Push Pull: Wolf Town, Book 2
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by Joely Skye
Description: Cut and run, or stand and fight?the heart knows where to draw the line. Wolf Town, Book 2 Despite living together in Wolf Town for three months, Scott Lund and Rory MacIntyre share only one piece of common ground. Love. For Rory, life is all about connection--family, his pack, home. But for Scott, connections spell danger--for himself and everyone he cares about. The bottom line is, Scott has only a small window of time to treasure every moment with his lover. In the not-too-distant future, real life will come knocking and he'll be forced to return to his isolated existence. Inevitably, a shadow from Scott's past edges too close for comfort. Yet Scott discovers his plan to cut and run isn't as simple as it sounds. Especially when Rory--and everyone else in Wolf Town--seems determined to convince him that holding on will cause a lot less damage than letting go. Warning: Contains mind control, wolf shifting, skittish lovers, mated lovers--and a happily ever after.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [112 KB]
Reading time: 67-94 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
Scott had never spent the winter this far north, and the freezing cold temperatures took some getting used to during the days. Days he spent traipsing around town as he delivered the mail. The often-brilliant blue sky and shining white snow made his job something he actually enjoyed--as long as he didn't get chilled.
The nights were different, though. He sometimes thought the best memory he'd take from his sojourn in Wolf Town would be waking up in the dark, his back pressed against Rory's chest, Rory's arm draped over him, the heat pouring off his lover's skin, warming Scott and making his world feel right.
There had been years when his world hadn't felt right at all. And that time would come again, all too soon.
When he woke that night, Scott found he needed more heat than usual and burrowed deeper under the duvet, wrapping his legs in Rory's. Rory gave a soft grunt, pulled Scott closer and slept on.
Morning came, the alarm went off and Rory jumped out of bed, seemingly wide awake in seconds while Scott groaned and moved into the spot where Rory had been sleeping, taking in his leftover warmth as Rory went to shower. He breathed in Rory and smiled. It took more than his usual amount of self-discipline to leave their bed, and it must have been colder than usual too, because Scott found himself shivering once he'd pushed himself out from under the covers and stumbled into the bathroom.
A fully dressed and ready-to-leave Rory grinned at Scott's appearance, and he raked fingers through Scott's unruly hair before Scott slumped against him, still sleepy. Rory's chest rumbled with pleasure.
"I really have to go," said Rory with regret. He took Scott's face in his hands and came in for a fresh minty-mouth kiss, deep and long despite his words, searching, tasting, caressing. Scott molded his body to Rory's, waking up now and wanting Rory's hands all over him.
However, Rory broke it off as abruptly as he'd started. "Crap. Can't do this now." Rory's dark eyes intensified with promise. "But later."
Then Rory was gone and Scott was left alone in the bathroom, shivering again, with more than cold. He wondered how he'd been given such a gift as Rory, and he wondered how he was ever going to let go.
His days with Rory were numbered. As, all too often, a missive in the post would tell him so.
Don't think about that now.
He put on the hot water and stepped into the shower. Once done, he dressed quickly and went to the kitchen. Rory had left him coffee in the coffeemaker. Scott wrapped cold fingers around the mug and drank to stay warm.
This was getting a bit ridiculous, his obsession with heat this morning. But at least it was approaching the end of February and soon spring would arrive. Even if it didn't do him much good to look very far into the future.
Scott sighed and braced himself for his morning mail pickup. Before Rory had brought him to Wolf Town, Scott had been a mailman in Toronto. So, with Rory being the alpha's son and all, that meant Scott was a mailman in Wolf Town. Sure he'd booted someone else off the job, but they apparently were just as happy to go work maintenance at the high school.
Scott trudged over to work, exchanged good-mornings with Carl who ran the drugstore and post office, and sorted the mail.
His stomach plunged at the sight of a now-familiar Niagara Falls postcard, and with a sleight of hand--not that anyone was watching--he slid it into his back pocket to read and destroy later. Shortly after, Scott was out in the bitter cold, hunched against the wind, delivering envelopes, parcels and junk mail to the residents of Wolf Town.
He'd slept well, but exhaustion seemed to pull at him, and the harder he tried to keep warm by walking briskly up and down the streets, the colder he got. The chill wouldn't leave him and a slight nausea began to assail him.
He thought it was his reaction to the postcard. So he stopped putting off the inevitable and slid it out of his pocket to read. It was another "friendly" note from Garrett.
I haven't forgotten you or our time together. I'll be in touch soon with plans for a meet-up, I promise. It will be great talking to you again.
