A New Beginning: Cascade City Pack

A_New_Beginning_400

When tragedy strikes his small band of werewolves who’d been roaming the countryside in search of a new home after River had been ousted as pack alpha of his old pack, River reluctantly concludes life in Cascade city might be safer.

However, tensions within the pack soon escalate when they’re forced to all live in the apartment rented by Jax, the human lover of David, the pack’s second in command. Knowing he needs money to buy better and bigger accommodation for his pack, River disappears for a few days and returns with a bag of gold chips he’s sniffed out from the Cascade River near his old pack grounds.

Coyote shifter Foster’s true mate has made his presence known, but when the coyote alpha finally shows himself, Foster is faced with a difficult decision. Stay with the werewolves and risk his mate’s unhappiness, or leave those he’s come to love as family?

Meanwhile, David continues to want to submit to Jax while being alpha to his beta mate, Brooks. Tension in the threesome grows as Jax’s reluctance to take the bite turns into flat-out refusal. Can their relationship survive this as well as Brooks pregnancy and David’s hyper-protectiveness of his werewolf mate?

When Josiah suggests the pack admit rogue werewolves, River’s desire to please his omega mate wars with his responsibilities to his pack as he questions past decisions and Josiah’s influence on them. Will history repeat itself, leading to the downfall of the newly-formed Cascade City Pack?

EXCERPT:
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

    • Josiah ran his hand through his curls. “Would you quit repeating everything I say? I never would have stopped working there, except I suddenly found myself mated to a werewolf.”
    • River narrowed his eyes. “I assume this has been going on since we got to the city. Why is this the first I’m hearing about it? Yes, things have been busy, but you’ve had plenty of chances to mention it.”
    • Josiah reminded himself he was in the wrong. “I’ve been meaning to tell you, but … I guess I thought you’d disapprove.”
    • “You knew I’d disapprove,” River corrected. “I specifically told you to stay away from humans. What wolves are you trying to help?”
    • Josiah pushed down the resentment he felt as Mark’s words came back to him about River being domineering. “Some who needed a place to stay.”
    • “Rogues.”
    • Josiah nodded.
    • “Knowing how I feel about them.”
    • Josiah couldn’t keep the snap out of his tone. “If I’m going to help at the Congress, I’m either going to be dealing with humans or werewolves, and those werewolves are going to be rogues.”
    • “And you’re telling me now because …”
    • This wasn’t going at all the way Josiah had planned. He rubbed his eyes, trying to get rid of the red tinge that kept trying to creep in. Maybe he should have waited until after his heat to bring this up, but no — putting it off longer would only make things worse. “I’m sorry for keeping this from you. It’s been eating away at me because I knew I needed to tell you. I wanted to. I just didn’t want to lay something else on your plate.” The frown lines between Rivers eyes relaxed a little, and Josiah continued. “I know you disliked taking the rogues into the pack, although both Sam and Foster turned out to be wonderful assets. As did Patrick, Kane, and Matthew.”
    • River took a step closer to the omega. “The decision to take rogues into our pack is part of the reason we’re no longer on the compound. The pack didn’t like it, no matter how much of an asset they were. And I’m disappointed to learn my mate has been sneaking around behind my back doing something he knows full well I wouldn’t like. Just the fact that you’ve been doing it landed it on my plate. Keeping it from me has only made it worse.”
    • Josiah made a frustrated sound. “It wasn’t like that, River. I wasn’t trying to be sneaky. You knew I’ve been with Mark a lot.”
    • “And I’m not so stupid I didn’t realize you’d be at the Congress some of that time. What I didn’t know was that you were actively working there in spite of the fact you knew I didn’t approve.”
    • Josiah stood his ground. “I have every right to be there if I want.” He glared at River, daring the alpha to say otherwise. “Mark told me they were building housing for rogue wolves. Housing that would keep the weres from wandering around trying to find food in the humans’ trash. That alone will make a huge impact.”
    • River growled. “You’ve been meeting with these rogues?”
    • “No, not them. Mark just showed me the housing. He introduced me to an omega shifter who’d been adopted as a baby by humans here in the city. His name is Jaime, and before your hackles go up, I repeat, he’s an omega. He told me he’d discovered a group of rogue omegas living in the sewer system, and he’s set up an old farm building for them as a shelter where they’re safe from the rogue alphas as well as the humans. I’ve visited them a few times and talked to them about their options. I was hoping you might write to Grey at Angel Hills and ask if they’d like any more omegas.”
    • River’s eyes darkened to a mossy green. “So, that’s why you’re finally telling me.”
    • “I was going to tell you anyway,” Josiah said on a huff.
    • “When?”
    • “As soon as I could convince myself it wouldn’t come between us. Anyway, it’s the omegas I’ve visited with Mark, and I don’t regret it.”
    • River looked away. “I’ve known for a few days you’ve been lying to me. I forgot my keys last Monday and came back to find you gone.”
    • Josiah put things together. “You wanted to see if I’d lie.”
    • Guilt flashed in River’s eyes. “And you didn’t.”
    • Josiah let out a breath. “Yes, I did. I let you think I was on my way to the Congress when we were really going to the omega refuge. I felt so guilty. I would have talked to you that night if the girls hadn’t gotten sick.” Josiah took River’s hand. “I’m sorry. I just want to help. I know you’ve been wrestling with things since we left the compound, but I still believe improving relations is important.”
    • River’s jaw tightened. “I don’t like you putting yourself out there when I’m not around to protect you, Josiah.”
    • “I can understand why you wouldn’t want me to be around rogue alphas or even betas, but omegas? You know we have an affinity. These shifters are just like the rest of us, only down on their luck. People need help sometimes. We did.”
    • River’s lips thinned. “Thanks for the reminder I was unable to take care of my pack and had to rely on Jax for a place to live.”
    • “River, that’s not –”
    • “Some rogues are desperate, and I don’t want my mate near them.”
    • “The omegas are desperate. For our help. You don’t know them, River. You haven’t met any of them.”
    • “And why is that? Because you didn’t bother to tell me about them.” The alpha took a step back. “Come to think of it, the subject of rogues came up at the meeting at the Congress. You conveniently didn’t mention you knew all about them.”
    • Josiah sighed. “Can you blame me when you’re acting exactly like I was afraid you would?”

