Read an Excerpt
Cody unfolded the single piece of white paper and stared at it for what must have been the tenth time that day. The letter was succinct. No fond greetings or questions about his health. Just like the man himself, his brother’s letter was straight to the point.
I need you here at the ranch.
With a sigh, Cody placed the letter back in his jacket pocket. He leaned his head back against the pillar in the only quiet corner of the busy room and closed his eyes. He wished he could just ignore the letter but there was no way that was going to happen. Kelan was his brother. More importantly, Kelan was his Alpha and, like all good little wolves, he could not disobey him. When Kelan called, Cody came running, even when his feet wanted to carry him in the opposite direction.
When he opened his eyes, Cody noticed his agent Tom trying to get his attention from the other side of the room. Grateful for the distraction, he made his way over, snaking through the crowd of people immersed in meaningless conversations.
Cody made sure not to catch anyone’s eye. He knew these exhibitions were important to sell and raise awareness of his work, but he was a shy artist, not a salesperson. In fact, Cody didn’t consider himself a ‘people person’ in general. He would much rather be back at his apartment alone than in a room full of people he didn’t know and didn’t want to know.
When Cody reached his agent, he could smell excitement pouring off the portly, older man in waves. Tom’s face was flushed. Normally, Cody would have guessed the cause to be too many glasses of champagne, although his acute wolf senses were picking up something more than mere excitement—something woodsier.
“Hey Cody!” Tom grabbed him by the arm and dragged him away to the side of the crowded room. “You see that guy over there? The cute one in the dark suit?”
Cody looked over his shoulder and scanned the crowd. He spotted the man in question and nodded. The guy was good looking—in fact he was exactly Cody’s type. Tall and muscular with dark hair, dark eyes and a totally killer smile.
“Yeah, what about him?” Cody grinned knowingly at Tom.
“He’s been asking about you all night.”
“Is he a collector?”
“No idea. Never seen him before, but he’s certainly taken an interest in you,” Tom said with indifference, although Cody could tell his agent felt anything but.
“Maybe he’s a fan of my work.” A faint blush spread through Cody’s cheeks. He still found it difficult to believe that so many people were interested in his artwork. They paid well for it, too. He was sure the handsome man was not interested in him personally—after all, the man couldn’t keep his eyes off Tom. Tom, however, seemed to be genuinely unaware of that fact.
“Maybe, or maybe he just wants to jump your bones,” Tom said.
Cody didn’t miss the underlying hint of jealousy to his agent’s teasing words.
Cody groaned. “Seriously, is that all you think about?”
“Hell, yes. You ought to be thinking about it a bit more too. Something’s got to get you out of this dry spell.”
Cody rolled his eyes. They’d been having the same conversation, or some version thereof, for the past six months.
“I’m not going through a dry spell,” he insisted. “I’m just not interested in dating at the moment.”
“Whatever you say, honey. Well, if you’re not interested...” Tom waggled his eyebrows and walked off in the direction of the handsome stranger.
Cody grabbed Tom’s arm and pulled him back.
“Have fun,” Cody said. “But be careful, okay?”
Tom let out a peal of laughter. “Always am, honey, always am.”
Tom turned and sauntered off towards his prey. His round, chubby bottom swayed suggestively with each step. Cody grinned. The man wouldn’t know what hit him. Tom was not the best-looking man Cody had ever seen, but he had a charm and charisma about him that never failed to draw people in. In fact, Cody had yet to see any man turn him down. A couple of years ago, Cody would have been interested in the handsome stranger himself but things were different now. As lonely as he was, Cody could not let himself get involved with anyone. It wasn’t worth it.