At Nicky’s look of outrage, Evan smiled again.“It was my fault, really. I pulled a knife on him, and he was trying to knock it out of my hand. He forgot his own strength—he didn’t mean to do it.”
Nicky turned around and addressed Marco.“Evan needs to see the doctor, Marco. His wrist may bebroken.” He looked pointedly at Brett.“Seems Evan didn’t quite get out in one piece after all.”
Brett tightened his lips.“Sorry, Evan, of course you need to see the doctor right away, but it’s not broken. Just bruised.” He looked pointedly at Nicky until again, Nicky dropped his gaze. “I’ve apologized over and over for it.” Brett said, takingEvan’s arm and nodding to Marco. “We’ll see you later this afternoon, sir. If you’ll excuse us, I need to get Evan downstairs.”
“I’ll take him,” Nicky said. “I promise I’ll bring him right back to your room, Brett, after the doctor looks at it.”
He took Evan’s other arm, and Brett looked for a moment like he might get into a tug of war withthe alpha’s pet, but finally he dropped his hand and smiled tightly.“Thank you, Nicky. Very nice of you.”
Nicky drew Evan away, and Evan couldn’t stop himself from looking back over his shoulder a bit longingly at Brett, who seemed a bit tense and nervous watching Nicky lead Evan away.
Nicky took Evan down a flight of stairs to a large corridor with rooms opening off each side.
Evan looked around himself in wonder.“I had no idea this place was so huge. It’s more like a big hotel than a lodge. That big room upstairs is massive.”
Nicky smiled and looked around at him.“It is big, isn’t it? I forget what it must look like to newcomers.We’ve had to add on a lot this past year or so. All the smaller branches of the pack have come together and moved in here because of the Hunter threat.” They came to a small door marked Clinic and Nicky took him inside. An older man came forward to greet them and examine Evan’s wrist.
He made Evan get up on the examining table, pronounced the wrist a little sprained, but already healing and then turned away to go find a wrap for it in a large store room off the examining room.
Nicky, who’d been leaning against the wall, watching curiously, now came over to sit near Evan.“You know, Evan, Brett seems to be a lot like Marco and Casey and all the other wolves in this pack.Old school.”
“Yeah, you said that once before. What does thatmean?”
Nicky leaned back in his chair.“Most wolves are old-fashioned and domineering. They like their pets nice and submissive. When I first came here a little over two years ago, Marco hauled me around on a leash.”
“Will Brett try to do that to me? I’d hate that!”
Nicky smiled.“The leash? No, they don’t do it anymore. I put a stop to most of that, at least. He might want to collar you. Some peoplelike it, and others hate it. Doesn’t much matter, because it’s up to your wolf. They used to have some ideas about mates going feral if they weren’t controlled and restrained. They don’t do that anymore, unless, of course, your wolf is oldfashioned.” He looked at Evan with interest.“All the wolves are a little dominant by nature. Sometimes they get really lucky and their blood mate turns out to be a submissive.” He shrugged.“At least in the bedroom. Nature is kind to them, I guess. I must admit, I am a bit submissive myself at times, but just not all the time, like my wolf wants me to be.” He laughed a little and ran his fingers around his neck.He wasn’t currently wearing any kind of collar, but Evan wondered if he didn’t wear one at private times with his wolf.
“The collar is more of a warning to other wolves that you’re taken,” Nicky continued. “It’s a pride thing for them.Like I said, they’re all very controlling, but it’s just a big bluff. Brett won’t hurt you—he couldn’t, even if he wanted to. Ofcourse, like with your wrist, they don’t always know their own strength. So you have to set some hard limits with him. Especially if you like to play it a little, shall we say, rough in the bedroom.”
At the look of horror on Evan’s face, Nicky laughed. “Marco and I had some issues last year and again just a couple of months ago.He’s been tightening up on me a little lately. That little remark he made about having ‘a word’ with me. That’s code for he’s probably going to spank my ass for me later on tonight.”
“Oh God,” Evan said, laughing and blushing furiously.
“Don’t worry, I’ll probably love every minute of it. It’s just sexual play for us. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be too blunt, but I wish I’d had someone to talk to when I first came. Look, I’m telling you this, because you can expect it to be the same for you.I’m crazy about Marco and he’s really good to me—protective, and sweet, and gives me whatever I want.Still, he’s the boss, or so I let him think.”
“I don’t know if I can do that.”
