THIRDS Thursday – 1/19/17

Prompt: Seb and Hudson’s first date.


Part 3

They carried on with their meal, chatting and laughing. Hudson told Seb why he’d arrived at the restaurant in the state he was in. How he’d been leaving the locker room down in Sparta when he’d been called to the training bay. A Human rookie from one of Unit Beta’s teams thought it would be funny to sneak up on his bear Therian teammate during a training session while the agent was in Therian form.

Seb groaned. “You’re kidding me.”

Hudson shook his head. “Everyone knows bear Therians do not like to be poked, or startled. The rookie had been warned, and decided to disregard the warning. Poor bloke was tossed across the room. He’s lucky all he broke was an arm.” Hudson’s smile grew wicked. “I can tell you he won’t be pulling a stunt like that again. Not after I finished with him.”

“Oh?” Seb chuckled.

“I was certain to explain in exceptional detail all the internal damage his organs could have suffered then explained how lucky he was he’d not been faced with a Felid Therian from Unit Alpha or he might have ended up with a crushed skull, or found his intestines dangling outside his stomach.”

Seb waggled his brows. “You have a bit of a wicked streak in you, Doc. I like it.”

They finished their meal, and Seb called them a cab, accompanying Hudson to his apartment building. Hudson insisted it wasn’t necessary, but Seb wasn’t quite ready to leave him. They stood outside the apartment building entrance, the cool evening breeze ruffling Hudson’s hair. Seb brushed it away from Hudson’s eyes.

“Thanks for tonight,” Seb said. “I really had a great time.”

Hudson leaned against the doorframe facing Seb. “As did I. Would you join me for dinner again sometime this week?”

“How about Thursday night? I get off at six. We could meet at eight?”

“It’s a date,” Hudson said beaming up at him.

Suddenly, Seb wasn’t quite sure what to do. He knew what he wanted to do, but what if Hudson got the wrong idea? What if he thought Seb was just interested in getting him into bed? Not that sex with Hudson would be a bad thing. Seb was pretty sure it would be spectacular, but he wanted to do this right. It was too soon to feel this crazy about someone, yet he realized he didn’t care. He was drawn to Hudson. Drawn to his beautiful smile, his handsome face, snarky sense of humor, and gentle eyes.

“Well, I guess I should go.” He ran a hand through his hair, feeling like a giant dork. Should he kiss Hudson? Was it too late to do it now? Should he kiss him on the cheek? On the lips? Would Hudson think he was being pushy?

“Sebastian?”

The soft-spoken word snapped Seb’s attention, and he looked down, wondering when Hudson had gotten so close.

“Yeah?”

“Goodness, you’re tall.”

Seb chuckled. “Yeah, well, that kind of goes hand in hand with being a tiger Therian.”

“You’ll just have to put in more of an effort then.”

Seb studied him. “What do you mean?”

Hudson dropped his gaze to Seb’s lips before moving his eyes back to Seb’s. “You’ll have to meet me halfway, darling. I won’t reach your mouth otherwise.”

It took Seb a moment. “Oh! Sorry, I—”

Hudson stood on his toes, cupped Seb’s face, and pulled him down, bringing their lips together. Joy and sizzling heat flared through Seb, and after his brain finally got the message, he closed his eyes, wrapped his arms around Hudson, and held him tight against him, mindful not to squeeze too hard.

Hudson’s lips were soft, plump, and his mouth tasted sweet from the dessert they’d shared. His scent filled Seb’s nostrils, and Seb moaned when Hudson pressed closer to him. Their kiss was slow as they explored each other’s mouth, their tongues tasting, teeth nipping. Hudson placed his hands to Seb’s chest, his finger sliding up and slipping under Seb’s collar to stroke his skin.

Their kiss went on for what seemed like a blissful eternity. Until a bang somewhere inside startled them, and they broke their kiss.

Hudson let out a breathless laugh. “Noisy neighbor.” He hadn’t moved out of Seb’s embrace. His cheeks were flushed that beautiful pink Seb was coming to love. “Would you…. Would you care to come in for a cup of tea, or coffee?”

Seb placed a kiss to Hudson’s cheek then murmured in his ear. “I would love to.” His voice had come out huskier than he intended, but before he could worry about it, Hudson removed his keys from his pocket, opened the door, and grabbed Seb’s wrist, pulling him inside toward one of the apartments. Their lips were locked in a heated kiss the moment they were inside Hudson’s place, the door closed. Seb walked him over to the couch, not seeing the coffee table in the center, or the blanket half draped on the couch onto the floor. He bumped into the table, turned, got his feet tangled in the blanket, and lost his balance. Hudson very sweetly tried to steady him, but Seb’s weight was too much for him, and they tumbled onto the couch, Seb on his back, and Hudson sprawled on top of him. They lay very still, neither speaking or so much as breathing until Seb broke the silence.

“Would you believe me if I said that’s how we do it here in America?”

Hudson laughed softly. He looked embarrassed. “I’m so sorry. I always have a mess of blankets and pillows out here when I watch telly.” Hudson’s cheeks flushed. “I suppose I should get up.”

“Or,” Seb prompted, wrapping an arm around Hudson, then turning them so Hudson was on his back on the couch with Seb laying over him. He grinned down at Hudson. “We could make the most of it and go back to kissing.”

Hudson slipped his arms around Seb’s neck drawing him close. He nuzzled Seb’s neck, planting kisses up Seb’s jaw.

“Plus, getting up would most likely require another tussle with your blanket, so really, you’d be saving me from possible misfortune.”

Hudson smiled as he continued to trail kisses over Seb’s skin. “Well, when you put it like that, how can I allow you to take such a risk? It’s best you not go too far.”

“I mean, I barely escaped with my life.”

“Poor dear, such a harrowing experience. I think your bravery should be rewarded,” Hudson murmured, kissing Seb, his body warm beneath him. They fit perfectly together, as if Hudson were made to be in his arms. Seb smiled against Hudson’s lips. Something told him this was the start of something special. Seb could hardly wait.


Missed Part 2? Read it here. Read Part 1 here.


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press 2014.

THIRDS Thursday – 1/12/17

Prompt: Seb and Hudson’s first date.


Part Two

Read Part One here. Final part next week.

Hudson poked his tongue out, licking his bottom lip. It took everything Seb had not to show Hudson what ravished would really look like on him. The man was just stunning, and he had no idea.

“You look incredible. How about we go inside, and you tell me what happened.”

Hudson nodded, his smile wide. Reluctantly, Seb pulled away. He opened the door for Hudson, and followed him inside. The restaurant was cozy with a rustic, casual décor consisting of exposed bricks walls, kitchen-style wooden tables, and mismatched chairs. It was atmospheric with live music playing as guests chatted over their scrumptious looking dinners.

