Merrick needs Alpin to stay away from him. Alpin wants the exact opposite.
Merrick only has a few people in his life, and he’s fine with that. Being turned into a dragon shifter and vampire hybrid forcefully made him push away all vampires, but he can’t push away Alpin, no matter how hard he tries to.
Alpin won’t take no for an answer. He wants Merrick, and he always gets what he wants. Maybe it’s because he’s the youngest and more recent vampire in his family, or maybe it’s because he’s adorable and isn’t afraid of using his pretty face. It always works.
But not this time.
Merrick is too good at resisting Alpin’s charms, or maybe not. The last thing both Merrick and Alpin need is more complications, yet they can’t stay away from each other. The dragon clan is plotting, though, and they find unlikely allies who know every weak spot the pack has.
And they’re getting ready to attack.
For the first time since he could remember, Merrick wasn’t looking forward to going to the club.
It had been his safe place after he and Arlen had left the clan. It was the one place where they could be whoever they wanted and didn’t have to follow orders they disagreed with. It had taken them a lot of courage and money to start the club, but they had, and Merrick had been proud of it.
And now, it was nothing more than a bunch of burned-up walls and broken furniture.
He’d known that, of course. He’d already been here after the fire, so he knew what state everything was in and what to expect. That didn’t make it any easier. The clan had taken the club away from him like they’d taken many other things. Merrick wanted nothing more than to go there, ravage every single property the clan owned, and leave them in a bunch of ashes, but he knew better. The clan was stronger, and they wouldn’t hesitate to take him down if he even tried getting close to one of their properties.
So instead, he was left seething and snapping at the people helping him and Arlen. It wasn’t right, but he didn’t know how else to deal with the anger and pain. He needed to keep everyone away so he wouldn’t lash out, which wasn’t easy when they seemed intent on making him part of their family.
Merrick wasn’t sure he’d ever understand those wolf shifters.
He might be a shifter like them, but that was all they had in common. Why were they so intent on him being one of them? It probably was because of Arlen. Arlen was dating a vampire—and Merrick had made sure his friend knew what he thought of that—and that vampire was somehow related to the pack. They’d pulled Arlen in, and Arlen had pulled Merrick right along because why not?
Merrick had a whole list of why it was a bad idea, but as he looked around the burned husk of what had once been his club, he thought that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing. He couldn’t say he enjoyed spending time with so many people he barely knew, but he couldn’t deny the pack had been there to help him and Arlen. It would take a while before they could set things right, but they were cleaning up the club, ensuring everything was in as good a state as possible so Arlen and Merrick could start rebuilding.
Because that was what they were planning. They wouldn’t let the clan win. Merrick would rather die.
“You know, people are going to think you’ll eat them if you stare at them that way,” a soft voice said from beside Merrick.
Merrick took a deep breath. He needed all the patience he could find to deal with Alpin. Otherwise, he might slam him against the nearest wall, which was probably what Alpin was aiming for. Merrick wasn’t sure if he’d do it to hurt Alpin or to fuck him, but he wasn’t planning to find out.
He turned to look at the vampire. No one should be so pretty, especially when it came with the kind of personality Alpin had. He looked like an angel, with his blond curls, wide blue eyes, the rosiness of his cheeks, and his dimples, but he was anything but. If anything, he was a demon in disguise, and for some reason, he seemed intent on making Merrick’s life hell.
“Come on. I’m sure you can give me a smile,” Alpin prodded, stepping closer. He put a hand on Merrick’s arm, and the gesture was anything but casual.
He was always touching Merrick, and Merrick wasn’t sure whether he liked it or not. His first instinct was to tell Alpin to fuck off, but he needed the vampires’ help. He also wasn’t sure he wanted Alpin to fuck off. He knew better than to get involved, because that way lay madness, but it was tempting, especially when Alpin made it clear he’d be on board with it.
“What do you want?” Merrick asked with a grunt.
Alpin’s smile widened. “For you to smile at me.”
Merrick could see a glimpse of his fangs, but he was starting to get used to being around vampires. He was pretty sure that what Alpin actually wanted was for him to show him his own fangs, but it wasn’t going to happen. There was a reason Merrick never smiled.
It was the fangs.
“Don’t you have better things to do?” Merrick asked.
“You mean better than asking you to smile for me? Nope.”
Merrick pointedly looked around the room. “Are you sure?”
Anyone else would have left in a hurry, but not Alpin. Never him. He wasn’t cowed by Merrick’s bad mood. He wasn’t intimidated or afraid, and that meant that Merrick had no idea how to deal with him. Most people ran away once they realized how grumpy Merrick was. Alpin, on the other hand, seemed to take it as a personal challenge. Merrick wouldn’t have been surprised if Alpin truly just wanted him to smile.
He still wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
Alpin grinned and tapped a fingertip against his chin. “You know what I believe would make you smile?”
“I don’t care.” Merrick was kind of afraid to find out.
His words didn’t stop Alpin. They never did.
“We should sleep together.”
Merrick almost groaned, but he wouldn’t give Alpin the satisfaction. “I believe I’ve already said no to that offer. Several times.” Merrick looked around, hoping to find an escape, but everyone else was busy. He could start working, but he had no doubt that Alpin would follow him and continue talking to him, which he was trying to avoid.
“I’m a good lover,” Alpin insisted. “I’m generous, and I’d make sure you’re happy with what we do.”