“Brandon, it’s been a pleasure working with you. Those other Yanks sure took off in a hurry when they were told to head for Sydney. They didn’t even offer to give you a lift.” Joe rested his hand on the smaller guy’s shoulder. “It feels like I’ve known you a hell of a lot longer than I have. And I hope I get to see you again. Just not around a fuckin’ fire.”
“Wouldn’t want to ride with them anyways.” Brandon respectfully dipped his head at the small pack’s leader. “I’m a Mutt, and I only ride with my crew.”
Joe pulled out his pocket knife and carefully cut the threads holding the Rural Fire Service patch to the sleeve of his coat. “You earned this.” He handed it to Brandon. “The RFS’ lucky to have you.” His right arm rose slowly to a salute.
“Ya, bloody Seppo.” Oliver lifted the American off the ground, hugging him. “Thank you for everything you did. I wish we had more time for a goodbye party.”
“C’mere, Lachie.” This time it was Brandon who pulled one of his crewmates into an embrace, resting the taller man’s head on his shoulder. “I’m gonna miss you, but I hope to see you before I head home. We’ll figure out how and where. If not, when I bring Austin back with me, we’re getting together.” He rubbed his eyes. “Doubt it’s possible, but maybe there’s somewhere we can all meet up for a Seppo leaving Oz party?”
“I’ll miss you too. Remember, you’ve always got a place in my pack, and a roof to sleep under if you need it.” Lachlan held onto his friend.
The farewells lasted another hour as the Mutts loaded their gear onto the fire engines. Once on the road, Brandon fell silent. One by one he watched trucks leave the convoy with a flash of their lights and blast of the siren as they headed for their own hometowns. A final wave through the window, and another would be gone.
“We’re about an hour out of Sydney.” Lucas turned in his seat. “Alpha Sampson said he would meet us at Olympic Park. Joe and I have to check in with RFS Command and do a little paperwork. Things are still burning and it feels like Jax drove the truck into a wall with how fast we stopped and headed home.”
“I figured. He told me in December he or someone would take me wherever I’m staying.” Brandon stared out the window. “It’s the same as any other fire. You get close to the guys you work with and then it comes to a quick handshake and goodbye when you’re released. Talk about anti-climactic after more than a month of adventure.”
“We’re glad we had you with us.” Jaxon kept his eyes forward. “Sure you and your mate don’t want to move here? I can teach you what ya need to know, and we can open a shop together. Maybe restore classics for people.”
“Not sure Austin or the Marine Corps would agree to that.” He felt a small grin creep across his face. “Though there’s plenty of cattle ranches here, so he’d feel at home. And I’ve got a standing job offer from Alpha Kinkade.”
“Think you’re the only wolf in the country that has honorary status with at least five packs. And I like I’m the only cougar you’re cobbers with.”
“I’m sure we taught you that one, but he means great friends, if we didn’t.” Lucas sent a quick text to his husband. “At least it’s not goodbye from me. You’re coming to Newcastle in a few days. Which means these two can join us if they like.”
Brandon raised his sight skyward, counting the six floors of the building at Campbell Street and Little Oxford. A rainbow was painted on the street at the end of the block. “I’m staying here?”
“Fuck yeah. This spot’s aces.” Dainen, the young man who had been Aiden’s and Ethan’s driver, was more animated than Brandon had ever seen him. “Got all the clubs just round the corner. I can get ya in most any of them without a cover. Chemist’s across the street, or Adult World’s around the corner, if ya need lube or anything else. You’ll have all the guys trying to pick you up, especially if they find out you’re a top like the guys mentioned. Darlinghurst’s the heart of gay Sydney.” He handed a set of keys to the American. “Your apartment’s up top with the good view. I’ve got one two floors down. Anyplace you wanna go, or anything you need, just let me know.”
“I guess rest’s what I need more than anything.”
“Been told by several guys I do a great massage. Went through the classes to give me a side job to boost my income. I’d be happy to give you a free one to help you relax. They’re usually done nude. I could do it any way you want. Still can’t believe he asked me to be your tour guide. So fuckin’ cool.”
The Aussie’s arousal was overpowering as they stepped into the confined space of the elevator. The still nonexistent eyebrow rose along with a smirk from the American. “Sounds like those rub downs might come with a happy ending.”