Seb thanked the waitress when she handed him a menu. He ordered a beer, and Hudson ordered them a fresh lemon Soju which he insisted Seb had to help him drink.

“I’m not very good at holding my liquor I’m afraid. My friends used to tease me mercilessly in school.” Hudson shrugged and smiled. “Guess that makes me a cheap date.”

Seb couldn’t help leaning in, his voice low and husky. “Baby, there is nothing cheap about you.” He winked at Hudson and sat back, loving the way Hudson’s very fair skin flushed pink from the tips of his ears down to his neck. Apparently, Hudson blushed easily.

“Um, thank you.” Hudson cleared his throat.

Seb wasn’t sure what had gotten into him. He wasn’t normally so forward. Truth be told, he was kind of hopeless when it came to flirting. Ash was always teasing him. Guys would come up to Seb, and Seb would smile and chat, then walk away because he really had no clue he was being flirted with. He just assumed people were being friendly. Something about Hudson made him feel bold. Maybe he should pull back. Hudson was prim and proper, and rather shy. The last thing Seb wanted was to scare him off. “I gotta admit, I’ve not had much Korean food.”

“Well, what kind of dishes do you enjoy eating? There’s meat, seafood, veggie dishes. You said you didn’t have any food allergies, so it just depends on what you like.”

“Thank you for asking by the way, that was very considerate of you.”

Hudson smiled. “Well, I like to check first, and never assume. I’m allergic to mushrooms, so I’m always cautious.”

“How bad is your allergy?”

“Not enough to warrant an EpiPen or hospitalization, but I’ll break out into hives and have a rough time for several hours. I take a hay fever tablet before eating out as a precaution.”

“Hay fever tablet? Is that like an allergy pill?”

“Oh, yes. So sorry. It’s only been a year since I moved to the States. Some things are still getting lost in translation I’m afraid.”

“I’m sure you hear this all the time, but listening to you talk is such a pleasure.”

More blushing from Hudson which enchanted Seb. They decided to order a few dishes and share them. They all looked amazing to Seb, and he was a fan of spicy, so the Kimchi dishes sounded great. When the food came, Seb was pleasantly surprised by how much Hudson ate. The man had a healthy appetite and he wasn’t afraid to show it. Seb was roughly a foot taller, and had about a hundred and thirty pounds on Hudson, and despite his lean frame, Hudson ate like a tiger Therian.

“Do I have something on my face?” Hudson asked around a mouthful of food. He finished chewing and swallowed before chuckling. “Wolf Therians love food. Very much. And I am no exception.”

Seb leaned in to brush aside the hair that fell over Hudson’s brow. “Has anyone told you how adorable you are?”

Hudson cleared his throat, and sat back, his gaze meeting Seb’s. “May I be honest with you?”

“I’m sorry.” Shit, he should have reined it in. “I didn’t mean to come on so strong, it’s just….” Seb felt his face grow hot. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous in my life. You’re this amazing, sophisticated guy, and I’m—”

“Wonderful,” Hudson cut in, his beautiful smile reaching his sparkling blue eyes. “You’re wonderful, Sebastian.”

Seb blinked. “I am?”

Hudson nodded. “What I was going to say was that I would very much like to do this again, very soon.”

“You would?”

“Yes.” Hudson smiled warmly. “I know it’s rather silly, considering this is our first date, but I feel as if we’ve known each other so much longer.” He took a sip of his drink as if to fortify himself. Seb could tell Hudson was trying his best not to fidget. He remained quiet while Hudson continued.

“I love arriving at work every morning and meeting you in the canteen for tea and coffee. It’s such a wonderful start to my day, seeing you and talking with you. I love how you drop by my office simply to say hello, or the way you always seem to know when I’m having a difficult day, and make me laugh.” He dropped his gaze to the table. “And while I’m being honest, I’m very much enjoying being the center of your attention. I’m afraid I could get used to it quite quickly. I’ve never met anyone like you, Sebastian.” He looked up at Seb then, his blue eyes clouding with heat. This time it was Seb who was squirming in his seat. Maybe Hudson wasn’t as timid as Seb thought.

Ignoring the butterflies in his stomach, and the pounding of his heart, Seb leaned in to brush his fingers down Hudson’s smooth jaw, his heart skipping a beat when Hudson leaned into the touch. “I’ve never met anyone like you either. And I feel the same way you do about knowing each other. Seems like I’ve known you forever. When we come back from working a rough case, when everything seems so dark and vile, I see your smile and suddenly everything makes sense again. I would love to do this again. How could I not give you my full attention? You’re incredible.”

Hudson let out a dreamy sigh, and Seb knew at that very moment that he was a goner.


Final part next week! Read Part One here.

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Thursday – 1/5/17

Prompt: Seb and Hudson’s first date.


Part One

“How do I look?”

Seb turned to his little brother, arms held out at his sides. After hours of rummaging through his closet and trying on practically every item of clothing he owned, he’d settled on an outfit that Ethan picked out. It was a mossy green sweater—the green bringing out his eyes—over a white shirt, and khaki pants. It wasn’t T-shirt and jeans, but it wasn’t a suit either. He’d been ready to lose his mind until his little brother dropped by, reached into his closet, and plucked the perfect outfit before Seb could toss his entire wardrobe out the window.

“I told you that sweater would look great with those pants,” Ethan replied quietly, a big smile on his face. “You’re really nervous, huh?”

“Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever been this nervous over a date before.”

“Guess you really like him,” Ethan teased.

“It’s crazy. I barely know him, but….” Seb shrugged as he sat on the edge of the bed and pulled on his brown leather brogues. “There’s just something about him. I mean, he’s beautiful, smart, funny, and his smile just takes my breath away.”

“Wow, you got it bad.” Ethan laughed at Seb’s arched eyebrow. “What? I’ve never seen you like this. I think it’s great. He’s really nice. I like him for you.”

Seb couldn’t help his dopey grin. “Thanks.” Ethan grew quiet, and Seb straightened. To everyone else they knew, Ethan being quiet was the norm, but to Seb, when it was just the two of them and Ethan was quiet, it was worrisome. Ethan was always chatty with him. “What’s on your mind?”

“It’s not important,” Ethan muttered.

“If it’s on your mind then it is. Talk to me.” Seb turned to face his brother. “Come on, buddy. You know you can tell me anything.”

“I hope it works out for the both of you,” Ethan said, his eyes everywhere else but on Seb. “But I feel kind of bad.”

“Why?” Seb asked gently. He placed his hand on his brother’s head reassuringly like he always did when Ethan was little, letting him know that he was there for Ethan no matter what.

