Authors: Charlie Richards
Tags: #Glbt, Gay, Paranormal, erotic Romance
Out of the cage: One can never be patient enough if it means earning the peace caused by true love
Raul Braga is finally ready to admit the reason he’s been so distracted of late is because of a man—but not just any man. Raul finds himself attracted to a wolf shifter named Sean Garcia who comes from a pack in Idaho. Even though his buddy has agreed to help him look into the shifter’s current whereabouts, Raul doesn’t have much faith that a member of the homophobic pack they’ve had problems with in the past would ever admit to being interested in him, too. Imagine Raul’s surprise when Sean shows up on his doorstep.
Sean claims that Raul is his mate, which explains the attraction. Still, Sean didn’t come alone. He has an infant girl with him. Sean is the legal guardian for his niece, Lily, who is his deceased sister’s cub. Now, Raul has to decide if he’s ready for not only a relationship with a male, but a male that comes with a ready-made family. Before he can start to figure things out though, Raul is sent away on an assignment. Although the kisses are mind-blowing, will they be enough to help him overcome his fear of settling down?
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Choosing His Christmas Miracle
Copyright © 2012 Charlie Richards
Cover art by Angela Waters
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
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Choosing His Christmas Miracle
Wolves of Stone Ridge: Book Fifteen
To those who appreciate an animal’s love—Never forget that it’s a gift beyond measure.
Raul knew he should have riposted instead of retreating. If he’d pressed his advantage, he wouldn’t have ended up with the tip of Jared’s foil pressed against his chest.
“Point,” Jared stated.
Dropping his foil, Raul stepped back. He sighed and pulled off his helmet. Jared did the same, revealing his best friend’s narrow-eyed gaze as he stared at Raul. Under the other man’s intense hazel-eyed scrutiny, Raul ran a hand through his hair, shoving the too long reddish orange strands from his face.
“That’s four bouts to one, Raul,” Jared said softly. “Since I know that normally we’re evenly matched, why don’t you tell me what’s been distracting you for the last couple months?”
Heaving a sigh, Raul couldn’t meet his friend’s eyes. He really, really didn’t want to talk about this. It was embarrassing, and frustrating, and made his dick hard just thinking about… Raul turned and crossed to the workout bench and dropped onto the padded seat.
“Shit,” he murmured under his breath. “I thought it would go away.”
He really had. Raul had never been attracted to another man before.
Even when he went out dancing with his friends to a gay club and wound up dancing with other men, his cock had never taken an interest. But one short conversation with Sean Garcia, and Raul couldn’t get the sexy fucker out of his mind.
“Well, now I know it’s something big,” Jared teased, slowly peeling out of his fencing suit.
Standing, Raul followed Jared’s example and took off his own suit. “You’re going to think this is sooo funny,” he grumbled.
“Probably. I think a lot of things are funny,” Jared acknowledged. “Especially if most people don’t.”
God, wasn’t that the truth. His buddy had an odd sense of humor, which probably served him well since Jared had spent the better part of eleven years working as an assassin. Now, Jared had settled down with a man named Carson who happened to be able to turn into a wolf.
Rubbing his hands through his hair, Raul scratched his scalp, easing the itch caused by the helmet and sweat. “I’m attracted to a man,” he muttered, staring at the floor.
Jared snickered. “You’ve been dancing with gay men for over a year and this is the first time you’re admitting that?”
Raul looked up and glared at his grinning friend.
Jared lifted a brow. “Is it that cute twink Bobby? Are you banging Bobby?”
“No,” Raul snapped. “I am not banging Bobby! The guy has a boyfriend. An asshole firefighter, but he’s still the man’s boyfriend.” He’d met Bobby the first night he’d moved to Stone Ridge with Jared over a year ago. Bobby knew he was straight, and the pair had a good time dancing together whenever they met up at a club, but that was as far as it went for them. A couple months ago, Bobby had taken up with a firefighter, Seth Remington. Raul had met him once and didn’t like the guy, but he’d held his peace since Bobby had seemed happy.
“Yeah, I don’t like Bobby’s boyfriend, either,” Jared said off-handedly. “He abuses Bobby. I think we should find a way to split them up.”
“He what?” Raul roared, leaping to his feet. Thinking about a friend’s problem was so much easier than worrying about his own.
Jared frowned and shook his head. “Don’t think I’ll let you off the hook that easily, old friend. Who are you attracted to and why does it have you bent out of shape?”
Raul growled and spun away. He paced the room, his stride short and choppy, expressing his agitation clearly. Jared waited for an answer with the patience of
Job. Knowing he couldn’t get out of an explanation now that he’d spilled the beans, so to speak, Raul sucked in a breath and started talking.
“When we went to Idaho to get Vee,” he said gruffly, referring to a human who was mated to one of the wolf shifters in their pack. “I met a guy. A wolf shifter. We talked for all of two minutes.” He glared at the floor, remembering. “But I can’t get him out of my head.” By the time he finished talking, his words were a low growl rumbling from him as if the admission tore something inside him. And it did. Raul had never vocalized his thoughts about Sean before, and now, now it was
. He couldn’t take it back.
A moment went by and Jared didn’t respond. Raul turned to look at him. To his surprise, a frown creased his friend’s brow. Not liking that reaction, Raul scowled. “You asked,” he snapped.
