappointed, the young man nodded. “Right away, Sir.”

Wolf allowed his gaze to follow the slim, elegantly dressed young man. Normally he would have spent the flight buried deep inside that sweet, pert little ass, but his thoughts were otherwise occupied by far more grave matters, leaving him with six hours to think about the man he was on his way to see, the man fighting for his life in hospital. A man he’d promised to protect no matter where in the world he was.

Wolf removed his phone and called Wadsworth. “How is he?”

“Still in surgery, Sir.”

“Notify me the moment anything changes.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Wolf hung up, and tapped his fingers on the armrest. Patience was something he prided himself on. It was a skill required in his profession, and no one was as good as he was. Restless was not a trait he possessed. Or so he believed. When he found his knee bouncing, he growled. Images of a handsome face, pitch black hair like his own, and blue eyes who’d once gazed at him with such adoration flooded his thoughts, and he closed his eyes. He was not that man anymore. That man was dead. Why was he doing this? He should never have searched him out. Never gotten involved. What the hell was happening to him? A couple of years ago he wouldn’t have so much as toyed with the idea of stepping out of the shadows.

“Absolute madness,” he huffed.

The attendant returned with his bottle of whiskey, and a glass of ice. He thanked the young man with a strained smile, and waited for him to leave before swiftly pouring himself a full glass which he downed just as quick. Perhaps he should let up on his grip before he ended up breaking another glass.

What if he doesn’t make it?

Shaking his head, Wolf refused to think on it. The flight seemed to take bloody ages, and he was all but growling when they finally landed. He snatched his coat, and scarf from the attendant, and hurried down the steps the moment the door was open. A car was waiting for him on the tarmac, and Wolf wrapped his scarf around him, and slipped into his coat. It was fucking freezing. He climbed into the car, and then they were off.

As much as he loved large cities for the mere fact they made it easy for him to hide in, he sometimes despised the bloody traffic. His knee was bouncing again by the time they reached the hospital, and Wolf took the black baseball cap left for him on the backseat, and secured it to his head before he climbed out. He closed the door behind him, shoved his gloved hands into his pockets, and strolled into the hospital. By now he’d be out of surgery. The waiting area outside the ICU was packed, and Wolf held back a smile at all the people gathered. They were here for him. As Wolf slipped by them unawares, his attention was briefly caught by a very pretty blond man with stunning blue eyes.

Shaking himself out of it, he walked through the doors of the ICU wing. He removed his hat, rolled it up, and shoved it into his pocket followed by his gloves. He smoothed his hair, and walked tall, confidently. It was amazing how no one paid him any mind, simply because he carried himself as if he belonged here. He stopped at the nurse’s station, and lucky him, she was called away from her desk. Slipping behind the desk, he tapped away at the screen until he found the room he was looking for. Walking off, he headed in that direction until he’d arrived at his destination. He took a deep breath, and slipped inside knowing the doctor would be along any moment to speak with his friends.

Wolf turned, and swallowed hard. He shoved his hands into his pockets, and stopped beside the hospital bed, his voice sounding broken when he spoke to the unconscious man.

“Hello, little brother.”

PART TWO 1/11/18
Copyright © 2018 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday - 12/28/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***

Three hours earlier….

“You’ve lost your damned mind,” Ash growled. “Get your crazy-ass up here before I kick it!”

“Hold on. I just need to angle Rudolph a little more to the right.” All Dex had to do was stretch a couple more inches and he’d have the pesky reindeer right where he wanted him. “Just don’t let go, Ash. No matter how tempted you might be.”

“Can we please not discuss you falling to your doom while you’re dangling from my hands by your fucking belt! I’m going to kill you,” Ash growled. “I knew this was a stupid idea.”

Yeah. Yeah. So what’s new.

“Better yet, I’m going to tell Sloane on you,” Ash said, sounding smug.

Dex snorted. “No you won’t.” Just one more inch. Come on you holly-horned, red-nosed bastard.

“You think,” Ash challenged.

“I know,” Dex replied, the tips of his fingers grazing Rudolph’s front hoof. “You want this for Sloane as much as I do. We both know how much he loves Christmas. Both of you do. You might not bounce off the walls like little kids—”

“Like you, you mean.”

Dex wrinkled his nose. “Whatever. Don’t knock my childlike wonder.”

