Adan has been in a catatonic state ever since the pride rescued him from one of Glass’ labs—or at least that’s what everyone thinks, even the doctors. Jared has tried to find a solution for a year, but Adan isn’t getting better. Jared’s last resource is finding Adan’s mate, and when he finally does, things start changing.
Yanis has been asked to check if he’s Adan’s mate, and when he finds out he is, he’s scared. He wants his mate to be better, but he has no idea how to help. Adan seems to be breaking down, though, so Yanis spends time with him, until something happens.
Adan has locked himself in his own mind, scared of what he’d do if he didn’t. He already hurt two men, and the last thing he wants is a repeat of that, but his mate’s presence by his side is making staying in his mind hard. Still, Adan has every intention of doing just that, but the power he’s been trying to suppress flares out, and Yanis is hit.
When Adan finally comes out of his self-imposed isolation, he’s immediately put to work. Time is running out to find the mole, and Adan helps as well as he can, but will it be enough?
Adan watched the wind blow outside his window. Winter was coming to an end, and Adan knew it’d been a year since he arrived in Whitedell. He knew that should make him feel something, but he couldn’t allow himself to feel. Bad things happened when he did.
The door to his room opened, but Adan didn’t turn to look.
“Hello, Adan. How are you feeling this morning?” Jared asked. Adan didn’t answer, but that didn’t stop Jared from chatting as he came closer and started taking Adan’s vitals. It was more a habit than because Jared really needed to, because physically Adan was fine, and Jared knew it. “We have another meeting scheduled for you today, and I hope this one will be the right one. We’ve already seen most of Gillham’s single men, so if we don’t find your mate in the ones that remain, we’ll have to start looking elsewhere.”
Adan knew he should be interested in finding his mate. He just couldn’t bring himself to do so. He kept his eyes focused on the trees outside his window as Jared busied himself. He let Jared move him however he wanted to, and when he had to look away from the window, he stared at a spot on the wall. By now, he knew all the walls and the ceiling by heart. He stared at a crack in the plaster but looked away when the crack reminded him of another one, in another room, a room full of pain.
Jared touched his hand and Adan curled his fingers away. Jared held his hands up. “Right, sorry. I won’t touch you again.”
Adan wanted to tell him it wasn’t his fault, but he couldn’t bring himself to do that, so he just looked down at his legs. He was thin, thinner than he’d ever been, but he didn’t care.
It was weird. Adan saw and understood everything, but his mind was strangely muted, like he was there but not quite. He’d been the one to do that, to want it that way after what had happened.
“You’re as fine as ever,” Jared said.
Adan looked at him. He didn’t like the sad smile on Jared’s lips, but trying to make it disappear was outside of what he could let himself do.
“I’m going to go back to my office. Call me if you need anything.”
Jared always said that, as if he expected Adan to take him on his words and call him. Adan never had, but it didn’t stop Jared from insisting.
Jared left and Adan turned back to the window. A flash of memory, of glass reflecting Adan’s body, made Adan close his eyes. He didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to feel what he’d felt back then.
He swallowed once, twice, and tried to go back to his unfeeling state of mind. It was safe. The memories weren’t, not for him, not for anyone else.
Adan didn’t know how much time had passed when the door opened again. It wasn’t only Jared this time, and Adan remembered Jared telling him another man would come to see if they were mates. He didn’t look away from the wall, not even when someone sat next to him on the bed.
The man leaned toward him and the nicest scent Adan had ever smelled hit him like a punch in the gut. He looked at the man who was already stirring feelings Adan had fought so hard to keep buried.
The man was exactly what Adan liked in a man. Dark hair, dark eyes, his skin just a bit too pale, but tall and muscled enough to make Adan feel safe. When he leaned forward, Adan stayed still. The man pressed his nose against Adan’s neck and Adan felt him inhale deeply.
He suddenly wanted to reach out, to grab the man, because he knew they were mates, but he didn’t act on it. He couldn’t. He started to move his hand, almost against his will, but his mate moved away before he could do as much as twitch his fingers, and Adan stopped.
“Is he your mate?” Jared asked.
“Yes,” Adan’s mate answered.
“Do you want us to leave you two alone for a bit?”
Jared and another man Adan hadn’t even noticed was standing there left. Adan recognized the man from another visit, but he didn’t know what his name was.
The voice of Adan’s mate brought Adan back to the present. He flicked his gaze toward Yanis, but he didn’t move or say anything.
Yanis sighed. “I don’t know much about you, but I’ll talk to Jared. I don’t want you to feel like you have to mate with me, or even just talk to me. I hope you won’t mind Jared talking to me, though. I think I need to know what happened to you, and I want to help you get better in any way I can.”
Yanis waited, but Adan couldn’t answer. He wasn’t sure he wanted to. His mate wanted him to get better, but Adan didn’t think it was a good idea. Getting better would mean having to feel again, and bad things happened when Adan felt.
Yanis stayed a few minutes, his face expectant, but Adan didn’t react to him. He saw the disappointment on Yanis’ face when Yanis got up and went to the door, and he clamped down on the feelings trying to get out. Yanis opened the door and left, leaving Adan alone.
Adan relaxed and slowly went back to his trance-like state of mind. He kept his focus on the wall, not wanting to see anything, not even the trees. The birds and squirrels he saw in the trees were sometimes enough to make him feel, and he’d already had a close call with that today. He didn’t want to push his luck.