[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Fantasy, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Cadeym has walked a lonely road for thousands of years. That road has been filled with bloody battles and mind-numbing pain. He has yearned desperately for someone to console him as he watched his brethren find their mates. Yet he had no one to heal his aching soul until he falls into the Black River and comes out into a stranger’s home, bloody and exhausted. Cadeym isn’t sure how much more he can take, how much longer he can go on. He’s broken on so many different levels.
Hadley was shocked when a stranger stumbled into his living room through a wall. The guy passed out, and Hadley fixed him up the best he could. Was this stranger a god? He had to be because no one just appeared out of thin air. When he learned the truth, Hadley was floored. But now Cadeym’s enemies are after him, and it’s up to Hadley to keep his mate safe until Cadeym is whole again.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Cautiously, Hadley crept toward the couch where he’d left his phone, never taking his eyes off of the guy. Shamrock ran around Hadley and tried to stuff her thick, muscled body under the coffee table. The table bounced upward and teetered on its side, precariously balancing on her back.
Hadley was almost to the couch when electricity arced around the guy’s body, some sparks shooting up into the air, scaring the living daylights out of Hadley.
The lights in the room flickered then somehow grew brighter before they faded to their normal lighting.
“We’re just gonna remain calm,” he told her, even though he was as freaked out as she was. “We’re not gonna make any sudden movements. Some kind of strange god just invaded our home, and we don’t want to do anything to anger him.”
Hadley wasn’t a religious person, but what other explanation was there? People didn’t just roll into someone’s house from the corner of a room. That just didn’t happen.
And the stranger was huge! Hadley estimated his height around six feet four inches or maybe five inches, but it was hard to tell with him splayed out on the floor. Holy fuck he was ripped. Even though he was covered in blood, Hadley could see the well-toned muscles.
Muscles of a god.
“Now what?” he asked his dog. “How do you help an injured god, and who could hurt someone like him?”
Hadley didn’t want to know the answer, but someone, clearly more powerful, had worked this guy over.
Shamrock got up, toppling the coffee table, and inched closer to Hadley. She looked at the guy then at him.
“Maybe I should clean his wounds to see just how badly he’s hurt and then decide what to do from there.”
He wanted to call the police, but what if that put the god in further danger or pissed him off?
Shamrock gave a low, throaty growl, as if telling Hadley this was a very bad idea.
“Well, I can’t stand here and do nothing,” he said to her. “What if he bleeds out?”
Could the god die? Was that possible? The thought curdled his stomach, and Hadley was determined to do something besides staring.
He hurried down the hallway, gathering towels, and then raced to the kitchen to fill a large bowl with warm water. After setting everything on the floor next to the stranger, Hadley ran to the bathroom and grabbed some antibiotic ointment.
It was all he had to work with.
He dropped to his knees next to the guy as Shamrock nervously paced circles around the stranger. Hadley wet the washcloth and wiped it over the guy’s bicep.
And what an impressive bicep. The muscle was hard, the size of a grapefruit, and Hadley admonished himself for drooling. For goodness sake! The god was a bloody mess and he was checking him out.
“We need Band-Aids.” What else was he supposed to use to close the wounds? Hadley knew crap about sewing a wound and felt dizzy at the thought of doing it.
He ran to the medicine cabinet and grabbed the box of Band-Aids with princesses on them. Hey, they’d been on sale. Sue him.
“Shamrock, no!” Hadley returned to find her licking the stranger’s wounds. “That’s just nasty, and he might give you a disease. You have no idea where he’s been.”
He shoved her away and went to work cleaning and patching up the guy the best he could. He’d used all twenty Band-Aids, and now the stranger looked a bit comical plastered with pink princesses, though this wasn’t a laughing matter.
He looked at the stained water in the bowl. “Do I dump the water out?” he asked his dog. “What if his blood is sacred?”
Hadley grabbed the bowl when Shamrock sniffed at it. “You’re just determined to be nasty.” He took it to the kitchen and set it on the counter.
His stomach rumbled, reminding him that he was starving. Hadley made a sandwich, tossing pieces of the turkey to Shamrock. She lapped the pieces up before looking at him for more.
“I’m gonna take you for a walk, and maybe by the time we return, he’ll be gone.”
He thought about what the stranger had said. He’s coming. You can’t let him get to me. The pit of Hadley’s stomach clenched. Who was he, and what would he do to Hadley if whoever he was found them? Would Hadley be killed for helping the god? Was the person after the stranger a god, too?
Hadley chewed his sandwich as he struggled to figure out what he should do. He wasn’t always the brightest crayon in the box and wasn’t ashamed to admit that. There were times when his decisions had gotten him into trouble.
Like the time he’d let a con man talk him out of five hundred bucks. His entire savings, telling Hadley that investing in the stock market was a wise decision.
The problem was the guy had never told Hadley exactly what he was investing in, and Josh had lost it when he’d found out. But the con man had already left town with Hadley’s money by then.
It had never dawned on Hadley that some kind of papers should have been signed or that he should ask to see the guy’s credentials.
Or the fact that the man had been working out of the back of his van.
But this was different. Hadley was dealing with a god. Gods were good, right? This stranger wouldn’t swindle him out of his meager savings. He also wasn’t Hadley’s ex-boyfriend, so he wasn’t worried about the stranger trying to manipulate him.
