[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Three years ago, Cassius made the biggest mistake of his life. Afraid of what his father would do when he found out his only son was mated to a wolf, Cassius ran from his Knox. Right into his father’s clutches where Cassius was imprisoned. When he finally escapes, Cassius has no one else to turn to except Knox, a man he isn’t even sure will help him. If he is recaptured, his father will make him marry a woman to align houses, something Cassius can’t let happen.
Knox never thought to see his mate again. His little vampire ran from him, and now Knox is barely keeping it together. On the anniversary of when they met, Knox gets wasted, unaware that Cassius is searching for him. Now he has to keep Cassius safe when Cassius’s father puts a bounty on his son’s head. But more than one secret will be revealed as Knox prepares for the fight of his life.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Knox Ashford walked out of Jesse and Sam’s house, happy for his coworker that he’d found his mate. Luckily this time no one had quit. The threat against Sam had been eliminated, and the demon was safe, which meant Jesse could continue to work at Driscoll Security. Knox, Fletch, and Jesse had gotten together to hang out.
Even Mendez Grant and Jack Dane had shown up for the dinner. It felt good being around Mendez again, but it had also crushed something inside Knox to see Mendez and Jesse so happy with their mates.
It was a happiness Knox would never feel, though he had at one point in his life. Three years ago in fact. Knox pressed a hand to his chest at the thought of Cassius Gualterio as anger and grief rubbed him so raw that he staggered to his car.
Cassius had been his mate, and it had been Cassius’s choice to walk away from Knox, to throw away what could have been. It had taken everything in Knox not to go rogue when his mate left him, yet there were still times when the betrayal burned in him so brightly that he wanted to lash out, to shift into his wolf and never return to his human form just to escape the agony.
Some shifters did just that. They went rogue and never returned to their human form. Others somehow forged on, living their lives even though their mate was dead.
But Knox’s mate wasn’t dead, at least not that he knew of. Cassius had simply walked away from him. Knox would have thought foul play, but Cassius had called him the next day and said he couldn’t go through with their mating. He was a vampire, and his family would disown him if he mated a wolf.
Oh, they’d had sex, fantastic sex that had left them both sweaty and spent, but Cassius had refused to let Knox bite him, to bind their souls. It had been the hardest thing in the world for Knox not to bite, but he’d somehow managed.
But Knox thought he’d had time to convince Cassius that they were meant to be together, that no one could interfere in a mating. Cassius’s parents had nothing to do with them, even if they were controlling assholes.
Unfortunately his mate never gave Knox the chance to prove anything. Cassius had been gone the following morning. He’d slipped out sometime during the night. One fucking phone call was all Knox had gotten from the man. Was all he was worth. That alone enraged Knox, but he’d shoved those feelings down deep, had forced himself not to think of Cassius and forced the memories of their brief time together down so they wouldn’t cripple him.
If Cassius didn’t want him, what was Knox to do? He wasn’t going to force anyone to be with him, even the man fated to be his mate.
“Hey,” Mendez called out as he jogged from Sam’s front door. “You okay?”
No one knew about Cassius. His coworkers/friends had no idea that Knox was mated. That he’d gone three fucking years without sex, without releasing the tension inside of him by enjoying the body beneath him.
That was enough to drive any man insane. “Yeah, why?”
“Whoa.” Mendez held up his hands. “What’s with the snarling?”
Shit. Knox needed to get himself under control. Seeing the happiness had gutted him, made him want to flee, but he never wanted to take out his anger on his friends. “Long day.”
Knox ran his fingers over his brow and took several deep breaths. He needed to get out of here. He wasn’t good company to anyone. It wasn’t only the happiness that had put him in such a fucked-up mood. It was the three-year anniversary of when he’d met Cassius. The anniversary of when he’d thought he no longer had to walk this life alone.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Mendez cocked his head, his intense stare unsettling. “You seem off.”
Knox hit the fob for his car and opened the door. “Just need to let off a little steam.” He made it sound as if he was going on the prowl for a bed partner for the night. Knox wished he had it in him to do that, to screw any willing person who threw themselves at him.
No matter that it had been Cassius who’d walked away. It still felt like cheating, and that wasn’t Knox’s style. Did that mean he’d turn into a monk? That he’d never have sex again? The thought was enough to make him want to kill.
“Just thought you’d hang around longer since we haven’t seen each other in months.” Mendez shrugged, but Knox saw the disappointment in his eyes. Now Knox felt like an asshole. He couldn’t stay, though. Not when he was in this kind of mood. He should have never agreed to come in the first place.
Why ruin everyone else’s fun?
“We’ll catch up another time. I just have things I need to do.”
Mendez gave a slow nod. “Yeah, some other time.”
Knox watched as his friend walked back inside and cursed under his breath. Maybe he should have told Mendez the truth, but Knox just didn’t have it in him to speak those words out loud. The raw pain was already too much, and saying the words just might send him over the edge.
Instead, he dropped into the driver’s seat and drove away. Lack of sex. Lack of a mate. Lack of a single brain cell that told him to move on and forget Cassius existed. The combination put him in a lethal mood.
Mates were not something a nonhuman simply forgot existed. That billion-year evolutionary need every preternatural was born with to find their mate and claim them still churned inside Knox. The pull. The overwhelming urge to bind his soul to Cassius’s hadn’t diminished with time. It was still as strong as it had been that single night they’d shared together.