 

Excerpt from Third Mate

EXCERPT:
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.

The humans were not the only outsiders at the meeting. Two representatives from the Angel Hills Wolf Pack had arrived late that afternoon in order to attend the conference — an alpha by the name of Milo, and a beta named Ace. Leo sat studying them while Rafe read out the minutes of the last meeting over five months prior. Like most alphas, Milo was tall and well-muscled. He had a head of black hair pulled into a top knot and chiseled features with cheekbones that stood out below hawk-like dark eyes. His arms and one side of his neck were covered in tattoos of strange symbols, and Leo wondered what they signified.

The beta was slighter, with lean, toned muscles and long runner’s legs. His short brown hair was sun-streaked, and he had a long, straight nose and attention-grabbing icy blue eyes beneath dark, well-shaped brows. Leo noticed a tattoo peeking out from under the right sleeve of his shirt. He seemed to be taking in everything with interest, particularly the group of humans. Leo couldn’t help but feel sorry for the females, Cara and Beth, who stood out like sore thumbs among so many males.

Stone’s sharp, deep voice cut into Leo’s thoughts, and he turned his attention to the front where the contentious alpha had already begun arguing his points.

“… no place for females. Do they even have any werewolf in them?”

“Of course they do; they’re mine. They are developing as quickly as any werewolf child.” River said more calmly than Leo would have under the scrutiny of so many condemning eyes.

“But have they shifted?” someone asked.

“Not yet. You know as well as I do that they could be a year old before they shift.”

If they shift,” Stone muttered. “And most do by seven months.”

“If they don’t shift,” someone else said, “they aren’t werewolves. They’ll have to leave.”

“They don’t belong here.” Stone stood, feet apart and hands on hips. Justin, Stone’s pregnant omega, cowered in submission at the sound of Stone’s displeased voice. His three beta mates sat with eyes downcast, although Leo saw Canaan glance up more than once. There was something shrewd and calculating about Canaan, and although Leo felt sorry for him after his son was killed, it didn’t make it any easier to like him.

“As my children, they certainly do belong here, as yours do, and the progeny of everyone else present,” River said, tone brooking no argument.

Stone made a frustrated sound and looked around, eyes landing on Griffin, an alpha of Stone’s age.

Griffin stood. “Your own father drove your mate’s father from the pack for having relations with a human female.”

“My father did not drive him out. Derrick was punished — told he couldn’t leave the compound. But he ran away.”

“This is true,” Old Ben called out.

