Every morning, Jess Castellano woke up before Drew and only the sound of the coffee maker could stir his mate awake. It only happened that way because Jess fell asleep first. Once, Drew jokingly told Mark that his white noise was the sound of Jess's breathing. Mark said he liked sleeping without Cameron because the man latches onto him like a finger trap and produces the same amount of heat as the sun.
Jess started the coffee maker and picked out a few of the coffee mugs from the pile of dirty dishes that still needed to be clean. He glanced at the clock on the stove, figuring they had enough time. The smell of the coffee would stir Drew awake eventually. It usually did.
A couple of text messages trickled in and Jess knew he'd see the bulk of them later. He was going to be around too many people today. He needed this time to enjoy just the two of them. The peaceful mumble of nature outside.
"Jess!" Drew called, holding his hand out from underneath the covers. He searched the top of the mattress that was missing Jess.
Smirking, Jess circled to the other side of his mate, trapping him over there. Searching, Drew's hand finally found his arm, curling his fingers around his wrist. Jess chuckled and leaned down, kissing his mate through the covers. This inspired Drew to show his sleepy smile and his bare chest.
"Morning," Drew croaked.
"Good morning," Jess whispered and gave him another kiss, a quick peck on the lips. Drew reached around for the back of Jess's neck, pulling him back in for another. "Hey, you're pretty cute," Jess said in-between kisses. "You doing anything later today?"
Drew hummed, resting his hands on Jess's shoulders. "Yeah, but I can always reschedule."
"Oh?" Jess grinned and started kissing down the length of Drew's neck, dragging his teeth across his sensitive mark, the mark Jess gave him a year ago. Drew shuddered as Jess whispered against his skin, "Maybe I can show you around."
"Tempting." Drew chuckled, puling at the hem of Jess's ratty T-shirt for it to be gone. He had become accustomed to their new life in Dearest, but without changing his wardrobe. He'd rather dig through the boxes the movers packed than spend any unnecessary cash.
After Jess's old pack was saved from the blood-soaked hands of Jacob Coldwell, his new Alpha Cameron Hawthorne offered a home here in Dearest to any wolf that needed the fresh start. He paid for the movers, the trucks, and waived pack fees for a year or until the wolf was settled with a job.
Jess almost took back everything bad he said about the young Alpha.
He hated mushy.
Jess and Drew ended up staying close to the Inn that took them in until they got back on their feet. And by close, Jess meant the shed in the back yard. Shed was underselling the property. It was a renovated shed turned tiny home with everything on the bottom floor, except for a small loft space up top that Drew took over for his books and schoolwork now that he was back in college.
Jess tossed his unnecessary shirt into the living room a few feet away and crawled back into bed, laying across Drew like a spare quilt in this autumn air. "What time is it?" Drew asked, slightly breathless. What he was really asking was if they had enough time to play. He should know better than to question Jess. He'll make it work.
Drew snorted. "I hate you."
But he didn't hate it enough to stop kissing him.
Then the tumblers in the front door clicked and despite being locked for a reason, Grace Sinclair kicked the door open. "Wake up, boys! Today's the day!"
"Can't you knock?" Jess scowled at her as he picked himself back up.
"Knock?" She snorted. "Who do you take me for?"
Grabbing his shirt, he slipped it back on just as Grace, Drew's Grandmother Millicent, Mark, Cameron, Ryan, and Liam totting baby Emily, who was now in the habit of wordlessly shouting. Ryan was turned around, tripped over an uneven floorboard, and reached for a cabinet that doesn't stay closed, which broke off its henges and he hit the floor.
"Sorry! I'm so sorry!" Ryan spouted not as loud as the baby or the red blush staining his skin.
"Oh, it breaks all the time," Cameron assured him. "I've got a trick to put it back in without tools. Just hold it up for me."
Meanwhile, Mark shimmied through the bodies and grumbled, "We didn't all need to come in." He went for the coffee and started pouring it out into every available clean cup.
"Where's the remote?" Millie asked just as she found it. "I wanna check the weather. My knee's aching and we need a backup. Outdoor weddings are too unreliable."
"Let's not jinx it," Liam said mindfully, smiling at Emily as she continued to shout and put her hand inside his mouth.
Too much noise. Too many people here and bringing an unbearable heat and closeness. Drew must've sensed his unrest. He appeared beside him and rubbed his arm, causing Jess to realize they were crossed. Drew kissed his shoulder and smiled. That was all Jess needed to lose a little of his tension. Then, Mark handed out the coffee.
Before Jess could get a sip, Grace grabbed him by the bicep. "Come on! Come on! We gotta start getting ready! Cameron? Cameron! Stop messing with the cabinet and grab the suits."
"Grace," Jess groaned. "We were gonna get dressed here—"
"But you always get ready here. It's not special."
Cameron yelled, "I'm almost done!"
"I'll get them!" Ryan offered and slipped through to the other side.
