Angel let out a bitter little laugh. Reaper must be laughing in the otherworld at him. Reaper had his kingdom, his bikers, and his black reputation. What did Angel have? A lonely apartment, no social life and definitely no boyfriend. Shifters were built in pairs. Mates. He remembered reading that from a book when he’d been a kid, recalled how happy he’d been knowing somewhere out there lurked his missing half. Too late for that. How could Angel even begin to find his mate when he could barely stomach getting out of his apartment to buy groceries?
His skin prickled, and he spun, eyes narrowed.
“Who’s there?” he demanded, glad his voice came out strong, demanding. Oh God. He read somewhere that some of Reaper’s wolves had scattered, but could some of them linger in this town?
“Well, well. Look who crawled out from the grave,” said a deep, growly voice.
He sucked in a breath as a behemoth of a man appeared from behind an old maple tree. Angel took a hesitant step back as the man, no the shifter finally came into his line of sight. The stranger must be six feet five at least, every inch of him carved out of muscle. He had short black hair, and if possible, even blacker eyes that were set in a rough but handsome face. He also had a short beard. Strange. He’d never been attracted to guys with beards before.
This man shared his skin with an apex predator, his shifter genes told him that at least. Bear, his animal told him. Grizzly.
Angel should run, but he couldn’t move a muscle. It felt like his feet were encased in cement. He reached for the submissive wolf inside him, but it wouldn’t come.
This terrifying dominant bear shifter magnetized him. That was the word. It was impossible, but alongside fear, another emotion rammed into him. Desire. Lust. His mouth felt dry. His brain couldn’t seem to function as the stranger approached him. For a huge guy, he moved silently. No doubt he was a deadly predator, and Angel was the prey, but his wolf wasn’t afraid, although he couldn’t comprehend why.
Something about the shifter’s words bothered him. Crawled from the grave? “I’m not Zachariah,” he blurted.
The sexy behemoth furrowed his black brows. “Who?”
“Zachariah Fry. That’s Reaper’s real name and Reaper’s my brother.”
The werebear looked him up and down. For some reason, he blushed, an inappropriate reaction to a man who might mean him harm.
“I made a mistake,” the stranger said, but he didn’t leave, not right away. Instead, he approached Angel and stuck out one huge and calloused hand. “I’m Bishop.”
“Angel,” he answered, reaching out, shocked by the feel of Bishop’s fingers squeezing his. They felt reassuring, comforting and warm. Angel didn’t know why, but the image of Bishop tugging him close for an embrace appeared in his head. He bet Bishop would feel so solid. Nice. He’d feel protected, no longer paranoid or terrified the world was out to get him.
“Angel. That name suits you. Tell me, Angel. Why hasn’t Reaper ever mentioned you before?” Bishop pulled his hand away. Some part of him was disappointed, but without Bishop touching him, he could think a little clearly again. “You’re not part of his little pack, are you? I can smell it. Your scent. It’s different from Reaper’s or the rest of his little misfit crew.”
“I’m not part of his pack,” he blurted. “I’m not part of anything. Just me. Alone. Weird. Different. He made me that way.”
Bishop raised an eyebrow. “You don’t seem weird to me.”
“We only met. You’ll see. My weirdness will rub off on you and you’ll stay away.” What the hell was Angel babbling about? God. Bishop must think he was some kind of antisocial freak and his wolf wanted very much for Bishop to like them.
“Different is good to me.” Bishop’s words made him hot all over. He fidgeted. Was this flirting? Maybe his imagination was going on overdrive because sexy, hot guys like Bishop did not hit on shut-in nerds like him. Even though he kept indoors most of the time, he knew that much about the world. Bishop seemed to sense his insecurity, because he continued. “What do you mean Reaper made you that way?”
“Can,” he began, paused. “Can we not talk about him here? It’s eerie being in a cemetery and he’s right there.”
Bishop frowned. “The dead can’t do a thing to the living.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” he whispered. “Because even if he’s dead, Reaper continues to torment me in my nightmares. He’ll always be a part of me.”
Angel cringed. This was it, the moment of truth. Bishop would finally come to his senses and realize Angel had a couple of loose screws somewhere and would decide Angel wasn’t worth his time.
“Hey,” Bishop said. He blinked, saw Bishop stood only inches from him. When had the werebear moved? He didn’t feel threatened by Bishop though, didn’t bat Bishop away when he gave the back of his neck a squeeze. The touch shocked him because he couldn’t remember the last time had any physical contact with anyone but his mother.
Shifters were physical beings. Touch didn’t need to be sexual between them, but despite being denied of it for so long, even a recluse like Angel understood one thing. He didn’t want to be mere friends with Bishop. His heart, his wolf, longed for something so much more.
“I understand, little wolf, what’s it like to be haunted by demons,” Bishop said his ear, his voice making Angel shiver.
“I don’t care if there’s a hateful, deluded person out there who wants revenge against you,” Angel interrupted, making Bishop blink.
“You don’t need to do this, especially after Reaper,” he said to Angel gently, despite his protesting grizzly.
