Emily stopped in her tracks, her lips curving up in a small, wry smile as she caught sight of the pair in the hammock. Adam had promised to start dinner, but the campfire was cold and the pan that was supposed to be bubbling with stew was empty. She’d been gone for hours—lost in the sight of the Colorado wilderness through the lens of her camera—and her stomach rumbled hungrily at the thought of the venison and mushroom stew planned. If only her boyfriend weren’t snoozing with Max–the gorgeous, grey and white half-wolf, half-Alaskan malamute who had been a part of their lives for the last few years.
Carefully stashing her camera in the padded backpack she carried, Emily dug through the outer pocket for an energy bar. Dinner was at least an hour off, even if she did wake up Adam now, and she didn’t have the heart to disturb him. Adam was a researcher at the University of Colorado biology program and had been working his ass off lately to finish a major project. Right now, he needed the sleep. And clearly, so did Max. She tore open the peanut butter bar and took a bite as she studied the two of them. Damn they were cute together. Adam was sprawled on his back, one arm hanging over the edge of the hammock, with Max curled on his side. His head rested on Adam’s chest and his legs and huge, fluffy tail draped over the length of Adam’s body. They slept like that often, and the sight never failed to make her smile.
Emily hummed quietly under her breath as she lit the fire and prepared the stew. It wasn’t until the scent of it wafted through the air that Adam stirred.
“Hey,” he said, his voice raspy. Emily glanced up from the pot she’d been stirring as he ran a hand across his reddish-brown beard and straightened the knit cap on his head. “Sorry about that. Didn’t mean to sleep so long and neglect dinner.”
“No worries.” Emily smiled and flipped her blonde ponytail over her shoulder as she stood from the crouch she’d been in. “You two looked cozy.”
Adam smiled as he glanced down at Max, who was still out cold. “You know it. Max always keeps me warm.”
“He keeps both of us warm,” she said dryly as she crossed the distance between the campfire and the hammock. Adam reached out for her, drawing her in for a brief but thorough kiss.
“Adam lies,” a low voice rumbled, and Emily glanced over at Max, who had shifted into a naked, handsome man with grey-streaked dark hair. “You know he’s the hot one. And where’s my kiss?”
Emily chuckled and leaned in to kiss her other partner. “Right here. You know I’m never stingy.”
Max stretched, his lean muscles rippling, and Emily watched Adam’s gaze track the movement, his gaze heating. “Come join us,” Max coaxed.
Emily shook her head, laughing. “I remember the last time three of us tried to fit in a hammock. My tailbone was bruised for weeks. I love you both, but no. Come on, dinner’s nearly ready anyway. I’m going to drop some biscuit dough on top and it’ll be ready shortly.”
Max let out a whine that was distinctly canine, despite his human form at the moment. “I told you I reinforced the anchors this time.”
With a skeptical look, she turned back toward the fire. “I think I’ll skip it all the same.” A warm, callused hand grasped hers and she turned back, surprised to see it was Adam and not Max who had stopped her.
“You’re not mad at us for slacking, right?”
“Never. I know you’re both exhausted. That’s a huge project you’ve been working on.” She smiled at the two men she loved dearly. “Besides, you two can do the dishes and make breakfast tomorrow to make up for it while I sleep in.”
Max’s laugh was closer to a bark. She loved how free he was to not hide his nature when they were out in the wilderness. “Sounds fair.”
She leaned in and gave each of them another quick kiss before finally extricating herself and heading toward the fire. Life was certainly interesting being in poly relationship with a human and a shifter, but she wouldn’t change it for the world. The muddy dog prints on the floors of their condo … well, they were still working on that.
I wrote this one almost immediately after Helena and I posted the prompt. Going with a shifter for the dog was pretty obvious, but hopefully you enjoyed the little twist to it.
Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week! We have lots of new people joining us!
I look forward to seeing you next Monday!