Ani’s life hasn’t been easy. He’s been under the thumb of his tribe’s second for all his life, leaving him thinking he’s broken and soiled. So why did Fate decide he would be the best mate for the Whitedell Pride’s Alpha? Ani knows he’s not good enough, and he avoids his mate as best as he can.

Dominic doesn’t care about what happened in Ani’s past, he just knows he wants the man to be his. He knows he’s going to have to fight Ani every step of the way, but he’s as stubborn as they come, so it doesn’t scare him. Dominic has to convince Ani that he wants him, but he also has to work on a council that will rule shifters and fight against the Glass Research Company.

As if Dominic didn’t have enough problems, a man appears and shakes his budding relationship with Ani. Will their mating be able to survive all the obstacles they’ll have to brave?

Ani
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Cover Art by Latrisha Waters
Excerpt

That was the only reason Ani had stayed silent. But even staying silent like that, Finn had disappeared. Luckily for him, someone had freed him from the lab in which he’d been imprisoned, and he had even found his mate. Now Finn was happy, and Ani wished he could be, too. Well, he could be, but he couldn’t. He knew it didn’t make any sense, but that was how he felt. He felt as if he was taking advantage of everyone, but especially of Dominic.

The man was trying so hard to make Ani get used to him, leaving him sweet messages around the house and small gifts in his room, and everything without expecting anything in return.

Yeah, in the beginning Ani had been afraid of Dominic. They didn’t come taller than him, except for Denver, and on top of that Dominic was the Alpha. He had the power to demand things from Ani, but he had never done anything like that. Ani had slowly realized the man was safe. But once he realized how good and loving Dominic was, he had also realized that he could have so much better than Ani. It felt as if he was taking something away from Dominic if he only thought of mating with him.

Sighing, Ani watched the snow softly fall outside the window, the same thought twirling again and again in his head. He was sick of thinking about it, really. He knew the only solution would be for him to go away. His cousin would be fine, he had a mate and friends, and Dominic...they hadn’t even really talked yet, so they didn’t know each other so well. Well, Dominic didn’t know Ani, but Ani was pretty sure he knew the lion well enough to have fallen a bit in love with him.

Dominic was honorable and strong, fair and always ready to help. He was the perfect man in Ani’s eyes, and there was no way he deserved him. Maybe going away wasn’t such a bad idea. He could shimmer somewhere in the woods and live there, or maybe find a way to hide his ears. He wasn’t sure he could find a job without the pride’s help, though.

He reached for the book he had been trying to read for the past few weeks. It sat on the table near one of the couches just so that he was always reminded that he was reading it. It would have been so easy to put it back on the shelf and forget about it, forget that he was trying to learn how to read decently on his own. As he moved the book, a small piece of paper slipped from it and slowly fell on the floor, and even from where he was he recognized Dominic’s handwriting on it.

It brought tears to his eyes, just as always. The note didn’t say much, just have a nice day, but just the fact that the big man had thought about writing it and putting it there, even on such a busy day...

“Uncle Ani?”

Ani jumped at the sound of Adam’s voice. He hadn’t heard the kid entering the library, but then he’d been so intent on worrying and whining that it didn’t surprise him. “Hey, Adam!” he asked in what he hoped was a happy voice. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with your daddy?”

Ani was ready to bet that Adam had run away from Jeremy. The kid was buck naked, a sign that he had shifted at one point, except for the tie around his neck. It made for an interesting image, that was for sure.

“I don’t want to put the funny clothes on,” Adam whined, and Ani winced when the tone of the kid’s voice reminded him of his inner monologue. God, was he really as bad as a three-year-old kid? “Come on, let’s go find daddy. I’m sure he’s looking for you right now, and today is a special day for him. We want him to be happy, right?”

The kid nodded. “Okay. I’ll use the funny clothes, but only if I can have ice cream!”

“Ah, Adam, you’ll have to ask dad or daddy. Besides, there’s going to be cake! You like cake!”

“Yay!”

This was one thing he would surely miss if he went away. The little guy was so easy to please, so easy to relate with, and he didn’t want anything in return.

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