“Is that what you call it? I call it—”

Anyway, what I was saying is that Christmas means a lot to the both of you because neither of you had that growing up. You didn’t even have a childhood for crying out loud. You missed out on so much. Which is why I’m going to make sure that every single year Sloane has the best Christmas ever.” There. Yes! Perfect. Santa’s sleigh and his reindeer were now at the perfect angle looking as if they were taking off from the roof of their house. “Pull me up.”

Ash tugged with his usual finesse, and Dex flailed. He twisted his body so he wouldn’t hit Rudolph, and Ash growled at him.

“Stop fucking twisting, you ass!”

Dex felt Ash’s grip loosen, and he panicked, throwing an arm out to grab Ash, catching his sweater’s sleeve. The knitted Christmas sweater gave way, the sleeve tearing completely off, floating down like a giant red snow flurry. Dex yelped as he hung over the side of the house, swinging precariously as Ash held on to his belt with one hand, and grabbed a fistful of his sweater with the other, cursing him out.

Cael jerked at Dex’s distressed cry, his head shooting up to see Dex, and Dex’s eyes widened as he watched the chaos unfold before his eyes, as if it were happening in slow motion. Cael reeled back, slamming into Rosa who had a screw driver in her hand that she was using on one of the light fixtures. The tray of mugs containing hot chocolate in Cael’s hands went flying in the air, and something fizzed and popped, sparking a large flame while Rosa jerked, her hair smoking and standing on end. The hot chocolate came cascading down all over Hudson who spun to get out of the way, and slipped on one of the mugs, the rest hit the sidewalk, the ceramic shattering into hundreds of tiny projectiles and spraying Letty who let out a slew of curses to rival Ash’s. At the same time, Seb dove to catch Hudson, his boot snagging on one of the rows of garland, and over three hundred pounds of tiger Therian barreled into Letty, and Calvin who’d run out with the fire extinguisher. He cursed as Seb landed on him, his hand involuntarily squeezing down the handle, and white smoke bursting out all over Hobbs who’d rushed to help his boyfriend.

“Shit! Pull me up!”

Ash yanked at Dex, and he went slamming into Ash. They stumbled back, and Dex landed on one of the bags of dirt for the front garden. The bag burst, spewing dirt all over Ash who slipped on the melted snow and Dex’s jaw dropped as Ash soared through the air, and landed on his back in the middle of a huge puddle of snow and water which was now mixing with the dirt.

“I’m going to fucking kill you!”

Dex scrambled to his feet, and made a run for the door, Ash his heels. He hurried downstairs, and out the front realizing his mistake.

“Um, hey, guys.”

Everyone stood slowly, their narrowed eyes on him.

“Good job, everyone.” He slowly inched back toward the door. “It um, looks amazing. Sloane’s going to love it.” His back came up against something hard, and he could all but feel Ash’s laser eyes burning into him. Dex’s watched beep. “Oh, look at the time. Sloane’s going to be on his way over in five minutes. We should wrap up, and get inside.”

Everyone marched forward, and Dex knew he had about thirty seconds to live.

“I just want to say thank you for helping me with this. It really means a lot to me, and just so you know, I really appreciate you guys.” He let out a sigh, and pouted. “I’m sorry. You know Sloane means everything to me, and all I wanted was to give him the kind of Christmas he should have had as a kid.”

His friends stopped. They exchanged glances before all looking up past him to Ash who whirled Dex around to face him. He grabbed Dex by the collar, and thrust a finger in his face, opening his mouth to no doubt tear him a new one.

Dex mumbled quietly. “I’m sorry, Ash.” He shrugged. “He just means everything to me, you know?”

Ash let out a groan, and released him. With a sigh that told Dex he was the most annoying thing in Ash’s life, Ash turned toward the door.

“Everyone get inside. Sloane’s on his way.”

Dex stood to one side, his heart full of love for his friends. His family.


Dex blinked, his eyes refocusing on the beautiful face looking down at him. He gave Sloane a sheepish smile. “So that’s what happened.”

Sloane looked from Dex to their friends, and back. His expression softened, and he pulled Dex up against him to kiss his brow. Then he turned to their friends, his expression filled with so much love and pride.

