Alpha Province: Puppet Strings(3)

By: Becca Van

Pushing his thoughts aside, Bladen gazed toward the bed-and-breakfast, stopping in his tracks. There were vehicles everywhere. He almost turned around to walk back toward their own home. There was still so much to do to finish renovating their own house, and he really didn’t want to be wasting time by chatting.

“Come on, Bladen.” Cason slapped him on the shoulder. “The sooner we get there, the sooner we can leave.”

He nodded in agreement but didn’t think they’d be leaving anytime soon. Nevertheless, he and his brothers could disappear so they didn’t have to stand around talking. They could finish what they needed to do so they didn’t have to ever step foot in the building again. It wasn’t that he didn’t like the other shifters and their mates. The opposite was, in fact, true. He couldn’t believe how happy the other men were with their women, and while he’d always been skeptical of the stories of mates being real, there was no way he could deny those legends now. Though he was happy for the other men, he didn’t want anything to do with women. Well, that wasn’t quite true. He had needs just like any other male. He had no qualms about slaking his lust with a member of the opposite sex as long as she knew the score upfront and agreed to be with him. He and his brothers had shared a few women over the years, and while the experience had been exciting and orgasmic all around, it was getting old.

Neither he nor his brothers had been with a woman for almost two years now, and he couldn’t see that changing anytime soon. The last thing he wanted or needed was a woman trying to tell him what to do, or god forbid, talk about his feelings. He wasn’t talkative in any way, shape, or form, and yet he’d found himself talking to the other women regularly of late. There was no way he wanted to upset those women by being his usual gruff, silent self, nor piss any of the other shifters off. He didn’t want to shed any blood in front of the females. They were all so sweet and delicate.

“Bladen, snap the fuck out of it.” Daxon punched him in the arm.

He hissed and scowled at his brother before blinking. “Fuck off,” he growled, shoving Daxon as he started walking again. He stopped a few steps later, inhaling deeply as the scent of food and something mysterious wafted to his nose on the breeze. He closed his eyes, sniffing again and again as he tried to work out what he was smelling.

His inner tiger stopped pacing and started purring before trying to get him to hurry forward. Bladen frowned over his feline’s reaction. His animal was excited and eager. He hadn’t felt that sort of emotion from his cat since before they’d retired from the Marines. When he heard first Cason and then Daxon groan, he opened his eyes and glanced at them. They were both sniffing and frowning, too. Bladen figured they were trying to work out what the tantalizing aroma was, as well.

“What the fuck is that?” Daxon asked before stumbling forward a couple of steps.

Bladen hurried over to him, gripped him on the shoulder to steady him, but when he breathed in through his nose, his tiger lunged forward impatiently. He began to salivate as the fragrance grew stronger on the cool morning breeze. It was a tantalizing mix of warm freshly baked bread, strawberries, and cream. He’d never been a food connoisseur, but in that moment all he wanted to do was stuff himself until his belly was full.

He didn’t even think about taking a step, but each time his feet landed on the ground, his pace increased. His brothers were right by his side, and in the next moment all three of them were jogging toward the bed-and-breakfast.

It was time to find out just where that smell was coming from.

* * * *

Sage couldn’t believe how many people had shown up for breakfast. Thankfully, she’d prepared enough food to feed an army, or she might have ended up embarrassed. As soon as she placed a platter of bacon, eggs, sausages, toast, hash browns, and pancakes on the table, it was passed around until there was nothing left. She was working on the ninth, or was that the tenth platter, when all conversation ceased.

She turned to see what was going on, but when she saw that everyone was staring at the doorway, she spun around and ended up staring, as well. The three biggest, handsomest men she’d ever seen stood just inside the doorway to the massive kitchen/dining room, and they were gazing at her.

Sage swallowed audibly, nervously, quickly turning back to the stove in time to save the bacon from being burnt to a crisp. She cursed under her breath as she reached for the tongs and another empty platter. What the hell is in the water in this town? All the men she’d met were extremely muscular and handsome. She’d never seen so many good-looking men in one small area and wondered what the draw was. Why are there so many handsome men living in and around the surrounding county of Ambrose, North Dakota? Is there something wrong with them that they have to hide away? Why aren’t they all living in big cities like other males? And why the hell are they sharing a woman between them?

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