|Antonio Clyburn ~ Model... Kruse Images and Photography|
Fearless Love ~ Jason and Libby's story
Snippet~ Chapter 2:
Fucking assholes. All of them.
Jason swung the sledgehammer with enough force to easily split the log he was working on and embed the maul head eight inches into the piece of wood under it. He growled at himself, the fucking tools, the fact he was outside doing manual labor at all, and at Fate for her stupid meddling ways. He’d been comfortable in his pack. They were building, strengthening, becoming a tightknit family. But then it all went to shit and now he was what? Playing second fiddle to a coyote who was a great leader. The other man was awesome, admirable even, and completely loved by his multi-species pack.
If all of that wasn’t enough Jason hadn’t even been the one to dispatch the traitors who’d chased him from his rightful pack. No, it’d been a bobcat for cripe’s sake. A cat. She’d torn them to shreds and nearly lost her life protecting her mate from Amanda and her fucking brothers.
Another log was obliterated as he contemplated the shitty turn his life had taken. Sweat trickled down the middle of his back and he growled again.
“You know the wood never did anything to you.”
Jason whirled around, hammer ready and raised as a weapon even as his other hand shifted enough to allow four inch long claws descend from his fingertips.
“Damn, you’re jumpy.” Zeke Marrow, town goof and damn good mechanic, stood with both hands raised. “I come in peace. Live long and prosper and all that shit.”
Jason stood straighter and dropped the tool onto the ground, pulling his shift back and feeling a tad bad for nearly jumping the man. He apologized, “Fucker.”
“Yeah, yeah. Love you too.” Zeke strolled over and patted Jason’s shoulder. “Offer me a beer and we’re even.”
They’d never be even, not with the still visible scars on Zeke’s neck and face from the near-death experience Amanda and her brother’s had dealt to the coyote. Jason would never be even with the male. Ever.
“Oh, buck up, buttercup. Trust me at some point you’ll be able to save my ass from something and then we will be even.” The other man laughed. “You have a really open face when you’re internally moping. Beer me, man. I’m parched.”
Jason shook his head but couldn’t stop the smile from banishing the scowl he was trying to maintain. “You’re an ass. Probably why I like you. Come on in.”
They headed into the small cabin Jason was renting and as instructed he grabbed a couple of beers from the ancient refrigerator, shaking his head at the meager contents of the behemoth. Beer, mustard, two mayo packets and a bag of lettuce. Damn, I need to get some food in this place.
“So. What’s up your ass and has your beastie growling at the poor logs outside?”
Jason handed an opened bottle to Zeke and sat at the only other chair in the room. He needed to get some furniture too. One recliner and a kitchen chair wasn’t enough. Why it hadn’t struck him as important before wasn’t something he wanted to look at.
Zeke motioned for him to continue. Jason sighed. “I was feeling bad for myself because of all the crap that’s happened in the last few weeks.”
“There you go. Get in touch with the feelings big guy. You’re surrounded by a bunch of meddling females now, might as well get used to feeling and being in touch with your emasculating side.”
Jason laughed and took a swig of his beer. He knew all about women and had been quite the womanizer back in the day. Hell, he’d even turned on the charm the first few days he’d been in Coyote Bluff, but now he couldn’t care less about the females. Well, beyond his female.
After a few moments of friendly silence he asked the question he really didn’t want the answer to. “So, what you brings you to my castle in the sky?”
Zeke scuffed a booted foot on the weathered wood floor. “Amie. She wanted me to invite you to dinner tonight.”
“Hm, so why are you looking like a kicked pup?”
“She’s inviting Libby too. I think she’s playing cupid and I don’t want to be the one that gets beat up by one of you, probably you or Ames, when the shit hits the fan. But, you know how women are… and I’m mated so.” He shrugged. “Call me pussy whipped and I’ll punch you in the face, but I’d do anything that woman asked me to do.”
“As it should be man, as it should be. Yeah, I’ll come to dinner. As you can see bringing a dish to pass is going to mean a trip to the store is in order, so what does your mate want me to bring?”
“Nothing. Just come to dinner. We’ll be doing some form of barbeque I’m sure. I’m running to Bluff’s on the way home, so anything she wants I’ll pick up.” For a moment the man looked awkward, and for Zeke that was a feat. “So, what’s the deal with you and Libby? I mean, I like the girl and don’t want to see her screwed over, but I’m sorta starting to think you’re an alright guy so…”
Jason wanted to laugh. Never in his life had he met a group of people so willing to overlook faults and issues and embrace everyone equally. He’d showed up as an interloper, another Alpha trespassing in this pack’s territory and they still accepted him with open arms. “There isn’t a deal, Zeke.”
“Sure, so the cavewolf thing you pulled in the barn wasn’t anything? Hm? I mean I was there, and had to help keep you from killing the kid, so yeah, don’t try to blow smoke up my ass.”
“You talk like a chick. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Yeah, every day. Ever meet my brother? Stop trying to change the topic. I don’t want you showing up and cockblocking me tonight with drama.”
Jason blinked, and burst out laughing. “This is all about getting into your mate? Dude, relax. I’m not out to hurt Libby. I like her, a lot. If my wolf is right she might be our mate, but right now I’m just trying to get into the friend zone.”
Zeke nodded like Jason had just said something sage and impressive. The dude was seriously wacky but funny and sure as hell trustworthy. So maybe Fate knew what she was doing bringing him to Coyote Bluff.
“Skip asked me to be Beta.” Jason threw out into the silence after the men sat for a few moments quietly drinking their beverages.
“Yep. Knew he would. What did ya say?”
“Told him I’d think about it.”
Zeke nodded. “Think you can Beta to another Alpha after running your own pack?”
That was the question, wasn’t it? Jason didn’t know, and didn’t want to find out with a fight to the death with the coyote-in-charge. He shrugged as his answer and Zeke nodded again in understanding.
“Cool. Well, I’ll be at your challenge if you decide to go for Beta. Skip asked us all and it was unanimous. I have to get going but I’ll see you tonight, seven-ish. Okay?”