André is used to shifters. He considers Dominic Nash, the Whitedell pride alpha, like an older brother, and loves spending time with the pride. He’s not looking for a mate, even though he hopes he has one somewhere.
Nicky was abandoned by his pride when he lost the challenge for Dominic’s council seat the year before. He refused Dominic’s offer to stay with the pride and become a member, and instead fled to the human world, where he works in a bar. The last thing he expects is for his mate to be the pretty man who walks into the bar and gets drunk.
When André isn’t able to go back to the mansion on his own, Nicky decides to drive him there. He doesn’t know how the pride will greet him, and once André is safe, he flees. André is his mate, though, and he feels drawn to the mansion. He needs to keep André safe, and if that means making the pride’s battles his own, Nicky will do it eagerly, even if it means going against human hunters when they attack.
André rolled his eyes and stuck his phone between his shoulder and his cheek so he could type on his computer. “Dad, I don’t see what the problem is.” He wasn’t saying anything André hadn’t already heard from him.
“The problem is that you’ve been spending more time in Whitedell than with me and your father.”
“So? I’m twenty-nine. It’s not like I still live at home with you.”
“But you don’t have any problems living in the mansion with Dominic.”
“I don’t live with him, Dad. There are so many people around that it’s more like living in a hotel, really.”
“Doesn’t change the fact that your father and I haven’t seen you in three months.”
“I didn’t spend those entire three months here. I was in Chicago two weeks ago and in Boston last week.”
André’s dad sighed. “I can see I’m not getting through.”
“Sorry, Dad. I’ll come home in a few weeks, okay?”
“Call me when you’re in New York and I’ll make sure both your father and I are free for a few days.”
André wasn’t sure he really wanted to spend a few days with his dads, but he knew there was no getting out of it. His dad was like that—he wanted them to spend time together as a family, and it was getting worse ever since André had started staying weeks at a time in Whitedell.
He liked being there. He liked shifters, was fascinated by them, and he harbored the not so secret hope that he’d one day find out he was a shifter’s mate. His best option was to stick around the mansion, because there were a lot of shifters coming and going there. Besides, it also put some distance between him and his parents. His father was fine, but his dad was a bit clingier. André knew it was because his dad loved him, but it didn’t help much.
“I will. I have to go, Dad.”
André’s dad sighed. “Of course you do. Call me next week, okay?”
They had a set day to call each other. It was always on Saturday afternoon, every week, and André liked it. That way they were always in touch, but not too much. Neither of his dads called much during the rest of the week, and if they did, it was usually for something urgent. André loved them both, but he was old enough to be able to go a week without hearing from them.
“Of course I will, and you know you can always call if you feel like it.”
André’s dad chuckled. “Oh, of course. Why didn’t I think about that? I can call you and hear you bitch at me because it’s not Saturday yet.”
“I never did that!”
“Excuse me? You did it that time I called you and you were on a date, and I seem to remember that two weeks ago I called you on Wednesday because I knew I’d be busy on Saturday, and you weren’t enthusiastic about it either.”
“That’s because I was busy!”
“Busy doing what? I remember hearing TV noises.”
“Fine, fine. You’re right. You can still call whenever you want, though.”
“And I will. I’ll try to restrain myself, though.”
“Right. The day you restrain yourself is the day I marry a woman.”
André’s dad snorted. “Until next week, André.”
They hung up and André threw the phone on the free seat next to him. It was Saturday and the mansion was almost empty. Everyone had something to do except André. He was one of the few who didn’t have a mate or even a boyfriend, so that wasn’t surprising. Everyone was getting ready to go out or to spend a nice night in their room, watching TV and having sex. André would have none of that.
But he could still go out, maybe go dancing or something. He sucked on his lower lip and thought about it, ignoring the computer in front of him. Did he really want to dance? No. He’d rather have a quieter evening, so maybe a bar. That sounded like a good idea. It wouldn’t be as fun as going drinking with friends, but he wasn’t about to bug anyone.
He’d gotten back to Whitedell a week earlier, and while everyone was nice and everything, he didn’t really have friends there yet. He traveled too much for that.
Nysys and Keenan looked like they might become friends, but they were both mated, so they were out for that night. Maybe André could organize something for next week. They surely didn’t spend all their Saturday nights closed in their rooms with their mates, right?
André tried to think of who was still single. He knew Benjamin, the fox shifter, was, but he was also a loner and probably spent his evenings in the library. Not that André had anything against books, but it wasn’t his idea of Saturday night fun.
So Benjamin was out. The nurse was still single, too. André thought his name was Noem, or something like that, and some of his friends were single, too. Neither of them were André’s type, but maybe they’d be game for a night of fun.
André put his computer down, got up from the couch, and grabbed his phone. He went to the infirmary, thinking it was the most obvious place to find a nurse, but when he got there, no one was in the infirmary main room. He peeked into the office since the light was on, but no nurse.
Jared looked up from whatever he was writing. His brows rose on his forehead. “Can I help you?”
“I was looking for the nurse, uh, Noem, right?”
Jared smiled. “Yes. He’s not here at the moment, though.”
“Oh?” Well, there went André’s plan.
“He and Aeron went to have a night out with the other Nix.”
And there went André’s last option, unless he wanted to find Benjamin. He could have, but he doubted Benjamin would say yes to anything he might propose. “Okay, thanks.”
“Did you need something?”