“I really want things to work out for you guys because you like him so much, and he makes you happy, but I also want things to work out for a more selfish reason, and I feel kind of crappy about it.” Ethan looked up at Seb then, and Seb was taken aback by the glassiness in his brother’s eyes.

“Ethan?”

“He understands me,” Ethan replied. “From the day we met him in the training bay, he didn’t question why I couldn’t talk. He didn’t look at me with pity. Instead, he smiled, talked to me like he did everyone else, and understood what I was trying to say. He doesn’t look at me like I’m broken. To him, I’m a colleague, an agent just like anyone one else on Destructive Delta. And even though he’s a doctor, he’s not trying to fix me.”

Seb’s heart squeezed in his chest. It was hard for Ethan when Seb or Rafe dated because their dates weren’t always so understanding. Some tried, but in the end things didn’t work out for some reason or another. Seb figured he hadn’t found the right person yet, because when he did, that guy would love Ethan and the rest of the Hobbs brood as much as Seb did. He didn’t begrudge anyone for walking away from him. His life was complicated, and at times emotionally draining. Between being a Defense agent for the THIRDS risking his life out in the field, his father’s condition, and his little brother’s Selective Mutism, it was too much for some people, and as much as Seb wanted to find love, he would never ever walk away from his family.

“Hey, look at me,” Seb insisted gently, smiling when Ethan looked up at him. “That’s not selfish. You’re my little brother, and I love you. Anyone who really wants to be a part of my life will want to be a part of your too, Ethan. We’re a family. That’s never going to change.”

“Yeah, but—”

“Ethan, the right guy will know how much you all mean to me, and he’ll love you as much as I do.”

Ethan’s eyes brimmed with tears. He nodded before throwing his arms around Seb, and hugging him tight. When he pulled back, he wiped the tears from his eyes. His wide grin made Seb chuckle.

“He’s going to love you, Seb, I just know he is.”

Ethan’s faith in him never ceased to astound him. “One step at a time, buddy.” Seb patted Ethan’s shoulders then headed downstairs, Ethan on his heels. He grabbed his wallet, keys, and phone along with his brown leather jacket. His hair had been recently cut so there wasn’t much he could do with it. Taking a deep breath, he followed Ethan outside, and locked up.

“Okay. Wish me luck. And thanks for coming over to check on me.”

Ethan hugged him again before heading off, and Seb promised he’d call to let him know how it went. Seb took a taxi instead of his truck so he wouldn’t have to worry about parking. The restaurant was a cute little Korean place on East 31st Street, one of Hudson’s favorites.

Seb had offered to pick Hudson up from his house, but since Hudson was getting off work later than Seb, he was going to shower and change at work then head out to the restaurant to meet him. A few minutes later, Seb walked in to the restaurant. He’d meant to call Hudson to let him know he was on his way, and completely forgot. He was about to ask the hostess when the door opened, and the most stunning man Seb had ever seen walked in. His black hair was windblown, his cheeks flushed, one side of his shirt sticking out from under his chic button down vest. His glasses were crooked on his nose, and one of his shoes were untied. The man was too adorable for words. When Hudson spotted him, he let out a squeak, and his eyes went wide. Seb smiled and opened his mouth to say hi when Hudson ran back out.

Well that was new.

Seb quickly followed, finding Hudson outside pacing furiously and mumbling to himself.

“Hudson?”

Hudson gave a start, a hand going to his chest. “Oh good lord.”

“Are you okay?” Had Hudson changed his mind?

“Yes, um, I uh….” Hudson let out a shaky laugh as he ran a hand through his hair. He smoothed down his vest then quickly tucked his shirt into his belt. “I um, I’m so sorry.”

Seb held his breath. “If you’ve changed your mind about this, I understand.”

Hudson blinked at him. “I beg your pardon?”

“You ran out when you saw me. I thought maybe you were rethinking the whole date thing.”

“No!”

The shout was unexpected, and Seb started. With a groan, Hudson covered his face with his hands. Seb chuckled. The poor guy was working himself into quite the flustered state. Seb realized then what was really happening. He stepped up to Hudson, knelt, and took hold of his laces.

“What are you doing?”

Seb looked up at him with a smile. “Tying your shoe.” He had a feeling if he didn’t the poor man might end up on the floor. The pink that crept into Hudson’s cheeks was just the sweetest thing.

“Thank you,” Hudson murmured, straightening his glasses. “I wasn’t having second thoughts. I thought perhaps I might have arrived before you and could run to the loo to tidy up my appearance. You’re very punctual.”

Seb laughed softly as he stood. “I’m sorry.”

“Please don’t apologize. I’m the one who should apologize, showing up like I’d been ravished or some such thing.”

Seb waggled his eyebrows. “Ravished, huh?”

“Oh, I… bollocks.” Hudson laughed, embarrassed. “Are you certain you’re not having second thoughts?”

Seb closed the distance between them. He placed his fingers under Hudson’s chin, lifting his face so he could meet those gorgeous blue eyes.

“Believe me, the last thing I’m thinking about is walking away from you.”


PART TWO next week!

Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

#TeaserTuesday – 1/3/17 Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS, Book 9)

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! This week’s Teaser Tuesday is a snippet from Darkest Hour Before Dawn, THIRDS Book 9 which is Seb and Hudson’s book due out at the end of April! Enjoy!

2016Divider

 

[Hudson] had a biscuit in each hand, and one between his teeth when he turned and almost ran into someone.

“Shooz me,” he mumbled around a mouthful of chocolatey goodness. A low grumble of a chuckle stilled him, and he looked up, eyes going wide.

“Caught red-handed, Lobito.” Seb peered at him, amusement lighting his eyes. “Does Dex know he’s put the Cookie Monster in charge of his cookies?”

Hudson wrinkled his nose since he couldn’t scoff. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

“I think you need to back away from the table, Dr. Colbourn. Back away slowly,” Seb teased, taking hold of the chocolate biscuit poking out of Hudson’s mouth. Hudson refused to release it, a low growl rising from his throat. This was his tasty treat. Seb tugged at it, and Hudson narrowed his eyes. Was the man seriously attempting to take a delicious morsel of food from him? He knew better.

Seb laughed. He snapped the biscuit, then popped it into his mouth. Hudson gasped around his remaining half of biscuit. The fiend! He cursed at Seb, who waggled his eyebrows as he chewed, then let out a decadent moan.

“That was so good.”

Hudson put his biscuits on the table and removed the one from his mouth to curse at Seb, but Seb snatched the remaining piece from his hand.

“Oh, you bastard!” Hudson made a grab for the biscuit, but Seb raised his arm high above his head. “You give me that back, you thief!”

“Technically, you thieved it first.”

Hudson latched on to Seb’s T-shirt with one hand to hold him in place, while stretching to reach his biscuit, except not even standing on his toes could he reach Seb’s palm.

