Wolfsbane (Page 20)

Brett stared at him moodily, but his head did drop in a barely perceptible nod. Evan smiled and cupped his face in his hands.“You have nothing to worry about, sweetheart. I never loved Eric anywhere close to the way I love you, and I’m not going to suddenly start wearing makeup and acting like Gabe, because I happen to like his company. I mean, damn, give me some credit. I just barely met the guy.”

Brett remained quiet, content to just hold Evan in his lap, apparently and rub his knuckles absently across Evan’s rapidly growing erection. “Uh, Brett? Either take care of that or stop handling it, please.It’s getting uncomfortable.”

For the first time since entering the room, Brettsmiled. “I’d love to, baby, but I have to get back to the meeting. They just broke for a few minutes, so I came here to check on you. I wanted to apologize.” He blushed a little, and Evan leaned in to kiss him again.

“I’m glad you did.”

“Do you want to come back in there with me? They’re still in the main hall and a few other wolves and pets are listening.That way I can...” His voice trailed off, and a slow blush stained his cheeks again.

“Keep an eye on me?”

“No. I mean, yeah, in a way. I like to look at you, and I want to show you I’m sorry about what I did, you know, earlier?”

“Spanking my ass? Sending me to my room?”

“I said I was sorry about that.” Brett’s red cheeks looked as if they might become permanent, so Evan put him out of his misery by smiling at him.

“Actually you didn’t, but that was a nice apology for you, so I’ll take it. I still want to talk about this Eric thing. I have to warn him, Brett. Or you can do it, whatever. It may be already too late, but I have to at least try.”

“Okay,” he said, showing just a trace of his earlier bad temper at the mention of his name again.“I’ll tell Marco and he can figure out a way to get word to him, if it’s not too late already.” He pointed a finger in Evan’s face. “You stay away from him though. Is that clear?”

Evan leaned forward and took Brett’s long finger in his mouth, swirling his tongue over the back side and sucking it inside.Brett’s eyebrows rose, he made a funny, choking sound and lifted Evan up in his arms as he strode toward the bedwith him, Evan’s legs wrapped around his waist.

Laughing, Evan said,“I thought you didn’t have enough time.”

He threw Evan down and began jerking on the fastenings of his jeans.“I don’t, so get those clothes off.” As Evan wiggled out of his jeans, his erection popped free of his tight pants and bounced off his stomach.

Brett watched in fascination and he swallowed hard a couple of times. “Don’t worry. This isn’t going to take much time at all,” he said, as he dived into the bed after him.

The meeting was already in full swing as they entered from the back of the room. Evan found a table where he could watch and listen and still not be too conspicuous as he eavesdropped, though he noticed several other Werekin in the room, doing the same thing. Brett slipped in and sat at the end of the table with the other council members, receiving a slight raising of the eyebrow from Marco.

“Glad you could join us, Brett.” He waited until Brett mumbled an apology and then focused his attention back on Gabe, who was being questioned by the council. He was sitting by his mate, Zack, who had a protective arm around him, and Gabe looked a little nervous.

“I don’t know what else to tell you, Marco. Tim bit me, that’s about it. He killed my poor mom, and left me for dead there in that rest stop.If it hadn’t been for the state patrolman following the trucker in there, he probably would have killed me too.”

Zack spoke up beside him. “That’s not exactly true, honey. Before he died, Tim said he wanted you for his mate.Your mother just got in the way.”

Casey leaned forward.“If that’s what he was trying to do, then why didn’t he mate with you?”

Gabe bit his lip and looked helplessly at Zack, who immediately pulled him closer and spoke up.“He did. Or at least he tried to. He was in the middle of it when the patrolman arrived and heard Gabe’s screams. Tim never got a chance to finish, and that’s all either of us is going to say on thatsubject.” He glared around the table at all of them and there was an awkward little silence.

Marco cleared his throat.“Of course. That does raise some questions though, and I wonder if even the–uh—brief contact was enough to make a difference in his ability to survive. Most of our oral traditions passed down by the family say that if a person is bitten by a wolf and not cared for with the blood, then they die.Period.”

Ian shook his head.“Maybe not true, Marco. Logan said Winters had been conducting some kind of experiments for a while before he came to us. He could have been making ferals all this time, using rogue wolves and other captive wolves to turn them. When I was in their prison, I overheard them say they were going to use my bite for the next batch of recruits. I had no idea at the time what that meant.”

