About Hunter’s Moon
Author: Minerva Howe
Word Count: 36000
Page Count (pdf): 148
Series: Alpha Triplets
Date Published: Aug 4 2020
Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
Heat Rating: 4
File Types available: epub mobi pdf
This title has been removed to Kindle Unlimited!
The bell over the door jingled, but Derek Lowell didn’t bother to look up from his drawing. Nine times out of ten, whoever walked into his tattoo shop lost their nerve before they even spoke to him, so he liked to give people time to solidify their courage.
He put the tail on the Japanese dragon he was working on for Chook, a regular client with a masochistic streak a mile wide and a pain tolerance to match, then glanced up when someone cleared their throat. Loudly.
“Can I help you?” Derek asked. How rude.
“I want my pup marked. Now.”
The situation became clear with one long stare. Big, puffy wolf. Smaller, unhappy-looking twink. The big guy didn’t interest him, but the other one… Lean and sharp, with pale blue eyes and lank, icy blond hair, there was something about him that caught Derek’s eye.
“And does he want to be marked?” He was pretty sure the answer was no.
“That’s not his prerogative,” Puffy wolf growled.
His first instinct was to tell them to get the fuck out, but there was something…something there. So, Derek rolled up out of his chair, knowing that he seemed to fill the room, and he stalked up to the front of the shop.
The kid shrank into himself some, but the big guy swelled up even more, trying to be intimidating. Derek almost laughed. Compared to his two brothers, this man was all bark and no bite. He crossed his arms, stopping just a few feet away.
“Maybe not, but it is my prerogative. If he doesn’t want your mark, he doesn’t get it.”
“He wants it.” Puffy bared his teeth and grabbed the kid by the arm in order to drag him up to the counter. The sudden odor of fear filled the space, and Derek wanted to growl, but he stopped, his eyes going wide. There was something under the fear, a scent that almost had him leaping the counter to press his nose to the kid’s neck.
The kid got a hard shake from Puffy, and those pale blue eyes dropped, focused on the ground.
Derek did growl then. “Let him go.” The words popped out without thought, which was odd for him. Usually his brother Jett was the impulsive one, but the kid interested him…
“Fuck you, asshole.”
He saw himself clearing the counter at the front of the tattoo shop like he was somebody else, his picture albums going flying, his “No Soliciting or I’ll Tear Out Your Throat” sign clattering on the ground. His hand clamped around the fucker’s neck, tightening until choking noises started to fill the air.
“Don’t you fucking call me an asshole!”
The guy scrabbled at his wrists, trying to pry him loose. Not that Derek was about to let go.
“What is your fucking problem?” the guy wheezed when Derek loosened his fingers enough for air to flow.
“You. Get the fuck out of my shop.” Derek flung the guy toward the door.
“Ethan! Get your ass over here!”
The little one blinked, and Derek could see the hint of a fading bruise on one sharp cheekbone.
“No!” He barked out the word, softening his expression and voice when the kid jumped. “You don’t have to go with him. You can stay here.”
He could hear the asshole trying to Command the kid, but when their gazes met, Derek knew Ethan was going to stay. Those big blue eyes found his and clung, searching. He nodded, and the sweet thing moved to his side. Not to the jerk.
The guy growled, and Derek raised an eyebrow, saying, “Do you need another lesson?”
“I’ll make you pay, pup. You come with me now, and you’ll be able to walk tomorrow. You don’t…”
Derek felt Ethan shudder, heard the tiny whimper.
“He’s not going anywhere with you, you abusive fuck. Don’t worry, honey. I’ll get you somewhere safe.” Here. With him. But he wasn’t going to say that now. Right at this moment, this was a rescue.
Yeah. Yeah, he totally dared. Derek crossed his arms to stare. No more monologuing. Next he would kick the guy out. Literally. He’d replaced the plate glass window before; he could do it again.
The jerk stared back at him, mouth hanging open. Then he glared at Ethan, who was pale, but firm around the mouth and eyes, and not near as young as he’d first appeared. “This isn’t the last you’ll see of me.”
“Never promise something you can’t deliver,” Derek sneered.
There were the prerequisite “fuck yous” and “I’ll get you for this” things, but the fight was over, and thank the Moon Mother for that because the little one—Ethan—was waiting for him.
Once he closed the door behind the asshole, he locked it, turning the sign to closed. His drawing was likely ruined, and shit lay all over the floor, but that was okay. He had a light schedule right now.
Derek moved to stand before Ethan. “Are you all right?”
Those beautiful eyes stared up into his, and the scent? Fuck, it made him want to snarl and snap and do very good things. “I’m sorry.”
“No. No, don’t be sorry.” He said it gently, even if what he wanted was to spin Ethan around and bite, drive into the willing body and bury his knot in the kid. “That was no way for him to treat you.”
“I—” The icy blonde hair seemed to shimmer in the lights as Ethan trembled.
“Shh.” He engulfed the kid in a hug, wanting to give comfort. As soon as he did, the scent of pure fucking perfection hit him like a sledgehammer to the brain, drawing a deep, rough growl from him.
Ethan tensed, but he patted Ethan’s back, letting the growl go to something low and happy. “I won’t hurt you. I swear.” The urge to just take Ethan up to his place above the shop and curl around him to protect him was almost overwhelming.