Pacey Chapman was someone who liked to hide from…well, everything. Having been hurt in the past by too many people to count, including his own family. As a bunny shifter, he was considered weak—prey—both descriptions fit him far too well, especially when he was afraid of his own shadow.
The moment Divine and Pacey met, their worlds tilted. But how does a hardened assassin and a terrified bunny find a way to coexist? Fortunately, Fate has a plan that allows Pacey to discover being brave isn’t about not being afraid, while Death discovers it’s possible to have the one thing he thought impossible—a soul.
Warning: Depictions of abuse are vaguely described in this book.
His nerves about being in a new place, especially one as terror-inducing as the palace, were frayed, and Pacey desperately needed an outlet. “I don’t suppose you’d like to help me make a cake?” he asked Takara, hoping to befriend the girl.
When her brows furrowed and her lips pursed, Pacey would swear she was stumped by the question. He just wasn’t sure which part she didn’t understand. For a moment, he feared in a place like this, he wouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen. That would be like a living hell for him, so he prayed that wasn’t it.
What he hadn’t expected was for her to say, “What’s a cake?”
Pacey blinked. Then blinked again. Sure he hadn’t heard her right, he said, “Uhmmm…” Okay, not his best answer, but he seriously had no idea how someone didn’t know what cake was.
“Cake is dessert, sweetheart,” Kija said. “I think you’ll like it.” Then he turned to Pacey. “Takara has been kind of isolated. Other than the few things we know how to make, she hasn’t had much experience with different foods.”
Takara’s entire face lit up as she informed him, “I like bacon. Is cake as good as bacon?”
He chuckled. “Well, bacon is savory, where cake is sweet, so it would be a challenge to compare the two, but since I love bacon as much as I love cake, I think you might enjoy it.”
That was all she needed to hear apparently, for she grabbed his hand and pulled him behind her. “Come on, the kitchen is this way.”
Death tried to follow, but Pacey heard Kija remind him they needed to talk to the rest of the inner circle as soon as possible. He could almost feel Death’s frustration and worry, so Pacey tugged on his arm to stop Takara.
When she glanced at him in askance, he said, “Give me one minute, okay?” He didn’t wait for her answer. Instead, he just headed right for Death and leaned up on his tiptoes when he stood before him.
Like they’d been doing it for years, Death leaned down and pressed his lips to Pacey’s in a sweet, reassuring kiss. Pacey wasn’t sure who he was trying to reassure, himself or Death, nor did he care. He just enjoyed being in Death’s arms.
“Thank you,” Death murmured when he finally pulled back. “Promise me you’ll go straight to the kitchen and won’t leave it for any reason.”
Considering he would be able to do what he loved the most, that was an easy vow to make. “I promise.” Then he gave Death one more chaste kiss and headed back to Takara, who rolled her eyes at him.
“Is that all mates ever do? It’s disgusting. I don’t think I’ll ever want a mate if I have to kiss the person.”
Pacey heard the others chuckle behind them as they headed toward the kitchen.
He did his best to not let out his own laugh at her statement. “It is something mates do a lot, but there are other things that make finding your mate special.”
But Takara shook her head. “I don’t care. There is no way I’m going to kiss someone. I mean you are literally getting their spit in your mouth,” she exclaimed. “Talk about gross.”
Pacey remembered feeling the same way seeing his parents kissing when he was around Takara’s age. “You may think that way now, but in a few years, I bet you’ll change your mind,” he teased her.
She looked absolutely horrified that he would even suggest such a thing. When her expression turned resolute, Pacey gave in and chuckled. She was in for a big surprise when puberty hit.
But all thought of kissing, puberty, or anything else related to mating went right out the window when Takara pushed open a door and they stepped into every dream Pacey had about the perfect kitchen. No. It was even better.
“Please tell me this is real,” he whispered.
A sharp pinch to his arm had him yelping. He rubbed his other hand over the sore area and glared at Takara, who shrugged at him. “What?” she said. “Mica always says to pinch him when he thinks he’s dreaming.”