“Thank you. Thank you for,” he motioned to the house, “taking all this on, just for me. It means so much. You all are the best family a guy could have.” Sloane left Dex to grab Ash in a big hug. “Thanks, Ash.”

Ash grunted, but he wrapped his arms around Sloane, squeezing, his voice rough when he spoke. “You deserve the best. Even if your husband is a menace.”

Sloane chuckled as he pulled back.

“Okay,” Ash said, clearing his throat. “Let’s all get cleaned up and get this party started.”

Dex hung back as everyone headed in, and Sloane pulled him into his embrace again. The flurries turned into a beautiful snowfall. The street was quiet, Christmas carols playing while the lights of their house twinkled. Sloane put his hand to Dex’s cheek, and Dex all but melted against him.

“Merry Christmas, baby,” Sloane said softly, his amber eyes filled with so much adoration for him.

“Merry Christmas,” Dex replied, his heart feeling as though it would burst from all the love he felt for this amazing man. “I love you.”

“I love you.” They kissed sweetly until it got too cold to stay outside any longer. When they pulled apart, Dex gave Sloane a mischievous wink. “Wait until you see what I have planned for next year.”

Sloane stared at him before he threw his head back, and laughed. He laced his fingers with Dex’s, and as they headed inside to spend Christmas surrounded by their little makeshift family, Dex couldn’t think of a time he’d been happier. He was so very lucky, and blessed. His family had grown over the years, and even though they had their differences, and they drove each other crazy, they all loved each other, and Dex wouldn’t change that for anything.

They stepped inside, and Dex stopped just inside the living room watching his friends and family laughing, joking, and chatting as they helped clean each other up. Letty and Rosa were in hysterics as Tony helped them attempt to tame Rosa’s frizzed mane. Seb stole a kiss from rosy-cheeked, somewhat tipsy Hudson as he wiped the hot chocolate off his husband’s face. Ash had a dopey grin on his face as Cael fussed over him. Hobbs and Calvin had their heads together, big boyish grins on their faces as Calvin murmured something to him, making Hobbs laugh softly, happiness twinkling in his green eyes.

“So what did you ask Santa for?” Sloane asked, kissing the top of Dex’s head.

“Nothing,” Dex said, his eyes getting a little teary as he smiled up at Sloane. “I already have everything I ever wanted.”


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

THIRDS Thursday - 12/21/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***

“You’re going to burn a whole in my floor,” Tony grumbled.

Sloane couldn’t help his pacing. It was almost time. Dex wanted to surprise Sloane by getting the crew to help him decorate the house for Christmas to make it extra special, which was touching. It really was. Sloane loved that Dex was even more excited about Christmas than usual, and all because it was their first as a married couple. It didn’t however ease his mind. Dex had a habit of going over the top, and the fact that he was bringing the rest of the crew in to help, made Sloane a little nervous. Okay, a lot nervous.

“Hey,” Tony said, interrupting his pacing. “There’s been no word from dispatch on any fires or emergency services being sent out.”

“You’re right.” Sloane sighed, and took a seat on the couch. “I’m overreacting.”

“No, you’re reacting appropriately,” Tony said, a hint of amusement in his tone. “This is Dex we’re talking about. God only knows what he’s up to, but he’s not ended up on the news so that’s a good sign.”

The fact they could judge how his husband’s evening was going based on whether or not Dex made the news was… somewhat disturbing, yet comforting because no news was good news.

His watch beeped, and Sloane stood. “It’s time.”

Tony’s reply was a chuckle as he made his way to the front door with Sloane quick on his heels. They’d had a nice relaxing day—at least when Sloane wasn’t thinking about news headlines containing the words “Strange Blond Man Causes Christmas Chaos…”.

Sloane was enjoying his “play dates” as Dex called them, with Tony. His father-in-law and former sergeant wasn’t big on chatting. He was one of those guys that believed in talking when there was something worth talking about, but there was never any need to fill the silence. Sloane could just sit and enjoy the man’s company as they hung out and read, watched TV, or played cards.

They took a cab to Sloane and Dex’s house, and on the ride over, Sloane checked his phone. No texts from anyone. No calls. No alarms. That was good right? He checked his phone battery. Fully charged. The closer they got to his block, the more he found himself leaning forward.

“You planning on crawling into the passenger seat,” Tony teased.

