Title: Love Aggression
Author: Cindy Sutherland
Publisher: Purple Horn Press
Release date: May 30, 2018
Word count: approx. 67,000 words
Cover artist: Ashavan Doyon
Genres: m/m romance, thriller, paranormal, shifter
Tropes: alpha character, lone wolf, raising kids, trapped together, rescue, kid fic, parent/childcare worker
Warnings: violence, mentions previous attempted rape
Tyler Calvano knew his ex-wife’s boyfriend was bad news from the way the little hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, from a smell of danger, from an animal instinct his ex had once appreciated. He wished she’d listened to him. Custody exchanges were hard enough on Jesse, now Ty had to wonder—did Jesse have enough wolf bursting inside him yet to have heard his mother’s pleas as she was gunned down? He couldn’t trust the police to protect them. He took Jesse and he fled across the continent, as far as he could go.
Ty and Jesse became Tanner and Jason—different names, different lives. The nightmares still woke Jesse. Ty kept looking over his shoulder. The only spot of light was a man at the daycare, Kelan, a shifter like Ty—a wolf in human guise, ready to change, ready to protect. The daycare was safe. But another shifter was something Ty hadn’t counted on. With it came the complications of pack rivalries, of shifter brothers who tormented Kelan, of the unreasoned animal want that grew every time Ty caught scent of him.
And every day, the killers kept looking for them, the only people who might identify them. Ty couldn’t take risks. Ty couldn’t open his heart. Ty had to keep Jesse safe. Nothing else mattered.
Ty took a deep breath, trying to calm his irritation and a familiar scent caught his attention. Looking up from his coffee, he saw his ex-wife and son walk into the McDonald’s they’d chosen for the custody exchange. Picking Jesse up and dropping him off at Jeanine’s had been easier but now he couldn’t do that. Last time he tried, her asshole of a boyfriend tried to hit Ty with a shovel. Now she insisted that they meet in public instead.
Like it was Ty’s fault that the guy ended up with a broken nose and his two buddies ended up in the hospital with concussions. They’d attacked him but according to Jeanine that was his fault too, like everything else that went wrong in their marriage. Apparently, he was “an aggressive asshole who pissed off everyone on purpose.” He’d been lucky when the cops she’d called had actually listened to his side of the story and investigated further. The officers had spoken to the neighbors who’d witnessed the whole thing and had grudgingly decided that he’d acted in self-defense.
Ty smiled when Jesse whooped as he spotted his father, running across the room to jump into his arms. Six years old and already a handful—Ty loved him more than his own life.
“Daddy! You’re here!” Jesse wrapped his small arms around Ty’s neck and squeezed tightly.
“David said you’d forget, but I told him you wouldn’t. You’re always here!”
“You’re right, baby. I’m always here and I’m always gonna be.” Ty ignored the irritated huff from his ex. He nuzzled his face into Jesse’s hair, breathing in the calming smell of sugar and sunshine that was Jesse’s unique scent.
“Daddy?” Jesse pulled back to look at him. “What did you lose at?”
Ty shook his head. “What are you talking about?”
He looked up at Jeanine for clarification in time to see understanding and panic cross her face.
“Jesse, you need to—”
“Did someone say I lost at something, squirt?”
Jesse grabbed Ty’s face with both hands and looked into his eyes. “David said you were a loser who couldn’t get a real job.” Jesse’s adorable face scrunched up in confusion. “Why isn’t your job with Mr. Mike a real job?”
“I didn’t lose at anything, Jesse. And I love my job with Mr. Mike. It’s as real as it can be. David was just being a dickhead as usual.”
Jesse giggled and not for the first time, Ty was struck with how much he loved this kid. There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for him.
Ty glared at his ex. “Really? That’s how you let him talk about me around our kid?”
Jeanine’s discomfort showed for a moment, but she quickly regained her icy composure. “He’s only saying the truth. If you’d given up that crappy mechanic’s job and been the lawyer you were supposed to be, we’d still be married.”
“No, we wouldn’t.” Ty fought back a growl as he tried to remember when her determination to have a better life was one of the things that had attracted him to her.
“You can’t talk about David that way to Jesse.” Jeanine’s shrill voice was like a hammer to his head and he could feel the pain starting to build behind his eyes. “He’s taking good care of us, better than you ever did. We have nice stuff now and Jesse can go to that private school and David buys him all the toys he asks for.”
Ty snorted. “I don’t know where he’s getting all his money, but it’s nothing legit. If I find out he’s into anything dangerous—”
“He’s not stupid like you. David is a businessman. He’s one of the best salesmen at his dad’s car dealership.”
David came running into the restaurant and grabbed her arm before Ty could respond. “We gotta go, babe,” David said. “Now!” He started pulling her toward the door, Jeanine bitching at him and trying to shake off his grip all the way across the room.
With Jesse still in his arms, Ty started after them to find out what was going on when he noticed two men coming in the same door. The hair on the back of Ty’s neck stood up as the smell of metal and sweat reached him and then he saw the guns. One of the men smiled when he spotted David and headed toward him.
His instincts taking over, Ty ducked behind the counter and sped to the back of the kitchen looking for someplace to hide. He spotted a walk-in freezer and headed towards it. The thick, heavy, metal door offered them some real protection and he might be able to hold it closed from the inside if he was lucky. A couple of teenagers stood inside moving boxes around and they opened their mouths to protest as Ty shut the door.
“Shut up” Ty snapped before they could get any words out. “There’s some real bad men out there. You don’t want them to come back here, trust me.” Whatever they saw in his face convinced them not to argue. They all sat quietly in the dim light and waited.
“Daddy, I’m scared,” Jesse whispered in his ear.
“It’s okay, baby. I got you.” He set Jesse down and pulled off his hoodie. He wrapped it around the boy to keep him warm before taking him back in his arms.
One of the teens had his cell phone out, typing frantically. When he was done he put his hand on his co-worker’s shoulder and whispered, “I didn’t think I’d get a message out of here, but I did. The cops are on their way.”
Ty jumped as the sound of gunfire reached his ears.
About the author:
I'm a writer and a reader and I'm completely in love with m/m fiction. My family thinks I'm absolutely bonkers but they love me and are very proud of me. I've always been an advocate of equality but it wasn't until lately that I've actually come to understand what that means...and I'm still learning.
Around my 40th birthday I discovered something that changed my life. I was a big fan of Torchwood and was looking around Youtube for fan vids when I discovered the Luke and Noah story on As the World Turns. I sat and watched the whole story in less than a week and I was hooked. But the writing was terrible...really really terrible and I got so frustrated and though "I can do better than that!" I sat down and wrote my first story and I never looked back.
From there to being published the first time felt like it took forever, but it really happened so fast my head is still spinning to this day. These days I'm reading and writing and working and I love sharing myself this way with others. I have met amazing authors and received fantastic messages from people who have read my books. I hope to keep doing this for a long time!