He ripped it into tiny bits, ignoring his freezing fingers as he shredded the thick paper. The postcards had begun in December, about a month after he'd moved in with Rory, Garrett wanting Scott to understand he knew where Scott lived. The first one had warned against Scott sharing them with anyone, and Scott had obliged. Werewolves were many good things, but they didn't understand Minders.
Scott did. Scott was a Minder.
And Garrett was clever enough. He would figure out a way to harm these people third-hand if he decided to. So Scott responded to the PO Box, ostensibly agreeing to Garrett's terms--a few months in Wolf Town while Garrett made plans to create a new pod--then Scott would leave the wolves to join him.
Yes, Garrett had plans. Or maybe, just maybe, Garrett enjoyed tormenting Scott and that was all this was. But Scott rather doubted it. Garrett had always taken himself seriously, wanting as much control as possible--and for a Minder who could control people's minds, that was sometimes a lot.
Scott marched on, slapping his now-mitt-encased hands to warm them, and trying rather futilely to turn up his body heat by jogging up and down the various driveways. Don't think, and don't think about Garrett.
But he became further exhausted by this exercise, and by noon, the penny dropped. Scott recognized that he was sick, in the most mundane way possible--flu or cold. He soldiered on to finish his route, his limbs getting heavier, his head getting muzzier.
Damn. It was just...no one here got sick. He would stick out--again--like a sore thumb. For he lived in a town of werewolves, or if they weren't werewolves, they were related to one and likely carried a werewolf gene. They were hearty, healthy and didn't seem to come down with the common cold, let alone anything more serious. Somehow Scott had caught something. Maybe through handling the mail. Who could know?
By the end of the day, he was too warm and too cold at once, his throat hurt and it was hard to concentrate. He stumbled home before Rory, as usual. Rory's accountant job sometimes had him working long hours. Scott tried to get a meal together for them both, though with the nausea and exhaustion pressing down on him, it wasn't easy. Instead of cutting cheese, he sliced the pad of a finger open. After bumbling around in the bathroom with a bandage, he sat down for a few minutes.
The shivering started. The house thermostat could be turned higher than sixty-five Fahrenheit, but then Rory would be uncomfortable. His higher metabolism required a cooler temperature. Normally not an issue.
Scott zoned out, or perhaps that was called sleeping, and only came to as Rory walked through the door, shucking his winter coat and boots. He entered the living room with a smile. That smile was for Scott, and despite the fact he felt like shit, something in him lifted to know Rory was happy to have him here.
Then Rory's smile slipped. He breathed in through his nose and frowned at Scott.
"I smell blood." Rory followed his nose to the kitchen and came back out. "You okay?" he asked solemnly, as if Scott's self-inflicted injury was a severed artery, rather than a minor flesh wound.
"Sorry. I thought I cleaned it all up. I meant to finish supper by now too. I had the cheese out..." Scott kept talking about food as Rory picked up his hand, examined the injured finger, then pressed a palm against Scott's forehead. Scott was trying to say something about how supper would be ready soon, if he could just--
"You have a fever." Rory's face was set in grim lines, and he spoke as if it were a death sentence.
Scott had to smile, despite the crappy way he felt. "I guess."
"You're hot." The words were so serious they caught Scott's attention, and he realized afresh that Rory would never get sick like this.
"Sorry?" asked Rory, incredulous.
A twist of nerves knotted his stomach. Rory didn't like him being sick. "I don't know how I picked up this bug..."
"Lie down," Rory said tersely, and if he hadn't brushed a hand across Scott's forehead, he would have thought Rory was angry at him. But the hand was gentle. And this was Rory, Scott reminded himself, who never got angry at him.
Scott just lay there for a moment, wondering what his boyfriend was doing when he realized Rory was on the phone. Talking.
Oh God. The last thing Scott wanted right now was a visit with Rory's father and sister. Lovely people--well, except for the fact that Angus thought Rory should be living with a werewolf and not with Scott. Also they were a little overbearing, in that family-werewolf-pack kind of way that felt completely alien to Scott. Rory hung up and took Scott's hand. Huh, Rory's hand felt cooler than Scott's. That didn't happen often.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Rory demanded, and Scott felt bewildered, even flashed to Garrett and his postcards, but Rory couldn't possibly know about that, about the postcards and the threats.
"Tell you what?" he asked.
"That you were sick."
"I just did," Scott protested through his relief as he struggled to sit up. Rory didn't know about Garrett. Thank God.