It’s time for the chipmunk brothers to take their bear and wolf home to meet the family for the holidays.
A vicious horde of chipmunks? Dallas and Gunner knew that meeting their mate’s family wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. How could it be when they had eighteen brothers and sisters? This bear and wolf are about to be put to the test—surviving this family holiday. Will they be able to escape just the four of them or will they be taking some of the siblings back to White Pine… involuntarily?
Gunner gripped the armrest, stale air brushing over his face from the tiny fan above. He fucking hated to fly, he really did, but the destination was well worth it in the end. His mate, Phillip, sat next to him, smiling out the window as they flew toward Atlanta. Phillip and Nikko had grown up there and their mother had invited him and Dallas to spend the holidays with them. Gunner was all too excited to meet the family of his mate. Phillip talked about them often and Skyped with them frequently. Gunner had talked to a few of them, but he had a feeling that he was ill prepared for meeting eighteen of Phillip’s brothers and sisters.
The plane tilted, and Gunner blew out a breath, feeling his stomach churn, his eyes frantically searching for the tiny bag in the pouch in front of him but coming up empty. The seats had seen better days, and he focused on the tear in the corner of the seat in front of him until the plane leveled off, praying he didn’t throw up in his mate’s lap.
A hand touched Gunner’s sweaty one, and he glanced over at Phillip, who eyed him with concern. “Didn’t you take the Dramamine?”
Gunner swallowed thickly. “I took three.”
“Three!” Phillip shouted in alarm, turning toward him. “You’re supposed to take one, no more than two.”
“I thought…” I was going to crash and die. “Being a bigger guy, it wouldn’t work, and it hasn’t.”
“When did you take it?” Phillip placed his soft hands to his forehead. Silly chipmunk, Gunner wasn’t running a fever, just feeling the effects of motion sickness and fear take hold of him. He might be a bit clammy, but hot he was not.
“Right before we took off, and I’m a big guy. It goes by weight.” Gunner blew out a quivering breath.
Phillip was staring at him, shaking his head as if he’d lost his damn mind. “You’re a doctor…”
“Dentist,” Gunner interrupted.
“You know better. This is going to knock you on your ass,” Phillip hissed at him. Gunner wasn’t sure what Phillip was worried about. His mate should be reading the damn emergency brochure because they were starting to have turbulence.
Oh shit! We’re gonna die!
Nikko stared at them from across the aisle. “What the hell is your problem? It’s not that bad.”
Not that bad.
He was going to launch himself out of the seat and choke his brother-in-law. That is if he could unglue his hands from the armrest. Like the pieces of plastic would save him if they plummeted to their death, but the grips were a damn security blanket for him right now, so screw it.
Dallas shook his head from next to Nikko. “He hates to fly.”
“Well, it’s all fun and games until we’re dragging his ass all over Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. You know how big that airport is. Did you hear how much motion sickness medicine he took?” Nikko tattled on him to Dallas.
“They have a train,” Phillip defended him.
Nikko gave his brother an incredulous stare. “Then you carry him to the train yourself. By the time you’re through, you’ll look like fucking road kill.”
Phillip pointed his finger at his brother. “You’re being an ass. Help your brother out.”
“He’s yours, not mine. You deal with it,” Nikko countered.
Gunner put his arms out as the brothers looked like they might actually come to blows in the aisle. Dallas grabbed a hold of Nikko, and the chipmunk gave Phillip the stink-eye before turning away. Nice.
“What the hell was that all about?” Gunner closed his eyes and leaned his head back, sighing. A jolt of the plane had him tensing. Please let us just land in one piece.
Phillip curled up next to him. “The holidays can be a bit…stressful at our house. I think he’s worried about Dallas running for the hills or something.”
“Dallas loves Nikko. He’d never run.”
“Wait until you meet the family.” Nikko stared across the aisle at Gunner. “You’re not going to run, are you?”
Gunner yawned into his fist. “No way. I can handle a few chipmunks.”
Phillip’s eyes widened as he turned his head side to side to get a look at their surroundings. “There’s quite a bit more than a few of us. And keep it down, you,” Phillip whispered.
Gunner felt the fog take over his brain, and everything suddenly seemed to slow down at a dramatic rate. His stomach settled a little, and fatigue washed over him. “Huh,” he murmured.
“What?” Phillip asked, voice filled with concern.
“I guess this shit is working.” Gunner yawned again.
Phillip yawned next to him. “That yawn is contagious.” Phillip patted his shoulder, “Come on, big guy, lean on me and get some rest. You’ll be through this flight in no time.”
“God, I hope so. Flying sucks.” Gunner slouched and adjusted until he had his very own Phillip pillow. Closing his eyes, he tried to breathe through his mouth to abate the last waves of nausea. Please let this flight be over soon.
The next thing Gunner knew, he was being roughly shaken awake by the shoulders. “Wake up.” Dallas was in his face, grouchy expression in place.
Gunner rubbed his tired eyes and noticed that they were the last four passengers on the plane.
Dallas started to shake him again, but Gunner blocked. “All right, all right, I’m awake.”
“Good because if I have to go in solo, I’m going to kick your ass,” Dallas grumbled before he stood and grabbed his luggage out of the overhead compartment.
Gunner stood, still a little tipsy. He was groggy, there was no denying it. However, the flight was over and it was time to meet his in-laws for the first time. He better get his act together.
