No Contest (Alaskan Sabears #1)(8)

By: Becca Van

“No. In fact, I think I’m her only friend. Tammy sighed.

“What about family?” Tarik asked.

“She’s all alone.”

“Shit!” Hodge straightened. “What happened to her parents?”

“They were killed when the yacht they were on capsized in a storm. Her dad’s mother took her if I remember correctly, and then she died when Celeste was ten. She was made a ward of the state and sent to various foster homes.”

“No aunts, uncles, or cousins?” Tarik stood and then began to pace.

“No. Her parents were only children and her father’s mother was her only surviving relative after they died.”

“Why did she take up modeling?” Hodge looked toward the kitchen doorway, wishing he could see Celeste again.

“She was struggling to make ends meet. She was at school all day and then working into the wee hours of the night. The poor thing was exhausted since she was only getting a few hours’ sleep.”

“How long is she planning on staying?” Tarik asked.

“I’m not sure.” Tammy frowned. “I don’t think she told me.”

“Let’s hope it’s for a few weeks,” Hodge said, secretly hoping that Celeste would never want to leave.

Nonetheless, he had a feeling the path ahead of them wasn’t going to be an easy one.

He and Tarik were big, dominant men. They were used to giving orders and having their commands carried out straight away. It was going to be hard to temper their authoritative and domineering urges, but he would do anything to keep Celeste around for as long as possible.

Hodge glanced at Serge as he entered the kitchen.

“Phelan and Hopper found Celeste’s luggage.” Serge held up the battered case. “She’ll be glad to have her own clothes to wear.”

Tammy slid to her feet. “How’s Jarvis?”

“He’s going to be fine, shorty,” Serge ruffled her hair. “He’s going to stay for a few days to heal up some and then he’ll hitch a ride back to the mainland with the next delivery plane.”

Hodge was glad the human pilot would heal. He was a good guy even though he wasn’t a shifter. He was always smiling and joking around and though he didn’t know that he and the others could shift into animals, he had a feeling it wouldn’t make a difference if he did. Jarvis was the type of person that was friendly with and to everyone, no matter what their race or beliefs were. He was just an all-round good guy.

Hodge bit his lip to hide his smile when Tammy slapped at Serge’s hand, stepped back from him, scowled, and then poked him in the chest. “I’m not a fucking kid. Stop treating me like one.”

Serge grabbed hold of Tammy’s finger and for a moment, Hodge thought he was going to snap the offending appendage off—but then he let Tammy’s finger go and he held his hand out, palm up, as if warding the little spitfire off. He met Hodge’s gaze. “Where’s my patient.”

Hodge took the opportunity to set eyes on Celeste again. “I’ll show you.”

“You don’t need to. I can sniff her out.”

Serge gave him a curious glance over his shoulder when Hodge’s sabear growled and stopped outside the partially closed bedroom door before turning to face him.

“What’s up with you and Tarik? Your animals are too close to the surface.” Serge’s nostrils flared as he inhaled deeply. “Mating pheromones. Shit! She’s your mate?”

Hodge nodded, some of the tension in his muscles easing as the other dominant male took in his scent.

“Tarik, too?”

Hodge nodded again.

“You lucky bastards.” Serge nudged Hodge’s shoulder with his fist and grinned. “Just try and keep your sabear under control when I examine her. I’m not trying to horn in on your woman. I just need to make sure she’s okay.”

“I’ll try.”

Chapter Three

When Celeste opened her eyes, it was still light outside, but then she remembered she was on St. Lawrence Island off the coast of Mainland Alaska and it was summer. It could be months before the sun actually set and it got dark when she thought it should.

Her body was stiff and sore, and her head was still aching but not as badly as it had earlier, thank goodness. She still felt fuzzy headed and tired, but she was no longer feeling sick to her stomach.