Shifters of the Claiming Kind
Genre: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance,
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Date of Publication: July 2015
Number of pages: 99
Word Count: 24,977
Cover Artist: Harris Channing
The minute Ryan Forrester read Tobias Gale’s diary he found in the home he was renovating, he fell in love. The man Tobias described as his perfect soul mate is Ryan. When a family emergency brings Tobias home, Ryan tries to console him and help him through this trying time.
Tobias Gale’s world is turned upside-down when he gets a call from Ryan Forester telling him his mom had a stroke. He rushes home to find out that not only has she been keeping Ryan Forrester, the sexy handyman who lives with her a secret, but also something far more detrimental. Tobias’s whole life has been built on lies and he doesn’t know who to turn to for help. Luckily, Ryan is by his side offering him his ear and his heart to help him get through it all.
There are more secrets to uncover when Ryan’s wolf shifter past comes back to haunt him. After Ryan gets an ominous phone call from his brother, he knows danger is nearby. He has to solve the mysterious message while keeping everyone he loves safe from the man and organization that have been stalking him for years.
Tobias’s boss’s voicemail came on. He sighed in relief at having been spared the torture of talking to her directly. “Yeah, ah, Martha. It’s Tobias. I didn’t get a chance to call you before now, but I won’t be able to come in tomorrow or for the rest of the week. There’s been a family emerg–”
Before he could continue, Martha replied, “Tobias?”
He frowned. “Hi, Martha. I was just leaving you a message.”
“Yes, I realized that. So did I hear correctly, you won’t be coming in this week because of a family emergency?”
“Yeah, my mom had a stroke earlier today. I took a plane home as soon as I heard.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope she’ll be better soon.”
“Thanks.” He was astounded at how sympathetic Martha seemed.
“About my work and the edits on John’s book.”
“Don’t worry about that. Work and the edits can wait until your mom gets better and you come back to New York.”
Tobias grinned with deep relief. “Okay, that’ll be great. Thanks so much for understanding.”
“You’re welcome. We’ve all got a mother we love and who we want to help as much as we can. After all, they’ve done so much for us. It’s only right we return the favour.” Her tone turned assertive. “Concentrate on your mom and work will wait until you get back here. In the meantime, let me know how she’s doing soon.”
“I will. Thanks again, Martha.”
“No problem, Tobias. Bye.”
He stared at the phone wondering if it really was Martha Benson he actually had spoken to or an imposter with a kind heart. He shrugged before using the app directory to get the number to St. Matthews Hospital. When he placed the call, an automated system came on. By the time he’d gone through the phone protocol, five minutes passed.
A gentle and sweet female voice answered, “St. Mathews Hospital ICU. Nurse Smith speaking.”
“Hi, I’m Gladys Gale’s son. I wanted to know if there’s been a change in her condition.”
“Why yes, there has, Mr. Gale.” Tobias held his breath ready for bad news. “She’s awake and alert. It happened just a few minutes ago. I was in her room taking her vitals when she woke up. She asked me about you. She had heard you talking to her.”
“Oh my God! That’s wonderful. I’ll head back there right away.”
“Umm, the doctor is with her right now and I believe he’ll send her upstairs for an MRI and other tests now. Plus, it’s hospital policy –”
“I know. I know. Not to have visitors in the ICU after visiting hours end.”
“Yes, sir, but you can come in at ten tomorrow to see her. I promise I’ll check in on her just as soon as the doctor finishes examining her. I’ll make sure she’s all right and see if she needs or wants anything.”
“Thank you, Nurse Smith, that’s so very kind of you.”
“My patients are my number one priority, Mr. Gale, and your mother is such a sweetheart.”
He smiled as his eyes misted with emotion. “Yes, she is.”
“Good night, Mr. Gale.”
“Bye.” He was all choked up.
He didn’t wait to make sure he shut off the phone before rushing to the back of the house to tell Ryan the good news. He stopped in midstride after he turned the corner and witnessed Ryan exiting the bathroom. He had a tiny towel wrapped around his waist. His wide shoulders, brawny, hairless chest and ripped six-pack abs glistened with droplets of water on his skin, which accentuated his gorgeous, muscular physique and wayward sexual magnetism.
Tobias’s eyes soaked in all the beauty while his mouth hung open and his mind turned to mush. It took him a few seconds to realize he was rudely ogling and started to turn away in embarrassment.
Ryan said, while towel-drying his damp hair, “I’m done if you need to use it.”
“Hmm, use what?”
“The bathroom.” Ryan offered him a sidelong grin.
“No, I don’t.” His brain function began to kick in again. “I was just looking for you to tell you the good news.”
Ryan froze, staring at him wide-eyed.” What good news?”
“My mom’s awake and alert, and she asked Nurse Smith about me.”
Ryan walked up to him. His eyes and smile beamed as he wrapped his huge arms quickly around Tobias’s shoulders, hugging him tightly. Holy cow!He smelled of musk and lemon-scented body wash.
“Yes, that’s the best news ever!” Ryan cheered.
He stepped back. The teeny-tiny towel started to slide down his thigh with his motion, offering Tobias a quick peek. Ryan then quickly turned around, trying to grab the wet towel and re-wrap it, but not before Tobias got a good look at Ryan’s amazing derriere. Damn, that was the finest ass Tobias had ever seen.
He almost let out a whimper of approval before Ryan said, “I better get dressed before I give you a real peep show.” Apparently, he had no idea he had already done just that. “I’ll be out in a minute.”
Tobias pointed over his shoulder while his heart raced. “That’s all right. I’m heading to my old room to crash out. I want to wake up early to go see my mom as soon as visiting hours begin.”
Ryan nodded. “All right. I’m going to bed now, too. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
“Yeah, bye.” Tobias turned, too distracted to see the wall before he slammed into it hard. He rubbed the side of his aching head as he hurried away, praying Ryan didn’t notice his clumsy maneuver.
The protruding bump pulsed with heat as blood pooled into it. He needed to get ice on it, stat. It would help reduce the swelling and maybe cool down his body. He was hot and bothered and it was all Ryan Forrester the teaser’s fault.
About the Author:
Jordan Ashton is a writer and wife whose passion for reading romance novels led her to writing them, too. She believes love can conquer all and that it makes the world go round, not money. Her heroes, heroines, and the worlds she creates bring this belief to life. She is and will always be a true romantic at heart.