The stragglers finally walked through: Dominic following close behind to Mia with Lyle and Zach hovering by the door. Lyle was a bruiser. Short, but muscular. Zach was the opposite, tall and lanky. He leaned over Lyle to get a peek inside. "I think we're outta room."
"Yo, Castellano," Lyle shouted, cupping his huge hands around his mouth. "Your mom wanted to know if you needed something from the store!"
"What? Why would I—" Jess shook his head, too busy trying not to spill his coffee and keep up with Grace and all the noise. "Grace, it doesn't matter."
"Jess Castellano, you have to let yourself be spoiled a little. You're only going to get married once, so it should be a special all day. Starting with getting boozy with your groomsmen!"
"Jess!" Mia spouted, climbing across the couch to reach him.
She tugged at his pants and Jess stumbled, panic ripping through him as he was forced to spill his coffee on the couch. "Whoa, whoa, hey Boss watch out. It's cramped in here."
"I'm—" She squeaked. "I'm sorry, but I really need to talk to you."
Drew's grandmother piped up, "Okay 30% chance of rain isn't bad, but not perfect!"
Jess sighed. "Okay, okay, hold on—"
But Jess got distracted watching Drew get escorted by Mark, his man of honor, out the door as Mark explained, "We're going to get ready at Dominic's house while Jess is getting the bridal suite closer to the barn."
"Are we not getting ready together?" Jess asked.
"No way." Grace shook her head. "It's part of the fun."
"You know we're not superstitious and neither of us are brides, so why—?"
"It builds the anticipation! You trusted me to plan your wedding, so trust me now."
Dominic snorted from the door. "More like you bullied them into it."
Grace snatched a pillow from the couch and three heads were forced to duck as it hurtled towards Dominic's head. Dominic caught it in one hand and tossed it at Ryan's back. Dominic wasn't right, but he wasn't too far off either. When they began planning, after they secured the Flores Apple Orchard barn for the wedding, they'd be talking about décor or flowers or the cake and Grace would poke her nose in and say things like:
"Oh, that place owes me a favor, I'll get you a discount."
"Don't go there. Mike's an asshole. Visit Belinda's shop. Tell her Grace sent you."
"What? I can get you a better deal than that! Gimme the phone."
"I've still got some dirt on Tony. If he says he can't get you your invitations printed in time, tell him that Grace never forgets, okay?"
Eventually, it became easier just to let her handle it all.
Grace clapped her hands. "Alright, team Castellano with me. Team Burton stays with Liam."
"I wanna go with Jess!" Mia insisted, but Liam shook his head.
"Sorry, baby you have to stay with me."
"We'll talk later, Boss," Jess told Mia as Grace started dragging him through the house. He turned, reaching for Drew. Managing to just nab his hand before they were being pulled apart. "Hey, I love you and let's say we'll meet at the end of the aisle!"
"I love you too! And I'll race you there," Drew said, but he could only manage blowing Jess a kiss before he was Jess's friend pushed him towards Grace's van. His eyes didn't leave Drew, needing one more last look and wanting to meet his mate's eyes when he waved goodbye. By the time Grace started driving away, Jess looked around at the half cup of coffee in a lidless sippy cup, his old friends mixed in with Cameron and Grace and Jess wasn't even given time to put shoes on. He felt teleported, turned upside down, and robbed of all his lunch money.
He glanced at his clothes wrapped up in plastic from the drycleaners when it finally settled around him. Jess and Drew were getting married today.
Okay! Here's the FIRST chapter of the "Going Rogue Novella"!
This Novella will include:
1. The wedding between Jess and Drew (of course)
2. How Grace and Liam met!
3. A NSFW scene between Dominic and Ryan (And another with Jess/Drew)
4. Mark and Cameron taking the next step in their relationship~
5. And more???
It has been so much fun to write, especially since I got to add a bunch of characters from Jess and Drew's old lives in Dearest (which means we get to see Drew's grandmother and Jess's parents). And you KNOW I love jumping to different POVs. If I could, I would revisit the world of Dearest/Going Rogue all the time. They're my favorite found family, haha.
Today's the day! Jess Castellano and Drew Burton are getting married at Flores Apple Orchard... it's just not starting the way they imagined. Chaos ensues as their new and old packs collide with Grace insisting that they stay separated until the ceremony. Their suits get switched, it might rain, and Mia's gone missing.
To make matter worse, Mia has taken the rings hostage, threatening to runaway with them if the wedding isn't canceled.
Team Wedding: Grace, Liam, Ryan, Dominic, Mark and Cameron agree to keep the hostage situation a secret from the happy couple and find Mia themselves. One by one, the couples look for Mia and reminisce about their own love lives.
But with all the stalling, mixed singles, and high tension, Drew and Jess are beginning to wonder if there even should be a wedding.
EXCLUSIVE TO PATREON, this book includes two new NSFW scenes, POVs from the whole gang including: Ryan, Dom, Grace, and Mark (and more). The story of how Grace and Liam met. Plus tons of cheese and fluff!