Nicky rolled his eyes.“Tell me about it. I ran away a couple months ago to prove a point to Marco.”
“Did it work?”
“Yes and no,” Nicky grinned. “I got some of what I was asking for, but I’ve kind of been on lockdown ever since.He’s tightened way up with me in other wayssince then.”
“Look, don’t be scared of Brett.I can see how crazy he is about you, and he’d never hurt you on purpose.It’s like ingrained in their DNA or something. He won’t harm his mate. Not really. You might get a spanking or two—actually they can be kind of hot.” He winked at Evan, and Evan had to laugh at him again.“Just remember that you’re dealing with a very dominating personality.They can take some teasing, and Lord knows I’ve been an awful brat at times, but be careful.Don’t push him too far. I’ve made that mistake with Marco in the past.”
The doctor returned with a type of tight bandage and wrapped it around his wrist, gave him some instructions and let him get down from the table. The wrap was lightweight and actually felt pretty good on his wrist, giving it extra support.
As they walked back down the hall, Nicky nodded toward it.“You won’t have to wear it long.Their blood gives us fast healing abilities. Just one of the perks.”
“Are there others?” Evan realized his tone sounded a bit bitter, and he blushed. Nicky stopped and turned to him, looking amazed at the question.
“Oh hell, yes. I probably said too much, but I wanted you to understand. Despite everything, wolves are gorgeous and sweet, and wonderful lovers.Hell, they’re hot as fuck, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. Wolves mate for life, and he’ll love you more than anyone ever has. You love Brett, don’t you?”
“I feel—I feel like I have to be with him, and God knows I’m attracted to him. I only wonder if it’s just the chemicals from the bite and the blood.”
Nicky regarded him curiously.“You’re overthinking this. Maybe because of your Hunter background. When Logan first came, he felt the same way.”
“Logan Winters? So he really is still alive?”
“Of course. I told you, Evan, they’d never hurt us. They love us too much. Just be patient with Brett, and he’ll come around. You really hold the majority of the power, you know. Most subs do, regardless of what it looks to the outside world. The wolves spend all their time just trying to make us safe and happy.”
Nicky smiled.“That too.”
Smiling, he led Evan upstairs and then to a long hallway off the large main area. “First door on the left is the guest room. Brett’s probably already in there. If not, have a shower and relax. I’ll have those clothes sent over if Marco hasn’t already taken care of it. See you tonight at dinner.”
Evan opened the door and went in, seeing Brett stretched out on the bed already, half asleep. He roused when Evan came in and held out a hand to him. Evan went over to sit beside him and Brett took his wrist and gently inspected it. He kissed it and looked up at Evan soberly.“I’m so sorry I hurt your wrist, sweetheart. Even if you were about to skewer me with that wicked little switchblade of yours.”
Evan smiled and lowered his head.“I wouldn’t have cut you. I only wanted to make you let me go.” He reached out and ran a finger along Brett’s bare chest. “I think I’m glad you didn’t.”
Brett pulled his head down for a kiss.“If you had really wanted to leave, I’d have taken you back. It would have killedme, but I’d have takenyou.”
“I don’t want to leave you, Brett.Not ever.” He leaned over and kissed his lips, and sighed. “Can I get my things from the barracks? Like my laptop and my iPod and clothes and stuff? You said you could get in there if you needed to.”
“Yeah,if we need to, but that’s too great a risk just for your stuff. I’ll buy you some new clothes and a new iPod, and whatever else you want.Ashville’s not too far from here, and we can go up there and get whatever you need, okay? No computers, though. Or cell phones. You can use the computerin the common areas, because they’re censored, but until Winters backs off a little, we’re keeping a low profile online.”
“But my parents will be worried about me!”
“Write them a letter and I’ll get it sent off right away.”
“A letter? Snail mail?Why can’t I have my cell phone? Damn it, it’s like the fucking Dark Ages around here. My mom will want to talk to me...besides, the Hunters know where your lodge is located. It’s not exactly top secret.”
“They know where we are, but not our numbers or where we have our traps set up, or what kind of munitions we have, or who our contacts are in Brevard. They try to raid us all the time, but why do you think we’re still here? Because of our safeguards and our rules.They’re in place for a reason.No, I’m sorry, honey, but it’s the best I can do for you right now. When things get a little better, I’ll take you to see your parents if you want, but not for a while. For now, just send the letter and your mom can write you back if she wants.”