When Beck accepted a job working for the council full-time, he did it to be close to Roark. After so many years apart, he was looking forward to bonding with his best friend again. He gets more than he’d bargained for when he finds his mate as soon as he steps into the house the council assassins live in.
Armand went through what all the assassins went through—he was taken from his life and his family, locked in a lab, and experimented on. The result is that he can become any person he wants to become. It might be an asset when it comes to his job as a council assassin, but it makes it hard to remember who he is.
Beck doesn’t want to push Armand, not when it’s obvious Armand is struggling. But when Armand is sent on a mission and doesn’t come back, Beck lies to the other assassins and tells them he and Armand are bonded to get them to rescue his mate. They save him, but his mission has consequences for a lot of people—including Beck. Will Armand be able to open up to his mate? What will happen when someone shoots Beck, pushing Armand to take care of things by himself?
Beck watched Roark and Noel leave the open space that housed the kitchen and the living room. Then he brought his attention back to Armand, who was still so close to him he could smell him. His scent was almost covered by what he was cooking, but it was there, and it was enough for Beck to know they were mates even though he didn’t have his nose buried against Armand’s neck anymore.
Armand cleared his throat and turned away, and Beck was glad for the reprieve.
He hadn’t expected to meet his mate when he’d accepted the council’s offer of a more permanent job with them. To be honest, he hadn’t expected anything but to be able to spend time with Roark, and he’d looked forward to it. He knew he’d have to share Roark with Noel, but he didn’t resent Noel. Roark deserved some happiness. He hadn’t told Beck everything that had happened to him since they’d last seen each other, but he’d said enough for Beck to be able to imagine it.
That, and Beck had researched him in the council’s archives. Of course, what he’d found had been the facts. The council’s information didn’t factor in how Roark had felt when he’d gone through everything, or how he’d closed himself off once he’d been released.
Beck could feel everyone in the kitchen watching him, well, everyone but Armand, who’d turned back to the stove without saying anything. There was no way he didn’t know what was happening. Even though Beck was pretty sure he was human, he had to know just by Beck’s reaction to him. He lived in a house full of shifters.
And that begged the question of what he was doing there. Beck had smelled enough of him to be almost a hundred percent sure he was human. Why did he live with the infamous council assassins, then? Was he the cook?
Beck was intrigued, but from Armand’s reaction to him, he knew he wouldn’t get any answers out of him even if he asked. He didn’t need to push. He might want to get the man into bed or climb him like a tree, but they were going to live together. He’d have the occasion to find out more about his mate in time. There was no rush, no matter how much his mountain lion wanted to claim their mate over the kitchen island.
“Computer genius, huh?” one of the women sitting at the kitchen island asked.
It took Beck a second to remember what she was talking about. Roark had just introduced him as his oldest friend and a computer genius. Right. It had slid into the background when he’d introduced Noel as his mate, of course—and when Beck had realized Armand was his mate.
“I’m good with them,” he answered.
She snorted. “Good? You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t more than good. None of us would be here if we weren’t great at what we do.”
Beck’s gaze slid to Armand before he could think about it. What was Armand good at? There was no way to tell except when it came to cooking. If the tantalizing smells that came from the pots on the stove were anything to go by, Armand was great at cooking. That was the only hint Beck could get from what he saw, though.
And there was so much to see. He’d never pictured himself with someone like Armand, but now that they’d met, he couldn’t see himself with anyone else.
Armand was tall, taller than him, and surprisingly slender for an assassin, or for the idea Beck had of an assassin, anyway. Not that he knew for sure that was what Armand was, but he suspected there was more to him than what he could see. So much more.
Armand’s long brown hair looked soft, and Beck desperately wanted to unbind it and watch the strands fall around Armand’s shoulders. He didn’t move, though, and he kept watching. He could see a lot of Armand’s tattoos—both his arms were covered, and colorful ink peeked from the collar of the T-shirt he was wearing. Then there were the piercings. One in Armand’s brow, two in his lower lip, one in his nose, and more than Beck could count in his ears.
Beck loved every single one of them. The sight of them made him wonder if Armand had more. Nipples, maybe? Or even better, something lower? He couldn’t wait to find out.
“So you’re going to be our computer guy,” one of the women said, and what was her name again? Beck’s mind had derailed as soon as he’d seen Armand when he’d walked in, and he’d barely noticed the other people in the room.
Now he felt like an idiot. He cleared his throat and looked down. “I am. That’s what the council hired me to do, anyway.”
“We don’t bite, you know.”
Beck flushed. “I know. I guess I’m not that much of a people person.” That was a lie. A big, fat lie, but at least Roark wasn’t there to laugh himself silly at it.
The woman smiled. “It’s a lot to take in.” She offered Beck her hand, and he took it with relief. “I'm Heloise. I know Roark introduced us, but there was a lot going on earlier, what with him declaring he’d found his mate and everything.”
Beck smiled. “I'm Beck, but you already know that.” He bit his lower lip. He was so fucking curious about everyone who lived in the house. He wanted to ask Heloise what she was and what she could do, but he didn't want to be rude, or ruder than he’d already been, anyway. Of course, he supposed Heloise and the others might as well get used to him and his big mouth. He might be able to keep it under control now that he’d just met them, but it wouldn’t last for long.
It never did.