“So, about your work?” Owen prodded, pouring them coffee.
Where did the Alpha get the cups? Owen closed the cupboard.
“Figured out where the cups were, huh?” he asked.
“Seemed logical to keep them there,” Owen replied with a shrug. “How’d you like your coffee?”
“Funny. Me, too.”
Accepting the mug, Owen’s fingers brushed against him, sending a sliver of electricity up his arm. He swallowed and pretended not to notice that thoughtful black gaze. He took a sip. “I used to work at an accounting firm, the only one in town,” he explained. “But I’ve been taking a couple of emergency leaves for Brian.”
“I never figured you for an accountant.”
“Yeah? Most people don’t.”
“Sexiest accountant I ever seen.”
Zack didn’t blush easily, but he did so now. He cleared his throat, saw Brian wasn’t anywhere in the kitchen, but he heard the TV being turned on.
“That’s an inappropriate thing to say to a potential employer,” he stated.
“Potential? You sure?” Owen smiled, and fuck. Dimples. Shit. He had a weakness for hot men with rocking bodies, blonds with dimpled smiles—Owen had it all. “A moment ago, you couldn’t seem to decide to ask me to leave or stay.”
“I ought to kick your great ass out.”
“Great?” Owen raised his eyebrows. “I’m touched you noticed. I do squats.”
“Are you always this cocky with other parents?”
For a second, Owen’s smile slipped, unveiling a haunting sadness underneath. “You’re the first one,” Owen said slowly, “to even consider me for an interview. The other parents in town are scared of me, even if they see Tanner doing a great job with Lizzie. I don’t blame them. Would you want an ex-con around your kid?”
Was that question supposed to be a challenge?
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. “You’re supposed to convince me.”
“Am I fighting a losing battle, Zack? If I am, then fine. If I can’t get the job, the least I can do is be a good listener.”
“Why? I’m a stranger to you,” he said, stunned.
“Because you look like you need a sounding board.”
He took a deep breath. What was wrong with this Alpha werewolf? The more stubborn Owen proved to be, the more his own wolf became intrigued. Zack had to admit, he interviewed a lot of candidates for a while, but most of them found him overbearing, disagreeable to work with.
“I guess I can’t blame the firm with the state the economy’s in,” he finally said. “I mean, I’m not great at my job, just decent. I hate numbers.”
“Why did you take up accounting, then?”
“Because back then, I was in desperate survival mode. I needed a degree that could earn me a decent living. Brian deserved a better dad.”
Once he started talking, Zack couldn’t seem to stop. Something about Owen prodded him to open the lock on his heart and soul a little, letting tiny secrets slip out, things he never shared with anyone, including Neal.
“That’s pretty admirable. You seem to be doing fine, though,” Owen remarked, nodding to the apartment. “Why don’t you try something you’re interested in?”
He slumped his shoulders. “I guess I do have some savings in the bank, time to figure out what I want to do next. It’s just, it feels like I’ve been in survival mode for a long time and took care of Brian at the same time. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I thought I got a stable job after the firm accepted me, but in the end, it feels like I’m back at square one.”
“It’s not the end of the world,” Owen said gently. “Trust me, I also know what falling to the deep end feels like.”
Zack remembered Owen handing him his papers just now. He returned to the living room and picked them up, giving them another read. Seeing Brian behaving, he led them back to the kitchen so his pup wouldn’t overhear. Sure, Brian was five, but five-year-olds could be perceptive at times.
“You were arrested for possession and smuggling of drugs, but in recent evidence proved you took the fall for someone else. Why?”
Owen looked distracted. “That someone was my younger brother. Tim got caught up in a huge cartel operation. I blamed myself for being too busy, not looking after him well enough. I used to be the enforcer for a pack, could have been the Alpha, too, except in the process, I neglected to see how he was doing.”
“Says here your brother was twenty-two then, an adult,” he said. Zack looked at Owen with new eyes. Owen had allowed himself to remain behind bars for exactly five years before new evidence of the case cropped up.
“I don’t regret my decision,” Owen finally said, dark shadows under his eyes. “Tim wouldn’t have survived prison.”
“Does that”—Owen paused—“give you a better or worse opinion of me?”
“Better.” Zack let out a breath. “We all make foolish choices as kids. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Brian is the greatest treasure in my life, but if I knew I was going to have to raise a pup on my own, I would have straightened my life up earlier.”
“We can’t change the past,” Owen said. “But we can do something about the future.”
Those last words, he realized, had been aimed at him. It seemed wrong for this proud, broken Alpha, who was a protector at the core, to be asking him for a chance. Owen’s words echoed in his head, about how no parent would consider hiring a manny who used to be an ex-con. Even if Owen had been proven innocent in the end, most people would take one look and cast judgments.
“Okay,” he said, taking a deep breath and holding out a hand. “You’re hired.”
