The stranger stood there with his slim shoulders squared against a background of deepening clouds. He was wearing faded jeans and a T-shirt, and Talyn found himself inventorying the man from head to toe. The stranger had fine, chiseled features, an expressive, lush mouth, and wide, penetrating hazel eyes. The guy’s hair reached his shoulders and shone like platinum under the murky sky. He was shorter than Talyn by several inches and was of a leaner build.
Nice. Too bad the guy was here on Ethan’s behalf. He’d make an amazing addition to Talyn’s coalition—he would make an even better addition to Talyn’s bed. The stranger had a nice, citrusy scent that Talyn covertly inhaled.
“My name is Gabriel Taylor, and I was sent here by Ethan McBride to collect your omega.” The man tucked his hands into his pockets, and Talyn knew it was an uncomfortable gesture.
“You tell Ethan McBride to come do his own dirty work.” Karidon growled his words at their visitor. “He said five days. Doesn’t your alpha know how to count?”
Not that Talyn was giving Sweeney up.
Talyn held up his hand to silence Karidon. “Look, Gabe—”
“Gabriel,” the guy corrected before pushing his horn-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of his nose. “My name is Gabriel, not Gabe, Gabby, or any other alteration.”
Talyn leaned against the post of his porch as he smirked. “Look, Gabriel. You can tell Ethan McBride that I’m not giving him a damn thing. But”—Talyn tilted his chin toward Gabriel, who wasn’t five feet away—“if he wants to give you to me, I’d be more than happy to take you off his hands.”
Coop smirked from where he stood on the tree lawn by Talyn’s black Lincoln Navigator. Karidon continued to scowl. Talyn’s brother, Syn, walked onto the porch, a cup of coffee in hand. Gabriel began to chew on his lower lip as his gaze darted from one guy to the next. He cleared his throat a few times as he rubbed the back of his neck. Talyn wasn’t going to let anything happen to the skinny little shit, but he wasn’t going to tell Gabriel that. Let the guy sweat it out.
“I’m not here to offer myself to you,” Gabriel said stiffly.
“That’s too bad.” Talyn winked at the guy. “Don’t you want to belong to a coalition where an asshole doesn’t rule?”
Gabriel cleared his throat once more. “That’s yet to be determined. And you shouldn’t use a double negative. It shows poor grammar.”
Syn set his mug down on the railing and started down the steps, but Talyn pressed his hand into his brother’s chest, stopping him from going down there and pulverizing Gabriel. “It’s cool, Syn.”
“Tell me,” Karidon said as he moved in behind Gabriel.
The Enforcer’s long, black hair was in a braid that hung over one shoulder and stopped at mid chest. At the moment, Karidon’s dark looks appeared ominous, his tone chillingly low. “What’s to stop us from keeping you? We weren’t given a phone call to say that you were coming. You’re trespassing in our territory. You’re fair game.”
The accident that had killed Bryson had torn Karidon up for a long time. It wasn’t the guy’s fault, yet Talyn knew Karidon carried around the guilt.
And that was what pissed Talyn off the most. It was bad enough that Karidon felt responsible for what’d happened, but to have Samson come into his territory and practically throw the blame in Karidon’s face made Talyn see red.
For that alone he should keep Gabriel.
“I was told that you’d been given a courtesy call.” Gabriel’s voice strained as he spoke, and his gaze darted nervously around. The guy was prey with four hungry predators closing in.
“Nope.” Talyn shook his head lazily as he studied Gabriel. “No phone call.”
Karidon had been right. Since Gabriel had come into his territory without permission, he was fair game. But Talyn had a suspicion that Ethan had done that on purpose. What was the ex-alpha’s angle? Why did he want Gabriel captured? It would be legal in the High Council’s eyes. Ethan McBride wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
He gazed into Gabriel’s hazel eyes and knew this man had no idea that he was being used as a pawn. If anything, he appeared rattled that he had to be here in the first place. Gabriel had been forced to come to Talyn.
It would have made sense if Samson or Ethan had sent an Enforcer. Why on earth did they send someone who reminded Talyn of an accountant? There wasn’t a deadly bone in this guy’s slender body.
“Well.” Gabriel tugged at the collar of his T-shirt as sweat began to glisten over his blond brows. “I do apologize for that oversight.”
A clap of thunder told Talyn that the predicted storm was getting closer. The sun hadn’t made an appearance all day, and the clouds grew thicker the longer Talyn stood there.
“Not to interrupt the festivities,” Coop said as he tapped his watch. “But we’re going to be late for work.” He climbed into Talyn’s Navigator but rolled the window down, hanging his arm out. No doubt he didn’t want to miss a thing. Coop was probably getting a kick out of this.
Talyn walked past Gabriel and headed for his SUV, Karidon on his heels. He glanced at Syn and then nodded as he skirted around the trashcans that lined the curb.
Talyn turned to face Gabriel as he reached the driver’s door. “Why don’t you stay a while and make yourself comfortable? We’ll pick this conversation back up when I get home.”
Gabriel’s eyes widened. “You’re kidnapping me?”
