Title: Trouble's On the Way
Author: CL Mustafic
Series: Outcasts #2
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release date: August 20, 2018
Genre: m/m paranormal romance
Sub-genre: paranormal, shifter, bonded mate, menage, lycanthrope, werewolf, bigender, gender fluid
Heat level: 3 - some sex
Length: approx. 52,500 words
After leaving the Outcast pack, Clay Anderson and Damian Macoon head to Alabama where they’ve both secured a job with the construction company that employs Damian. Their new relationship is off to a good but not too harmonious start in no small part due to Clay still holding a grudge against Damian for turning him into a werewolf. So when they walk into the office trailer parked on the job site and Clay realizes that their boss is none other than Damian’s fated mate, things get even more tense between the two.
Billy Ray Hicks was raised believing he was going to find his mate and be a cherished member of whatever pack he ended up in, but those dreams came crashing down when his bonded mate ran away and disappeared from his life before the mate bond was completed. Billy Ray always figured he’d run into Damian again but never suspected his mate would have a boyfriend when he did.
With tensions mounting between Clay and Damian, Billy Ray becomes the focal point of their ire. Damian ends up in the middle of two men—one he wants and one he needs—who both want him. Now he needs to convince them that they all belong together before he loses both.
Trouble’s on the Way
CL Mustafic © 2018
All Rights Reserved
Almost nine hours of sitting in the pickup with Damian gave me plenty of time to think. Part of me thought going with him to Alabama was an okay idea. Sure the money would probably be decent, and since I was no longer gainfully employed, what did I have to lose? Another part of me thought I was crazy for not only shacking up with the guy who’d turned me into a werewolf, but now I was letting him drag me halfway across the country. Maybe contracting lycanthropy had messed up my ability to make a good decision.
I glanced over at Damian, who was concentrating on the road signs because he was looking for the exit just outside Iowa City that would lead us to one of the campgrounds. I couldn’t lie to myself enough to pretend I wasn’t attracted to him. Hell, who didn’t have a fantasy about the tattooed bad boy? Reminding myself Damian wasn’t the stereotypical bad boy, I tore my eyes off him before he could feel me staring. I spotted the exit we were looking for, but before I could point it out, Damian switched lanes and pulled off the interstate.
“You sure you don’t want to drive? We could make it to Tuscaloosa by morning and sleep the day away,” Damian asked for the millionth time.
“I told you I don’t want to drive this rig and I’m tired anyways.” I’d dozed some but not enough to stay awake and drive all night. Plus, I wasn’t confident about my ability to drive the pickup with a thirty-five-foot trailer attached to it.
“You’d only have to drive for about four hours, and then I’d be fresh enough to take over, but if you’re too scared to drive, I’m fine with that.” A grin tugged at the corner of his lip at his dig, but all I had to do was let a growl rumble up out of my chest to kill his urge to smile.
Pulling up to the campground’s reception building, Damian got out of the truck and stretched before turning back to me. “I’ll go pay for the night. You want to run into the store and maybe get us some snacks and beer?”
“Sure. You want anything special?” I opened my own door but waited for his response instead of getting out.
“Maybe some ice cream, chocolate, oh, and some nachos and gummy worms.”
“Are you pregnant?” I snorted and shook my head at his request as I dropped down to the ground from the pickup.
“You know those are just stories, right?” Damian called over the hood of the pickup at me.
“Hey, I have no idea what to believe anymore. I used to think werewolves were just stories.” I made air quotes around “just stories” to get my point across, making him roll his eyes at me.
“Go get me my junk food.” Turning, Damian went to pay for our stay while I went into the little convenience store.
The woman behind the counter watched my every move as I loaded down the little red basket with Damian’s requested junk food and then grabbed a case of beer to go with it. She rang up the sale but before she was done, Damian came in the door. Her eyes widened and I could smell the change in the atmosphere around her. Apparently, she also liked bad boys, and her interest in what my beast thought of as his brought out its jealousy.
“Hey, are you buying the whole store or what?” Damian’s sexy grin was at full wattage as he sauntered up to the counter. Turning it on the woman, he nodded a greeting, making her blush like a school girl.