“Why are you so blasted tall?” Hudson griped.

Seb laughed, throwing an arm around Hudson’s waist, and tucking him at his side to make it even harder.

“I don’t know. Why are you so adorable?”

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Hudson said with a huff as he pushed at Seb’s arm. “Give me my biscuit!”

“Your what?”

“Piss off, Sebastian. It’s a biscuit.”

“It’s a cookie, and there’s a whole tray of them,” Seb said, motioning to the table, as if he didn’t already know Hudson’s reply.

“None of them are my biscuit.” It was ridiculous, but wolf Therians were very particular about what was theirs, and they did not like having their food thieved. Anyone who attempted to take food from his plate did so at their own risk.

“It’s not like I borrowed one of your DVDs and never gave it back.”

Hudson gasped in horror. “Don’t joke about such things.”

Seb threw his head back and laughed. At that moment, Ethan walked by, plucked the biscuit from Seb’s fingers, and tossed it in his mouth. Seb and Hudson protested simultaneously.

“Hey!”

Ethan waved a hand cheerfully before returning to the bar.

Hudson pouted miserably. “He ate my biscuit.”

“Half of it,” Seb corrected, patting his stomach. “I ate the other half.”

Hudson folded his arms over his chest and glared up at Seb accusingly. “He gets that from you, you know. Bloody biscuit thieves, the lot of you.”


Copyright © 2017 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

#TeaserTuesday – 8/9/16 THIRDS Book 9

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! So I got my dates mixed up. This was supposed to go up next Tuesday since #TeaserTuesday is the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month, but in last week’s THIRDS Thursday I said it was going up this week, so here it is. Today’s snippet is from Chapter 2 of my current work in progress, Seb and Hudson’s book, THIRDS Book 8. Enjoy!

2016Divider

“Take these. For the pain, and the inflammation.”

“Thank you.” Seb smiled at him as he took the pills, then tossed them in his mouth, followed by a swig of water. Hudson wasn’t impressed.

“Don’t thank me yet. I haven’t decided whether to strangle you or not. The moment I felt it, I told myself, “he’s sensible. He’ll look after himself.” and then Dom called, and look at you. Sensible my arse.” He removed supplies from the bag, and Seb couldn’t help his dopy grin. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

Their bond meant they felt the other’s pain, if it was significant enough, yet it was the love they’d once shared that made it so Hudson didn’t have to look at Seb to know Seb was smiling at him. Hudson could sense Seb’s gaze on him, just like Seb could sense Hudson’s. Always. Despite the days, the distance, they were every bit as connected now as they had been back then, which is what made it so painful when they were apart. It was torture not calling Hudson every time Seb felt him hurting.

“You still have it,” Seb replied softly.

Hudson blinked down at the black bag as if noticing it for the first time. Anyone else might have been able to hide their reaction, but Hudson’s fair skin betrayed him, his cheeks blushing furiously.

“I, um, yes.”

“Why?” Seb cocked his head as he studied Hudson. Not that he hadn’t mapped out the man’s features years ago. How was it possible to need someone more than air itself?

“Because I can’t very well trust you to look after yourself, now can I?” Hudson’s lips quirked on one side as he motioned to Seb’s knee.

Seb leaned forward. “That’s only half the truth, doctor.”

Hudson arched a thick black brow at him. “Believe what you will.”

With a grin, Seb sat back. All the medication in that bag was prescription. It meant Hudson would have to order them specifically. He kept them stocked in case Seb needed them. When they expired, it meant he restocked. When they’d been together Hudson had kept a kit at home, and in his office. Years after they’d broken up, he maintained the kit.

#TeaserTuesday – 8/2/16 THIRDS Book 9

TeaserTuesday

Hello, all! Welcome to the first #TeaserTuesday of the month. Today we have a snippet from Chapter 1 of my current work in progress, Seb and Hudson’s book, THIRDS Book 8. Enjoy!

2016Divider

Seb narrowed his eyes. Why was Dom grinning? Something was up. His friend leaned back in his chair, his hands behind his head.

“What did you do?”

Dom wriggled his eyebrows, and Seb’s frown deepened. Shit. This wasn’t good. What the hell had his friend—his asshole friend—done now? Seb loved the guy, but sometimes he wanted to strangle him.

“Sebastian Hobbs!”

Seb stared at Dom. “You didn’t.”

Dom’s grin got bigger. “I did.”

“You narced on me?”

“Aw, are you mad?” Dom put a hand to his chest over his heart. “Well tough shit. You brought this on yourself.” Dom jumped from his chair and gave Hudson a pat on the back. “Give’im hell, doc.”

Dom moseyed off, leaving Seb to face down one very pissed off Brit.

Hudson planted his hands on his hips. He had that look on his face. Seb knew it well. There was a time when Seb could coax that stern frown away with a few strategically placed kisses. The good doctor wasn’t easily deterred, but Seb could be stubborn too. Especially when it concerned Hudson’s happiness. Unfortunately, happy was not what Hudson was with him right now.

“I have half a mind to give you a right ear-bashing. Get in my office. Now.”

Seb groaned. He got up, and did his best not to limp as he followed Hudson out into the bullpen. His fellow agents didn’t bother pretending not to notice what was going on, and the majority of them looked on in amusement. Seb had a reputation for being a hardass, albeit a fair one. His fellow agents respected him for a variety of reasons. No one would dare challenge him, disrespect him, or fuck with him. Which is why they found this situation so damned entertaining. There was only one man in this building Sebastian Hobbs didn’t stand a chance against. One sole little wolf Therian who could make him quake in his boots.

Hudson Colbourn.

THIRDS Thursday – 5/12/16

THIRDS Thursdays

Prompt: I have just finished Cal and Hobbs’s story, and I would love to read about Nina and Cael’s party from Hudson’s POV.

*** SPOILERS *** This flash fiction contains spoilers from Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS, Book 6)


This was a terrible idea.

Why the bloody hell had he agreed to this? Hudson splashed some water on his face before plucking a paper towel to dry off with. He leaned his arms on the sink and shook his head. This was ridiculous. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t know the man would be here. Honestly.

“Look at you,” he scolded himself. “It’s a bleedin’ party. Nina and Cael’s party. Get over yourself and get out there.” What was the worst that could happen? So what if he ran into Seb? It wasn’t as if he didn’t work with the man, and it was hardly the first gathering where they were both in attendance. Hudson straightened and smoothed out his waistcoat, making him smile. Nina had picked out his costume for the Roaring Twenties themed party, and he rather liked it. He would have gone for a nice jumper or pullover, but that was most likely why Nina had insisted on picking his wardrobe for tonight. The rich blue of his three-piece suit made his eyes stand out, and his hair was neatly parted and combed to one side, completing the vintage look. Well, it was time to rejoin the party, and stop being such a stick in the mud. Why had he even come in here?