His scent shifted slightly. “Well, umm… Not for everyone. I mean… Usually not for the guys that pay for a massage. I was told…” He blushed a deep crimson. “If it would help you relax… And I’m sure after working as long and hard as you did, plus recovering from the burns, you might need… Umm, to release some… Pent up needs?”
The pair had made it to the sixth floor with Dainen carrying one of Brandon’s bags. As soon as the door was open, they were deposited on the floor. The pack he had left with Brody and Thorin in December was on a table.
“You were told?” Brandon looked around before walking across the room to the windows. “You worked just as hard as me even though you don’t have any training with fires.”
“Well, yeah. I mean… He said you’d want some fun while you rest up.” The happy, carefree attitude from the street was replaced by uncertainty.
“He said? Umm. I’m guessing no one mentioned I’m mated. I married him last year.”
What was left of Dainen’s smile vanished, and he suddenly appeared as terrified as he smelled. “Oh fuck. I’m… I’m sorry. The alpha’s gonna have my arse when he hears about this.” He was breathing heavily, almost to the point of hyperventilating. “Thorin said you’re alone. And a hot guy like you. Shit, I’m doing it again. Thorin fuckin’ set me up. Damned larrikin. I can never tell if he likes me or hates me.” Dainen headed for the door. “I’d be grateful if you’d give me a few minutes to call the alpha and tell him how bad I screwed up before you do. Fuck…” He was on the verge of tears. “Maybe there’s someone else that can take you around. Alpha’s gonna kill me.”
Brandon felt bad for the guy as he watched him fidget with his phone. As tired as he was, he also could not deny the fact he was horny as hell and there was a studly guy showing definite interest. Over three months away from his mate, more than a month working in Australia with little to no privacy around the fire camps, had left his balls overfilled. “Dainen, sit!” He pointed at the chair and was surprised how quickly the guy complied. The corner of his lips curled up at the thought of the hunky Aussie being a good sub. “You made an honest mistake and didn’t know I’m married.” He wanted to laugh at the sad puppy expression, but knew it would make the guy feel worse. “We’ve seen each other on and off for the last couple weeks, but we both had jobs to do. I’m sorry we never really got to talk. Anytime I wanted to I was just too fuckin’ tired.”
There was something in Dainen’s eyes that made him wonder. “Or were you a little overwhelmed having Ethan and Aiden to drive around? Is that why you were always so quiet?” Finally Brandon saw the eyes rise to meet his. “Down on the street you were a completely different person. I don’t remember seeing you so excited. Even when we were running from the flames. And Lucas and Noah mentioned what a cool guy you are.”
“Both of the alphas are close friends with my alpha pair. Between that, their betas and enforcers, and what they are, supposedly the most powerful wolves known to exist, it’s a little intimidating.”
“Everyone kept talking about me being an alpha too, after I kicked Ethan’s ass. But I don’t scare you?”
“You were like the other firefighters. They were a bunch of mostly straight tradies. A lot of hot guys and I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and get them mad. Luc and Noah were nice and I heard it mentioned you were gay. And Thorin told me. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter now. You’re just different from the others.”
“Tell you what. I’m flattered by the fact you think I’m hot. Hell, you even got a physical response from me, and I thought I was too tired for that” The grin expanded as he winked and reached down to adjust the growing bulge in his pants. “You apologized, so there’s no reason to tell Alpha Sampson. I’d like if you’d still show me around. You know what clubs are good, you live in the building, and you’re someone I know.” He held his hand out. “Friends?”
“I’d like that. And thank you.”
“Is the alpha’s club around here?” Brandon sat on the couch and unlaced his boots, toeing them off.
“One of them is. It’s an underground fetish club, literally. An old atomic fallout shelter from the 1960s I think. Most street level party goers have no clue it’s down there. Members only, and you need an invite to become one. There’s probably fifty to a hundred people on a normal night. Maybe around three-hundred plus if the alpha is DJing. It’s mixed species with a very strict no bite rule. A few of the humans wear a mark to show we’re one of their fetishes. They usually work for or do business with a pack so already know about us. Those are the only ones you can reveal yourself to. I have a feeling your size would get you a lot of attention. It’s not a sex club, but there’s rooms if someone wants, umm, an interspecies root. Oh, and the humans always pay for the room.”
“Then I guess it’ll be good having you with me. Just curious, do you have a collar and leash to wear when we go?”