“The fact remains that Thorn did not approve of the boy’s actions,” Griffin argued. “He didn’t invite Derrick to bring his female lover into the pack because females don’t belong with werewolves.”

“I don’t know what you’re getting at,” River said with a sigh. “I am not attempting to bring a female among us. My daughters were born to me, and are therefore a part of this pack.”

Before Griffin could speak again, Stone interrupted. “Which wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t mated with the half-human, which you did without consulting the pack.”

“Josiah is a werewolf,” River said. “And I do not need to consult my pack before mating.”

Half-werewolf,” Stone corrected. “Unlike someone who willingly takes the bite and transforms, your mate will always be part human. Which is why he spawned twin abominations –”

In two steps, River crossed the room and had Stone’s neck between his hands, thumbs cutting off the alpha’s air flow. Leo glanced at the humans. Several flinched, and others looked horrified.

“Don’t you ever,” River breathed heavily into Stone’s purpling face, “ever speak of my mate or children in that manner again. Am I clear?”

Stone’s eyes bulged and his mouth gaped as he tried to dislodge River’s grip. Leo stood, along with the other alphas in the room. As pack alpha, River had the right to kill Stone for such an insult, and Leo found himself almost hoping River would.

 

excerpt from Second Alpha

They reached the guest bungalow where Trace was staying and walked in without knocking. David stopped, taking in the scene before him. River stood looking down at Trace, who lay on the couch, Xavier sitting beside him. The pack alpha’s face reflected an odd mixture of concern and anger. Sweat soaked Trace’s skin, making his blond hair a shade darker. His blue eyes were unfocused. His chest rose and fell with quick, labored pants, and his shirt was ripped open. As they watched, he arched up off the couch, muscles in his arms and legs straining. The right leg of his jeans began to tear down the center, exposing skin roiling alarmingly as though something swam beneath it, veins standing out like roadmaps. Twitching violently, Trace let out a yell that gradually strengthened, rising up from his belly until it was very close to a howl.

“Holy shit,” David said, immediately realizing what had happened.

“What the hell?” Jax ran forward. “What’s wrong with him?”

“The change…” River looked at David, who immediately turned to Xavier, eyes wide.

“You bit him?”

Xavier rose from the couch, hands fisted at his sides, eyes defiant. “He’s mine!”

“You had no right.” Jax moved closer to Trace, and Xavier let out a low growl that stopped Jax in his tracks.

Trace had been reasonably fit before, but now his muscles rippled with definition as right before their eyes, his physique became stronger and fiercer until his clothes ripped and hung in shreds off his body.

“What the fuck?” Jax’s face was pale.

“He’s going through a molecular change from the bite,” River said. “I’ve never seen it before, but my father described it once.”

“He looks like he’s dying!”

“It’s very painful, but he’ll be okay.”

“You bastard!” Jax started for Xavier, and David grabbed his arms to hold him off. Xavier would rip Jax in two. “You complete and utter, totally selfish bastard!”

“He wanted me to. He wants to be with me,” Xavier said. He turned to stare down at Jax, a mixture of pain and love in his eyes.

“He didn’t know what he wanted. How could you?”

As he held Jax against his chest, David could feel the man’s heaving breaths.

“He wants to be with me!” Xavier insisted. “And I couldn’t let him leave tomorrow. Someone would keep him from coming back.”

“The humans aren’t going to take this well,” David said.

“Is that all you have to say?” Jax jerked out of his grip.

“It’s important, don’t you think?”

“He’s just changed a man against his will!”

“I’m telling you—” Xavier began, but Jax cut him off.

“I don’t believe for a minute that Trace wanted to become…this!” He pointed at the writhing, now naked man on the sofa. Trace’s cock stood out from his body, painfully stiff and flushed, a large knot forming at its base. “Oh, my God,” Jax choked out.

David clamped his mouth shut, watching Jax pace the room restlessly.

“Can’t you help him?” Jax stopped in front of River. “Change him back? Make it stop?” He gestured to where Xavier knelt beside the couch and held Trace’s hand.

“It will be over soon,” River said to Jax, and then to Xavier, “Give him your blood to drink.”

“No!” Jax rushed forward, and Xavier snarled so violently, Jax tripped in his effort to change direction and fell to the floor. David reached out to help him up, but Jax moved away. The rejection felt like a blow.

“It will help with the pain,” River said.

“It will make him into more of a beast!”