Angel shook his head, abruptly rose to his feet. “I’ve decided on my own to put my personal happiness first, and you make me happy.”
A huge grin spread across Bishop’s face. His little wolf was certainly something all right. Even Piston sensed Angel was here to stay during their last conversation. His mate. He stood, brought Angel close to him. Their bodies touched. His own skin felt fever-hot, and his dick easily got hard from the simple contact. Need roared inside him like an approaching storm.
Three days apart from Angel had been the equivalent of hell on earth. Even at work, his thoughts were preoccupied with one man, his future mate. If Angel decided not to get involved with him, Bishop would be crushed, but he needed to give Angel the right to choose.
Apparently, Angel lacked a little sense because anyone else wouldn’t want his additional baggage. Well, that suited him just fine.
“You know, I’ve dreamt of this moment, you kissing me again,” Angel said, putting his arms around Bishop’s neck.
Bishop took, slammed, his mouth over Angel’s, savoring the taste of him. So much better than honey, he decided. He nipped, sucked on Angel’s lower lip, and when Angel parted his mouth, he deepened the kiss. His jeans felt tight and the image of Angel on all fours, thrusting his ass at him, sprang to his mind.
He withdrew from the kiss, placed another on the side of Angel’s neck.
“Got to stop,” he murmured.
“Why? This feels so good,” Angel said, pressing a hand to his left pectoral, over his racing heart.
“Because any further and I won’t be able to stop. You don’t understand the effect you have on me.”
He growled softly, licked at the spot between Angel’s shoulder and neck, the perfect place to put his personal brand, his mate mark. “I want to do all sorts of dirty things to you.”
“Yeah? I want that, too.”
“Don’t tempt me, little wolf. You might come to regret it,” Bishop said, pushing Angel against the closest wall and pinning him there with his body.
“Bishop, it’s not just you who harbors fantasies. I have one, just like this, with you pressing me against the wall, spinning me by the shoulder and taking me, as is your right.”
“My right as your mate.” Bishop didn’t care he said the M word out loud because they were being truthful and open anyway.
“Your mate. I always doubted, wondered what you’d see in a guy like me, but I’m too selfish to let you go.”
“No one said anything about letting go,” Bishop said, sliding his hand lower to undo the button of Angel’s jeans, then his zipper. Bishop pulled out Angel’s thickening prick, slid his hand from the base to the leaking tip of Angel’s cockhead, loving the moan that slipped from Angel’s lips.
“Oh God,” Angel said. “Your hand there feels so good.”
“Oh?” Bishop worked him faster until Angel gasped, gripped his shoulders. “You want to come, little wolf?”
Bishop slowed his pace on purpose, used another hand to yank Angel’s jeans further down. With the same hand, he cupped Angel’s left ass cheek and gave it a squeeze before trailing his hand lower to finger Angel’s puckered entrance.
“Oh yes,” Angel murmured, pupils already dilated, mouth tempting as fuck.
Bishop claimed Angel’s mouth again, which was still swollen from their initial kiss. “Then beg me, beg me good.”
He fingered Angel’s ass, at the same time continuing to work his shaft.
“Please, Bishop. Let me come. I’ll even lick my cum off your fingers later, like a good little wolf.”
Damn, but that made his own prick steel hard. “Then go ahead. I want to see you climax.” Bishop gave Angel’s dick a squeeze, a tug. That triggered Angel’s orgasm. With a scream Angel came, eyelids fluttering as he spilled his jizz into Bishop’s waiting fingers. When he lifted his wet digits to Angel’s mouth, his wolf licked them clean, as promised.
He let out a growl of approval.
“Your turn,” Angel whispered. “Don’t you want to fuck me, too?”
* * * *
His bear expected judgment, for Angel to leave once he learned the truth but Angel always knew darkness existed in everyone. Bishop was simply one of the rare few who squared off his demons and emerged victorious. Bishop had been wrongfully convicted, was within his rights to challenge his brother. Bishop lowered his mouth to his and Angel simply melted.
“Please,” he uttered once Bishop released his mouth. Angel just blew his load, yet he was starting to recover. One of the perks of being a shifter, he supposed.
Before coming here, Angel would never have the guts to beg anyone to fuck him, yet here he was, pleading with Bishop to do what he wanted with his body. Somehow, it felt right. Because in a way, he’d been saving himself for this man, his mate, his entire life.
“Come here,” Bishop said, grabbing his arm and leading him away from the wall, past the living room and right into Bishop’s bedroom.
Inside, it was surprisingly neat, with minimalist furniture in wood tones to match the rest of the house. Angel fumbled for his clothes, dispensed with his shirt, pants, then his boxers. Bishop did the same. Angel took his time, admiring the firm lines of Bishop’s body and the thick, long, and meaty cock between Bishop’s legs. His bear was certainly impressive all right.
“Bishop, you need to know one thing about me,” Angel said, nearing Bishop and placing one hand over the left side of his chest, where Bishop’s heart, a heart that belonged to him, beat steadily.
“What is it?” Bishop asked, taking his hand and placing a kiss on it.
“I’m a virgin.”