Pacey hadn’t met Mica, but Death had told him he was an enforcer like Seiko. He frowned at Takara as he continued to rub his arm. “It’s an expression, not something you should do, especially when I didn’t ask for it.”
Takara gave him another shrug. “Next time I’ll know.”
He couldn’t wait to find out her story, because so much about Takara didn’t quite make sense to him. But that would wait. Pacey needed to bake. With a kitchen like this, he might never leave it
Intent on finding a way to make Pacey more comfortable with the sleeping arrangements, he nearly missed the barely whispered words. “You don’t want me.”
It wasn’t a question. To Death, it almost sounded like resignation. Like Pacey had expected his own mate to not want to have sex with him.
“Are you kidding me?” Death once more blurted without thinking. It was becoming too common when his mate was involved. His normal calm, cool demeanor turned into a jumble of emotions he didn’t know how to handle and actions that were completely unlike him.
Grabbing Pacey by the shoulders and dragging him against his body was an example of something Death would never have done if he could think clearly. One hand slid down and seized Pacey’s, tugging it to Death’s bulging groin. “Does this feel like I don’t want to bury myself so deep inside your ass that I become a part of not just your body, but your soul?”
His mate gasped, those lush pink lips parting so invitingly, Death found he was completely unable to deny his need for a taste. The thought hadn’t even fully formed in his brain by the time Death had crushed Pacey’s mouth beneath his.
A moan slipped from him the instant he felt his mate melt against him. A part of him screamed this was too much too soon. Pacey wasn’t ready, no matter how he seemed to clutch at Death’s shoulders to draw him closer. Or the way he opened his mouth a little wider when Death traced his tongue along that plump bottom lip.
Knowing his mate needed to deal with his past before he went too far and actually stopping what Death would swear was better than heaven could ever hope to be were two very different things. It didn’t help that his mate had moved his hands to the bottom of Death’s shirt and pulled it up.
The moment Pacey’s fingers stroked his bare skin, Death wasn’t sure stopping was something he was capable of any longer. He swore flames licked along his flesh where Pacey touched.
Death encircled his mate’s tiny waist and lifted him so he could delve into that sweet mouth like he wanted. Pacey’s legs went around his waist, causing his ass to settle right against Death’s throbbing cock.
His cat yowled in anticipation, and Death was lost to the sensations of finally having his sweet bunny in his arms like he’d wanted since the moment he scented his alluring aroma. Everything about Pacey aroused Death to the point of madness. His little mewls of need as he humped his covered prick against Death’s groin. Or the way his hands couldn’t seem to stop moving over every inch of Death’s skin he could reach.
But especially how he gave himself completely to the kiss, letting Death take the lead but still participating fully. Who would have thought his timid pretty bunny would be such a wildcat in bed? It was just another thing that caused Death to fall a little more in love with his mate.
Wanting his own hands free to touch Pacey as he wanted, Death strode to the bed and gently laid his mate out on the comforter. He stripped his shirt off before stretching out next to his mate’s perfect body.
Death cried out in pleasure when Pacey lifted his head and licked across his nipple. But when his sweet mate sucked the nub into his mouth, Death’s cock nearly erupted in his pants.
Out of his damn mind with bliss, Death hadn’t even realized his claws had come out until he heard cloth shredding. A glance over his mate’s body told him all he needed to know. He’d just torn Pacey’s clothes right off him in his desire to feel his pale skin.
Just like his bunny fur, Pacey’s flesh was soft and silky. Electricity crackled everywhere his fingers stroked, shooting straight to his cock. It was embarrassing to Death’s pride that he was coming unglued when he was usually so calm and collected. Yet, he knew this was the way it was supposed to be with his mate. He had to admit to being glad.
His past sexual encounters had been good, but they didn’t even begin to compare to the sheer decadence of being with Pacey. It was as if he were drowning in his mate, and Death loved every second of it.
Trailing kisses along Pacey’s jawline, Death then dragged his canines, which had dropped, down the corded muscles of his throat. Pacey arched up as if silently begging for him to take that bite to connect them for all eternity.