David audibly gasped, and Jax showed the first signs that he realized the effect his reaction was having on his lover.

“I didn’t mean that,” Jax said, taking a step toward David.

This time, David moved away. “Yes, you did.”

excerpt from Firefly Ranch

      Bishop grew very still, a wary look settling over his face. Suddenly, the sounds of cows shifting in the straw and rhythmically chewing their cud seemed incredibly loud around them.
      “What are you talking about?” Bishop’s gaze bored into Carver, and Carver wondered if it had been a mistake to bring it up. But he had to know.
      “Word is that Sutter made a pass at you, and you turned him down. That’s why he didn’t give you the job.”
      “Where did you hear that?”
      “It doesn’t matter where I heard it. All I really care about is that you get over yourself and get rid of the attitude before I have to take action.”
      “Is that a threat?” Bishop narrowed his eyes.
      “What?” Carver frowned.
      “Are you threatening me? Because I’m gay. Like maybe you don’t want a fag working under you, so if I don’t bend and scrape to you, you’ll have me fired.”
      “No!” Carver couldn’t help it, the laugh bubbled up of its own accord; because if Bishop only knew him, he’d realize how ridiculous that accusation was. Turns out that laughing was the wrong thing to do; before Carver could blink, Bishop pulled back his fist and slammed it into Carver’s jaw, knocking him to the ground.
      The easiest and probably smartest thing to do at that point would be to explain from where he was sprawled in the straw, but Carver had never been known to go with the easiest and smartest thing. Surging forward, he tackled Bishop by the legs, sending him toppling backward. Before he could right himself, Carver was on him.
      “Get off!” Bishop struggled, but Carver not only had the advantage of being slightly larger than Bishop, but also of having grown up on a ranch defending himself against bullies while trying to prove himself. Still, Bishop was no weakling, and there was a tussle before Carver finally pinned him. What he hadn’t expected was the way his body would react to being pressed against Bishop’s. His erection could cut steel.
      Carver watched Bishop’s eyes dilate, the green almost disappearing altogether. He smelled of sweat and spice, and suddenly Carver just wanted to bury his face in the man’s neck. Bishop Guy might be an ass, but he was also sexy as hell, and there seemed to be a fine line between annoyance and sexual frustration for Carver where he was concerned. Eyes on the wide mouth with lush lips, Carver pushed his hips forward, grinding against Bishop’s groin, delighting in an answering hardness there; but when Carver shifted his gaze from Bishop’s mouth to his eyes, the cold venom he saw there was enough to make him ease up his hold and sit back. The cock might be saying ‘yes’, but the eyes were definitely saying ‘no.’
      “I was not laughing at you,” Carver said. “I was laughing … with you.”
      “What the hell?” Bishop tried to buck Carver off him, but Carver held firm, thighs tightening on narrow hips.
      “Would you just listen? I’m not about to laugh at you for preferring men when I feel the same way. Understand?”
      “Tell me something I can’t already feel through your jeans.” Bishop glared up at Carver, lips pink and slightly open, breath coming in audible huffs. Carver couldn’t stop himself; he leaned in and kissed those lips.

 

excerpt from Partners

Nicco couldn’t help but be glad Alex was leaving. A hundred girls could look at Rider with interest, and Nicco would be fine with it, but watching Alex do it set Nicco’s teeth on edge. As yet, Nicco wasn’t up for exploring the reasons for that.

When they’d finished their meal, they cleaned up the remains and drifted back into the living room. “I think I’ll head for the shower,” Nicco said, feeling tired, grimy, and irritable.

”I’ll be gone when you get out, Nicco,” Rider said. “Talk to you tomorrow.”

Nicco patted Rider’s shoulder in reply and went into the bathroom, pulling off his shirt and throwing it into the corner. He could hear Rider and Alex talking softly on the other side of the wall. Unable to resist, Nicco gently pulled the door open a crack and looked through. He could plainly see the two men standing by the front door, talking. Rider put a hand on Alex’s shoulder, probably telling him to take care on his trip. Alex smiled … Nicco could see his face clearly from this vantage point. Then, as Nicco watched, the younger man suddenly leaned in, hand curling around Rider’s neck, and kissed him right on the mouth.

Nicco jerked, almost giving his spying away. He wanted to move back from the door, but found himself rooted where he stood, waiting to see what Rider’s reaction would be. Unimaginably, but undeniably, Rider leaned into Alex’s embrace … actually wrapped his arms around the younger man and kissed him back.