An image of Seb looking handsome as sin in his brown three-piece suit had Hudson letting out a groan. That was why. He’d finished hanging up his coat, and when he turned around and the crowd had parted like bloody red sea, giving Hudson a perfectly clear view of Seb standing by the bar, a glass of whiskey in one hand, a disarming smile on his rugged face, and looking as if he’d stepped out of an old Hollywood movie. Hudson had been stunned stupid. Seb was a T-shirt and jeans kind of guy. Not that there was anything wrong with that, and he always looked good no matter what he wore, but there were few times Hudson had seen him in a suit. It did awful things to his insides.

Hudson chucked the paper towel into the bin with a growl. How was it the man continued to get more handsome with every passing year? Not to mention all that muscle. Damn tiger Therians. Why did they have to be so… muscly. And firm. And… for crying out loud. All right. Time to stop hiding in the gents.

Taking a deep, calming breath, Hudson left the men’s room and joined the rest of the party goers. He made the rounds, saying hello to all his colleagues. The party was in full swing, and the place was filled with people dressed to the nines as they say. There were so many people now it was difficult for Hudson to see who he might run into. He ordered himself a cocktail from the bar, and headed for one of the tables when someone threaded their arm through his. He smiled, having caught a whiff of the familiar scent.

“Damn, look at you. Who’s heart you out to steal, Mr. Public Enemy Number One?”

Hudson chuckled as Nina planted a kiss on his cheek. She pulled him toward the dance floor. “Dance with me.”

“Nina—”

“Nope. It’s my birthday, so you have to dance with me.”

“Oh all right.” In truth, he didn’t mind. He was a rather good dancer. Nothing extraordinary, but he’d gone through his clubbing phase just like any other youth, spending many a night in London’s West End. He’d drunkenly stumble from club to bar to club, dancing the night away. The thought brought a heavy sadness to his heart. He’d spent many of those nights with his siblings. How he missed them. Even if they had cast him out. Yet it was Alfie he missed most of all. Nina playfully bumped her hip into his, snapping him out of his melancholy thoughts.  He really needed to get himself together.

The rest of his team was on the dance floor. The DJ played a sweet ballad from yesteryear and Hudson couldn’t help his smile as he brought Nina in close for a slow dance. Next to them, Sloane held Dex close. They looked so sweet together. Dex laid his head against Sloane’s shoulder, one arm wrapped around Sloane’s waist, the other in Sloane’s hand over his heart. Sloane let his head rest against Dex’s, his arm wrapped tight around him. Hudson wished them nothing but happiness. Those two were perfect for each other. The perfect balance of light and dark. They’d been so close to losing Sloane after Gabe died. It was so good to see him happy again

“Thank you for coming,” Nina said, interrupting his thoughts. She gave him a knowing smile.

“I wouldn’t have missed it.” As tempted as he was to stay home and watch the latest episode of How to Get Away with Murder, he wouldn’t have missed his best friend’s birthday party. The song was beautiful, and the floor was flooded with couples. Even Ash was on the floor dancing with Cael. It still amazed Hudson to see this side of Ash Keeler. Of course he was still abrasive and at times Hudson had the urge to strangle the man, but he was certainly less angry now that he was with Cael.

The ballad soon faded and a swinging tune took its place. The crowd cheered, and Nina grabbed his hands before he could make his escape. Darn it, foiled again!

“I’m not finished with you yet, Dr. Colbourn.”

Hudson laughed. What the hell. He kicked up his heels and did his best to keep up with the music, twirling Nina around, and then lifting her off her feet. The drums had the place vibrating with energy, and he had to admit he was having a marvelous time. He joined his friends for a few more dances until he was out of breath. There was no keeping up with Nina indefinitely. Where her boundless energy came from was beyond him. Needing some air, and a nice cold drink, he finally managed to pull himself away. The vodka and lemonade went down like a dream, though he needed to cool off a bit. It seemed as if more guests had arrived, and the floor was packed. Maybe he should head upstairs to the roof garden for a few minutes before Nina came to drag him away again. Finishing his drink, he headed for the stairs. The roof garden was just what he needed. It was set up with outdoor heating, but when he walked out from under the awning, the cool breeze felt so good against his skin. The string of lights and colorful lanterns were charming, and there were plenty of agents from his unit chatting. Some of them were getting cozy.

A voice he knew all too well sent a shiver through him. It had been inevitable. Well, there was no sense in putting it off any longer. He’d say hello and head back downstairs. A conversation wouldn’t be so terrible. Granted, they didn’t really chat at work, at least not about anything that didn’t relate to a case, but there was a first time for everything. He really needed to stop avoiding the man. Seb stood with Ethan and Calvin while Taylor chatted up one of Nina’s cousins. It was good to see Ethan here. Undoubtedly he’d needed a break from the crowded noisy ground floor. Hudson would have to ask him how his mother was. He missed spending time with Julia. They still spoke on the phone, but it wasn’t the same as when he would stop by. They’d sit and watch soaps together. Sometimes Calvin’s mother Darla would join them. Those two were such a hoot. It was clear where their sons got their mischievous streaks from. Hudson pushed away the butterflies in his stomach. It would be fine. Maybe even pleasant. Hudson had always loved talking to Seb. He loved listening too. Seb’s gravelly voice had a way of turning him into a puddle of goo.

As Hudson approached, Taylor turned and threw his arm around Seb’s shoulders.

“Listen, bro. I heard about what happened. Sorry things didn’t work out with Cael. You two looked good together. Man, I can’t believe he chose Keeler. Him and Daley have a hard-on for fucked-up guys. You took him home a couple of times before that. Tell me you at least got to bang him.”

Hudson stopped cold, his heart splintering, which was extraordinary considering it had been in pieces for some time now, precariously held together by bits of frayed tape. He thought he’d be better prepared for this moment after years of telling himself—of telling Seb—that it was time to move on, but he hadn’t prepared himself for the possibility of Seb moving on with a friend and colleague.

Ethan tugged at Seb’s sleeve, and Seb turned around, his stricken expression confirming Taylor’s words. When Hudson spoke, his voice was barely a whisper. “You and Cael?”

It made sense. Cael was sweet, smart, and handsome. He had boundless energy, and was rarely without a cheerful smile.

“It’s not what you think,” Seb said quietly, taking a step toward Hudson. “It was a few drinks. We didn’t—”

Hudson held a hand up. He couldn’t listen to this. His heart couldn’t take it. “You don’t owe me an explanation, Sebastian. You don’t owe me anything.” All he could think about was Cael in Seb’s arms, being kissed by him, touched by him. Those large, gentle hands pulling him close. Oh God, he needed to get the hell out of here.

