Noah Braxton dimmed the lights of the sumptuous log cabin on the edge of Cooper Ride State park in West Virginia. He glanced around the room and turned them back up again for the twentieth time. To anyone outside of the cabin it would appear as if he were doing Morse code with the lights. If he was, right then he’d be signaling, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.
Grimacing at the dark humor, he ran a hand over his head, careful not to mess up the gelled spikes of his Mohawk, and scowled out at the spacious wraparound porch surrounding the cabin. The world outside blazed in the glory of a beautiful Indian summer sunset and he rested his forehead against the bay window staring out into the small expanse of yard before the manicured lawn disappeared into the trees. Tall maple trees curved over the gravel drive leading up the side of the mountain to the cabin, forming a natural tunnel. Orange, red, and gold burned in his newly enhanced vision and he couldn’t help but drink in the beauty of the forest.
He’d never been a country boy, the city had always been his preferred home, but he couldn’t deny the bone deep sense of satisfaction he now got from spending time running through the woods. In fact, right then seemed like the perfect time to go for a run. Problem was, if he started running, he doubted he’d come back.
Nervous energy pulled him away from the window and he scanned the living room again, searching for something to fix to make it more appealing for his guests.
The gold and green throw pillows had been perfectly positioned on the big brown suede couch that faced out into the yard. On the low and massive mountain ash coffee table rested a tray piled with fruits and other snacks that he’d bought from a gourmet deli in Morgantown before making the trek out to the cabin. In the refrigerator, five different kinds of beer and three different types of wine chilled for his guests. He’d even started a fire in the towering fieldstone fireplace that dominated the western wall.
The perfect setting for any blind date...at least it would have been in the human world. Doubt tried to rear its head and he stamped the unusual feeling down, fussing with the pillows on the couch. If his buddies could see him now, acting like a nervous virgin on her first date, they’d piss themselves laughing. At six feet four and two hundred sixty five pounds he had no problem fulfilling his duties as a bouncer at one of the most popular bars in downtown Morgantown, West Virginia. A college city, it boasted more than its fair share of establishments willing to show the students a great time. Up until six months ago he’d been just another student like the rest, finishing up his graduate degree in Industrial Engineering and bouncing at night to pay the bills.
His muscles tensed and he blew out a low breath, willing himself to focus on the here and now. He had more than enough to worry about with his blind dates showing up any minute. Giselle, his Alpha, had tried to give him as much advice as she could. She’d begged to come with him, but he had to do this alone. He’d made an oath bound in spirit and blood to take care of her and he wouldn’t let anyone near her until he was sure they were worthy of her.
Plus his last five—or was it six—dates had ended as soon as the other werepumas learned about his little...issue.
A car engine whined as it climbed the steep incline leading to the cabin of the newly built Castillo Coopers Rock wilderness resort. Giselle had told him that traditionally these meetings happened out in the open forest, but he was too much of a city boy to feel comfortable without basic creature comforts like running water. As the Land Rover pulled in next to his truck, he lifted his nose into the air and took a deep breath, laughing softly as he realized he was trying to scent the air.
Deep in his soul, his cat paced restlessly and he tried to use the calming techniques Giselle had taught him, mentally scratching the cat behind his ears. His beast quieted beneath his stroke, but let loose a little warning growl as his company exited the Land Rover. At the sight of the men his breath caught in his throat and his cock stirred with interest. From the top of his hair to the soles of his motorcycle boots, he wanted them.
Dark and light, the two men encompassed the best of both worlds. The man who came out of the passenger side of the Land Rover had ebony skin that gleamed in the fading sunlight. He stretched, lean muscles in his arms rippling in a graceful curve. On the other side of the SUV a solid man with curly dark hair crossed his arms and stared at the cabin. He reminded Noah of a guy from a gladiator movie, attractive in a thoroughly masculine way while the other man had more of a feline beauty about him.
Both men stared at him through the big window and he flushed, knowing the hope that they hadn’t seen him spying on them was more than he could ask for. Of course, with their enhanced senses they’d know he was there. Hell, once he opened the door they would smell his arousal. Trying to appear nonchalant, he raised his hand in greeting and forced his feet to move for the front door. He didn’t know what Madame Eve of the 1Night Stand matchmaking service had told them. He’d been brutally honest in what he was looking for when he’d filled out the application for the elite dating service, but really hadn’t received much information on who he’d be matched with other than names and a few details about Marcus and Vashan. Madame Eve had an almost mythical status as a match maker among the shifters of the world, and even though this was only supposed to be a one-night stand, he prayed to the werepuma’s Goddess that they were the ones he’d been searching for.