Kissed him. Open-mouthed and full of tongue, exactly the way Nicco had seen Rider kissing women on many occasions in the past.

If an elephant wearing a tutu had entered the bathroom through the small window over the shower, Nicco couldn’t have been more blown away.

He heard the front door close and hurried to turn on the shower. Standing under the spray, chest heaving as though he’d been running, Nicco put his hands to his head. What was that? What the hell was that?

Sure, Nicco and Rider teased, maybe even flirted, dancing around each other in that way they had; but it was something they’d always done and just a part of who they were together. At least, that’s what Nicco had thought. Now he didn’t know anymore. How could Rider be interested in men and Nicco not know about it?

It took all Nicco’s concentration to wash off properly, his mind returning again and again to the kiss he’d witnessed until he finally switched the water on cold to alleviate the undeniable erection that he’d gotten from thinking about it. Pressing his face to the cool tile, he took several deep breaths and willed himself to calm down.

It hurt, dammit! It hurt to see Rider that close with another man, and Nicco didn’t know what that meant.

Nicco did his best to act natural when he left the bathroom and said goodnight to Alex. Confused and heart-sick, he headed for bed, only to lay in the darkness, eyes wide open.

excerpt from First Omega

A noise behind Josiah made him turn. A man stood in the doorway, filling it with his large frame, and Josiah instinctively knew that this was the pack alpha. At five-foot-eight, Josiah felt dwarfed by the man, who topped six feet by at least five inches. He was quite a few years older than Josiah’s nineteen, nicely muscular, and long legged. His dark hair was long and pulled back with a leather thong. If Josiah had to describe him, he’d have to say devastatingly sexy, although he didn’t think the Congress would appreciate that going into his notes.

All the werewolves Josiah had seen so far wore the same loose pants that tied at the waist as well as button-down shirts, and although the weather was cold and there evidently was no electricity in the entire compound, they all walked around in bare feet. Josiah himself had on a jacket over his long-sleeved shirt, as well as jeans and sturdy boots, and he was still slightly chilly.

“Pack Alpha.” Xavier stepped forward. “This is the human.”

The pack alpha strode into the room, and Josiah put out his hand to shake.

“Josiah Kimbrel. Thank you for allowing me to enter your pack and observe.”

“River.” The man looked impressed that Josiah was willing to shake his hand. He had the most amazing eyes, Josiah couldn’t help but notice as River clasped Josiah’s hand, squeezing it firmly.

“We don’t use surnames here,” River said. “Welcome to River Wolf Pack.”

Josiah nodded, still studying the man’s eyes. They reminded him of a bottle his uncle once had sitting on the window sill that on sunny days shone a light, clear green. The alpha’s eyes were very expressive, framed with long lashes and dark arching brows.

Josiah was a little unsettled by just how striking the guy was. River didn’t make Josiah feel like he wanted to curl up on the couch with him, as Danny had done when Josiah met him, and he didn’t exactly intimidate him as Xavier, Malcolm, and Gavin did. Instead, River made Josiah very aware of every part of himself, as though River had flipped a switch and turned Josiah fully on.

When the pack alpha released his hand, Josiah surreptitiously flexed it, fingers a little sore from the hard grip. It reminded Josiah not to let his guard down; as human as the werewolves seemed, they were definitely not human.

“You can relax, Josiah,” River said. “We mean you no harm.”

“I know that.” Josiah straightened his shoulders defiantly. He was there as ambassador for the humans, after all. “You signed an agreement.”

River smiled and nodded, but it didn’t help ease Josiah’s mind any. The man exuded strength and vitality and a wildness that was almost frightening. Josiah tore his eyes away from River and looked about, wondering which room was his. It would be nice to set down the heavy backpack and settle in; the trip had been long and rough.

“I suppose you’d like to see where you’ll be sleeping,” River said, stepping aside to gesture toward the front door. “Your bungalow is nearby; we’ll take you there now. Gavin will be staying with you.”

So Josiah wouldn’t be staying with the pack alpha. He supposed that was for the best. The man was damned distracting. Josiah glanced at Gavin, unsure if he liked the idea of the surly alpha sharing a bungalow with him.

“It’s safest this way,” River said, evidently sensing Josiah’s concern. “Although an alpha, Gavin is mated and wouldn’t attempt to mount you.”