Gabe shrugged.“All I know is nothing happened with me. At least, I never got sick or anything. It scared the shit out of me the first time I shifted. I was alone at my house after my mom died, and I woke up in the middle of the night and it—happened. I could feel my body changing and my first thought was to call 911, but my mouth wouldn’t work right. So I ran outside to drive myself to a hospital. I looked up and saw the full moon and just...went. Shifted into this creature you guys call feral. I was so freaked out I just took off running. I had this urge, you know? To just run under the moonlight. I ran till I dropped. Then I guess I passed out or something, because I woke up the next morning and I was myself again.”

Nicky, sitting next to him, shook his head.“God, you must have been so terrified.”

Gabe smiled.“I was. I was scared out of my mind the next night, but it didn’t happen. Then I was beginning to think I’d dreamed the whole thing when it happened again at the next full moon.That’s when I packed up my old truck and got the hell out of there. Just left and never went back.I was afraid I’d wake up some time after I changed and find out I’d killed somebody. Maybe even some of my friends or neighbors.I mean, I’d seen the werewolf movies. Scary shit.”

Zack said, “I found him not quite a year later, camping out in one of the national forests near my land. Actually, just over the line into my land. He smelled a little like a wolf, and I knew he was some kind of Werekin.I just couldn’t figure out exactly what he was. I gave him the mating bite shortly after that, and fed him my blood.He’s never changed since.”

“How did you feel when you changed into the feral creature, Gabe?” Ian asked.

“Not bad, really. At least not after the physical change itself, which hurts like hell. Then mostly angry, bitter, kind of mad at the world in general.”

“That’s the way I felt too,” Nicky said. “I wasn’t in that state long before Marco tackled me,” he glanced up at Marco.“But I do remember feeling so angry. Just furious, really, like I wanted to hurt somebody.”

Marco nodded.“So these feral creatures would be fierce soldiers, if Winters could find a way to control them.Maybe that’s why he wanted to experiment with the mating bite, thinking that might be a way.”

Ian spoke again.“One thing I don’t understand. What happened to Tim? What made him go after Gabe that way?Was there an autopsy done on his body?”

Zack looked uncomfortable.“Yes, but it was inconclusive. No brain tumors or drugs or anything in his system. We really have no idea.”

Marco shook his head.“Something doesn’t add up. I knew Tim, and remember him well. He left your pack for a while when he turned twenty-one and came to us. He worked for a while in the mines. He was a nice kid, bright and smart. The person I knew would never have done what he did to Gabe and his mother.It’s unthinkable.”

Nicky looked up at Marco’s words and straight at Zack. “He left for a while? Why did he leave your pack and come to Marco’s, Zack? That’s a little odd, isn’t it?”

When Zack hesitated, Marco said, “It was because he was an alpha wolf. Isn’t that right, Zack?”

“What difference does that make?” Nicky asked.

“There can only be one alpha of a pack, Nicky.” All eyes shifted down to Casey as he spoke up.“That’s why I had to become the battle commander when I joined your pack. It was a good compromise for me, because I love fighting and training soldiers, but it wouldn’t have worked for everybody. That’s why so many rogues are actually alpha males. And why so many strong alpha wolves get captured by Winters and his Hunters.”

“I wondered about that,” Nicky said thoughtfully.“There are an awful lot of them roaming around, it seems.”

“It’s true,” Marco said. “Many of them aren’t happy if they can’t lead a pack, so they wind up leaving and trying to find a new place for themselves.Is that what happened to Tim, Zack?”

“Yes. We were both alphas and when the time came for a new leader, we both wanted to lead the pack. We had to fight for the position in the ancestral ring. I won, and Tim never completely got over it. Finally, he left to go to you. When he came back two years later, he was quieter, more subdued. I gave him a council seat.Did everything I could to keep him satisfied.”

“Wait a minute,” Marco said. “He wasn’t with us for two years. He left after a year and said he was going back home.”

“Well, he never made it.” A puzzled silence dropped over the table. Zack looked confused. “He told us he’d been with you the whole time. If he wasn’t with you, then where...?”

“Elias Winters,” Nicky said quietly. “What if he got him and used Tim in his experiments and tortures?” He turned toward Marco, who had put a warning hand on his arm.“Well, it’s possible, Marco. It would explain the missing time, plus the change in him when he returned. If he did things to his mind, it might even explain why he attacked Gabe and killed his innocent mother.”