Lobito, please.”

“Don’t,” Hudson warned sharply before quickly reigning in his emotions. Whatever you do, don’t lose your composure. He couldn’t allow Seb to see how devastated he was. Hudson had no right to be upset. Not really. It would prove he harbored some false sense of hope that one day…. Schooling his expression, he straightened and smoothed out his vest. “Please don’t call me that. Excuse me.” He started to turn, when Seb caught his arm.

“It was drinks and talking. Nothing happened.”

Hudson tried to pull his arm out of Seb’s grip to no avail. He needed to go. “Sebastian, please….” Please don’t touch me. It’ll break me. It was over. This was what he wanted, wasn’t it? He should be grateful. Seb was moving on.

“He’s in love with Ash, and I’m—”

“Stop,” Hudson pleaded. His emotions threatened to get the better of him, and the back of his eyes stung. No. He wasn’t going to do this. Why did it have to be this way? What had he done that was so terrible? You know what you did. You deserve every possible heartache. Hudson shook his head. He didn’t. It was tearing him up inside. He didn’t deserve that.

“I love you.” Seb put his hand over his heart, his grip still on Hudson’s arm. Those beautiful bright green eyes so filled with adoration pleaded with Hudson. “I told myself that I could move on, that my heart would heal, but after all this time, the wound’s only gotten deeper. I need you in my life, Lobito.”

Why are you doing this to us? To me? Hudson swallowed hard. A tear rolled down his cheek, and Seb brushed it aside with his thumb.

“Our bond is as strong now as it ever was. I can’t stand to be away from you. Please, come back to me. I know you still love me.”

This had to stop. When would it stop? He wasn’t strong enough. Every day was a struggle. The mark on his back burned, reminding him of what had once been, of how foolish he’d been for thinking he’d found a home, believing one day he and Seb would get married and start their own family. A family? A child? After what you did? You’re life is just one bloody trajedy after another. Everything you touch falls apart. Hudson met Seb’s gaze. “You’re wrong.”

“And you’re lying,” Seb replied, moving his hand to Hudson’s neck, his thumb stroking Hudson’s skin, making him shudder.

Damn you, Sebastian. Hudson pulled away. “I’ve moved on.” Seb flinched, and it hit Hudson like a punch to the gut. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, but this is how it has to be.

The roof garden was empty now except for the bartender who pretended not to notice what was going on. What must his coworkers think of him? Surely that he was pathetic. Torturing himself. There was not one agent in Unit Alpha who didn’t know about him and Seb. It was the pitied looks Hudson found most difficult to swallow.

Hudson straightened to his full height and lifted his chin. He pushed his glasses up his nose, his tone harsh when he spoke. “It’s time for you to move on, Sebastian. We can never get back what we had. It’s over.”

“Sweetheart….”

“We let a child die!” Hudson snapped, his fists shaking at his sides. “We were so wrapped up in our perfect little world, we failed to protect those who counted on us. We swore an oath, and we bloody botched that up in spectacular fashion, didn’t we?”

Seb shook his head. “That’s on me.”

“Listen to yourself! The guilt is still eating away at you.” Hudson turned away from Seb, his voice quiet. “Well, it eats away at me too. Can’t you see that? What we had died that day with that poor boy. There’s no bringing either back. Please, for both our sakes, let me go.” Why won’t you let me go?

“I can’t.”

“Then I’ll have to take the initiative.” Hudson met Seb’s gaze, his resolve firm. “Unless there is no other option, considering we both work in the same unit, I’d like you to stay away from me. Good-bye, Sebastian.”

Hudson walked off, pushing everything deep down. He had to get the hell out of here. He headed for the stairs, aware of Seb on his heels. If he had to be an arsehole, so be it. Seb had to stop this. If it meant Hudson had to push, then he’d push. He couldn’t stand to see Seb in so much pain. It twisted Hudson’s inside. The pain was excruciating, and he held onto his stomach. Damn his traitorous body. His inner wolf howled and snarled. It was desperate to be reunited with Seb. Hudson gritted his teeth. Piss off. It’s over. You know it as much as I do. His wolf was having none of it, and the more Hudson yelled at him to shut up, the more his inner wolf snapped his jaws and made Hudson bleed, punishing him for keeping them apart.

“I know what you’re doing, and you have to stop right now. You can’t hide your emotions away in a little box and lock them up without losing a piece of you, without locking everything else up too. I know you. You shut your heart away until you don’t feel anything at all. I won’t let you do that to yourself.”

“You really have no say in what I do or don’t do to myself,” Hudson replied sternly. He hurried down the stairs with everyone trailing behind him. Downstairs he pushed his way through the crowd toward the front of the bar when he saw it.

Nina and Rafe sat in a booth by the door kissing.

The remainder of Hudson’s broken and battered heart shattered. It wasn’t possible. He gave a start when Seb launched himself at Rafe.

“You son of a bitch!” Seb landed a punch across Rafe’s face. “For years you blamed what happened on my being in a relationship with Hudson, giving me shit for it, and you’re with Nina?”

“Get the fuck off me!” Rafe growled, pushing Seb away.

Hudson stood frozen, his wide eyes on Nina. “You and him?”

Nina quickly exited the booth and held her hands up. “Hon, please let me explain.”

“Explain?” Tears pooled in Hudson’s eyes, his emotions at war with each other. Anger and hurt battled for dominance. “How could you keep this from me? I confided in you. You knew everything. You knew that bloody arsehole tried to get me sacked, and you’re sleeping with him!” After the incident, his life had been a living hell, made worse every day by Rafe’s one-man crusade to ruin him. How many nights had Hudson spent crying on Nina’s shoulder? She’d stood at his side as Rafe tried to destroy him and what was left of his career.

Seb stared at Rafe in disbelief. “You tried to get Hudson fired?”

“He ruined your career,” Rafe spat out heatedly. “He put you and our family through hell. We got death threats!”

“What?” Hudson looked aghast. Death threats? Why hadn’t Seb told him?

“That’s right,” Rafe replied through his teeth. “Seb never told you, but we got threats. Someone jumped him and tried to stab him, and that was after someone tried to run him down. Bet he didn’t tell you that either. You ruined his fucking life!”

He had, hadn’t he? Ruined them both. Seb had been demoted, transferred from Destructive Delta, and stuck in Archives while Hudson had kept his position as Chief Medical Examiner.

“He didn’t do shit except put up with your disgraceful behavior time and time again. You’re such a fucking hypocrite,” Seb growled, shoving Rafe, and getting pushed back.