With a sheepish grin, Sloane sat back. “Sorry. No, you’re right. I’m good.”

The cab came to a stop, and Sloane bolted from the car. Shit. Spinning around, he ran to the window, and gave the driver money. “Thanks!” Not bothering with change, he ran across the street just like he’d been instructed. As nervous as he was, he didn’t want to spoil Dex’s surprise. Nothing was on fire, so there was no immediate danger. That he could see, anyway.


Sloane couldn’t help his dopey smile. He laughed when Dex barreled into him, and hugged him tight.

“I missed your face,” Dex said, kissing him sweetly. When he pulled back, he winked playfully. “Among other things.”

With a chuckle, Sloane pulled him close, and nuzzled his temple. They’d only been apart a few hours, but with their bond, it felt much longer. Having Dex back in his arms settled his felid half, and he let out a happy sigh.

“Where is everyone?”

Dex looked up at him, eyes slightly wide. Uh-oh. His husband might be training to be a spy, but when it came to Sloane, he was still shit at lying.

“They’re inside.”

Sloane peered at him. “Why haven’t they come out to see your big surprise?”

“They will.” Dex pulled out his phone, and waved it at Sloane. “Soon as I text Hobbs, he’s going to hit the lights, and then they’re all going to come out.” Dex’s smile widened, and Sloane braced himself.

“Is everyone inside?”

Dex nodded slowly. “Yes.”

What wasn’t Dex telling him?

“Are they all in one piece?”

Dex’s expression was unimpressed. “I did not maim any of our friends in the making of the The Daleys’ Eye-gasm-inducing Décor of Christmas Awesomeness.”

Sloane nodded, though he wasn’t quite sure he believed him.

“Ready for your surprise?” Dex was so excited he was practically vibrating.

Well, Dex was in one piece, no bandages, bleeding, bruises, or missing appendages so that was a good sign. Sloane looked him over while Dex was sending his text. He looked perfectly fine. Wait, what was that on his Christmas sweater?

“Is that me?” Sloane asked, pointing to the somewhat grumpy looking black jaguar wearing a Christmas hat.

Dex grinned up at him. “You have been forever immortalized in 100% cotton.”

“Um, thanks?” He was a little bit worried about the Christmas sweater he knew Dex had inside for him.

Dex reached into his pocket, and pulled out a pair of sunglasses that he then handed to Sloane. “Here, you’re going to need these.”

“But it’s eight in the evening.” Sloane took them, and put them on. Relax, it’s going to be fine. Where the hell had Tony gone? Probably inside. Because he’s a smart man.

“Okay, turn around,” Dex said excitedly.

The block was suddenly plunged into colorful daylight, and Sloane turned around. “Holy fuck!”’ His jaw dropped, and he took a step back. Somewhere under the millions of tiny bright lights was his and Dex’s house. The strings of lights ran from the base of the house to the roof. There were lights around the windows, the handrails, the fence. There were reindeer pulling a sleigh angled off the roof, frosted holly wrapped around the handrails along with the lights, and candy canes attached to the fence. The words “Happy Holidays” flashed in sequence to what Sloane now realized were Christmas carols coming from speakers somewhere. Christmas had exploded all over their house, and it lit up the entire block like a supernova had just gone off. There was a giant wreath on the door, and even their tree was lit up, from the bottom of its trunk to the very top, and candy canes were plunged into the dirt circling it.

“Don’t look directly at it without sunglasses or you might burn your retinas,” Dex said casually before he bounced like a little kid beside Sloane. “Do you love it?”

Sloane turned to Dex, his husband’s blue eyes filled with adoration, and his face lit up like the lights on their house. Sloane's expression softened, and he pulled Dex into his arms.

“Baby, it’s amazing. Thank you for doing this. I love it.” He kissed Dex, pouring all his love and admiration for his man into the kiss. As much trouble as Dex got into, his intentions were always nothing but pure, and everything he did, he did from his big heart. He was the best man Sloane knew, and he loved Sloane like no other. “I love you,” Sloane murmured against Dex’s lips. Dex melted against him with a dreamy sigh, and Sloane chuckled. “I have to admit, I was a little worried. I’m glad to see it all went as planned.”

Dex cringed, and Sloane opened his mouth when he heard Ash grumble behind him.

“Your pain in the ass husband needs to be declared a national disaster.”

