Nate just signed up to take a werewolf lover. Hottest. Summer. Ever.
The Shiftercorp Companion Programme is where willing humans can sign up to offer their services as a werewolf ‘companion’ for the summer, and be generously compensated for their time and services.
Perth local Nathan Watson is young, single and loves sex, so it makes sense to apply to spend his summer as a shifter’s lover. He’s thrilled when he’s accepted by Shiftercorp, but when the werewolf he chose as his partner is no longer available, a mysterious stranger steps up to claim his contract.
Nate is cautious, but agrees to at least meet the wolf in question—and when he does? Sign him up. Cooper Hudson is drop-dead gorgeous, compelling and irresistible, and Nate can’t keep his hands off him. His only concern is that Cooper’s obviously hiding something about who he is and what he does. Still, Nate’s almost certain Cooper isn’t an underworld boss.
Well, sixty-percent certain.
When Cooper Hudson saw Nate’s profile, he wanted him. And while it probably wasn’t strictly ethical to use his position to claim Nate as his companion, Cooper’s looking forward to flying to Western Australia and spending time with this gorgeous boy. He expects a pleasant summer fling—no more, no less.
Then he meets Nate, and the chemistry between them is scorching. Cooper falls hard—and recognises Nate as his true mate. Now he just has to figure out how to tell him. Oh, and there’s the small matter of what, exactly, Cooper does for a living.
But he’s sure it’ll be fine.
General Release Date: 4th July 2023
The cursor sat unmoving over the box on his laptop screen as Nate bit his lip.
He could do this.
He wanted to do this. He’d done his research, and the Shiftercorp Companionship Programme, known as the SCP, was as squeaky clean as it could get without being suspiciously above board. It had been running for almost ten years, since a year after the global werewolf reveal, so it wasn’t like he was worried for his safety.
The inevitable comparison to prostitution that the Programme drew wasn’t what had him hesitating, either. Nate had never seen the Companionship Programme like that. As far as he was concerned, Shiftercorp was kind of like Grindr for shifters—both parties knew what to expect, and everyone walked away satisfied. It was big business, with a lot of shifters preferring a partner who’d consented to and was prepared for the rigours of shifter sex—which was, from all accounts, a wild ride, pun intended.
Nate loved sex, and he didn’t believe there was anything wrong with monetising his talents in the bedroom. What was that saying about “find a job you love and never work a day in your life?” Sure, maybe whoever said it hadn’t had being a shifter’s paid fuck-buddy for the summer in mind, but that was beside the point.
And it wasn’t the shifter factor—Nate had exactly zero objections to getting railed by a werewolf—or even, say, a bear.
Actually, he’d been railed by a bear more than once, but he suspected that it wasn’t even close to the same thing.
Nate hadn’t experienced shifter sex—yet—but he had friends who swore it was a whole other level of awesome, which made sense, given a shifter’s increased speed, strength and stamina. The one thing stopping Nate had been lack of opportunity.
And on a more practical level, applying to the Companionship Programme meant that instead of working as a brickie’s labourer and sweating his arse off mixing cement and building retaining walls in the heat of summer, he’d be getting paid for getting laid. It was a win-win situation.
So why couldn’t he just…hit the button?
He ran a hand through his messy dark hair and spun in his office chair, catching sight of his reflection in the mirror as he did so. When he looked at the picture that he presented, he was able to admit to himself what the problem was.
He was scared he wouldn’t make the cut.
The thing was, most of the applicants for the Companion Programme were eighteen-, nineteen- and twenty-year-olds—uni students looking to clear their HECS debts in one fell swoop. And there was a definite type. Instagram-pretty, with wide eyes, plump glossy lips, perky little tits on the girls and next to no body hair on the guys. Cute little werewolf snacks, every one of them, ready to be gobbled up by the big bad wolf.
Nate didn’t fit that brief.