“You’d…” Dainen swallowed hard and cleared his throat. “You’d let me wear a collar for you? And put me on a leash? And yeah, I have both.” He may not have been in his wolf, but it was obvious his tail was wagging.
“Well, the way I see it, the leash would let others know I’m a Dom. I’m sure some big guy will still try chasing after my ass, since I’m small and fresh meat. Second, it would keep me from getting separated from you if it’s busy. But if you want to get laid, and see someone you like, I’ll remove the leash. I might even watch.”
“I may not get laid while I’m with you, but there’s no chance I’d ask you to take a leash off me in front of all those guys.” Dainen blushed. “Can I get some water? It feels warm in here now.”
“You never know. You just might.” Brandon looked around the room. “Help yourself. You’re probably familiar with where things are. I know Alpha Sampson has more than one club. Where are the others?”
Dainen walked back in with two glasses of water, offering one to Brandon. “They have two more. One’s at Manly Beach and the second’s at Bondi Beach. Surfers Haven and Surfers Sanctuary. They’re fun. During the day, guys are in anything from wetsuits, to budgie smugglers, to board shorts. People surf, come in for a drink or food, dance a bit, and go back to riding the waves. At night it’s a mix of that and dressier stuff.”
“Cool. I was hoping to surf while I’m here. Any place around the clubs I can rent a board for the day?”
“You surf? Both clubs have a surf shop in them.”
“I’m a California beach boy now.” The hearty laugh filled the room. “I spend as much time in the water as I can. What about you?” Brandon stretched out on the couch. “I forgot Thorin said the shop was there. Makes it easy.”
“You’re probably way out of my league. I’m just a grom. Some days I can’t keep my balance at all.”
“Hey, everyone’s a rookie when they start.” Brandon studied the Aussie more closely. “My small size puts my center-of-gravity lower than yours. It took me a while to keep my feet planted. Was part of the dawn patrol when I could manage it.”
“Those guys are too heavy for me. They bitched about me being a dick dragger when I’d ride on my belly.”
“Try it in the cold California water. Even the guys get called clam draggers from the shrinkage.” The pair were in hysterics. “I’m too wiped to even think about it tomorrow, but how about we go soon. Maybe I can help you improve.” Brandon’s body was finally relaxing. “What I’d really like is you showing me the sights of Sydney. I’ve got a list of what I hoped to see. How about you decide which ones are good and the best plan of attack to see them?”
“I can do that.” Dainen grinned at the oversized yawn. “Why don’t you rest? Here’s my number, and I’m in forty-two on the fourth floor if you need anything.”
“Yeah, nothing better than a lie down in the avro. Right, mate?”
“The accent wasn’t bad there. Let me know when you’re ready for dinner.”
“Tell ya what. I need a shower and then I’m gonna lie down for a while. Unless you want to relax in your apartment, or have things to do, why don’t you stay? We can have a friendly cuddle, then get food when we wake up.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I shower and get some clean clothes.”
“Nothing larger than boxers.” Brandon winked. “Preferably smaller, like a jockstrap.”
Ethan stood at the railing of the rooftop deck not really focusing on where he looked. The lights of a boat flickering in the darkness finally drew his attention. Thorin appeared at his side and offered a glass of wine. “Thanks. I love the view from up here.”
“Me too. I didn’t realize it was the one thing missing to make the house perfect.” Thorin went about his host duties.
“The fires may not be out yet, but you guys did a great job.” Brody raised his glass. “I’d like to propose a toast to you and the Mutts. To every firefighter who’s been working so hard since this nightmare started.”
“Another Elemental was making the fires worse.” Ethan’s casual delivery of such a bombshell appeared to surprise those around him.
“WHAT?” Brody’s glass dropped, shattering on the wood floor. “I thought there could only be one of you at a time?”
“That’s what the legends say. I’m one thanks to his gift to me.” Aiden watched his mate.
“Ethan, you’re absolutely sure?”
The shorter blond nodded. “Darius and Cody saw her with their own eyes. Brandon did too.”
“She was probably in her forties or fifties, Alpha Sampson. And had the same red eyes Aiden gets.” Darius held the wine glass under his nose.
“We kept wondering why things worked how we wanted for a while, and then went off the rails.” Ethan took a sip from his glass. “This is good, Thorin. Either she knew how to use this gift better than us, or it’s easier to destroy than protect.”