“Come on, Shamrock. Let’s go for a walk.” It was the only thing Hadley could think to do, and Shamrock really did need to go pee. He was surprised she hadn’t left a puddle on the floor from the fright.
He grabbed her leash and headed for the door, praying the stranger would be gone by the time they returned.
“Are all demon warriors as big as you?” Hadley asked as they entered his bedroom.
“We are all warrior size,” Cadeym said. “I guess we have to be in order to fight our enemies and keep Serenity City safe.”
He’d never thought about their sizes before. It was just normal, if any of them could be considered normal. But Hadley was right. They were all tall and muscular and fierce.
“Where is Serenity City? By the way, I love the name.” Hadley sat on the side of his small bed.
“The demon realm.” Cadeym should walk out of Hadley’s bedroom, should leave the human alone, but he sat next to him, loving the closeness.
“Realm?” Hadley frowned.
“There is the human realm, which is where we are now. Then there are the demon realm and the fairy realm. They are masked by veils that humans cannot see or access.”
Not if they didn’t know how.
“So how do you move through them?”
“The shadows or the Black River. The river isn’t really a river. It’s a small lake. The water never moves because it’s really a portal. All you have to do is think of where you want to go, and the river takes you.”
Cadeym was still stumped as to how he’d gotten to Hadley’s home. He hadn’t known the human existed, so he wouldn’t have been thinking of him while making his escape.
“That would be so much easier than walking.” Hadley rested his hand on Cadeym’s thigh. “I could be in another country without forking over a million dollars for an airplane ticket or spending endless hours on a flight.” His brows shot up. “Could you actually leave earth if you wanted to?”
“Why would you do that?” Cadeym’s thigh tingled where Hadley’s hand rested. It was warm and welcomed. “You wouldn’t be able to breathe, and the space radiation would kill you.”
“You are so literal,” Hadley teased. “Don’t take the fun out of my imaginary travels.”
“I apologize for calling you weird.” Cadeym brushed his knuckles over Hadley’s cheek. “You just have a very active imagination.”
Cadeym suppressed a growl when Hadley’s eyelids fluttered closed and he leaned into Cadeym’s touch. This was a very bad idea, but Cadeym leaned in close, dipping his head to graze his lips over Hadley’s.
The human sucked in a quick breath, and Cadeym didn’t move. He was leaving the choice up to Hadley if he wanted to kiss Cadeym or not. If Hadley didn’t, Cadeym would accept that choice, even if he wanted Hadley with every fiber of his being.
Wanted Hadley despite how bad Cadeym was for the human.
Cadeym also didn’t want to start anything and get Hadley’s hopes up, knowing he couldn’t stay here forever. He was going to have to leave. This wasn’t his world, his life, no matter how much he wanted it.
Hadley gasped against Cadeym’s lips, and Cadeym pulled the man closer, his tongue invading Hadley’s mouth. Cadeym didn’t want any space between them. Not when Hadley moaned at his touch. Not when Hadley curled his arms around Cadeym’s neck, his hands running through Cadeym’s hair.
This was the softest he’d ever been touched. His past lovers knew the score, knew what Cadeym was, and their sex had been raw and hard, just two people coming together to scratch an itch.
It was different with Hadley. Cadeym wanted to take his time, to explore the man’s body, to touch every silky inch of him as he kissed him gently from his head down to his toes.
Cadeym finally let the small growl rip from his throat when Hadley moved, sliding his leg over Cadeym’s lap, straddling him. Cadeym’s hands fell to Hadley’s hips, pulling him closer, deepening the kiss they shared.
When Hadley squirmed in Cadeym’s lap, he damn near lost his mind. He wanted them naked, to feel Hadley’s body pressed against his, to be buried deep inside the man who was starting to mean something to him.
They broke apart, needing air, but Cadeym didn’t just sit there. He moved his lips across Hadley’s smooth jaw and sucked at his neck, nipping then kissing the sting away.
He wanted to get lost in Hadley, to find peace, if only for a little while, to forget the world existed outside this house for a few hours. To forget he was being hunted and he was putting Hadley’s life at risk simply by being there.
Cadeym hissed when Hadley ran his fingers through his hair, gripping the strands, pulling Cadeym impossibly closer. His hands drifted from Hadley’s hips, gliding them up the human’s back, cupping his nape with one hand, the other squeezing Hadley’s ass.
Hadley squirmed again, moaning as he tilted his head to the side. Cadeym couldn’t take it any longer. He turned, placing Hadley on his back. The bed was too damn small for them, so Cadeym dropped to his knees, curling his fingers into the waistband of Hadley’s underwear.
He paused, waiting for Hadley to protest. Instead, the human looked down at him with want and need in his hazel eyes. It was a burning invitation, one Cadeym couldn’t deny.
He might go straight to Hell for touching the human, for wanting more than he ever deserved, but Cadeym didn’t have it in him to walk out of the room and leave Hadley to his life.
He just didn’t.
Cadeym slid Hadley’s underwear down his legs and tossed them aside. His lover’s cock was hard and slapped against his stomach. Cadeym leaned forward, mouthing his balls, taking them one at a time into his mouth.