HOW WE SURVIVE
RECLAIMING HOPE BOOK ONE
(MM Shifter Romance)
How We Survive: Reclaiming Hope Book 1:
With the world in chaos around us, the only thing I could do was try to keep Felix safe as we searched for our older brother. We’d been traveling for over two years, searching Ministry camp after Ministry camp and trying to steer clear of the Rebels. I didn’t know what to do when we ran into a whole group of shifters with guns. But then, the huge, gorgeous guy that found us did the unthinkable…
At first I thought the two young shifters were trying to sneak up on me, but I soon realized they were only passing through. I was going to send them on their way until I heard the others coming. What was I supposed to do? How else was I supposed to save them? The delicious man and his brother would’ve been killed had I not claimed him.
Will Nate and Tre be able to work together to keep themselves and their packmates alive? Or will they let the cruelty of the outside world tear them apart?
***How We Survive is the first book in the Reclaiming Hope series, but is a standalone novel. Each book in the series will feature a different couple, but the couples will show up throughout the series. It’s a paranormal shifter romance between two men with explicit language and graphic sex intended for Adults Only.***
He was still walking about fifty feet in front of me when I heard footsteps coming from the direction we were walking towards. I stopped and whispered, “Felix.”
He didn’t stop walking, but he did glance over his shoulder at me. It was then that I knew he had heard it too, but was going towards the footsteps anyway. I started to freak out and took off running towards him. I would pick him up and carry him if I had to. He may be a full grown wolf now, but I was a shifter so it was doable.
When Felix heard me running, he took off so fast on four legs, there was no chance of me catching up unless he stopped or at least slowed down. I silently cursed in my head over and over while I debated shifting or not. If I shifted, we would lose our ability to communicate if we came across the person making those footsteps, and the reality was that we would be coming across this person since Felix was running right for them.
I watched in horror as Felix ran into the same building that I knew the mystery person was in. I could smell him—a shifter—in there and my little brother was running right to him. I pushed myself harder, making myself run even faster.
I heard a deep voice—calm but filled with acid, “Shift right now.” I ran, I was almost to the house now as the voice said, “Shift now or I’ll shoot.”
I heard a gun being cocked and had to fight the bile coming up my throat. The voice was louder now, more angry, “You have five seconds before I pull the trigger. Five… Four… Three…”
I ran up the porch steps and pushed through the front door of the house, just as the voice said, “Two…”
“No! Don’t shoot,” I yelled as I ran into the room. I jumped in front of my brother with my hands raised defensively, yelling, “Don’t shoot! He’s just a kid!”
A very large man with brown hair, chocolate-brown eyes, and a beard, had a rifle pointing right at me. His eyes were roaming over me, taking me in, calculating, and making me even more uncomfortable and terrified than I already was. He lifted his nose a little, taking a deep breath. I had no doubt that he could smell my fear. I was mildly offended with myself that I found the man’s scent pleasant.
“Please. Do whatever you want with me, but just let my brother go,” I begged.
The man continued to stare at me, but I noticed that his gun moved down a little. “Who are you?” he eventually asked.
I didn’t know what he wanted, so I just said, “Nate. And my brother is Felix.”
The man scented the air again and started to lower the gun a little. “Ministry or Rebel? And remember that I can smell if you’re lying.”
“Neither. We don’t want anything to do with your war,” I said truthfully. My older brother and parents may have been involved, but that didn’t mean we had to be.
After another sniff, the man lowered his weapon so it was pointing to the ground. He looked me up and down, making chills break out all over my body as he asked me, “What are you doing here?”
“We’re just passing through,” also true. We were always just passing through since we didn’t have a home or any place to go anymore.
“Where are you headed?”
“Nowhere, really,” I said. It was a partial truth that I was praying I could get away with. Some shifters wouldn’t be able to smell the difference between a partial truth and a whole truth and I was praying that this man was one of them.
Of course I couldn’t be that lucky if the way his eyes narrowed was any indication, but for some reason he didn’t call me out on it. Instead he said, “My team is circling the entire town. I don’t know if you can get out undetected.”