“How many people know about this?” Thorin was concerned.
“All of the Mutts because of Brandon getting burned so bad. I didn’t know if I could save him.”
“Wait, no one mentioned him getting hurt. He looked fine today.” Brody shot up from his seat. “What happened? Do we have any way of tracking her?”
“I killed her when I thought she was going to attack me like she did Brandon. When he tried to stop her, she set him on fire from the inside out.”
“Is that why he’s bald now? I thought he got fleas or something and shaved it.” The attempt at levity earned a quick rebuke.
“Thorin! Now’s not the fuckin’ time for your jokes.” It took Brody a while to process what he had heard. “Okay, so at least we don’t have to worry about her burning down the country anymore.”
“I was keeping the winds down earlier the day all this happened. While Aiden dealt with the fire, I made sure there was no breeze. I lost control of it the same as we did with the flames. Just like things went to hell causing the hail storm.”
“What are you saying, Ethan?” Brody and Thorin faced him.
“Darius killed a Fire Elemental, and we got control of the fires again. There’s still a Wind Bender out there who was fanning the flames. I’m fairly certain of it.” His head dropped to his arms on the railing. “If those two exist, how many others might too? With how widespread the fires were, was she causing all of it, or were there several across the country? What does that mean about me? Are Elementals inherently bad?” Ethan finally looked up. “When people found out about me, they made a huge deal about it. All those people at the wedding, the gifts, the talk of how revered Elementals are. Now this? I don’t know what to think.”
Moving to his mate’s side, Aiden wrapped his arms around the man he loved.
“Ethan, you’re a good person. I knew that the moment I met you.” Brody walked over to his friends. “Our admiration of you was genuine at the wedding and it still is now. Yes, it may have been affected by the legends, but any of us who have gotten to know you realize you deserve every bit of it. You offered to come here and help when you didn’t have to.”
“He’s right. You could have stayed in the shadows. Rumors would have made it out of Parker Valley, but they’d have just been rumors. You stepped into the light to help others and right things on the American Council.” Darius was happy with the nods he received. “I wouldn’t have stayed if you were a bad person. As we tried to explain to Ethan already, an inferno as violently uncontrolled as what we’ve faced here creates conditions even he can’t fight against. It wouldn’t take much of a push to give it an added boost. Basically it’s always been easier to destroy.”
“The fires have people talking about our environmental responsibilities, and Australia’s coal industry.” Brody was still having a hard time believing what he had heard. “For all we know, she was an eco-terrorist. There were several humans and lycan believed to have sparked fires as a misguided protest of climate change. You, my friend, are a good man though.”
“Pup, asking if Elementals are inherently bad is like asking if all wolves are also bad based solely on our experience with Michael. Or the rogues.” He kissed the top of the blond’s head. “We’ll never know her motive. All we can do is live our lives by the standards that fit us. You represent the goodness all those people from the wedding saw.”
The morning after arriving, Brandon was momentarily distracted from what he was doing by the sound of keys in the door of the sixth floor apartment. A quick scent of the air and glance at the mirror in the room’s corner reminded him Dainen had mentioned picking up take out for breakfast before leaving the previous night. Given the early hour, it was well before when he thought the Aussie would return. Brandon thought it was actually kind of sweet there was no knock that might risk disturbing him, if he were sleeping. Carrying a couple grocery bags, Dainen appeared to be moving with wolf-like stealth as the door opened. Brandon smirked as the man froze and nearly dropped everything. The sound of deep breaths as the guest took in the smells of the apartment only fueled his grin.
Unlike the underwear worn for the previous evening’s cuddling, Brandon’s bare flesh was on full display. His smooth, hard muscles rippled in the morning light. In the mirror’s reflection, he could see Dainen’s eyes traveling slowly up and down his body, apparently trying to quickly memorize the contours. The sensual way Brandon’s right arm moved and caused his chest to flex increased his excitement at the show he was putting on. Seeing the Aussie’s eyes widen, Brandon assumed they finally focused on what his fingers were wrapped around. A lust filled whimper accompanied the voyeur licking his lips hungrily. A deep, husky voice finally pulled Dainen out of his trance.
“Even though I see you noticed, we have an audience, Sir. Should probably either send him away or tell him to put the bags down before he drops something. Might be hot to have him watch.” A chuckle came from the tablet propped up on a table.
