Evan was a little shocked but had to admit it was funny. He was laughing along with them when Brett came up beside him. His lips were a little tight, and he pulled Evan out of his chair a little too hard.“Go back to the room, baby and I’ll be along in a few minutes.” When Evan didn’t move, but just looked at him curiously, he took his wrist and pulled him along to their room. Rather than embarrass himself by resisting, he went along, but when Brett tried to put him in the room, he pulled away.“What’s the matter, Brett?I was talking with my friends.”
“Yeah, I heard some of that and I don’t like that kind of talk around you.”
“What the hell, Brett? I’m not twelve. Gabe’s an interesting guy—I mean,he’s a lot more open about his sexualitythan I ever was, but I like him.”
“Well, if he was mine, I’d bust his little butt for him. He’s the alpha’s mate now, and he disrespects Zack by talking about putting his mouth on other guy’s dicks.”
“It’s not like I haven’t done it , and you too for that matter.Hell, just this morning....”
“Enough. What we do in private is our business.We’re mates. No, you stay away from that guy.”
A rush of anger swept over Evan. He was tired of always being treated like a child.“You mean stay home like a good little wife? Fuck you, Brett.I’m going back to talk to my friends.” He took off down the hallway and made it about five steps before one big hand took his arm and another swatted his ass so hard it lifted him off his feet.
He whirled around with his mouth open and Brett backed him up against the wall, putting a hand on either side of his head.“Fuck me, huh?If the alpha didn’t want me in on this discussion, I’d take you in there and show you who’s going to get fucked. Now you go back in the room and wait for me,or I’ll put you over my knee right here. You don’t talk back to me, understand? Nicky and Gabe are both wild, and I don’t like their influence on you. We’ll talk about this when I get back.”
Huffing angrily, but knowing he would carry out his threat, Evan didn’t dare say the words trembling on his lips, but did give him one more searing look and stalked back to their room. Once he got there, he was so angry he paced up and down for several minutes before hurling himself into a chair. About ten minutes later, a knock came on the door and the door opened to reveal Nicky. “Hey, Evan, I was worried about you.You...uh, left so abruptly.” He regarded him sympathetically.“Brett’s pissed, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” Evan said. “That jealous, controlling, infuriating jerk! He spanked me on my ass and told me to stay away from Gabe.”
Nicky smiled and nodded.“Yeah, I could have guessed. I saw that he overheard Gabe. But Gabe is really a nice person. He was a small-town boy from Alabama when he was attacked and his mother killed right in front of him.He woke up to find that he’d been turned into this monster, and there was no one around to explain to him what had happened. Most people would have probably killed themselves, but he’s really strong. He left his home and started working construction jobs wherever he could find them, just bumming around, with no home and no one to love him. When the urges came on him, he went up into the mountains to hide and stay away from humans because he didn’t want to hurt anybody. That’s where Zack found him.”
“God, he must have been scared out of his mind.”
“I’m sure he was. I was terrified when it happened to me, and Marco found me in only minutes. Gabe went for a whole year. Sure he drank too much and partied too hard. Maybe it was sort of like anesthesia, in a way, to help him forget about everything. I hope Brett will lighten up and let you guys be friends.”
“I’m beginning not to carewhat Brett thinks. He’s acting like an idiot and if he tries to hit me again, I’m out of here.”
“You don’t really mean that. I know how you feel, Evan, believe me, but in his mind, he was just laying down the law by giving you a swat on the butt. Did he tell you he never wanted to marry a human? He told Marco they were way too much trouble. Jealous as he is, I can see why he’s having such a hard time.” He patted his arm.“Just don’t fight him so much.If you do, he’ll dig in his heels.”
Nicky got up and went to the door.“I’ve got to head back. Marco wants to question Gabe and the council has some questions for me too. I’ll talk to you later.” He left and Evan was left alone to worry about what Brett would do when he got home. It made him even angrier that he was worried about it. Since when had Brett become his boss? He had to put a stop to this and right away. He needed to lay down a few laws of his own.
He got up and prowled around the room, feeling defiant and restless. He went over to the wastebasket, dug around a minute and pulled out the letter from Eric. When he’d watched Brett answer the letter the day before, Evan had caught a glimpse of more writing at the bottom of the page that he never got a chance to read.He didn’t want to say anything at the time to further upset Brett, but he had to admit to a little curiosity about what else Eric had said. In his current defiant mood, he decided to get the letter out of the basket and look at it again before the trash went out in the morning. Finding it, he walked back over to the sofa and opened it back up scanning down to the bottom of the page.
