Farley is only nineteen and has no idea what to do with his life. That wouldn’t be a problem if he hadn’t found his mate, but he has, and he wants to protect Irwin with everything he has.
The problem is that he doesn’t have much.
Irwin has been under his mother’s thumb all his life and doesn’t know how to get away. He’s sure everyone in the pride knows how abusive she is, yet no one has ever tried to help.
Until Farley entered his life.
Irwin has never fought back, but now he has a reason to. He wants a future with Farley, even though neither of them knows what that future will be like. The problem is that his mother won’t relinquish her control over him easily.
But Irwin isn’t alone anymore, and he and Farley are ready to fight.
Farley didn’t know very many people at the party, but he wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Jordan might not be his best friend, but he was part of the group of friends Farley and Miko had made recently, and he loved that it wasn’t just the two of them anymore.
Besides, he’d always been curious about the pride. Every supernatural creature in town knew about them, but they’d always kept to themselves. They’d been a mystery until their alpha had changed, and now that they were more open, everyone wanted to take a look.
That included Farley. He hadn’t been sure what to expect from the pride and the house they lived in, but he’d been a bit disappointed when he’d realized they were normal people who lived in a normal place. Everything about them was normal, which was probably a good thing. A bit boring, but then, life in Green Hill was usually boring.
He grabbed a drink and told himself he needed to step away from the food table. He looked like he was propping it up. Usually, when he went to parties, he stuck by Miko’s side. They’d been best friends since they were children and had always been there for each other. Now, Miko had a mate, which meant that he spent more time with Robin than with Farley. Farley wasn’t jealous, but he missed his friend.
He looked around, trying to find Miko. He couldn’t see him anywhere, but there were a lot of people in the room, so he was probably there. Farley had already seen Miko’s uncle and his mate, and for a moment, he was tempted to find them.
“Hey,” Jordan said as he appeared next to Farley. He grabbed an empty plastic cup and filled it with water. “What are you doing hiding back here?”
Farley raised his cup. “The same thing you are.”
Jordan grinned. “I’m glad you came.”
“I’m glad I came, too. You know a lot of people.”
Jordan chuckled. “Most of these people belong to the pride. I’ve known them since I was a kid, so they kind of had to be here.”
“I don’t think anyone would be here if they didn’t want to be.”
“You’re probably right. Anne was pissed when she realized I was having a party and didn’t ask her to cook.”
Farley didn’t know who Anne was, but his curiosity about the pride was still very much a thing, so maybe Jordan would give him some details. “Who’s that?”
Jordan shrugged one shoulder. “A pride member. Not one of the good ones.”
“I see. And she’s in charge of the cooking?”
“Yeah. She put herself in charge, and it’s been that way for a while. I was hoping things would change now that Gal is the alpha, but she’s still the queen of the kitchen. Thankfully, she knows better than to start trouble when she doesn’t get what she wants, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she still found a way to make me pay for not asking her to cook.”
Maybe it was for the best that Farley and his parents had never lived in a Nix village. It wouldn’t have been the same thing, because Nix had their own homes and didn’t live in a group in a big mansion, but they did have to follow the leader’s orders, and like any other group, there was a hierarchy in the tribes.
Farley’s parents had left their tribes when they’d met. Their people hadn’t been happy about them being mates because they didn’t belong to the same tribe, and back then, there’d been no law against preventing mates from being together. They’d chosen each other rather than their families, and thankfully, they’d found Green Hill. The fact that they weren’t the only Nix couple who had to go through that showed that Nix were just like shifters and other paranormal creatures when it came to their traditions. Things were changing, but it was slow going.
Farley didn’t have to worry about any of that. He’d lived in Green Hill all his life and had no intention of leaving. Many of the people he and Miko had graduated with had left for college, but Farley still didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. The only thing he was sure of was that he didn’t want to leave Green Hill, but that wasn’t as helpful as he wished.
“Well, if you need any help with her, you just have to call,” Farley said.
“She’s not going to attack me or anything like that.”
“I didn’t think she would.”
Although maybe he should have. She had to be a tiger shifter like Jordan, and he could imagine how much damage they could do to each other when they shifted. He hoped Jordan wouldn’t have to deal with that. He’d offered to help, but he doubted there was anything he would be able to do if there was a physical fight.
“Thanks for the offer, but if she gives me any trouble, I’ll go to Gal.”
“You think she’ll listen to him?” He might be their new alpha, but it was clear he still didn’t have everything under control.
“She doesn’t listen to anyone, not even her son. Honestly, though, I don’t care. She probably won’t be able to reach me anyway. I don’t live here anymore.”
He’d moved out recently. It was something Farley had been thinking about doing, too, but he was only nineteen and was fine staying at home. His parents were making noise about him finding a job, and he was fine with that. He just wasn’t sure what kind of job he could find, but he was looking, and once he found something, he had every intention of helping his parents with the bills. He was an adult now, and while he wasn’t planning on getting his own place because he didn’t need it just yet, he didn’t want to be a burden.