“Please, stop!” Hudson tried to get close to Seb, but getting between two tiger Therians determined to beat the hell out of each other was dangerous. The two were far bigger, stronger. Nina begged Rafe to stop, but neither Rafe nor Seb were listening. This was his fault. He’d brought Seb so much pain, and continued to do so.

A crowd gathered as Seb punched Rafe, and Rafe tackled him to the floor. They thrashed around, cursing and shouting at each other, blaming each other for pain caused. Rafe grabbed Seb and hauled him to his feet. A strangled sound caught Hudson’s ear and he turned to find Ethan standing there, frozen to the spot.

“Oh, no.” Hudson quickly joined Calvin at Ethan’s side. Ethan was on the verge of having a panic attack. Hudson called out to Seb, pleading. “Seb, it’s Ethan!”

Seb and Rafe pushed away from each other just as Hudson heard the shriek of tires. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and his inner wolf growled and whined at the impending danger. Seb hurried over, and Hudson threw himself at Seb as a familiar “pop” met his ear. Seb wrapped his arms around Hudson on instinct, and Hudson gasped, the pain shooting through his body setting his insides on fire. He willed himself not to panic at what it meant. Rafe shouted to the crowd.

“Get down!”

A spray of bullets shattered Dekatria’s glass windows and splintered the wooden beams, tearing through everything and anything. Screams and shouts echoed through the room as everyone scrambled and dropped to the floor. Hudson hoped Seb wouldn’t be too upset with him.

“Oh God, please, no. No. Lobito, what did you do?” Seb cradled Hudson in his arms, his lips pressed together as Hudson coughed. He tasted blood. His own. “Why?” Seb caressed his cheek, and Hudson leaned into the touch. How he’d longed for that touch. Seb’s arms were strong around him, his body warm. I miss you more than you could know. Would it be terribly pathetic if he thought it was all worth it just to be in Seb’s arms again?

Hudson smiled, tears in his eyes as he placed a bloodstained hand to Seb’s jaw. “We both know why.” His bottom lip trembled, and his face crumpled as the tears fell. Why did he have to love this man so damned much? It was a beautiful curse he couldn’t seem to escape. “I’m so sorry. For everything.”

Hudson was briefly aware of Nina shouting and the rest of Destructive Delta joining them. Rosa and Sloane rushed to Hudson’s side, and Sloane cursed as he inspected Hudson. He was tired, so tired. Judging by his friend’s expression, it wasn’t good. Had he been shot more than once? He couldn’t tell.

“I found an exit wound.” Sloane pushed his hand down against Hudson’s side, and Hudson almost lost consciousness. It hurt so bloody bad. Or was that his heart?

“Where else is he hit?”

Rosa put her hand on Seb’s shoulder. “Seb, you need to lay him on his stomach. One of the bullets is still in there, and he’s losing a lot of blood.”

Don’t let me go.

Seb ran his hand over Hudson’s head. “Please, don’t leave me. Not like this.”

“Seb!” Sloane ordered.

Seb gently laid Hudson on the floor on his stomach. Was he drowning in his own blood? Funny, he should know these things. He was a doctor after all. His head was fuzzy and he couldn’t think through the fog. Seb placed his rolled up jacket under Hudson’s head. It smelled like him, a mix of subtle cologne, shower gel, and his own delicious scent. Hudson would recognize it among a thousand tiger Therians. His Therian half whined, curling up on itself, seeking comfort where it could.

Seb took hold of Hudson’s hand while Rosa and Nina went to work trying to stop the bleeding. In the distance sirens wailed. Ethan joined Seb on the floor, kneeling beside him. He put his arm around his brother, and Hudson was glad Ethan was there. Seb had always been closest to his baby brother.

“You’re going to be okay,” Seb told Hudson, brushing Hudson’s hair away from his brow as Nina and Rosa worked furiously to stop the flow of blood. Hudson tried his best to control his breathing, but breathing in general was becoming difficult. His body was heavy, the darkness encroaching. He looked over at Seb and smiled. Forgive me.

“I know it’s… selfish, but… please stay with me?” Did he sound as scared as he felt? Seb held on to his hand, his expression determined.

“You know I will. It’ll be okay.”

Hudson wasn’t so sure. Whatever happened, Seb was safe. Hudson was glad it was him, and not Seb. What would Seb’s family do without him? What would happen to Ethan? No, it was better it was Hudson. He had no family. Not anymore. Seb had been his family, and Hudson had ruined that too, but at least now he understood how wrong he was. Loving Seb wasn’t a curse. It was a beautiful gift. One he was lucky to have been given. Their time together may have been brief, but at least Hudson had experienced the full extent of adoration. Images of him and Seb in bed flooded his thoughts and he smiled. He’d been loved. So very loved. As his lids grew heavy and the chaos around him faded, he hung onto the memory of Seb’s kiss, and his heartfelt declaration of love. Seb still loved him. Hadn’t stopped loving him. It meant everything to Hudson.

It was all worth it. You’re worth it. Worth everything. I love you, Seb.


Copyright © 2016. Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.

THIRDS Character Spotlights all week long at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy!

THIRDS logo

Hello all! In celebration of the release of Catch a Tiger by the Tail on Friday, Feb 5th, the lovely folks over at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy are hosting a week long event where they’ve asked our THIRDS guys and gals five questions. There will be two characters per day, starting with Dex and Sloane and ending with Calvin and Ethan. Enjoy!

Monday Feb 1stDex & Sloane: http://twochicksobsessed.com/thirds-character-spotlights-dex-and-sloane-a-tco-exclusive/

Tuesday Feb 2nd – Cael & Ash: http://twochicksobsessed.com/thirds-character-spotlight-cael-and-ash-a-tco-exclusive/

THIRDS Thursday – Hot Seat 10/29/15

THIRDS Thursday Hot Seat

Hello all! Since we had a THIRDS Halloween flash fiction this week over at the DSP blog, which you can find here if you missed it, I thought we’d get the team in the hot seat again! Today we have with us Hudson, Lou, and Austen who are going to answer some of your questions. Remember, if you’d like to leave a question for any of the cast, you can do so here. Let the fun begin!

Charlie: Hi! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to be here with us. Why don’t we start with Hudson? This question is from Katelyn. I was wondering if Hudson was near or far sighted, and then my thought progression made me wonder if visual impairments transferred to Therian forms.

Hudson: Well, Katelyn, our Therian DNA may set us apart from Humans in many ways, such as strength, resilience, and of course the existence of our feral side, but whether we’re Therian or Human, we’re very much susceptible to the same ailments. However, there are certain conditions specific to Therians as these are directly linked to the effects of the vaccine which brought about our mutation. As for my vision, I’m nearsighted. Occasionally I wear contacts, when I can get the blasted things in, but I much prefer glasses.