For starters, at twenty-four he was older than the norm, and he sported a decent amount of muscle, gained as a result of hauling bricks and sacks of mortar around for years. He was tan from working outdoors, with a light dusting of chest hair and a colourful half sleeve he’d gotten in Bali a few years back on his one overseas trip. His hair got a trim whenever he was near a barber and remembered, so it didn’t exactly have a signature style. His skin-care products consisted of SPF 50+ sunscreen, and his beauty regimen was showering after work.
Instagram-pretty he was not.
He worried that even if he grew a pair and applied, they’d turn him down flat, and he wasn’t sure his ego could take it. As long as the application sat on his laptop unsubmitted, he still had a chance. It was like not checking the lottery numbers—it meant he might still be a winner. Okay, fine. He’d admit that his logic was shaky on that one.
The point was, he wanted this—almost too much. That was why his application had been sitting completed on his laptop for the last three weeks, but he hadn’t pushed the button yet.
Except he’d run out of time to dick about. The deadline to apply for this summer’s intake was midnight tonight if he wanted to make the cut for the January round of selections. And while he made a decent enough wage, it would be nice not to have to worry about money, what with his old ute making weird noises every time he changed gear and his rent going up next month. Nate wanted to buy a place of his own, and this was the perfect opportunity to earn a deposit, because the SCP paid big.
He ran a hand through his hair again, regarded himself in the mirror and tried to think positive thoughts. Sure, maybe he didn’t have delicate high cheekbones or obscenely long lashes and a pixie cut. Maybe he wasn’t a dance student from the local Performing Arts Academy who could bend in half and lick his own arsehole, but there must be werewolves who weren’t into that whole delicate, waify thing?
Objectively, Nate knew he was decent looking, with deep brown eyes and dark hair that had a hint of a curl when left to its own devices. He’d been told he was hot more than once, and he never seemed to have any trouble finding someone to bring home for the night. Plus, he had a decent-sized dick, and he knew how to use it. That had to count for something, right?
He put on his best smile. “You’re not just a werewolf snack,” he told himself, “you’re the entire fucking buffet.”
And yeah, when he looked at the face in the mirror, he had to agree that he was.
Before he could change his mind, he spun in his chair and hit the enter key. The screen blinked, and a message appeared.
Thank you for your application. We will be in contact in the next seven to ten working days.
Nate let out a loud breath, and the tension he hadn’t known he was carrying left him in a rush. For better or for worse, he was doing this.
* * * *
Nate got a reply the next afternoon.
He was checking his emails on his phone during smoko while he looked across the highway at the Indian Ocean. Working on site across from Hilary’s Beach Harbour wasn’t the bonus most people assumed it was. Sure, the view was nice, but unless the sea breeze was in, it was just a tease, a reminder that other people were spending their days surfing and swimming and walking their dogs instead of working.
That was another reason he’d applied as a Companion—even if he spent the entire month of January as a companion having super-athletic sex with a werewolf, it would still be easier on his body than being a brickie’s labourer during an Australian summer.
It would most likely be a werewolf partner—they made up the majority of the shifter population, followed by felines, and after careful consideration, he’d omitted cat shifters from his selection criteria. Just thinking about barbed penises had him squirming.
He opened the email, assuming it was just an acknowledgement of his application, but then he read the words, “We are pleased to welcome you to the Shiftercorp Companionship Programme. Please find attached…”
His breath caught. It looked like a Perth tradie who wasn’t Instagram-pretty but who had muscles and ink and a tan gained from working outdoors might have what it took, after all.
“You right, Nate?” his boss, Sully, asked. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Nate remembered how to breathe. “Yeah. Just…” He debated if it was too soon to say anything or if he should wait until he had more details, but Sully had given him a job right out of school, and he’d always been a decent bloke. He hadn’t so much as blinked when he found out Nate was gay, and he’d never once laid him off, even when work had been tight. The least Nate could do was give him a heads up that he might need a new offsider. “I might need time off, over the next month.”
Sully creased his brow. “Everything okay?”
