After leaving his place as the Russian Second and immigrating to America, Alexei Davidoff just wants to settle in and not upset the status quo. He wants to start his position with Garou Industries and improve the conditions for his packs. The gods have a different plan for him.
Donal Berne ran away from home at fourteen to escape a bad situation and found himself in an even worse one. Seven years later the only way out that he sees is to overdose.
On the verge of Donal’s suicide, Alexei comes to his aid realizing that he is his give Mate. Overcoming the physical and mental injuries will take time, patience and a blessing from the gods ... to use both Alexei’s and Donal’s experiences to assist homeless and abused wolves.
Alexei stood at the door watching the boy in the bed. Maybe it would help things along if I went with him. He stopped woolgathering and attempted to pay attention to Kane when all he wanted to do was run back into his suite.
“I warn you, he may try to leave once he’s less groggy. Even though he’s been through detox, in a few hours, he may be looking for a fix.” The elevator whirled and cranked as it came up.
Katya stepped off the elevator with a tray full of breakfast. She brought rolls, croissants, eggs, bacon, sausage, cold cuts, buttered rye toast, and oatmeal. Vasily had found grape jelly at the corner market.
The Russian Alpha took the tray. “Thank you, Katya. I am grateful.”
Alexei faced Kane. “I’m going to try to feed him now.”
“I’ll be downstairs with the others.” Kane left the room.
“You’re the one who took me from the park?” Donal asked from the bed. “I meant to die last night. If you are going to keep me prisoner, even in a comfortable prison, I’ll escape.” Donal sounded belligerent.
“No, little mouse --”
Alexei ignored the question and continued, “You aren’t my prisoner. I would wish you to stay until your lungs are clear and you are healthy, but I won’t force you to stay. They imprisoned me in my homeland for three years for being gay. I was tortured, beaten, starved, and defiled daily. I would not do that to anyone.”
“I can leave right now?” Donal stared him straight in the eyes as if he could read the truth there.
“I don’t think you’ll be able to walk yet, but if you are up to it, you can, although it would sorely try my heart.” Alexei held back his tears over the fact his Mate was so fearful and distrusting of him and everyone around him. Donal’s frightened expression told Alexei that his mouse thought he was a lunatic.
“I do feel weak and my chest hurts,” his Mate begrudgingly admitted.
“The doctor will be back at four, and he will bring a colleague who will talk to you about how you go on from here.” Alexei tried to show Donal he wanted to take care of him.
“You mean, a shrink.” Donal’s eyes were flat and lifeless.
Alexei changed the subject. “Please eat, little mouse, before you decide anything. At least give me a chance to make you healthy.” Alexei held up a fork full of fluffy scrambled eggs.
“I’m a little dirty for this bed. You can’t keep very clean in shackles.”
His Mate was bitter. Alexei moved the sheet and examined Donal’s leg under the sweatpants Sean brought with him. They had to cut him out of his jeans and shirt. There were oozing sores under the sports socks from where he had been shackled and chained. Alexei shuddered, recognizing the scars shackles made.
“After you are finished eating, the nurse can give you a sponge bath until you’re steadier on your feet. I’ll also have her dress your ankles.” Alexei picked up his mate’s hand. Donal jerked it back, trying to hide his wrist. They were also badly scarred. Alexei’s jaw tightened and heat rushed up his neck.
Donal’s eyes moved away from Alexei. “I can’t eat all that food,” Donal protested.
“You’ll find you can eat more than you think.”
“Why didn’t you just leave me there on the bench? Anyone else would have.” Donal sputtered, his eyes glistened, his brow creasing.
“I couldn’t do that, little mouse. Life is too precious to waste, especially yours.” Donal’s mouth opened about to say more but he closed it determinedly.
His Mate took the fork from Alexei and fed himself. “I’m hungrier than I thought.”