Coming August 6, 2011
Blurb: Henry works as the pack cook, happily hiding from a painful past and suppressing his wolf side. Dakota is a wolf given a formula to become a human. What happens when a man who doesn't want to be a wolf bonds with a wolf who doesn't want to be a man.
Henry Moon slid a pecan pie into the oven and closed the door. He knew his boss's mate, Anthony Carrow, would give him a pleased smile when the demigod got a look at the dessert for the night; it was his favorite. If the Alpha Mate worked late, well, Henry would send it by courier to his office. As the main cook at the pack house, Henry took his responsibilities seriously.
He had heard Silver Moon, the pack leader, telling Anthony to hire an assistant. Henry hoped the Alpha Mate listened. Silver might be the wolf Alpha, but Anthony could just as easily take someone down and do it with a charming smile. The demigod used his charisma to coax people to do things his way while Silver used the strength of his Alpha abilities to bend others to his will.
Henry rubbed his neck, pleased at the slight tingle. A few months ago, the Alpha Mate learned he could place a lightning bolt brand on pack members and call them in times of trouble. Last night, Henry had requested Anthony mark him. Anthony complied, knowing how much Henry needed to feel like he belonged with the Moon Pack. Now Henry felt like part of the family. Not the pack. If he could, Henry would leave his wolf part behind forever. Being a wolf had never brought him anything but scars and grief. However the Moon Pack was more than a group of wolves, they were a family who took care of each other and supported their community as a group. There would never be enough Henry could do to pay back the people who took him in when he was battered and broken.
Silver had saved him.
When the Moon Pack Alpha discovered Henry's former pack leader's abusive ways, Silver dismantled the entire pack and allowed Henry to kill the Alpha himself. For that act alone, Silver would always hold a special place in Henry's heart even if Henry felt more comfortable around Anthony.
In general, Henry stayed away from the others unless they needed something to eat. He wasn't a recluse, he mingled when they came to the kitchen, but he didn't go up to the club. Ever. The feel of hundreds of bodies surrounding him on all sides brought back memories better left in the past or during bedtime nightmares.
Anthony offered to find him a therapist who specialized in shifters, but Henry refused. He couldn't discuss his past, talking about his time in his old pack made the memories too real. He preferred them shoved into the farthest corner of his mind, even if they did occasionally escape and visit him in his dreams. Pushing things below the surface had to be all right sometimes. No one gave memory suppression the credit it deserved.
A knock at the back door pulled his mind away from his maudlin thoughts. Occasionally pack members came through the rear kitchen entrance to grab a snack and avoid the madness of the busy club. Not that he blamed them, but they didn't always pick a convenient time.
Sighing, Henry wiped off his hands before walking around the counter and pulling open the outside door. He half expected to see the big tiger, Dare, who came through the back entrance the most.
"I swear I'm going to get you a key for the kitchen," Henry grumbled good-naturedly. He could never stay mad at Dare. The big lunk had a kind nature and a ready smile for anyone who crossed his path, unlike Dare's cranky mate, Steven.
Swinging the door open, he froze.
There wasn't a tiger on his doorstep, but two men who were an odd study of contrasts. One man, tall with brown hair and black eyes, wore worn jeans and a t-shirt and smelled vaguely of bird. The second, smaller man reeked of wolf with his white hair, arctic blue eyes and blue scrubs.
The bird-scented man spoke first. "I'm Leif, a friend of Dare's. I found this wolf and didn't know where else to take him. I called Dare and he said to bring him here. Anthony and Silver are on their way. The guy says his name is Dakota."
Dakota looked so cold his skin almost overtook his eyes in its intensity of blueness.
"Come in." Henry was more than happy to let the sad-eyed creature into his kitchen. Although he would've let the poor shivering man in anyway, Henry let out a sigh of relief, glad he didn't have to worry about Silver's response to letting a strange wolf in his territory. "Have a seat. I'll get you something to eat."
Leif shook his head. "I can't stay. I just wanted to make sure Dakota was safe before I left. I've got an appointment."
"Oh, all right. I'll watch out for him." Henry couldn't very well toss the poor thing outside. Shivers racked the blond man's body as he stood in the heated kitchen.
Henry absently stroked the shaking wolf's head. He stopped when he realized his actions were not only too familiar, but that Dakota's head wasn't covered in hair, but fur. How was that even possible? Every shifter he'd ever known always shifted completely back to human. Sure, they could shift hands to claws if needed, but hair always converted back.
Henry took another sniff. The smaller man smelled of the rain outside, wolf, and an additional elusive scent Henry found overwhelmingly appealing.