Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Seb and Hudson’s book Darkest Hour Before Dawn which is book nine in the THIRDS series, and now available for pre-order! Enjoy!
“How are you doing today?” Hudson tried to summon a smile. The least he could do was be civil, for Seb’s sake. The brothers were closer than ever, and Hudson wasn’t about to come between them. Rafe squinted at him, and Hudson let out a soft sigh. “I’m not being snide. I’m genuinely interested.”
Rafe still had a way to go to redeem himself in Hudson’s eyes, but Hudson felt for him. Having known the Hobbs family for years, being present for some of Thomas’s worst days, Hudson wouldn’t wish the condition on anyone. The knowledge that Rafe would one day end up in a wheelchair like his father, at the mercy of agonizing pain, hurt Hudson. Rafe was Seb and Ethan’s big brother. A huge tiger Therian, built of what seemed like solid muscle. At seven foot two and over three hundred pounds, he eclipsed Hudson’s smaller wolf Therian frame. As big as Seb was, Rafe was just that tiny bit bigger, certainly broader. It saddened Hudson. Rafe hadn’t always hated him. Once upon a time, Rafe had been kind to him, even smiled.
“I’m okay,” Rafe replied. He cleared his throat, looking larger than life as he sat across from Hudson. “Thank you for asking.”
Hudson nodded. “What can I do for you?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Nina. I know things are still strained between the two of you, and it’s my fault. She did it to protect me. Please, don’t be mad at her. She loves you, Hudson. If you could only see how much pain she’s in, how much she misses you.”
The last six months had been rather awkward. Although Hudson was on speaking terms with Nina, their relationship had suffered greatly. How could they get back to the way things were after she’d purposefully kept him in the dark? For months, day after day, she’d looked him in the eye, going on as if nothing had happened, and all the while sharing Rafe’s bed.
“I would have thought you’d be happy to be rid of me once and for all. She’s the only connection left between me and your family.” There was no bitterness in Hudson’s voice, only sadness.
Rafe straightened, looking affronted. “How can you say that? You’re connected to my brother in the most significant way possible, which, by the way, I don’t get you. You took three bullets for him, are obviously still as much in love with him now as you were then, and he worships you, yet you keep pushing him away. Why won’t you come home?”
Hudson inhaled sharply. Rafe’s words hit him harder than expected. “Why… why would you say such a thing?”
“That you two should be together?”
“No. That I should come home.”
Rafe raked a hand through his hair and let out a heavy sigh. He appeared to give a lot of thought to the question, as if trying to find the right words.
“Fuck it.” Rafe met Hudson’s gaze, his eyes intense. “Because you’re a part of our family, always were. You’re his home, Hudson. He’s been lost since you left, and I don’t want to see him in pain anymore. He deserves to be happy, and that’ll never happen without you. He needs you. My family needs you. My mom misses the hell out of you. She’s always asking about you. Ethan misses you, my dad—”
“Don’t,” Hudson pleaded, blinking back the tears in his eyes. “Please don’t use Thomas.”
“It’s the truth. You may not want to hear it, but that’s the way it is. We are your pack, Hudson. You walked away from us, and yes, I hated you for a long time for what I believed you were doing to my brother, but I think I also resented you.”
Hudson was stunned. “For what?”
“For leaving. No one blamed you. Okay, I blamed you, but I was an asshole. My mom, dad, Ethan, Seb, none of them blamed you. They just wanted you home.”
Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.