Reaching overhead for his bag, Gunner grabbed Phillip’s also and placed them both on the seat. Phillip grabbed his bag before leading him down the aisle and exiting the plane. Walking up the ramp, Gunner was damn unsteady on his feet, and Phillip reached out twice to steady him before they finally were inside the airport.
Gunner wasn’t sure if he wanted to kneel down and kiss the dirt-riddled ground or not. He followed, rolling his bag, as Phillip and Nikko led them down the terminal, and boy, did his chipmunk move fast. Everyone was on the move, in a rush, and Gunner was still in a fog. People whizzed by him, hurrying toward their destinations.
Gunner tensed at being around so many humans. He had lived in White Pine all his life and ventured outside the small shifter town only for schooling. Now, he was submerged in the scents of the human world. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to run away or grab a wonderful smelling cinnamon roll that he had just rushed by.
Dallas walked with him, following as their mates turned and stopped several times before they took the escalator downstairs for the train. They waited a minute, then entered the train.
Phillip beckoned him to the back. “You better sit here.”
“I can do the handles.” Gunner watched as others boarded around them. There were other humans that needed that seat more than him.
“Hang on to that.” Phillip pointed to the bar next to him, which Dallas and Nikko were already holding onto. The door closed, and the train took off. His slow reaction time had him losing his grip, and Dallas grabbed onto the front of his dark shirt before he landed in the poor lady’s lap behind him.
“Jesus, you aren’t even close to okay, are you?” Dallas growled, pulling him up, the sound of his T-shirt tearing a little.
“I’m fine, just a little off.” Gunner stood on his own two shaky legs.
Phillip rubbed his back. “We’ll get our bags, then you can nap in the car. It’s a good hour and a half from the airport to our house.”
The train slowed to a stop at baggage claim, and the four of them stepped out. People brushed past him, in a hurry. Phillip held his hand as they walked to baggage claim.
They were just making it to the conveyor belt assigned to their flight when Nikko whooped out, “Anson!”
A lone young man stood in middle of the crowd with confidence. He might be small, but authority oozed from the guy. Then there was a huge change in expression as he spotted Nikko and Phillip rushing toward him. There was no mistaking, by the size and brown hair, that this was Phillip’s and Nikko’s older brother.
Phillip rushed to his brother while Gunner stood next to Dallas. “Are you ready for this?” Gunner yawned at the same time he asked, watching the three talk animatedly and embrace.
“Not even close. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when it’s twenty of them?” Dallas reached down and grabbed one of their bags off the belt.
“You’re still a grouch.” Gunner reached down and grabbed Phillip’s bag, which had a bright orange puff ball on it. Thank goodness, because it was a sea of black bags and he wouldn’t ever have been able to tell the difference in the state he was currently in.
Phillip, Nikko, and Anson rushed over to help out.
Phillip grabbed his hand. “Gunner, this is my brother, Anson.”
Gunner placed one of the bags on the floor next to him and reached out a hand to shake Anson’s. Anson eyed him with intense brown eyes as if in challenge. Seriously? A chipmunk challenging a wolf? This brother had brass balls for sure.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Anson said with a forced smile, and Gunner could practically read the chipmunk’s eyes, as if saying if you fuck with my brother…
The threat was loud and clear, and Gunner just smirked at Anson. He wasn’t scared of the guy…much.
Phillip gave a nervous little chuckle. “Okay, guys, your knuckles are turning white.”
Gunner glanced down at his and Anson’s hand in a death grip. Slowly, they each released their hands, and Gunner took a small amount of pleasure in seeing Anson shaking his hand out a little. Gunner flexed his discreetly, making sure his foe didn’t see any weakness. But it hurt, which surprised the hell out of Gunner. Well, he wasn’t on his A game at the moment. The drug was still weighing him down.
Anson reached over and shook Dallas’s hand, but Dallas wasn’t playing with the hard grip, and the chipmunk knew it because their interaction was much quicker.
Phillip grabbed Gunner by the arm and tugged. “Come on, you’ll get used to Anson. He overplays the role of protective big brother.”
Gunner didn’t reply. Really, he didn’t know how to reply or take Anson. Only time would tell.
Stepping out of the airport, Gunner was surprised by the coolness.
“I’m in temp parking over this way.” As Anson led them to the car, Gunner could still feel the effects of the motion sickness pill. Finally, they climbed into a huge van and slid the door shut. Gunner leaned his head back, closing his eyes and wondering if he would be able to stay awake through the drive. Feeling the fatigue wash over him and the drone of the brothers talking, he figured he was fighting a losing battle and soon fell fast asleep.
Short, sexy and sweet—where a little love goes a long way.
That’s the best way to describe Jackie Nacht’s stories. I was introduced to M/M Romance through my sister, Stephani, and read it for years. Then, I thought it was time to put my own stories on paper. I began writing short and sweet stories that ended with a happily ever after…and sometimes more than one, in the case of my YA Fork in the Road series, which has interactive endings.
Thinking back to my own book addiction, where there were many nights I stayed up way too late so I could read just one more chapter—yeah, right—I decided to write short romances for young adults as well as adults. Hopefully, they will give high school and college students, or working men and women something they can read during their lunch hour, in between classes or just when they want to briefly get away from the daily stresses of everyday life.