It was, Stiles thinks, probably the weirdest recruiting pitch he’d ever heard, even if he discounted the fact that the gig was a photoshoot for a softcore werewolf skin mag. It’s the only time in his life he ever has been, or likely ever will be grateful for humiliating romantic rejection in a public forum. But his bank account is certainly thanking him now, already flush with the advance Ms. Hale had promised him, and really what are the odds of anyone even seeing
this? Anyone he knows, that is. Sure, some lonely werewolves might be out there somewhere, using his picture as spank bank fodder, but if it means he can make his next student loan payment Stiles is so very, very far from giving a shit.
“Uh.” Stiles pauses in pulling his shirt off to stare slack-jawed at the guy in front of him. Beyond being almost preternaturally gorgeous, Stiles has the nagging feeling he’s seen him before. “First …?”
“Doing a pair shoot. They usually put me with the newbies, and you’ve definitely got the look.”
The guy shrugs out of his robe, and oh … fuck, Stiles would recognize those shoulders anywhere. Okay, yeah, he might’ve gotten his hands on a few back issues of the magazine when Ms. Hale had first made him the offer, because research and due diligence is important, thank you very much. And he might not exactly be the target audience, he certainly didn’t have any complaints about the models. Especially not—
“Derek Hale.” He holds out his hand. “I guess I’ll be mauling you on camera today.”
“Stiles Stilinski.” He finishes stripping out of his shirt and takes the offered handshake. “What do you mean, ‘the look’?”
The smile that spreads across Derek’s face is slow, and every bit as wolfish as Stiles might’ve expected.
“Like a little lamb that’s lost his way.” He moves closer, into Stiles’s space, the heat of his body like a furnace. “One who’s only just now realizing there are wolves all around him.”
“That’s kind of … kind of a cheesy line, don’t you think?”
“Maybe. Maybe I should just skip straight to telling you that half the people in this room are thinking of getting their teeth in you, and the other half are just thinking about getting into your pants.”
“Uh.” Stiles’s heart is racing; Derek’s hand is still around his, fingers brushing over his wrist and the pulse that’s hammering there. Close enough now to lean in and lick a line up his neck, and the sudden snap of a camera shutter nearly has Stiles falling over. “They told you to make me blush, didn’t they?”
“I do love my job.”
“Right.” The camera’s going full steam now, and Stiles can picture it: picture himself looking vulnerable and uncertain, standing in front of a smirking werewolf who looks ready to eat him up. “I’ve seen some of your work, and I really, really believe that.”
Derek sounds as collected as ever, but Stiles feels the shudder that he can’t quite hide, and his instincts for weakness are as good at any wolf’s.
“Oh yeah. The shoot in the pool, especially. You weren’t wearing a swimsuit in that, were you? I mean, you were in the water the whole time, but I’m pretty sure I caught a glimpse of something while I was jerking off to it.”
They get a featured spread in that month’s issue. Stiles frames the cover photo for his wall, Derek’s face buried in his shoulder and the tip of one red-flushed ear caught between Stiles’s teeth.
It’s the phone number, scrawled across the bottom, however, that’s Stiles’s favorite part.