Charlie: Our next question is from Jacob for Austen. How long after Sloane got him hired by the THIRDS did he join TIN? And is spying on the team for TIN or for him?

Austen: *arches an eyebrow* That depends. Is anything I saying going to leave this room?

Charlie: Um, no. Just me, you, and our readers.

Austen: *smiles brightly* Good, because if anyone spills the jelly beans, I’ll find out, and it won’t be pretty.

Charlie: *smiles sweetly* I think you forget your book’s not written yet. It could get pretty hairy.

Austen: *lets out a snort* Please, like it won’t anyway. How many times have you blown up or shot Destructive Delta?

Charlie: *clears throat* Let’s move on shall we?

Austen: Yeah, I thought so. Bring it. Right, TIN. I don’t have an exact date of when I joined TIN. I was working for them before I even knew I was. A few months in, Sparks started training me herself, so that’s probably when it happened. Also, I need to point out that I’m not one of their operatives. I’m a freelancer. You have to be pretty fucking scary to be an operative, and as long as I have people I care about, I can’t be an operative, not just for the safety of those I care about, but for my own. TIN doesn’t mess around. The job always comes first. And as for the spying, that’s usually either for Sparks—off the books—or for me. These guys grow on you, you know? I might work for TIN but I don’t trust them. Hell, there are few people I do trust. I need to make sure they’re okay.

Charlie: Next question is from Carol Ann for Lou. How did you feel when you saw Dex again once he was a thirds agent? Regrets? And what was your first thought when you caught him and Sloane making up?

Lou: *sighs* I did have regrets at first. At the time I just couldn’t handle the media hounding me, the phone calls at all hours, the threats. The walls were closing in on me and I’m not very good when that happens. *looks embarrassed* I’ve been accused of being flighty and a bit of a drama queen, and maybe that’s true. Dex was always caring and sweet, though. Of course, he had his moments. Dios mio! There is no man more stubborn than Dexter J. Daley. When I saw him at the bar, I was a little breathless. He looked so fantastic, but I wasn’t surprised. No matter what life throws at him, he finds a way to pick himself up. My first thought when I saw him and Sloane kissing? Initially it was mostly curse words that crossed my mind. I just couldn’t believe it. I mean, Dex had always been fighting for Therian rights, something he got from his parents, but he’d never been involved with a Therian before. It made me wonder if that was why things didn’t work out between us, because I wasn’t… enough for him. But I quickly realized we wouldn’t have worked in the long run.

Charlie: Okay, next question is for Hudson from Jazette. I was wondering if Hudson only dates humans, now because of his mating marks?

Hudson: *shifts uncomfortably* I, um, I’m afraid my career doesn’t leave much room for dating. It’s been a while.

Austen: *frowns* Hold up, by while, do you mean years? As in since you and a certain beefy tiger Therian broke up?

Hudson: *sniffs* I don’t think that’s any of your business.

Austen: *shakes his head sadly* Man, you have got it bad. It’s been years. Are you at least getting laid?

Hudson: *glares at Austen* That is most certainly none of your business.

Lou: *eyes go wide* You haven’t had sex in years? *pats Hudson’s leg sympathetically* Oh, honey.

Hudson: Why are we bloody talking about my sex life? No one says I haven’t had sex. The question was in regards to my dating, not sex.

Austen: Well the two kind of go together, don’t they?

Hudson: They most certainly do not. Not everyone has sex you know, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Besides, I don’t hop into bed with every man who takes me out.

Austen: And how many is that, because form what I can tell—

Hudson: *goes pale* You’ve been spying on me?

Austen: Well, yeah, duh. We pretty much established that. You are part of Destructive Delta.

Hudson: *gets flustered and crosses his arms over his chest* I am not discussing my love life—

Austen: Or lack thereof

Hudson: Piss off! Bloody wanker.

Austen: *cackles* I love when he gets all indignant. He’s so proper even when he’s cursing you out.

Charlie: Okay, next question. This one is from Pam for Lou. I was wondering when u left Dex you really had a problem with Therians but that seemed to changed. What happened to change your mind?

Lou: I guess it was a few things. It had taken a while to get used to Cael. He’s such a sweetheart, but he’s a Therian. At first, I hadn’t been sure if I could be in a relationship with Dex knowing he had a Therian brother. I won’t go into why I felt the way I did about Therians, but I will tell you what changed. Once I saw what a genuinely sweet guy Cael was, I started to relax around him. I admit, Sloane scared the life out of me. I mean, the guy is huge. On top of that, he’s lethal, and not just because he’s a THIRDS agent. Jaguar Therians are some of the most dangerous Felids out there. He also wasn’t the most pleasant, at the time. But then I saw how he was with Dex and how crazy Dex was about him. Sloane was gentle. Passionate. Not traits I associated with Therians. He also let me be a part of Dex’s life. I respect him. Then I met Bradley. *sighs* He’s so handsome and sweet. I was so surprised that when he started talking to me, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought. I mean, I still am, but it’s more because I like him rather than because he scares me. We’re still getting to know each other, but between Cael, Sloane, Bradley, and some of the other members of Destructive Delta, how they’re a family, take care of each other, it really changed my perspective on Therians.

Charlie: Last question. This is for Austen from Shania. Has Austen seen Zachary again after being protected by him?  

Hudson: *smiles knowingly at Austen* Zachary? As in Agent Osmond Zachary from Unit Beta?

Austen: *narrows his eyes at Hudson* I got mauled and Sloane had Zach babysit. What?

Hudson: *holds his hands up in surrender* Nothing.

Austen: *grumbles incoherently* Yeah, I’ve seen him. He did me a solid, so I occasionally check up on him. It’s no big deal.

Lou: *coughs* Isn’t he, like a three hundred pound bear Therian?

Austen: Your point, cupcake?

Lou: *rolls his eyes* You’re not fooling anyone.

Austen: Like I give a shit what you think. Trust is a luxury I don’t get to have in my line of work, so when someone puts themselves on the line for me, I don’t take that lightly.

Hudson: It doesn’t hurt he’s a rather strapping lad.

Austen: You know what, you two can bite me. I’d don’t get all melty and swoony over a pair of beefy biceps and a nice ass. Unlike you two goody two-shoes. I also have sex whenever the hell I want, and I have fun doing it. I don’t need to be tied down by any one guy. Besides, Zach’s too nice. I check he’s okay, and that’s it. He never even knows I was there.

Lou: So, you’re spying on him.

Austen: *throws his hands up* What is this, the Spanish Inquisition? *jumps out of his chair* I’ll see you nerds later.

Lou: *chuckles* He’s so full of it.

Austen: *calls out from the hall* I heard that, Lou, and I just want you to know I’m flipping you off right now.

Hudson: *smiles* That went well, didn’t it?