Phoenix Reborn (Alpha Pack, #7.5)
Noah Brooks strolled to work at a leisurely pace, humming a love song he’d heard Steven Tyler crooning on the radio. Something about being someone’s angel, getting saved, being loved forever.
With everything in him, he wanted to believe in love. To be in love with a man who loved and cherished him in return and would never let him go. But so far, his fated Bondmate had no problem watching Noah walk away. Every. Single. Time.
Nix doesn’t love me. Biology will eventually force his wolf to mate with me, but there will never be anything more.
The pain that squeezed Noah’s heart was becoming all too familiar, and he blinked back the tears that stung his eyes. Willing them away, he reminded himself he had a home here, at the Alpha Pack’s compound in the heart of the Shoshone National Forest, where he was finally accepted. He no longer had to run. Within the compound, he had a job he loved as the head nurse at Sanctuary, the new hospital and rehabilitation center for sick and injured paranormal beings. Since he’d arrived in Wyoming almost two years ago, he’d made some good friends.
No matter how hard life seemed determined to smack him down, he’d always managed to remain positive. He was one of those people who never met a stranger, who’d been blessed with a sunny disposition and bubbly personality. But lately?
Being constantly rejected by his true mate was slowly wearing him down, draining the life out of his smile.
“Phoenix Monroe, you’re gonna be the death of me,” he murmured, and wondered how true that might prove to be as he turned toward Sanctuary.
Nix. Tall and runway-model gorgeous, with long, dark honey-blond hair and jade green eyes fringed by thick, dusky lashes. Eyes that had smoldered with barely concealed desire more than once when gazing at Noah.
Despite how Nix fought their attraction, his reaction gave Noah hope and a bit of gratification. At least part of Nix wasn’t as opposed to taking a male for a mate as he’d have Noah believe, which meant the barrier between them could be broken down. Right?
If only he’d give in once and see how great it could be for us, he’d finally claim me. Maybe even fall in love with me.
A tendril of need and longing curled through Noah’s gut and spread south. Groaning, he clamped down on the wayward feelings, which would make his day miserable if he let them. He had to put his reluctant mate out of his mind. At least for a while.
Noah took some deep breaths of the bracing fall air, just what he needed to clear his head before work. Or so he told himself. In truth, it was a good thing the patients were quiet and settled as he arrived at work and went about his rounds that morning. He’d never risk harm to a patient by being distracted while checking charts, dispensing meds, and giving other care, but his problems with Nix weighed on his mood.
Unfortunately, his malaise didn’t go unnoticed.
“What’s wrong with you today? Or do I even need to ask?”
Turning, he faced Dr. Melina Mallory and gave her a rueful smile. “Probably not.”
“Are you all right?”
The softness of the question surprised him. Melina was a tough, no-nonsense woman and a damn fine doctor. She’d gone to bat for Noah, giving him a job when he had nowhere else to turn, and yet he couldn’t exactly call her a close friend. Truthfully, though, he wasn’t sure Melina was very close to anyone.
Small-boned, and a bit taller than Noah’s own five-seven, the doc had an angular face surrounded by dark hair. After her mate’s death in ambush several years before, she’d cut the tresses ruthlessly short. Only recently had she let her hair grow out, so it now reached her collar and thankfully softened her features. Her harsh attitude seemed to have taken a turn for the better, as well.
“Noah?” She frowned at him, waiting for a response.
“Sorry. I’m fine, Doc.”
“You’re very quiet today,” she observed. “I’m used to you chattering like a squirrel on crack, and to see you walking around with your lips zipped, just doing your job, is a bit disconcerting.”
A genuine smile bloomed across his face. “Aww, there is a heart lurking under there somewhere,” he said, pointing at her chest. “I’m touched.”
Melina snorted. “Don’t be too sure about that. I just wanted to check on you, that’s all.”
“Well, you can stop worrying. I’m not about to jump off the roof of the building. Not yet, anyway.” He winked. “Ain’t no man worth that, honey.”
She laughed quietly, the return to his usual teasing apparently putting her concerns to rest. Somewhat. “How right you are. Seriously, if you ever need to talk, my door is always open. I mean that, Noah.”
“Thanks.” He was touched, and a warm glow spread through him as she turned to go. Maybe she was more of a friend than he’d believed.
Continuing his rounds with renewed energy, he noted it was time to check on their wounded tiger shifter. Now there was a poor bastard who was in pitiful shape. Leonidis had been brought to Sanctuary several weeks ago, and they’d been unsure if the bodyguard would survive the grave injuries he’d sustained while on a case in the area. His sister and brothers, all big cat shifters, owned and operated a private security firm in St. Louis, and had been rotating through the hospital constantly since the attack. Noah couldn’t fathom how they were getting much work done at their place of business.
Phoenix Reborn (Alpha Pack, #7.5)
Written By: J.D. Tyler
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