“He’s seen everything now, and I’m not stopping until you’re done.” Brandon blew a kiss towards the camera. “Dain, put that stuff in the kitchen. Now!”
The Aussie scurried off and disappeared from view. Brandon did not think it was possible, but he heard Dainen’s pulse quicken, as he kept his back to the man. The sounds coming from the kitchen seemed to be amplified.
“I’m getting close.”
“So am I, babe.”
“Since I’m not there…” Grunts emanated from the tablet. “Seems a shame to waste it. Oh fuck… And he is cute, just like you said.”
“Is that what you want, boy?”
“You know it, Sir.”
“Dainen! Get over here.”
The Aussie moved rapidly when called, as Brandon unknowingly used an alpha’s command voice. Once again, a smile crossed his face, noticing where Dainen was looking at on the tablet. There was a naked man resting on his back. One hand was holding an object that slid in and out of his ass. The other was furiously stroking his dick. A military uniform laid crumpled to the side of the powerful-looking body.
“You wanted him over here in your place, so you tell him what to do. Dainen, you have two choices. Follow his and my instructions or walk out the door and come back in an hour.”
After clearing his throat several times, Dainen rasped out, “I’ll stay.”
“Good boy. On your knees in front of my Sir. Do it!”
Brandon watched his new friend glance between the monitor and his naked body as he continued to stroke himself. The taller man moved in front of him and dutifully dropped to his knees. He knew the aroma Dainen was inhaling was much stronger that close to his crotch. He wondered if the Aussie remembered being told he was off limits when they had cuddled.
“It’s kinda hot hearing you try to go alpha on someone.”
Another command came from the tablet.
“I know you’re hard. Who wouldn’t be kneeling before him? Take your dick out and stroke it. Breathe in that wonderful scent of his. I want to hear you moan. I want you to take pleasure in this and cum with us.”
“You heard him, Dainen. It’s obviously bossy-bottom day, and he gets whatever he wants right now. You look so fucking hot, Babe. And you look sexy as hell on your knees, Dain. I hope you get what you want too.”
The sound of clothes rustling and spit hitting a hand, followed by more stroking sounds indicated the Aussie was complying.
“So do you, Sir. I may not be able to take care of my favorite duties, but seeing him on his knees is the next best thing. He’s a true Aussie fantasy boy.”
Dainen inched closer to Brandon’s dick.
“No touching it. Yet. That’s mine! And I haven’t decided if I’ll share.”
Brandon smirked as the dark head stopped moving towards him. The deep inhales and moans further fueled his excitement.
“Sir, I need to cum. I wish it was you pumping me and not this toy.”
“Hey, you’re the one who made the mold of me, so I am pumping you.” Brandon’s breathing was erratic. “Shoot it for me. Both of you. I’m gonna cum too.” He reached out, running his hand through the Aussie’s hair, affectionately petting the guy.
There was an almost simultaneous roar from the man on the tablet and Brandon. His grip on the dark hair tightened as his other hand moved lightning fast. It pleased him to see the mouth open moments before ropes of hot liquid splashed across the Aussie. It was apparently enough to trigger Dainen’s own orgasm.
Panting filled the room as the three tried to catch their breath.
“Shit, what did I do?” A look of panic replaced the horniness on Dainen’s face once the moment had passed. “I fucked up again.” He appeared to avoid looking at Brandon or the guy on the tablet.
“Fuck, you sure covered his face. That’s a huge load.”
“Well, between us edging for a while, and you putting him on his knees, what did you expect? Nice load on your own chest and face. Bet the two of us could have fun licking that off you.”
“Aren’t you going to at least introduce me to the guy that just got the cum meant for me?”
More laughs came from the tablet.
“I was getting to that. Dainen, I’d like you to meet my mate, Austin.”
“Umm… Hi, Austin. I’m sorry about all this. I didn’t mean to walk in on your private time. Never imagined Bran would be awake this early.”
“Don’t be. I’m eight hours behind you guys, so it was the only time we could talk and, you know. It was hot seeing him cum on you. I owe you big time for standing in for me. You didn’t let any land on the floor, did you?”
“Not really sure what to say. Thanks, I guess?” Dainen looked down. “No, only mine’s on the floor.”