“I applied to the SCP and I got in,” Nate blurted.
Sully raised his eyebrows. “Really? You never said you were applying.”
“Yeah. I didn’t think I had a chance, so I didn’t mention it, but it looks like I’m in.”
He hoped Sully wouldn’t try to talk him out of it, but the man just pulled off his hard hat and swiped his brow with a forearm, spreading cement dust across his skin, and said, “Good for you. When do you start? My nephew’s been after me for some hours over his uni break, so the timing might work.”
Nate cleared his throat. “I dunno. I’ve just been accepted.” He read the email again, paying more attention to the details this time. “I have to screen the candidates and see who I like, and then they, um. Bid on me.” His face heated at the thought of it.
Sully broke into a grin. “You’re hot property, huh?” He extended his arms and clasped his hands in front of himself, planted his feet and started doing a weird sort of hip gyration that was no doubt meant to be sexy, all while chanting, “Bow chicka bow-wow.” It was hilarious and disturbing all at once.
Nate snorted with laughter. “Stop it. You’re scaring the seagulls.” He’d expected some ribbing, because it did sound ridiculous, being bid on as ‘entertainment’ for single, wealthy werewolves—but in fact it was big business. Nate knew that he could expect to make thousands of dollars, for just a few weeks’ work.
For that, he could put up with Sully taking the piss.
* * * *
There was a certain set of pearl-clutchers who liked to compare the SCP recruitment process to human trafficking, and they were painfully vocal about it. But a happy side effect of the Puritans and their protests was that the Shifter community was almost fanatical about there being not so much of a hint of coercion regarding partnerships through the SCP—which meant that when it came to deciding who he was willing to sleep with, Nate was the one calling the shots.
The initial match-ups were all done via an online profile, but when he met his selection in person, if they weren’t a good fit, he could change his mind and choose someone else, no harm, no foul. And if at any time during his contract he wanted to walk away from the whole thing he could, and he’d still be paid a pro-rata amount for the time he’d worked.
He got to choose who he’d accept as a partner, how long the contract ran for, and what he would and wouldn’t be willing to do. He’d rejected fisting, figging and watersports right off the bat, as well as a heap of other stuff—some of which he’d googled to find out what it was and immediately wished he hadn’t.
It was a pretty sweet deal that was geared towards enthusiastic participation. Nate could see why people were willing to jump through all the hoops that were needed just to apply. Hell, he’d jumped through them himself, hadn’t he? His least favourite bit had been the mandatory pre-application medical—that shit had been more intimate than some dates he’d been on.
Still, it had been worth it.
Now that he’d been accepted, things moved fast—faster than he’d expected. Nate was sent the profiles of shifters who had expressed an interest in him, and they were all werewolves. He received links to dozens of files so he could give a tick of approval to the ones he liked, and he had to admit, the amount of interest was flattering. It took half a day of going over the profiles while he sat on his bed, laptop balanced on his knees and his ceiling fan going full tilt in an effort to combat the heat, before he managed to narrow it down to just five.
Some people were of the opinion that approving more bidders was better because it encouraged a higher final pay-out, but Nate was more cautious in his choices. He wanted whoever won his services to be someone he could spend the entire summer with, which meant that for him, they needed to tick his boxes when it came to physical attraction. Just because he was getting paid for it didn’t mean he didn’t want to enjoy the sex as well.
Still, Nate couldn’t help laughing at himself. He’d always claimed he didn’t have a type, yet when the five bidder profiles were lined up across the screen, every single one of them was, for want of a better term, a silver fox. Or silver wolf, maybe? Regardless, his preferences were showing. Older, taller, stubbled and with a rugged vibe. And every last one of them had a steely glint in their eyes that said they knew what they liked and weren’t afraid to ask for it.
He wondered if he shouldn’t check the profiles again in case there was someone who wasn’t older than him, but in the end, he decided fuck it.
These were the men whose photos made his dick throb. He couldn’t wait to see if they’d do the same when he met them in the flesh.