“Not my fault your cravings are so weird.” I managed to swallow the possessive warning my beast wanted to growl out at the woman. Instead, I put my arm around Damian’s waist and pulled him to my side, making his smile falter. Taking it a step further when the woman’s scent didn’t change once she saw Damian wasn’t on the market, I pointed to the row of condoms behind her. “Give me three boxes of the magnums too. I have a feeling we’re going to need them tonight.” I winked as Damian stiffened at my side.
“Make it four.” I reached down and squeezed Damian’s ass. His arousal wafted up to join that of the woman’s, who’d turned to get the requested condoms. She didn’t make eye contact with either of us as she finished tallying the items and took my card. “Have a good night.” I practically sang the words as we walked out the door.
Damian pushed away from me when we hit the parking lot. “What the fuck was that all about?” His glare would have been much more menacing if I hadn’t found his mismatched eyes to be so damn alluring; plus his anger only made my beast want to make him submit to it.
“What was what all about?” I shrugged and held out the bags I was carrying in one hand. “Just getting stuff for the night.”
“And what do you expect to do with twelve condoms?” His eyes narrowed as he tried to cross his arms over his chest, forgetting he was holding the case of beer, so he had to drop them back down to his sides.
He had me there. We didn’t use condoms, since neither of us could catch anything, so did he think I’d intended to go out and find someone else for the night? Shit. That was not my intention, but just to see how pissed off I could make him, I decided to throw the possibility out there. “Well, maybe there will be a hot guy in the spot next to us. We should be prepared, right?”
“You’re an asshole.” Damian stomped off to the truck and before I could get in, he pulled away, leaving me to walk behind.
He was right. I was an asshole, but he knew that, so it was his fault for sticking around. Our spot was a bit down the road from the lodge and when I got there, Damian had already hooked up the power and was standing by the door pressing the button that pushed out the pop outs on the camper. I’d only glanced inside before we’d left so when I stepped past him, I had to stop and stare.
“Holy shit, this thing is huge.” I looked over my shoulder at Damian, who was squatting to pet Stumple and Grumpkin, his cats.
“I wanted there to be enough room for both of us so we wouldn’t have to be tripping over each other.” Damian stood and walked across the kitchen to the living room at the end of the trailer where I was inspecting the entertainment system. “There’s only one bedroom but if you want to bring someone back here, I can always sleep on one of the convertibles.”
I turned to look at him because I could tell he was hurt, and though I’d wanted to keep the space between us, I didn’t much like him feeling he didn’t matter to me. He did mean something to me; I just wasn’t sure what. I crowded him up against the wall, pressing my body to his, making his breath catch. “You’ll sleep where I tell you to sleep. And if I want you in the bed with me while I’m fucking someone else, you’ll lay there and watch,” I growled. Where the fuck did that come from?
Damian whimpered. He knew when my beast was talking and his beast deferred to mine, always. It still boggled my mind how his huge wolf was afraid of my tiny puppy one. “I hate you sometimes, you know that?” he asked through clenched teeth.
“I know, and the feeling’s mutual.” I stepped back and let him go about taking care of the cats and then hooking up the water. I would have helped, but I had no idea how to do any of the things that made the camper run. I went to the bedroom on the other end of the trailer and grabbed a fresh pair of underwear before going into the bathroom and taking a shower.
When I came out of the steamy little room, Damian had changed into a pair of low-hanging sleep pants. He was curled into one of the arm chairs in the corner, watching a movie with Stumple purring on his lap and his array of snacks on a folding tray next to him. I grabbed a beer from the fridge and sat on the couch. Grumpkin jumped up and sat next to me, and after sending a look at his owner, he lay his head on my lap and started purring.
“Fuck you too,” Damian mumbled to the cat before shoving a handful of gummy bears in his mouth.
“How can you eat all that shit?” I shook my head in disgust as he chased the gummies with a spoonful of ice cream.
“Fast metabolism. If I don’t eat like this, I’ll start looking like you.” He let his eyes run over my upper body, which I’d noticed lately was getting a little scrawnier than it normally was. “I told you, the beast needs food; either you feed it or it eats away at you.” He shrugged and filled his mouth with chips so his next words were interspersed with crunching noises. “Take advantage of it while you can, eat the good shit before the beast gets old and tired and then you get a pot belly.”
About the author:
CL Mustafic is a born and bred American mid-westerner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here: it was the lack of television channels in her native language–and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence, she decided to give her life-long dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.
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