He gripped the steering wheel too tight, to the point it almost buckled under his strength, so Knox eased his grip as he turned his car toward home. Even if he was finally willing to take a lover, his mood would not make him good company. He just might be too rough with whomever, and Knox’s personality was to protect, not harm.
He’d never wanted to be such a jaded fuck. No one ever did. Knox hated that he was so cynical, but Cassius had done him so fucking dirty that, why should he have a sunny outlook on life?
Just tonight. He just had to get through tonight. His anniversary. Once morning came, maybe he wouldn’t feel as if a hole sat in the center of his chest and refused to let him breathe.
Knox stretched once he was in their bedroom. Cassius dug through the bag on the bed then went to the bathroom. A moment later, the shower cut on.
Unable to resist, Knox undressed and walked into the bathroom. This was another reason why he’d chosen this bedroom. It had the biggest bathroom and had a large walk-in shower with a smoky glass encasement.
Cassius had just stepped in but turned and looked at Knox. Just that fast Knox’s cock hardened. One fucking look from his mate and he was a goner. “Mind if I join you?”
Cassius shook his head as the multiple showerheads sprayed him with water. His slim body was glistening wet, making a small growl rumble in Knox’s chest. Knox stepped in behind his mate, hard as a rock, and grabbed the washcloth off the shelf. He lathered it with soap then swept the cloth over Cassius’s back, watching as the suds clung to his mate’s lithe body.
His mate pressed his hands into the tiled wall, jutting his ass, and it took every ounce of control Knox possessed not to drop the cloth and fuck his mate. He had better control than that. Cassius should be allowed to unwind after traveling, not be accosted the second they were alone.
When Knox lowered to his knees to wash his mate’s legs, the position put his face right in front of Cassius’s flared ass. All good intentions fled as he spread his mate’s cheeks, ran the cloth over his hole, then used his other hand to slip a finger into his body.
Knox gripped his mate’s hips and turned him, his finger still embedded as he took the head of Cassius’s hard cock into his mouth. Cassius’s entire body jerked as his hands clamped down on Knox’s head. Knox licked his way down the hard shaft and used his throat muscles to massage the length. Then he pulled back and did it again, his nose tickled by Cassius’s pubic hairs.
Cassius rose to his tiptoes, crying out Knox’s name as he came, his cum shooting hard down Knox’s throat. Knox pulled back, licked at Cassius’s balls, then stood. He continued washing his mate, though Cassius looked as if he’d fall over at any second. His eyes were glassy and at half-mast as he leaned against the wall.
Once his mate was fully soaped, Knox guided him under the spray then washed his hair. He turned then washed himself before turning off the spray. There were fluffy towels on a shelf just outside the stall.
Knox grabbed one and dried Cassius off then himself before tossing the towel aside and taking Cassius’s hand, leading him to bed.
“I need to feed,” Cassius said before they climbed in. “What I took at the safe house wasn’t nearly enough.”
Knox sat on the edge and offered his wrist. Cassius shook his head. “I have a better idea. Lie on your back.”
Curious, Knox did as his mate instructed. He didn’t say word, watching as Cassius climbed in after him, settling between Knox’s legs. One brow arched as Cassius pressed his palms against Knox’s inner thighs and spread him, and then he struck, sinking his fangs into Knox’s femoral artery.
Knox shouted in raw pleasure, shocked at the sensations and how his orgasm had ripped through him so easily. Knox gripped Cassius’s wet hair, tugging as his balls emptied, but Cassius didn’t let up. He kept feeding, and Knox’s cock hadn’t softened. It was still hard as fuck as his mate took what he needed.
Knox would have never thought a vampire fed this way. He always assumed the neck or wrist and was now wondering what other spots on his body Cassius could feed from to bring him this much pleasure.
His mate finally licked the pinpricks closed then climbed up Knox’s body, straddling his waist as he licked his lips. Knox had never seen a more beautiful sight. He gazed at the pale skin and gorgeous body, the dilated pupils and amazing eyes, which were languid.
“You know how to surprise someone,” Knox said.
Cassius’s cheeks reddened. “I’ve never fed that way before. I’ve heard others have and how pleasurable it was, so I thought I’d give it a try. I take it you enjoyed it?”
“Immensely.” Knox rested his hands on Cassius’s hips. His mate was so slim that his hands nearly touched. Cassius was just as small as Knox remembered and loved it.
His mate wiggled his brows in a playful manner. “Your dick has a large vein. Maybe next time we’ll try that way.”
Knox wasn’t so sure about letting teeth near his cock. The very thought made him want to cup himself. “Why don’t you see if there’s lube in the nightstand drawers since you’re on top?”
When Cassius leaned over, Knox attached his lips to his mate’s nipple, sucking the hard peak between his lips. Cassius gasped then groaned. Never straying from his mission, he shoved his chest toward Knox’s exploring mouth. His skin was salty and tasted divine, but Knox pulled back. As much as he wanted to explore Cassius at length, he was dying to be buried inside of him.
Cassius’s dark eyes were gleaming in the dim light as he handed Knox the lube. He pressed his palms against Knox’s chest then lifted his ass.
Knox wasted no time lubing his fingers. He’d just orgasmed, and yet his cock pulsed hard between his legs, hot, heavy, and ready for more.