Sweat dripped down his back. God. Why hadn’t he noticed how sexy Lee was? Even the vivid old claw mark marring Lee’s left cheek only gave the werebear Alpha a ragged, savagely lethal but gorgeous appearance.
This might not be so bad after all.
Perhaps Kit didn’t need to dread being mated to this man. What they had now might be a marriage of convenience, but that arrangement could change over time. Evolve into something more, better, and stronger.
On the heels of that thought, followed a practical voice.
Stop thinking like an idealistic, naive boy. Be a man.
After all, Kit didn’t know Lee all that well. In the end, they were both still strangers. Who knew, despite how good Lee looked on the outside, he might be a monster underneath. No, he refused to believe that. How else could he explain why his lynx felt safe around Lee but uneasy with some of Lee’s bears?
Then Lee smiled, and more of his apprehension flowed away. It barely passed for a smile, strained, and yes, a little uncertain, but that made him feel better. The Alpha werebear was nervous, too, but that vanished when their shoulders brushed, and they turned to face the priest.
Kit didn’t pay attention to the words the priest uttered. Even the mumbles and mutterings of their guests faded away. All he was aware of was Lee’s muscled shoulder against his own, his inner lynx no longer curious. The cat wanted to prowl, to play chase with this bear they would soon call mate.
Signing a marriage contract was one thing, a human concept, but once they got inside the bedroom and Lee placed his mating mark on Kit, he would belong to the Alpha until death do them part.
Kit thought he might chicken out at the last second, but when the priest asked them to say their vows, he didn’t falter. He looked into the eyes of the stranger he felt completely at ease with, and didn’t forget the words. Lee’s mouth moved, but he couldn’t hear the words either.
“You may kiss the groom.”
That statement, he heard. Lee tugged him close suddenly, the motion surprising him. The Alpha werebear placed a proprietary callused and big hand on the back of his neck. Kit could have refused in that moment, pulled away and smiled at their waiting guests instead, pretended the whole incident didn’t happen.
Instead, the instinct to fight didn’t kick in. Kit was all too aware of the heat emanating Alpha’s big body, clashing against his slender one and the annoying clothes between them. The cat in him wanted to play, to touch and caress their mate.
His lynx already thought in those terms, even though this was all a sham.
“I bet,” Lee said, his mouth hovering a mere inch from Kit’s, “you’d taste so fucking sweet, little cat.”
Kit didn’t know what startled him more, the fact Lee thought he would be sweet or the little term of endearment. Kit had never been given a nickname, never belonged to another. The last two years had all been about survival. He kept his pack together. Oh, Kit was no Alpha, but he gave the others a push, the words they needed to hear.
After their old home burned down, they roamed for what felt like forever until the wolf Alpha of Clear Water agreed to meet them.
“No words?” Lee asked, pupils ringed slightly of gold.
Kit ought to be afraid of the hunger in those eyes, but the cat in him knew they could take this ferocious bear, so he maintained Lee’s gaze, all too aware submissive shifters didn’t act like to this to their dominant mates.
Lee’s laughter was a heady thing, so carefree, the deep sound able to pull at his heartstrings, get under his skin.
“Are you going to kiss me or not, husband?” Kit asked before he could stop himself.
Lee moved his hand from his nape to tip his chin. Then without warning, Lee slammed his lips over his, running his hands down the sides of Kit’s body. He surrendered to the demanding, hot press of Lee’s lips. The kiss wasn’t tentative, but one full of silent demand, prompting him to respond with equal passion.
Their tongues tangled, teeth clashed. Kit found himself reaching out to run his hands down the length of Lee’s chiseled body. Darn clothes. He wanted to unsheathe claws so he could reach flesh, but that wouldn’t do, especially if these clothes were a rental.
It wasn’t enough. Kit groaned when Lee found the bulge in his trousers and gave it a squeeze. He widened his eyes slightly.
Another bear made a remark. “Lee’s cat’s already in heat.”
Kit didn’t mind being that. Lee withdrew his mouth from his, but he could tell it took all of Lee’s self-restraint to do that. Amazing control, but then, Lee must be Alpha for a reason. If no one watched them, would the Alpha take him on the spot?
For some reason, excitement coursed through his veins at those words.
What was wrong with him?
Kit was usually the kind of guy who thought with his head, not his dick. Yet one mere kiss from this Alpha and he was undone. No, his new husband and mate. When Kit agreed to this marriage, he considered his decision from all angles, knew all the risks. However, he couldn’t have planned for this.
It was becoming clear to him that Lee Marshall was lethal, but it wasn’t the prospect of physical violence he feared. No, he was certain the werebear would never hurt him, would never force himself on Kit.
Lee’s pupils blazed golden in his rugged face, telling Kit it wasn’t just the man looking at him, but also the terrifying predator underneath. One that wouldn’t demand surrender of his body, but also his heart.