“Awe fuck, Brookover. Geez. Couldn’t you put a fuckin’ sock on the doorknob or something before you guys did that. Not fuckin’ cool to tease a horny Marine. Hey Brandon, I’d ask how’s it hanging, but I see you’re still up. You back home or still in Oz?” The guy moved closer to the screen. “Wow, never seen you with everything shaved. Who’s the guy that looks like Austin after a night in the showers?”
“Fuck you, Dean.” Austin ran his finger through the cum on his chest and licked it clean. ”Better yet, since Bran’s here, fuck me. Not like you haven’t done it before.”
“Hey, Dean. He was probably hoping you’d walk in and paint his face like you did… God, that was months ago, wasn’t it? And this is my friend, Dainen. He fought the fires with us and is now playing tour guide for me around Sydney. Dain, that’s Dean, my husband’s roommate and semi-former fuck buddy.”
“Yeah, well, if you weren’t running all over Australia pissin’ on anything that’s burning, I might actually get you on cam with him so my load doesn’t go to waste. Read your poems. Sent fuckin’ chills down my spine. You two getting married really screwed up easy deployment sex. Now I have to be respectful and try to hunt for a mouth or ass instead of having it available in the room.”
Dean growled as he moved around their small space.
“Hell with it. He’s naked, all I can smell is cum, and I’m horny. I don’t care if you guys keep talking and watch. I’m gonna jerk off now.”
He pulled off his shirt, walked towards his bunk, and pushed his trousers and boxers down, exposing his furry butt.
“If ya’ll are still talkin’ when I nut, can I use your boy’s face for target practice?”
“Bro, how many times do I gotta tell you my boy has needs, and I know you can fill them. Same rule still applies, if you nail either of his holes, I get yours when you guys come home. Not like you haven’t taken me balls deep before. Hell, I knew you before meeting Austin, and introduced you to your girlfriend. I know the sex helps you both with the stress.”
“My time’s almost up, so I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks for being a good sport about this, Dainen. Nice meeting you and have fun showing my husband the town. I totally approve of him, Sir. Hope next time he’s either blowing you or riding your cock. I love you, Brandon.”
“Love you too, Austin. Keep him and yourself safe, Dean. And go ahead and make him sticky now. Later, guys.”
“Grab your ankles and get that toy outa your hole. He gave permission, so I’m fucking you tonight and the rest of this deployment. God your man’s gonna make me sore when we get home.”
The image on the tablet went black.
“Umm, you’ve got some spunk about to drip off your chin.” Brandon grinned down at the kneeling Aussie.
“Oh.” Dainen ran his finger to collect what was running down his face and licked it clean before thinking about it. “Sweet. I’m not sure if I should feel embarrassed, upset, or excited.”
“Hopefully excited. I did give you the option to leave. You chose to stay, and I’m happy you did. If we embarrassed or upset you, I’m sorry. That was kind of spur of the moment.” Brandon could not help the smirk as he looked at how he had covered the guy’s face. “Like Austin said, it’s better than wasting it. Let me get you a damp towel.”
“Yeah, I could probably use one. I might need to use it on your legs and feet unless I lick it off.” Dainen dropped back onto his haunches. “Maybe I’ll just let this dry on my face. I like the scent.”
After getting cleaned up, the two relaxed in leather chairs facing large windows while their breakfast reheated in the oven.
“I can’t believe it’s actually raining.”
“I know. I don’t remember the last time we got a storm like this. I’m…” Dainen cleared his throat. “I’m glad you were up early. I was gonna suggest some places to see today, but it would suck walking around in the rain. And a lot of roads are flooded. The show here was… It was fuckin’ hot. Austin’s as sexy as you. Do… Do you guys do that often? Include someone when he’s on Skype that is?”
“Not often, but it’s happened. I shut you down when you first offered because I hadn’t had a chance to talk to Austin about it first. Hell, I hadn’t spoken to him since I got to Oz. Not sure what if anything else might happen, but he gave his approval, and you showed definite interest. If you say yes, more is possible. I also don’t want you to think you’re just a cum dump to me. I do like you as a friend, first and foremost. And I enjoyed cuddling with you.” Brandon was pleased with the smile and nod he received. “Would any of the clubs have a crowd tonight?”
“There’s always people out. Best time would be after eleven o’clock tonight. I’ll make sure I’ve got my collar on.” He shot a grin at his new friend. “So we don’t get separated. The big question is if I keep your scent on me.”