Sloane turned, ready to reply that it couldn’t have been that bad, but when he saw their friends, the words died on his lips. Ash looked like he’d fallen down a ravine. He was covered in dirt, had a bandage over his right eyebrow, he was missing a sleeve, and a shoe. Everyone else looked just as bad. Rosa’s hair was standing on end like she was the Bride of Frankenstein. Letty was wrapped in so many bandages she looked like a mummy, Hobbs was covered from head to toe in—

“Oh my God, did someone use a fire extinguisher on you?”

Hobbs nodded, a big boyish grin splitting his face as he held two thumbs up.

“What the hell happened to you guys?”

Everyone turned their narrowed eyes to Dex.

“Well, you see….”

Three hours earlier….

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

THIRDS Thursday - 12/14/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***

“Is this a schematic?”

Calvin stared down at the large, intricate diagram of what looked like Dex and Sloane’s house, along with a detailed layout of—were those Christmas lights? When Dex had approached him, Calvin had expected a few strings of lights, some wreaths, a few outdoor decorations. He’d never thought he’d be involved in something that involved a schematic created by a government intelligence agency.

Ethan rested his chin on Calvin’s shoulder, and reached over him, snickering as he pointed to a particular spot on the schematic.

“That’s….” They both tilted their heads. “Is that a tiny digital Dex and Sloane in the window?”

“Yes!” Dex bounced over to Ethan and threw a hand up. Ethan high-fived Dex without moving his gaze away from the schematic. His boyfriend was way too amused. He should be more concerned. Terrified actually.

Calvin narrowed his eyes at Dex. “Can you read this?”

“Of course he can,” Ash replied with a smirk. “It’s all pictures. No words.”

“Bite me, Simba.” Dex flipped him off, and turned to Ethan with a huge smile. He was looking a little unhinged.

“Is that Sloane on your ugly Christmas sweater?”

Dex looked down at his knitted red sweater with alternating snowflake and heart pattern running across it. In the center was a black jaguar wearing a Santa hat.

“Isn’t it amazing?”

“It’s… something all right.”

Christmas did weird things to Dex, and Dex was weird enough at the best of times. Calvin turned to Cael to ask how much sugar Dex had already had, but quickly realized asking the guy stuffing his face with sugarcoated Chex Mix was probably not the best idea.

“What?” Cael asked through a mouthful of crunch. His pupils were looking a little big.

Calvin smiled then took hold of Ethan’s elbow, and turned him away to whisper at him. “We’re looking at an optimum Threat Level Fuchsia situation here. Get the fire extinguishers ready, and make sure Rosa’s bringing her medical kit.”

Ethan nodded, and gave him a salute, before darting off to prepare for Dex-induced mayhem.

Since everyone would be with their respective families for Christmas, Dex had decided they should all get together to celebrate their own Christmas a couple of weeks early. He’d put off decorating until today, and poor Sloane was staying at Tony’s until the surprise was ready.

The room suddenly burst into Jingle Bell Rock, scaring the crap out of Calvin. Before he could say anything, the doorbell rang, and Dex bounced over like a reindeer on crack, the bells hanging from the reindeer antlers on his head ringing. Calvin once again asked himself what the hell he had gotten himself into.

“It’s worse than I thought,” Calvin murmured to Ethan who stepped up beside him. He looked up to ask Ethan if he was ready with the stuff when his words failed him. “What’s on your head?”

Ethan beamed at him, and flicked the little bell hanging from one of antlers, the name “Comet” stitched in white up one of the brown antlers. He held a headband out to Calvin.

“I’m not wearing that,” Calvin grumped.

“Suck it up, Summers,” Ash said as he walked past him toward the door, antlers on his head. “If I gotta wear this shit, so do you.”

Calvin glared at Ash’s back. “Yeah, because you got Blitzen. Why do I have to be Prancer?” He growled at his stupid antlers before putting them on, ignoring Ethan’s delighted gasp. He leaned in and kissed his cheek.

“Yeah, yeah.”

The girls had arrived, and cheerfully put on their antlers. Rosa was Dancer, and Letty Vixen. When Seb and Hudson arrived, Seb was given Donner, and Hudson Dasher. Cael was Cupid, and Dex Rudolph.