I have a new job, Evan. Elias Winters himself called after you were taken, and asked me to join the Hunters. He said he wanted me for a special operation called Wolfsbane. By the time you get this, I should already be training.
Evan jumped back to his feet in shock. Elias Winters had recruited Eric! He was going to make him a feral creature, at war with the wolf pack. Why would he do such a thing? Was Wintersangry over what he must have thought was Evan’s defection and betrayal? It had to be some kind of sick revenge thing. Another sudden idea made him stop dead in his tracks. What if he thought he could lure Evan back this way?
He had to warn Eric.Even though he didn’t love Eric anymore and hadn’t for a long time, he couldn’t stand by while Winters did that to someone who used to be important to him. Hell, he couldn’t stand by and let it happen to anybody if he could stop it. Somehow he had to get word to him. He had to warn him.He’d tell Brett—he’d know what to do.
The door opened and Brett came in, filling up the room with his presence, like he usually did. Before Evan could open his mouth, Brett looked from the letter in Evan’s hand, back up to his face. He looked so surprised and hurt all at the same time that Evan panicked and thrust the letter behind his back.“Brett! I didn’t think you’d be back so soon.”
“Oh yeah?” Brett’s voice was low pitched and quiet. He took a step further into the room. “What’s that behind your back, there, Evan? Catching up on a little correspondence?”
“What? Oh, this?” So much for his fine words and earlier defiance. The minute Brett walked in the room, Evan felt like a stupid kid again.
He pulled the letter from behind his back, feeling the heat rise to his cheeks.“Brett, I can explain.”
“Oh? Okay, this should be good. Go ahead, Evan. Explain why I walked in to find my mate poring over his old boyfriend’s love letter.Rereading the part about his cock up your ass?”
“No, Brett! Don’t be so crude. It’s not like that at all. I just remembered that there was a part at the end of Eric’s letter I didn’t read, and I was kind of curious, you know. Then too, I was kind of mad at you...”
Brett started walking toward him.Evan couldn’t stop himself from backing up. Trouble was he had nowhere to go as his legs were up against the sofa. Brett walked up to him until he was almost touching him, making Evan stare up at him. He reached out and took the letter from Evan’s nerveless fingers, ripped it in half and let the pieces fall down between them.
“So you thought you’d get back at me by taking up with your lover? Is he what you want, Evan? Do you want to leave me and go to him like he asked you to?”
“What? No, I don’t want him. I just told you, I was finishing his letter. Why are you acting like this?”
Brett stepped away from him and sat down in the chair across from the sofa, just staring at him. Nervous, Evan went over to stand in front of him. Almost automatically, it seemed, Brett opened his knees to let Evan stand close.
“I found something in his letter, Brett. I was coming to find you to tell you about it when you came in. Eric says in his letter that he was recruited by Elias Winters.”
Brett looked up at him and shrugged. “So?”
“So? Didn’t you hear me? Elias Winters recruited Eric.Doesn’t that strike you as odd? He’s going to make Eric feral!You told me that’s what he was doing with gay men. We have to stop him.”
“I don’t give a shit about your lover, Evan.Although it’s pretty damn obvious you do.”
“Stop calling him my lover, damn it! Of course I care, like I would about any human being, and likeyou would if you weren’t being such a dick.”
Brett’s lips tightened and he turned his head away, refusing to even look at him. Evan was at a loss. He stood for a moment and then turned away in defeat. Maybe if he wrote a letter and got Nicky to mail it for him...
Before he got more than two steps away, Brett grabbed his wrist and pulled him into his lap. He landed with a surprised chuff of breath as Brett covered his mouth fiercely and plunged his tongue into Evan’s mouth. He kissed him literally breathless and then pulled Evan up so close to his chest he was squirming to get away and get some air. Finally, Evan held him away and looked deeply into his eyes.
“I love you, Evan. Damn it, I don’t like acting so crazy, scaring you, and pushing you away. I hate it, but I can’t seem to stop it. The thought of you leaving me—I couldn’t stand it, baby. I’m not lettingyou go!” He pulled him back to his chest again, but Evan got both hands up in time to push him away a bit.
“I have no intention of going anywhere. I love you too, but you hit me and made me come back in here like a kid or something. Ithas to stop, Brett.”