“What do you mean?” Josiah asked, alarmed. He looked to Xavier and Malcolm, who appeared amused.

“Well, you are a very beautiful young man.” River’s eyes moved over Josiah from the top of his head to the tips of his toes in a way that felt oddly like a physical touch, and Josiah held in a reactionary shiver.

Josiah wasn’t sure how he felt about being called beautiful. He might be attractive, sure, but beautiful made him sound like a woman.

“Those of us who are unmated have needs,” River continued. “Weres are highly sexual creatures; but the fact that Gavin is already mated means he won’t pose a threat to you. He’ll be there for your protection.”

Josiah glanced at Gavin again, not too sure about that, given the barely concealed animosity Josiah could feel drifting off him. Gavin gave Josiah a leer.

“I assure you, you have nothing to worry about.” River started for the door.

Josiah followed, cheeks warm.

The guest bungalow was also built into a tree, although closer to the ground than the pack alpha’s house. It was small and clean with a view of the valley from one side and the dense forest from the other. If Josiah stood on his tiptoes on the back balcony, he could just see the shimmering waters of the Cascade River past the trees.

River led Josiah through a comfortable sitting room with a large fireplace, past a small kitchen, to the master suite, which was dominated by a king-sized bed and large dresser. The room had its own fireplace, which Josiah was thankful for, as the weather was chilly and there was no heating system.

Gavin would be staying in a smaller room at the back of the house, and Josiah was relieved the other man wasn’t going to be sleeping close by, no matter what River had said. Overall, Josiah was impressed. His uncle had always told him the weres weren’t the uncivilized animals so many people made them out to be, and he had been right. Josiah looked forward to jotting down his first impressions for the Congress.

“We really aren’t animals, you know,” River said, and for one crazy moment, Josiah wondered if the pack alpha could read his mind.

excerpt from Love Will Find a Way

      “What is it you said you each did for a living?” Eve asked, giving Aiden a chance to make notes on his tablet.
      “Vick’s a stock broker, and I’m a flight attendant for Friendly Air.”
      Aiden looked up.
      “My boyfriend’s a pilot for Friendly Air. Bryar Cabot?”
      “Your boyfriend?” Ted frowned slightly.
      “Fiancé, actually.” Aiden couldn’t help but smile and twist the ring about his finger.
      “Tall, dark, and handsome?” Ted asked.
      “Hey!” Vick playfully smacked Ted’s arm with his free hand.
      Aiden nodded, and to his amusement, so did Eve. Eve always said if Bryar wasn’t gay, she would go for him in a heartbeat. Aiden supposed there was something slightly bad-boy about Bryar, particularly when he wore his black leather jacket. Aiden thought of that morning when Bryar had talked so dirty to him while fucking him hard and fast, and Aiden’s cock twitched in his pants.
      “Yeah, I know him. I just …” Ted’s confusion began to register in Aiden’s mind, and he leaned forward.
      ‘What?” Aiden asked. He felt Eve’s eyes on him.
      “Nothing,” Ted shook his head. “I didn’t realize Cabot was gay, that’s all. It just shocked me a bit.”
      “What made you assume he was straight?” Eve asked as Aiden’s heart began to hammer. This was it — the guy was going to say that Bryar was having an affair. That’s why Bryar looked distant sometimes, and that’s why he didn’t want to invite anyone he knew to the wedding. In the back of Aiden’s mind, he realized that was ridiculous — Aiden completely trusted Bryar, and besides … if Ted was surprised that Bryar was gay, it meant that Bryar would have to be having an affair with a woman, and Aiden knew that would never happen. Bryar was not in the least attracted to the female persuasion.
      “Just never gave off the vibe.” Ted shrugged. “He even flirts with the ladies.”
      A rock settled in Aiden’s stomach. Eve looked dubious.
      “No more than flirting?” she asked, obviously determined to get information out of the man before he left and she had to deal with the fallout. She was probably right; Aiden was too stunned to think of a thing to say, but later he was sure his mind would be working double-time to put it all together.
      “I’ve never seen him in a clinch with one, if that’s what you mean.”
      “Never heard he’d spent a layover with a woman?” Eve pressed, and Aiden saw Vick move uncomfortably in his seat, obviously disliking the suddenly serious tone the conversation had taken, or perhaps disappointed that the spotlight was off his wedding.
                Ted shook his head, and Aiden let out the breath he’d been holding.