Brian’s nostrils flared and his eyes heated. “From your mouth to fate’s ears.”
Looking up at the ceiling again, Jobe thought about his own mate. Wesley Stone would be arriving the next day and Jobe wondered whether he, like Brian, was sad about leaving his home pack yet excited about the opportunity to lead. But more than anything, Jobe wondered if Wesley was ready to share his life with his mate.
At the sound of tires on the gravel road leading to his house, Jobe hopped up and walked toward his pile of clothes, which he had left beside the French doors when Brian had shown up in wolf form, wanting to have a final run together. Though he wasn’t a Red River Alpha yet, Jobe was next in line for the position and he was a Root, so his pack members looked to him for advice and direction. The younger shifters, especially, felt more comfortable going to him than to his parents. For those reasons, he’d had more than one teen show up at his house at odd hours, distraught over problems that seemed like an emergency only to someone addled with the hormones of puberty. Relaxing with Brian after a run was one thing. Being in the buff while greeting young pack members who needed help was something else entirely.
“Do you hear that?” Brian asked. The alcohol must have caught up to him; he normally would have heard the noise sooner.
“Yup.” Jobe zipped up the jeans he’d already stepped into and pulled his shirt over his head. “Two cars.”
“What time is it?” Brian sat up and rubbed his palms over his eyes.
Glancing at the grandfather clock in the corner of his living room, Jobe said, “Almost one o’clock.”
“It’s late for people to be showing up unannounced, Jobe.” Concern etched Brian’s face. “Someone must be in trouble.”
“Usually it isn’t serious.”
“You get a lot of unexpected visitors in the middle of the night?” He rose to his feet, swaying a bit.
“Yup. The position doesn’t come with set hours.” Jobe grinned at him. “Get used to it, Purple Sky Alpha.”
Brian’s lips turned up and his expression brightened. “I like the sound of that.”
“I figured you would.”
Facing the door, Brian raised his nose in the air and sniffed. “It’s Alpha Henry, er, your father.” He inhaled deeply and his forehead creased. “I don’t recognize the male with him. He’s a stranger.”
“Not a stranger,” Jobe rasped as he unglued his feet from where they’d frozen the moment he had scented the person with his father. Juniper leaves and fresh cut pine. He stepped toward the door. “My mate.”
“Jobe.” His father’s voice filtered inside at the same moment he knocked. “It’s me. I’m coming in. I’m with—”
“Wesley Stone,” Jobe said breathlessly as he yanked open his front door. “We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow.”
Face to face with his mate, Jobe lost the power of speech. Finger length black hair with a slight curl to it, chocolate eyes, closely trimmed beard and mustache, prominent nose, the same height as Jobe but slightly bulkier. Darting his gaze from the sculpted face to the wide shoulders to the muscular thighs, Jobe couldn’t pry his eyes off the man on his doorstep. Only when his lungs burned did he realize he had forgotten to breathe.
At first, his mate seemed similarly affected. He stared at Jobe, his eyebrows drawn together, his eyes wide, and lips parted. The scent of arousal surrounded them, nearly making Jobe moan, but then Wesley flicked his gaze over Jobe’s shoulder, his posture stiffened, and his scent turned to anger. “I can see that,” he bit out, his jaw ticcing.
What did his mate mean? Not yet thinking clearly, Jobe blinked and tried to mentally catch up to the drastic changes attacking his senses.
“I’m sure you’re exhausted and ready to turn in for the night, Wesley,” Jobe’s father said. “I’ll leave you in Jobe’s capable hands and see you tomorrow.” He smiled at Jobe, patted Wesley’s shoulder, and then walked to his car and drove away.
The reminder of how tired Wesley must be after his long drive finally got Jobe thinking clearly. “Come inside. Are you hungry? Thirsty?”
“I’m fine.” Other than the tic in his jaw, Wesley didn’t move. “The motel where I’d planned to sleep during the last leg of my trip was closed for renovations and I couldn’t find anywhere else to stay, so I drove straight through. I can spend the night in my car.” He paused, looked over his shoulder at his packed car, and said, “Or I can shift and sleep in the woods in wolf form.”
Jobe blinked and frowned. “Why would you do that?” He stepped away from the door, leaving more room for Wesley to enter. “You’re home now.”
“My intention wasn’t to disrupt your night. Your sentries approached when I crossed into your pack lands and insisted that the Alpha would want to see me right away so they woke him.”