Blurb: After his mate died from cancer, Pat Bolton closed his heart to love. Despite the support of his pack, Pat wants to follow his mate into death…until he meets Jules Gutierrez. Enigmatic, gorgeous and funny, Jules embodies everything Pat wants in a new mate. Unfortunately, Pat suspects Jules isn’t straight or a werewolf.
Behind his easygoing mask, Jules is a lone werewolf driven by revenge. Hot on the trail of a killer who brutally murdered his mate years ago, Jules has no time for distractions.
Werewolves mate for life. When their mates die, they soon follow, so Jules doesn’t understand why both he and his beast are inexplicably drawn to Pat. Grief brought them together, but with a dangerous killer on the loose, will they be able to reconcile their differences and let go of old ghosts in order to move forward?
“Jules,” Pat murmured, suddenly unhappy to be caught gorging on couple of bacon sundaes.
“I’m glad you remember me,” Jules grinned.
The grin sat well on his face despite the stubble there. It also sat well with the small and sexy scar near his left jawline. Pat had spent a good number of hours imagining how he’d use his tongue to trace that little scar. Imagining what Jules’ skin would taste like.
Sometimes, when he was alone in his bed, he’d imagine it was Jules’s body pressed against him, Jules’s stubble tickling against his skin as the other man teased and tormented him with his talented mouth and tongue. It was Jules he thought about, not his dead mate. Guilt would then worm its way into Pat’s heart and unexpected grief would fill him. Then the uncontrollable sobbing would start. After that, the miserable shakes. As if Desmond was punishing him for thinking about other men.
Desmond’s dead. Pat hastily shoved the grief that threatened to bury him back to the past. He cleared his throat.
“You’re not hard to forget,” Pat said drily, and noticed with interest that Jules was also holding a cup. A bacon sundae.
Noticing where his eyes went, Jules laughed. “Guilty as charged, man. These things are damnably addictive aren’t they?”
“Yeah they are. You missed the meeting, too?” Pat asked.
“Sometimes it’s fine playing hooky once in a while, yeah?” Jules winked at him like they were conspirators. “I mean, don’t get me wrong. They never fail to inspire, but sometimes the same old thing gets stale. Although for you, you’ve only attended like what, two meetings?”
“Three actually. I didn’t miss the meeting on purpose,” Pat immediately said defensively. How did Jules know he only attended a few meetings? “Today was…special. Besides, you can afford to skip a meeting or two. The way your body’s shaping up, you can afford it, but it still doesn’t give you the right to judge others.”
“Whoa. I have to stop you there, Pat. I wasn’t making judgements. I’m sorry if you misunderstood that.” At his silence, Jules continued. “You think I’m shaping out nicely, then?”
Jules glanced down at his body. He shrugged and Pat wasn’t surprised by his nonchalance. Jules looked like the kind of man who never took anything too seriously.
“Certainly seems like you want what you see.”
“Dream on.” Even though Pat said those words, he still felt his cheeks turn pink.
He was in fact, eyeing Jules’s body beneath his faded leather jacket. It wasn’t there yet, but Pat could imagine what it would look like with firm and well-toned muscles. What would it feel like to run his hands over his chest and the taut muscles of his stomach and abdomen? Would Jules’s eyes darken with desire? Would his pulse speed up at the mere contact of Pat’s touch?
Impossible. Jules would never fantasize about Pat the way Pat fantasized about him. For one, Jules was like a half-finished artwork on its way to completion, while he was still an empty canvas.
At times, the small voice inside of him told him to man up and ask Jules out, but the fear of rejection always discouraged him.
He’s straight for one, he’s not a werewolf, and he wouldn’t be interested in a bloated whale like me.
Pat would repeat the words over and over in his head like a mantra until they seemed true.
Besides, Pat didn’t think he could endure Jules’s rejection. He’d decided it was ultimately better to watch Jules from afar. Jules could stay where he rightly belonged—in his fantasies. That way, Pat didn’t have to betray Desmond. That way, he could remain chained to the ghost of his dead mate.