“Okay, who picked these?” Calvin asked. “Why am I Prancer?”

Everyone went quiet and turned to him before they burst into laughter.

“What?” They were losing their minds. Oh God, it was catching. Dex pulled his phone out of his pocket, and walked over. He tapped away at it, and Calvin eyed him warily.

“This is why.” Dex handed him the phone, and Calvin hesitantly pressed play on the video. His jaw dropped. No way. It was a video of him, drunk off his ass at Dekatria, dancing—no prancing—to Barry Manilow’s Flashy Lady. “You’re such a flashy lady,” Dex teased.

Calvin’s face went up in flames. “Delete it.”

“After you help put up the Christmas lights for my beautiful unsuspecting husband.”

“I’m gonna kill you, Daley!” Calvin launched himself at Dex, but Ethan caught him before he grabbed Dex’s antler’s and gave him a different type of holy night.

“Such a grumpy little reindeer,” Dex said with a laugh. “You have my word that I will delete it the moment the lights are up.”

“Fine,” Calvin grumbled.

Ethan wrapped his arms around Calvin, and pulled him close against him.

“Did you know about this?”

Ethan shook his head. He leaned down, and pressed his lips to Calvin's. Damn him. It was hard to stay annoyed when Ethan kissed him all sweet like this. Calvin let out a sigh.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

“I brought my medical kit,” Rosa said, winking at Ethan.

“Really, guys. It’s just some Christmas lights,” Dex said walking into the sea of lights in the middle of the living room.

Rosa arched an eyebrow at him. “Which Destructive Delta are putting up according to a schematic you had made.”

Letty turned to Rosa. “Hey, how many agents does it take to put up Christmas lights?”

“Six,” Rosa said motioning to the rest of them. “The same number it takes to cause a citywide incident

“Don’t include us in your crazy,” Seb said, holding Hudson close against him.

Ash patted Seb’s shoulder. “Not only did that ship sail long ago, it’s been docked in Crazy Town for a while now.”

Hudson sniffed Ash. “Have you been drinking the spiked eggnog? Because if you have, I want some.”

Everyone laughed, and Hudson blinked at them. “What? Are you saying there’s no alcohol?”

“You can sniff the eggnog, and get drunk after the lights go up,” Ash said.

Dex clapped his hands together to get everyone’s attention. “Rosa, Letty, you take the banisters. Hudson, you’ve got the fence. Seb, the windows. Cael, you, me, Hobbs, Ash, and Cal are on lights. Any questions, just let me know, otherwise, just look at the schematic. Decorations that are not lights can be found in their respective boxes in the dining room. All the boxes are labeled.”

Calvin had to admit, he was pretty impressed with how organized Dex was. Maybe this was actually going to be okay.

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.    

THIRDS Thursday - 12/7/17

Prompt: Dex and Sloane’s first Christmas as a married couple told from the different couples POV. *** CONTAINS RELATIONSHIP SPOILERS FROM TRIED & TRUE ***

“Are you sure this isn’t overkill?” Cael asked, wondering how he was going to get out from the sea of Christmas lights surrounding him on all sides. “I think we’re one crazy cousin short of a Griswold family Christmas.”

Dex shook his head, his tongue poking out in concentration as he replaced the tiny lightbulb in the string of lights he held. He’d been searching for the damned thing for almost an hour.

“I’m also concerned for people’s retinas,” Cael muttered as he gauged the distance between him and the sofas around him. If he dove straight ahead, he should be able to make it to the armchair.

“The only thing people are going to be blinded by is awesomeness.” Dex plugged the little bulb in just as Cael made the leap. The living room exploded into white light.

“My eyes!” Cael yelped as he fell, missing his target. Except instead of falling onto hundreds of pokey, stabby lights, he landed in a pair of big strong arms.

“Sorry!” Dex shuffled around the room, and the lights went off.

Cael blinked, his vision filled with thousands of white dots, but among the dots, he could make out a handsome face looking down at him in concern.

“You okay, sweetheart?”

“My hero,” Cael said with a sigh, as he turned, and cuddled up against Ash’s broad, muscular chest. He inhaled deeply, and let out a low hum. “Mm, you smell like Christmas cookies.”

“I just finished baking the last batch, and was bringing them over.” Ash kissed the top of Cael’s head, and put him on his feet, his eyes narrowing at Dex. “You ass. What the hell is all this? I thought you said you two were getting ready to string up the outside lights.”