Talyn wouldn’t allow himself to think the man was adorable. He wasn’t keeping Gabriel. This was business, not pleasure—although the slim cat shifter was just his type. Gabriel shifted from foot to foot under Talyn’s appraising gaze.
“Why don’t we call it extending our hospitalities for a certain amount of undetermined time?” Talyn said. “Syn, make our guest comfortable.”
The man’s eyes closed, his expression morphing into pleasure so strong, so raw, that Talyn hovered over Gabriel in fascination.
Closing his eyes and clenching his jaw, Talyn spoke. “If you are going to deny me, do it now, Gabriel. I won’t be able to stop if you let this continue.”
Talyn had four days to claim Gabriel before the heat abated. If the two didn’t have sex during those four days or Talyn didn’t bite Gabriel, they wouldn’t bond and Gabriel would forever lose the chance at having Talyn's cubs.
He wanted to give Gabriel time to think about this, but Talyn's leopard demanded he take Gabriel now.
“I–I don’t want you to stop.” Gabriel moaned and arched his hips into Talyn’s fist. Talyn reared back and pulled Gabriel’s pants free.
Talyn was aching, needing to be touched, too. His skin was burning with want as his heart pushed into is throat. Gabriel looked amazing and so damn gorgeous, so wild. He was like a small imp who’d come into Talyn’s life just to torture him, to make Talyn go up in a blaze of desire.
He’d been fighting his attraction to Gabriel, and it seemed that battle had been futile as the man writhed beneath him. Pure sensuality spread through Talyn as he stared down at Gabriel’s pale body.
“So perfect.” The hunger blazed inside Talyn. He wanted to conquer, to claim, to make the little imp his. He felt as if a spell had been woven over him and all he could think about, all he could desire was Gabriel.
“I want to taste you.” Talyn began to crawl down Gabriel’s body, appreciating the pale flesh and tight, flawless skin.
And then he finally saw what he held in his hand. Gabriel’s cock was long and perfect, nestled in a bed of platinum blond curls.
Talyn moved his hand to the base of Gabriel’s cock, detracting inches so it was possible for him to take Gabriel into his mouth. The feel of Gabriel in his hand was exquisite, but the feel of Gabriel in his mouth was explosive. The sensations roared through him, making Talyn open wider as the tip of Gabriel’s cock slid past his parted lips.
“More, Talyn, take me in.”
There was a roughness to Gabriel’s demand, his voice raspy. The man was losing control, but so was Talyn. Madness was taking over as he licked and sucked at the man's steel rod. The flesh was salty, and the feel of him was as smooth as silk on Talyn’s tongue.
He took Gabriel down his throat, using his muscles to squeeze and massage. Encouraged by Gabriel’s moans, Talyn sucked harder, moving his head back and forth. He swallowed greedily, savoring the taste of Gabriel in his mouth.
But Talyn was too primed and knew he would have to savor Gabriel another time. He didn’t possess the patience or control right now. His leopard was demanding Talyn bury himself deep. He was all for that.
Talyn reached up and grabbed the lube from under his pillow before he slowly turned Gabriel onto his stomach. He ghosted his hand over Gabriel’s slender back, his fingers tracing the man’s spine until he reached the dip where Gabriel’s crease began.
“Mmm, you have a very nice ass,” Talyn said and then slid between Gabriel’s legs, licking a long path up the crease between his lover’s cheeks. “Very nice indeed.”
Gabriel lay there as Talyn touched him, licking Gabriel and nipping at his skin. Gabriel arched into Talyn’s touch, and his breath stuttered when Talyn ran his teeth over his soft skin.
“I want to eat you up.” He slid his hands into the crease, his fingers probing at Gabriel’s back entrance. “And then I want to fuck you until you beg me to stop.”
Talyn lubed his fingers. Gabriel stiffened.
“Relax, sweetheart.” Talyn’s voice was soothing, his fingers probing. “I promise not to break you.”
Gabriel chuckled nervously. “But will I be able to walk after this?”
Talyn speared a single finger into the man's ass and then blanketed his body over Gabriel's, careful of the wound. The man’s body seemed to suck his fingers in. The entrance was tight, and there wasn’t much room to move. “If not, I’ll carry you.”
Gabriel’s legs spread apart, his lower body trying to impale itself on Talyn’s finger. Talyn wasn’t going to rush this. Not when he finally had Gabriel under him. The intense heat hadn’t lessened, but he’d gained a little more control.
“Careful of your wound,” Talyn said as he slid his tongue over Gabriel’s nape. The gentle caress caused a surge of heat to rise within Talyn. Gabriel gasped, his hands curling into the thin blanket he was lying on. Talyn purred at how responsive Gabriel was.
He slid another finger beside the first and then curled them, finding the one spot in Gabriel’s body that would make the man cry out when touched. Talyn purred behind Gabriel, his hand moving faster, his fingers separating as they speared into Gabriel harder.
Talyn grabbed Gabriel’s blond hair, pulling hard as a third finger joined the others. “Are you ready to get fucked?” His rough whisper sounded tortured to his own ears.