He sealed his mouth over Zack’s, dick rising as Zack responded, yielded to him with equal passion. Zack ran his hands down his chest, his pecs, his stomach and abs. The Omega seemed to like touching him. Good, because he felt the same.
This time, he showed his Omega he wasn’t just capable of rough kisses, but sweet ones, too. Owen savored the taste of Zack in his mouth, liking how Zack squirmed and thrust his hips against him, so their dicks rubbed against each other. He moved his mouth lower, adding kisses down the line of Zack’s tempting throat.
Owen couldn’t take his gaze off the spot where shoulder met the neck, the perfect place to put his mating mark. His wolf pushed him to do it, bind Zack, claim the Omega as theirs forever, but he held the urge back. That move would definitely send Zack running, hating him. He couldn’t have that, not after they waited and watched for so long to see if Zack felt the same way.
While he was a patient hunter, Owen was still a dominant to the core. He led the dance here, so when Zack reached for his dick, he grabbed Zack’s wrists, planted them above Zack’s head.
“Keep them there. I want to taste.”
“Didn’t you already kiss me?” Zack teased back.
“Not enough.” He left a line of kisses and nips, lowered himself to take Zack’s left nipple into his mouth.
Owen sucked, left his bite there. Zack cried out above him. He reached between Zack’s legs, curling his fist around Zack’s dick, which was already at half-mast. Not that his own fared any better. Owen began to stroke Zack’s cock, liking the silken and heated feel of it in his hand.
“God, if you keep doing that, I’ll blow.”
Owen smiled at that. “I want to see you come undone.”
He inched his way down a little further, until his mouth was leveled at Zack’s prick. Zack’s shocked expression was worthwhile, he decided. Flicking a tongue out, he swirled it around Zack’s cockhead, tasting Zack’s excitement.
Zack’s moans sounded like music to his ears and he was pleased to see Zack obeyed his commands and kept his hands above his head. The Omega stretched out his lithe body to him in offering, and he was all but eager to partake in the tempting feast in front of him.
He took his time, tongued Zack’s slit, played with the sensitive spot under the head, before swiping it over the ridges and bumps of Zack’s cock.
“God, Owen. You knew you were still skilled a seducer?” Zack whispered.
Feeling playful, he pulled his mouth away. Zack hissed at him, like an annoyed cat, just like the moment he caught Zack glaring at one of his regulars. Owen didn’t mind. He liked it when Zack got all jealous and possessive. Not that Zack had anything to fear.
The Omega and his amazing son had, in a short span of time, managed to burrow their way past skin and bone, to make a place in his heart. He didn’t mind, because after getting out, he had nothing. Now, with so much on the line, the last thing he wanted was to lose them. Owen would never let that happen, though, because if they left him, it would be a crushing death blow he’d never recover from.
Still, here he was, risking it all, but he didn’t care. His body, heart, and wolf dictated his actions, told him this was the right thing to do.
“Hmm? Did you just pay me a compliment?” he asked, stroking Zack’s thigh, aware Zack’s engorged prick was about to blow.
“Why did you stop?” Zack demanded.
“Patience.” He took Zack’s mouth again, letting the Omega taste himself on his lips.
Zack clutched at his shoulders, dragged his nails down his back, riling up his wolf even further. Owen should have known his little Omega was a wild cat in an intimate setting.
“I’m not patient anymore,” Zack confessed after they broke away from the kiss, panting.
He let out a snarl of approval. “Good. Me, too.”
Then Owen bit Zack on the neck, on that spot he’d eventually place his permanent brand on, not hard enough to draw blood, but good enough to bruise. Zack let out a breath, eyes wide, probably understanding that that gesture meant, but he didn’t protest or say a thing.
“How do you want me?” Zack whispered.
“Hands and knees.”
Once Zack got to position, Owen stood behind the Omega, took his time, running hand possessively down the curve of Zack’s spine. Zack shuddered when Owen reached the ceased between his buttocks.
“What are you doing?” Zack murmured.
“Taking my time admiring what’s mine.”
He nudged Zack’s legs a little further apart. Knowing Omega wolves were self-lubricating, he slid a finger in, smiling to find Zack already wet and ready for him. Nonetheless, Owen wasn’t exactly small. He added a second, began to stretch Zack’s asshole, loving how the Omega moaned around his fingers. After making twisting motions, he decided Zack was ready.
Owen replaced his hand with his dick, stealing a quick kiss on Zack’s lips, before gripping the Omega’s ass. He breached Zack, killing the urge to sheath himself all the way. At the first few inches, Zack gasped, “So big. Not sure if you can fit.”
“You can take me, baby.” It was the first time he used that term of endearment, but Zack didn’t seem to mind. Mine, his wolf whispered and he agreed. Slow and steady, he thrust into Zack, finally sheathing himself hilt deep.
Zack let out a breath.
“Fuck, you’re so tight and your ass feels amazing around my prick.”