Dex blinked at him. “We are. I just had to replace one of the lightbulbs.”

Ash stared at him. “Are you telling me all these lights are for outside?”

Dex waggled his eyebrows. “Yep.”

“No way.” Ash shook his head as he took in the blanket of Christmas lights. Not one piece of the living room rug was visible. It was nothing but lights and green wires. “Are you insane? There’s enough lighting here to land a plane!”

“Actually,” Dex said, holding up a finger as he went to the kitchen and returned with a large blueprint of the front of the house which included the schematics to “The Daleys’ Eye-gasm-inducing Décor of Christmas Awesomeness.” “As you can see by my very detailed Achlys-created plan that I have the exact number of lights needed.”

Ash counted off his fingers. “One. You’re an idiot. Two. That title needs to change because I want to make it through this holiday without throwing up in my mouth. Three. What the fuck is Achlys?”

Dex lay the blueprints on the couch. “It’s like Themis, but the TIN version. On steroids. It’s artificial intelligence, and connects to the Dark Net.”

Ash’s jaw dropped, and Cael chuckled. “Yeah, that was sort of my reaction when he told me.” Cael shook his head. He’d been surprised, but then remembered it was his brother. “I still can’t believe TIN let you use their government artificial intelligence system to create a blueprint of your house for your Christmas decorating.”

Dex shrugged, mischief in his bright blue eyes. “I ran it through as a training scenario.”

“I don’t even want to know,” Ash grumbled, heading toward the kitchen. Cael followed him, smiling at the scent of freshly bakes Christmas treats. The island counter was lined with insulated carrying totes, and with every container Ash removed, Cael drooled a little more.

“Did you make the Christmas mix?” Cael asked excitedly.

Ash removed a container, and handed it to Cael, kissing his cheek. “Of course I did, baby. I know how much you love it.”

Dex appeared beside him, and leaned over his shoulder to sniff at the container. “Ooh, Christmas mix.”

Cael hugged it close to his chest. “This is mine. If you touch it, so help me I will stab you with one of your lawn candy canes.”

Dex held his hands up and backed away slowly. “Right. Sorry. Forgot that’s the Willing-to-commit-murder-if-you-so-much-as-sniff-it Christmas mix.”

Cael peered at Dex, following him with his eyes as his brother rounded the counter to peek at the other containers. No way he was letting Dex anywhere near his super yummy Ash-made treats of goodness. Cael opened the lid, and Ash laughed softly at Cael’s happy sigh. He took a small handful out and stuffed it into his mouth. The sugary explosion in his mouth made him moan.

“Oh God, this is so good.”

Ash cleared his throat, and subtly adjusted himself. “Sweetheart, can you, um, maybe eat that later? Or in private?”

“Cael, please do not make your boyfriend pop a boner in my kitchen.” Dex made a gagging sound, and Ash scowled at him.

“Screw you, Daley. You can hang up your own damn lights.”

“No dice, Keeler. We had a deal. Sloane and I would use our super-secret spy connections to get Cael moved into your apartment, and you would help me decorate the house.” Dex snagged a sugar cookie from one of the containers, and shoved half of it in his mouth. When he spoke, it was through a mouthful of cookie. Classy. “I want this to be the best Christmas my boo has ever had.”

Ash arched an eyebrow at Dex. “I still can’t believe Sloane married you.”

“Yep,” Dex said waggling his eyebrows. “He married me good. You’re stuck with me.”

Ash groaned, and Cael rubbed a hand over his back soothingly. “It’s okay, babe.” He stood on his toes, and kissed Ash’s cheek. “Besides, that means he’s stuck with us,” Cael said, winking at his sexy boyfriend. Ash grinned wickedly. He wrapped his arms around Cael, and Cael slipped his hands up Ash’s chest.

“What are you two doing?” Dex asked, frowning.

Ash leaned in, and Cael slipped his arms around Ash’s neck, bringing their lips together, both of them moaning into the other’s mouth.

“My eyes!” Somewhere to Cael’s right, Dex cursed, and a chair fell over. “My shin!”

Cael laughed against Ash’s lips. Mission accomplished. Oh, this was going to be the best Christmas ever.

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.              

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