Jared’s eyes narrowed and his lips thinned with displeasure. “You’re attracted to a wolf shifter that helped kidnap Kyle’s mate and send him on a merry chase in the mountains, endangering not only the human’s life, but those of several of our pack-mates?”
The cold, soft tone would have chilled most men, but Raul had lived and worked with Jared for over a decade. He didn’t fear him, but indignant rage tore through Raul. “Don’t pull the holier-than-thou attitude with me, Jared.” He lifted a hand and pointed at his friend. “I know all your dirty little secrets. Every skeleton in your closet. How is what Sean did, following his alpha’s orders, any different from what we do? Breaking into facilities, assassinations, destroying buildings?” Raul scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “Hell, we’ve done more illegal shit than Sean ever could.”
“Well, well,” Jared murmured, his expression slowly turning to one of amusement. “I do believe you’ve found your mate, my friend.” His grin turned lascivious. “If you need pointers on sexual positions, just ask.”
Raul felt the blood drain from his face. “Oh, shit.” His ass clenched at just the thought of sex with a man. Since his mate was a wolf shifter, he just
Sean would expect to be the top. It was the only way for one mate to claim another during sex. Which meant Raul, because he was human, would have to take a cock up his ass, probably a big one. He’d seen enough shifters naked to know they were normally pretty well-endowed.
Evidently, Jared recognized his expression of panic. The man shook his head and settled a hand on his shoulder. In an uncharacteristic but welcome move of compassion, Jared pulled him into a hug and muttered gruffly, “Fuck, man, relax. You’ll like it, and even if he is a shifter, if Sean is anything like the ones around here, he’ll be willing to switch. You shouldn’t have to bottom all the time.” He grabbed both of Raul’s arms, moved him a step away, and stared him in the eye, his hazel eyes glimmering. “Shifters do work hard to please their mates, remember?”
Raul managed to take a deep breath, forcing air into his lungs. He nodded, relieved his friend was at least a little understanding.
Then Jared grinned. “You ain’t felt nothin’ til a hot ass clenches your cock, man. Fuckin’ tight, exquisite pleasure.”
Now, Raul’s face flamed and he pulled away from Jared. He glowered at the man, all the while hating how any embarrassment showed so easily on his fair skin. “Shut up,” he muttered, turning away and running a hand through his hair.
Jared laughed. “Don’t be a prude, Raul,” he said, snorting. Jared slapped him on his back and changed the subject. “Come on. Let’s get cleaned up, then we’ll see what happened to your wayward love interest.”
“What do you mean?” Raul asked, following Jared from the large home gym. The room was situated at the back of the home, the room added on after Jared moved into Carson’s home.
Raul had bought a small parcel of land a couple miles away and the pack had helped him build a three-bedroom ranch on it. At the time, Raul hadn’t understood why Declan and Lark had insisted on the extra space, but had been swayed by their opinions and let them design the home. It had turned out nice, and it was after six months of living there that he’d realized why they’d insisted on the extra comfort.
Jared didn’t travel nearly as much anymore since he was no longer technically an assassin, which meant Raul spent much more time at home. He’d even gotten itchy feet a few months ago, which was how Raul had been one of the people assigned to help Kyle rescue his mate from the shifter pack up north. It was there he’d met Sean.
His friend’s words drew Raul out of his thoughts as Jared stated, “The wolf pack alpha and inner circle was investigated by the Shifter Council. Some of the members, like alpha Andy and his beta Guy were removed from their positions. I’m not sure about any of the others, so we’ll need to find out if Sean is still there or if he was reassigned to a different pack.”
Swallowing hard, Raul nodded once. He wasn’t completely certain he wanted to know what happened to Sean. If he really was the shifter’s mate, and Sean hadn’t sought him out, Raul would wonder why. And, since as a human, he could move on if he found someone he cared about, he didn’t want to chase after a shifter denying the mating bond.
“Hey!” Jared popped him on the back of his head and Raul spun around and glared at him.
“What the fuck was that for?” Raul snapped, rubbing his head.
“Stop thinking like that. I can see the wheels in your head turning,” Jared replied. He brought up his hand and pointed his finger at his own head. He made a circular motion, mimicking a wheel. “Did it ever occur to you that something happened to him? Kyle told me how a shifter in their pack saved your life,” he reminded him. “Maybe he got punished for it.”
Raul’s eyes widened. That thought had never occurred to him. “Damn you, Jared. Are you trying to freak me out or encourage me?” he said through gritted teeth.
Rolling his eyes, Jared replied, “Meet me back here in an hour. We’ll see what we can find on your love interest.”
“And if we can’t find anything?” Raul asked over his shoulder, heading toward the front door.
“Then we’ll start working on our plan to break into that facility those environmentalists told us about.”
Raul could hear the pleasure in Jared’s tone. Nothing made the man happier than breaking and entering. He nodded and waved, then let himself out of the house. Raul picked up a jog and headed down the well-beaten path through the trees between their homes. He huddled in his coat, trying to ignore the snow on either side of the path not to mention the crunch of the cold stuff under his sneakers.
When he’d thought about retiring from being Jared’s spotter, Raul had always figured he’d move some place warm. The mountains of Colorado had not been anywhere
his list. Yet, here he was, and Raul found he actually liked it here. The shifters were almost like a second family.