About Welcome to the Pack
Author: BA Tortuga
Word Count: 22200
Page Count (pdf): 89
Date Published: January 25 2017 3rd edition
Publisher: Evil Plot Bunny
Genre: Paranormal / Western
Pairing: (ie: mm, mmf, ff) MM
Series name and number: Midnight Rodeo 1
He lost his twin, but he intends to keep his pack.
Midnight Rodeo, #1
When head bullfighter Denton is killed by a demon bull, his twin, Denver, comes back to take his place. Denver was gone for years, working mundane rodeos and missing his twin. He’s not sure the pack can heal him since the other bullfighters challenge Denver at every turn. All except Blaine, who’s an outcast himself, and who knows Denver is like no one he’s ever met.
Blaine knows he has no place in the pack Denton created, but Denver is different. Denver makes his wolf heart sing. Can he help heal Denver from his twin’s loss, and find his own place in the greater scheme of things?
Denton had been stunning, making Blaine stare a lot. A lot. Still, Dent had been off-limits, and he’d bet Denver was, too. No one could be that hot and be like Blaine.
He was the weird one, the one brought into the pack by a she-wolf who had already had a single pup. Blaine figured he was lucky no one had killed him when he was a kid.
Everyone else was broad and wide, shaggy-headed with eyes like green glass. All of them came from the same line. Denver was the spitting image of Denton, really. A little harder around the edges, a little more wild. A shit ton more bruised.
The guys had been taking turns. Two a night, just like clockwork, they’d come and challenge Denver. One at midnight, one at three a.m. Greg and Vince went, then Carter and Caul, and finally Hank and Mike. Boom.
He supposed Denver was waiting for him now. Blaine sighed. He had no intention of trying to take the pack. God, the very idea made his head hurt.
The real question was, were they going to just start over, or was Denver going to get a night off, a chance to sleep before they settled in town for tonight’s show?
Eventually they’d kill Denver, too. Someone would get lucky, and the Alpha would get tired. Then where would they be? None of the others were really natural leaders.
Blaine glanced away to make sure no one else was about. When he looked back at Denver, the man was staring back at him. Damn. Caught.
One eye was black, damn near swollen shut, but the other watched him like a hawk.
He didn’t turn tail like he wanted to, and he fought down a nervous smile, managing a nod instead. Then he grabbed his proverbial bootstraps and pulled his courage up out of his socks.
“Hey. You need anything, man? I was gonna go get a hamburger.”
“Thank you, no.” Denver’s head tilted, the look pure Denton down to a T. “Is it your turn tonight? Seems like a shitty deal, to be left to fight on your own.”
“Well, I never did pair up.” He shrugged. “I don’t want your job. If that means I ain’t good enough to work with you, I’ll fight. But if you can handle that, I’ll have your back.”
“You were good enough for Dent; you’re good enough for me.”
“Thanks.” Relief flowed through him. Acceptance wasn’t always easy when you were different. Wolves could turn on anyone with weird eyes or a bad leg. Or not-pack blood. “Well. You sure you don’t want some food?”
“Honey, I appreciate it, but they’ll turn on you. It’s how it works. ’Sides, my jaw’s tender.” He got a half grin, and he didn’t get it. Denver was supposed to be, like, this violent, leather-wearing biker asshole. Not a guy who grinned.
“Shit, they always called me Dent’s whipping boy. They let me stay because I’m fast and stronger than I look. I have a way with the stock.”
“Yeah? I need to learn them. I’ll buy food, you tell me about them. All of them. I’ve been working mundane shows.”
“Oh, then you’re in for a whole new world.” Even the regular bulls were genetically engineered these days so hardly anyone could stay on them, but their show? Holy-shit-moly.
“I worked the show under Elvin.”
Whoa. Elvin had trained Dent, too. The man was a legend. Dead, but a legend. Sort of like Dent.
“You’ll do all right, then, but there are a few to watch out for.” He would be happy to be the one to fill in Denver on their big beasts.
Denver walked with him, solid and quiet. Still.
Blaine felt the urge to babble, which he never did. He was the quiet one, for fuck’s sake. He knew to keep his fucking head down and stay under the fucking radar.
“Huh?” He’d been so busy keeping his head down, he’d missed what Denver had asked. Smooth.
“I just asked which ones you like best, the burgers.”
“Oh, the double bacon cowboy burger.” His mouth watered at the name.
“What makes it a cowboy burger?”
“Barbecue sauce and fried onions.” He loved that sweet and sour and crispy bacon goodness. His belly rumbled. He was so damned hungry. He’d never admit it to Denver, but half the reason he wanted to eat with the man was that the pack had been, uh, denying him some resources.
Speaking of, Mike came around the corner, snarling. “What are you doing with him, Stubby?”
God, he hated that fucking nickname.
Before he could answer, Denver growled, the sound raising his hackles. “Are you questioning me, pup?”
Mike stared, belligerent as all hell, but his bruises told the story. Denver had beat him down. Mike finally looked away. “No, sir.”
“I didn’t think so.” Denver watched until Mike left, then they kept walking.
“That was amazing.” Blaine could fight. God knew he could take a hit from two thousand pounds of pissed-off beef on the hoof and keep going. But he’d never seen Mikey back off that fast, not even from Dent.
“So, Stubby? Seriously? Doesn’t seem to suit.”
His cheeks heated, and Blaine put his hands in his pockets. “I hate it.”
“Good to know.” Laconic didn’t begin to describe this man. Getting words out was like pulling teeth.
“Yeah. I mean, that way you can only use it when you want to piss me off.”
“That’s fair. You work the final night?”
“I do.” No one could deny he had a way with Bricklayer. That damned bull was always a top draw, and he was mean as a snake.
“Good.” Somehow the single word felt like a stamp of approval.