Today I am so pleased to welcome Charlie Adhara to Joyfully Jay. Charlie has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her upcoming release, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Grumpy agent Cooper Dayton and his doting, werewolf partner Oliver Park are back in this fourth book of the Big Bad Wolf series, Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. This time the guys are going undercover… at a mountainside couple’s counseling retreat…for werewolves. At least that means a break from house hunting! In the following excerpt, Cooper has just returned from a suspicious encounter outside to find Park relaxing in the tub. In the calm before the storm, they’re able to share a moment of intimate banter before their trip to the mountains to investigate the disappearance of a man from Park’s past.
The bathroom door was left partially open, and Cooper knocked and waited for Park’s okay.
Park was reclining in the tub with his eyes closed, as submerged in water as he could get, which wasn’t very. His muscular legs were propped almost all the way up the wall and his broad shoulders were awkwardly crammed against the ledge on the other end.
“If we lived in that palace we saw this afternoon, it would have taken me ten minutes to find you,” Cooper said cautiously, examining him, hyperalert for a sign, any sign, that would tell him whether or not Park wanted to talk about what had happened before.
Park didn’t open his eyes. “If we lived in that palace I wouldn’t have to bleach hundred-year-old bloodstains out of the grout before taking a bath.”
“Hey,” Cooper said, walking into the bathroom and sitting on the closed toilet. “I was building a case with those bloodstains.”
“The case to condemn the building? I think you already have plenty to go to trial. Point one, the center of the sun is not a residential zone.”
Cooper bit his tongue. He’d made fun of this shitty apartment for years. He didn’t know why now all of a sudden he was so determined to defend it. The bathroom was old and gross.
And seeing Park’s relaxed, beautiful body in it made him want to lock them both in here together to stay until the building itself came down around them.
He changed the subject. “Sorry about Ava. I’m assuming from the lack of panicking, she didn’t come in here when you were…alternately formed.” Cooper dipped his fingers into the tub and found the water predictably cold. “Were you really in the bath?”
Park managed to raise an eyebrow while keeping his eyes closed. “Do I look like the sort of man who goes around lying to little girls? Just what kind of Grimms’ Fairy Tales wolf do you take me for?”
“The one with soap in his hair.”
Park leaned forward, turned the tap on and dunked his head under, scrubbing at the shampoo. When he turned it off and lay back down, a couple suds still clung to his ear. Cooper stared, transfixed by that spot. Suddenly, somehow, he felt even more flushed with heat and a prickle of sweat broke out at his hairline. He swiped at it distractedly.
“The AC is wrecked. Looks like something ripped into it.”
Park grunted. “Thank god for that fresh mountain air.”
Cooper opened his mouth. Closed it. Considered. “When I was in the alley taking the trash out, I thought someone was watching me. But it was a squirrel.” He rolled his eyes at himself and immediately regretted mentioning it. He forced a laugh. “Who says your conversations take a turn for the boring when you move in together? Not us, baby!”
Park’s eyes had slid open. Warm amaretto looking at him with familiar focused attentiveness. “Do you want me to go downstairs and check it out?”
“No, of course not.”
“Do you want to report it?”
“To who? Wildlife Control?”
“To whom,” Park murmured, automatically.
“I asked you first,” Cooper said, and flicked a little water toward Park’s chest. It felt nice and cool on his fingers, and he kept his hand submerged, letting it drift, bumping against Park’s thigh. “No, I don’t want to report it. It was nothing. I’m just telling you now so that when we sleep with all the windows open and I’m murdered in the night, my last words can be I told you so.”
Park grinned, closed his eyes and stretched lazily in the water. “Good ol’ Dayton. He died as he lived. A complete prick.”
Cooper took the opportunity to stare at Park’s body unobserved. His thick arms and firmly muscled torso and myriad of faded scars looked intimidating, dangerous. His sleepy face and soft cock looked oddly defenseless and vulnerable in the water. His hair standing up from the half-assed tap rinse and remaining suds looked…well, another thing entirely. There was something very silly about seeing a big, powerful man squeezed into a tub, head spotted in bubbles. And by silly Cooper meant punched-in-the-gut sexy.
But that was Park. The strongest, toughest softie he knew. Made up of these seeming contradictions that all worked together to make Cooper’s heart hammer in its cage, demanding to be let out to call a lawyer. It was unfair, unjust and uncalled for, how much Park made him love him.
Agent Cooper Dayton and his partner, Oliver Park, are going undercover—at a retreat for couples who need counselling. They do say the best cover story is one that’s close to the truth…
Agent Cooper Dayton is almost relieved to get a phone call from his former boss at the Bureau of Special Investigations. It means a temporary reprieve from tensions created by house hunting with Oliver Park, his partner both in work and in life. Living together in a forever home is exactly what Cooper wants. He’s just not keen on working out the details.
With a former alpha werewolf missing, Cooper and Park are loaned to the BSI to conduct the search at a secluded mountain retreat. The agents will travel to the resort undercover…as a couple in need of counseling.
The resort is picturesque, the grounds are stunning and the staff members are all suspicious as hell.
With a long list of suspects and danger lurking around every cabin, Cooper should be focusing on the case. But he’s always been anxious about the power dynamics in his relationship with Park, and participating in the couples’ activities at the retreat brings it all to the surface. A storm is brewing, though, and Cooper and Park must rush to solve the case before the weather turns. Or before any more guests—or the agents themselves—end up dead.
Follow Agents Dayton and Park’s romance from the beginning. Read the first book in the Big Bad Wolf series, The Wolf at the Door, available now from Carina Press!
Charlie Adhara writes contemporary, mystery, paranormal, queer romance. Or some assortment of that, anyway. Whatever the genre, her stories feature imperfect people stumbling around, tripping over trouble and falling in love. Charlie has done a fair amount of stumbling around herself, but tends to find her way back to the northeast US. When she’s not writing, Charlie is reading, hiking, exploring flea markets and acting as an amateur cobbler for her collection of weird shoes.
To learn more and stay updated, follow Charlie on the usual suspects!
- Website: www.charlieadhara.com
- Twitter: @Charlie_Adhara