“If there’s gonna be other lycan around, the answer’s yes.” The smirk was unmistakable. “Since that would be around sixteen hours from now, I might need to re-mark you. We’ll discuss how later after more cuddling. It’s sexy having a big, tall, stud like you on a short lead in front of others. I hope Austin meets you in person. You’ll both be on leashes and wearing as little as possible.”
“I’m curious what the weather report says.” Blue radiated from Ethan’s eyes as he walked across the room.
“Rain coming down from Townsville in Queensland to Melbourne in Victoria. The radar map shows even Adelaide and Tasmania are getting some. It’s been ages since the entire east coast got a storm like this.”
“Lunch business was light at the beach clubs today, but it’s worth it. Only the hardcore surfers were out and the waves were too good to bother coming in.” Thorin stood beside Brody, looking at the computer monitor. “I’m glad we don’t have to go out. There’s flooding in Central Sydney.”
“Shit, I’m sorry about that.” Ethan watched the rain through the floor-to-ceiling window. “I think it’s because of my proximity to the city.”
“No worries, mate. It’s a small price to pay for getting water on the fires. And I’m sure the streets could use a good wash.”
“Thank you, my sexy mate. I’m marking the calendar with the time and date. Especially since there’s witnesses who heard you say I’m right.” The large alpha dodged a backhand. “Turn on the telly. News should be on.”
“Meteorologists across the state were taken by surprise at the sudden formation of this storm. They called for more heat that would hinder the fire efforts, but are ecstatic to be wrong for once. While there’s some concern the amount of rain falling in the burn areas could cause mud or debris flows, at present that doesn’t seem to be the case. Our own weather team’s impressed with what has been recorded so far and will have more later in the broadcast. Karen?”
“Thank you, John. If you go out in this, use caution. There’s street flooding all around Sydney CBD. Multiple tunnels have been closed. Rural Fire Service for New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland are reporting that, after a sustained twenty hours of sizable precipitation, most of the fires appear to be dying down, or are out. Crews will monitor the situation for the next several days, if not weeks. The eighth of February will hopefully be known as the day our national disaster finally came to an end.”
“I see that smug look on your face, Pup.”
“I’m just happy this is finally working the way it’s supposed to.”
Trevor walked into the room and draped an arm over Ethan’s shoulders. “That’s such a beautiful sight. If it’s not a distraction to you, I brought you a roast beef sandwich. It’s been a while since you ate.”
“Oh, yeah. How’d you know I was getting hungry?”
“Your eyes are glowing. It always gives you the munchies just like a human smoking pot. I may have been away from you a lot of the time, but I haven’t forgotten how you get.” His rich laugh filled the room. “A couple more years, and I’ll finish my MBA and be home full-time. Then I’m going to make up for those gaps in our relationship.”
“Wish you’d hurry the fuck up with college. While you’re off entertaining a new coed each night, I’ve got to make sure we don’t screw things up with the packs, relying on people I don’t know for business decisions.” Aiden swiped a tender morsel from the plate and popped it into his mouth.
“How long do you plan to keep up the rain?” Brody reviewed messages from packs all over the country.
“I figure another couple hours. Just to make sure the fires stay out.” Ethan moved away from the window and took a seat at the dining table. The blue glow of his eyes never wavered. “We might need to do some local stops if this doesn’t put them all out. From the way things feel, I’m happy with how it’s working. At least no one’s interfering this time.”
“I agree.” Brody set his phone down and joined his friends at the table. “Perth and Darwin still have a problem, though not as big as ours was.”
“Perth and Darwin are always a problem, Mate-of-Mine.” Thorin settled himself onto his husband’s lap. “I’ll be busy with work whatever day you go. Unless there’s a red carpet reception when we get off the plane.”
“You’re impossible sometimes. But I still love you.” Brody grabbed his phone again and scrolled through more messages. “Unless the country decides to change its habits, fires like this are going to become a regular occurrence. No one has the stomach to stand up to the coal industry. There’s only so much the environment can take, before climate change becomes truly disastrous, as this year has shown us.”
“I can’t reverse what governments refuse to address.” Ethan went to wipe his mouth on the back of his hand, until Thorin handed him a napkin. “Thanks. Even what I’m doing now is just a bandage on the problem. And depending on how many more Elementals are out there, things could get interesting, if they decide to help or make things worse.”