“Wait. Are you letting us go?” I sounded surprised to my own ears.
His brows furrowed, “Of course. I’ll try to help—” he stopped talking because we both heard voices off in the distance. But if we could hear them, then they could hear us too. Crap.
The man took a step closer to me and I instantly tensed up. He kept eye contact as he lowered his gun to the ground, then straightened back up and took another step closer. I was still tense and poor Felix was leaning into my legs like his life depended on it, which it probably did.
The guy took another step and whispered so quietly I could barely hear him, “I’m not going to hurt you, but you need to follow my lead.”
I didn’t move a muscle. I couldn’t comprehend what he meant by that.
He continued his slow movements towards me, whispering, “If the others find you, they will kill you.”
Felix and I both stepped away from him and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. I started breathing heavily despite the fact that I was trying to keep quiet.
The guy was almost toe to toe with me as he said, “I’m not going to let anyone hurt you.” He glanced at Felix, “Either of you,” he amended. The voices outside were slowly getting closer.
He slowly raised his hand and placed it on my shoulder. I instantly relaxed at the touch even though I didn’t even know him. I had absolutely no reason to trust this man, but something was telling me that I could. I was mildly horrified with myself when I realized I had actually started to lean into his touch.
The man whispered, even quieter than before, “I’m going to pull you to me. I need to mask the scent of fear. Try to calm down so it doesn’t get any worse.” Easier said than done.
He looked into my eyes and I could tell that he was waiting for confirmation, so I gave a slight nod before he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled me against his chest. The guy was nearly a whole head taller than me and I was just about six foot tall. He was a giant. And he was pretty freaking built, I noticed as my cheek found his shoulder. I could feel and smell the guy throwing out very, very strong pheromones. It was strange being scented by a non-packmate, but he smelled so good that I almost didn’t care. Which I should… you don’t just go around scenting people unless they’re pack.
The guy leaned down and placed his mouth over my ear, his beard tickling my neck, “I need you to push your face into my neck and wrap your arms around me. I’m sorry, but I don’t know how else to help.”
I nodded against him, but instead went up on my toes to whisper in his ear, “What about Felix?”
The guy pulled back to look at me and he cringed, but nodded and I instantly felt and smelled him pick up the pheromone discharge. He was lucky he smelled good, woodsy almost. I felt him push my head back down with one hand, so I took the hint and pressed my forehead to his neck and took a deep breath. His beard wasn’t very long, but I could still feel it scratching the side of my face. He kept his hand on the back of my head; not pressing me down, but just telling me not to move.
After another thirty seconds, a voice called from outside the house, “Tre, you still in there?”
“Yeah,” the man—Tre—called out.
“Do you need help or some—”
I heard two sets of footsteps come into the same room we were standing in. Tre still had his hand on the back of my head, so I took that as meaning he didn’t want these people to see my face, or at least not yet. I pressed a little harder into Tre’s neck, taking what little comfort I could from this complete stranger.
“Who the hell is this?” A new voice demanded. He did not sound happy—at all.
The sound of even more footsteps in the distance made my pulse ricochet even more.
I looked right at a very angry-looking Ira and said, “My mate and his brother.” Because I was putting off such strong pheromones, I was praying that he wouldn’t be able to smell the lie. And it was a lie, despite the fact that I felt some kind of weird draw to the man I currently held in my arms. I felt the guy’s—Nate’s—breath leave him in a huff against my neck. He had to be surprised by what I’d just said. I was mentally cringing, but I didn’t let it show.
I saw Patty’s eyebrows shoot up to his hairline, but he knew better than to say anything. We were both fully aware of who else was on this mission with us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michele is married to an awesome husband that puts up with her and all the characters in her head—and there are many. They live together in Baltimore, Maryland with their two young boys and two crazy dogs. She grew up dancing and swimming and taught dance—ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, & modern—for ten years before her kids came along. Now she stays home to write about the sexy men in her head and does PTA everything—as long as coffee is involved. Two other tattooed moms run the PTA with her, and though she wants to rip her hair out from it, she still loves it.
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