The Alpha started edging him further, until his ass brushed against the surface of the solid dining table. His heart raced and his breaths hitched when Lee pushed him gently on the chest.
Understanding the message, he lay on his bed, swallowed when the Alpha rolled on top of him, elbows on either side of his head, to keep his weight off Kit.
“Sturdy table,” he murmured.
“It better be. I made it.”
He blinked. “Really?”
“Yep. I make furniture. I’ll tell you about it another time.” Lee began uncorking the buttons of his shirt, pressing his lips to every inch of flesh he unveiled.
Kit had never thought a dominant Alpha was capable of patience. He moaned when Lee took his left nipple into his mouth, sucking hard, before leaving his bite there. He squirmed when Lee did the right one and waited, wanting to find out what Lee would do next. Once Lee got the buttons off, the Alpha growled.
“Off.” Lee got off him, standing once more.
He took off his shirt, tossed it aside only to feel Lee’s hands uncorking his trousers, unzipping him in haste. Lee smiled at the sight of his half-erect prick, and he moaned when the Alpha closed his fingers over his cock and gave it a squeeze. He shuddered when Lee pulled off his trousers. His boxers followed.
“Wait,” he murmured when Lee pressed him against the table again. “You, too. I want to see you naked.”
“Plenty of opportunity for that.”
Nonetheless, Lee took off his shirt, revealing hard muscle underneath, occasionally threaded with old scars. The body of a warrior. He licked his lips, wondered if Lee would let him caress and explore every inch of skin. Then Lee dropped his pants and underwear.
Kit stared, unable to help himself. Lee’s dick was long, thick, and curving, pre-cum leaking at the tip. Kit was no virgin. He’d dated two guys in his life, a human in high school and another shifter in college, but he’d never had anything that big inside of him.
“Daunted?” Lee asked, tone teasing.
He shook his head, lay back on the table. In moments, Lee was on top of him once more, the werebear’s startling speed still a shock. Shifters moved fast, especially wolves and other big cats. He had the initial impression werebears were strong, had brute strength but lacked the speed.
Kit guessed wrong. Then again, he had plenty of time to learn about the werebears.
“Good. Don’t worry, we’ll take things slow at the start.” Lee kissed him on the mouth, made his toes curl, but Lee didn’t linger there long. The Alpha started leaving a trail of kisses, bites, and nips down his body, starting with the side of his neck. When he felt the slight scrape of teeth on the spot between shoulder and neck, he shuddered, understanding the significance. That was the spot where Lee could place his mate mark, his personal brand.
He was ready, knew what was about to happen, and yet Lee unexpectedly left it alone, moving down his chest instead.
Kit wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed or relieved.
Lee reached his groin, gripped his thighs apart, and he held his breath. Just when Kit thought most Alphas were only capable of rough fucking, Lee proved him wrong on all accounts. Kit groaned as Lee lowered his head, nuzzled his prick, before using his tongue to swipe the pre-cum gathering on his tip.
He let out a breath, stunned. Submissive shifters were raised to know their place in the pack hierarchy and in bed. They gave but seldom received rewards, and yet, Lee was doing all the work now.
The Alpha used that as a lubricant, spreading it across his ridged cock. Needing to hold on to something, he gripped the wood. Lee took his time, tracing every vein of his prick, seemingly intent on finding his sensitive spots, particularly the one under his breath. Even his balls, Lee didn’t neglect. The Alpha sucked them into his mouth, making him cry out.
He froze as Lee pried his legs even further, breath on his balls, cock, and asshole. Lee dragged his tongue around his puckered entrance, and he hadn’t expected that, or to be turned on so much. Lee held him open, ate him up like a feast worth savoring. God, his dick hardened, at full length now.
Lee pushed into his hole, made him grip the table even harder. Lee sucked, used a bit of teeth, left him panting on the piece of wood, before moving his face away, and to Kit’s frustration, got off him.
“Are you going to leave me hanging?” he blurted.
He didn’t quite trust the werebear Alpha’s mischievous look. “Not at all, little cat.”
Lee palmed his belly, his prick close to bursting. “Hold it in. Don’t come without my permission.”
“That’s going to be hard.”
“You want to come that badly, little cat?” The infernal werebear closed his fingers around his engorged shaft and began to work him, fast then slow, making it hard to think.
“Yes,” he gritted out. “Please.”
“I like that word. Beg me again.”
He hissed, but nonetheless obeyed. Lee started jerking him faster. Those eyes gleamed with intensity. “Go ahead, little cat. Come for me. I want to see it all, the moment your face goes all soft, and knowing I’m the cause of it.”
Kit blushed, but he could no longer hold back. Lee gave his tip a squeeze, and the pressure inside him caved open. He came, mind covered in a haze of bliss as he cried out in ecstasy, all the while aware the werebear Alpha devoured his reaction.