“You smell so fucking good, little cat. What’s your name?”
“Eric Lane.” Shit. Why did he do that? Lying came naturally to Eric. He never gave out his real name to strangers. “And you’re Grover, right?”
“Curious little thing, aren’t you?”
The temperature seemed to turn warmer and for a moment, Eric forgot where he was and what he should be doing. Eric stood close enough that his back brushed against Grover’s chest, and it was like solid brick. He wondered if he could make the jaguar purr if he rubbed up against all that muscled goodness. He swallowed. This wasn’t good.
Eric never bothered with relationships because Jackal discouraged all his crew from forming bonds outside of Sanctuary. They were family. All they had were each other because the rest of the world had rejected them one way or another. It took a couple of years for Eric to figure out those words had been propaganda, a means for Jackal to ensure the loyalty of his crew members. Now though, he wondered what it would be like, to have someone like Grover for a mate.
Would the jaguar be overprotective, possessive?
Something was wrong with Eric, because in Jackal’s tales, all the dumb, weak shifters who fell prey to the bigger predators never came out sane or alive. Grover could be hiding his true self under a mask, but his cat didn’t think so and he trusted his inner tabby without question. Aside from Evan and his animal, there was no one else Eric trusted.
“Kiss me.” Eric didn’t know if he was having a sunstroke, didn’t know why he uttered those words to a complete stranger either, but Grover didn’t seem to find it odd.
The jaguar shifter leaned down and suddenly those lips slammed against his own, full of heat and hunger. Eric couldn’t help but respond, lifting one hand and dragging it up Grover’s chest to rest on Grover’s left pectoral. Oh yummy. Would the jaguar let Eric pet him if Eric was good?
Grover prodded his tongue against his lips and he opened up, letting Grover deepen the kiss. He sucked down hard, wanting more. More kisses. More touches. Maybe, they might even find themselves naked and—no. He had a quota to reach and was wasting prime time kissing a stranger capable of making it hard to breathe and his pulse race.
This dominant jaguar shifter was bad news, lethal, and yet Eric never once considered the thought of fleeing.
Thank God Grover withdrew from the kiss first, looking as stunned as he.
Then a wet tongue licked at his left hand, breaking the silence between them. The Golden Retriever wagged its tail at Eric.
“This is Pancake,” Grover said.
Eric blinked, took a hesitant step back, and another until he could think again. “You named your dog after a breakfast food?”
Grover grunted. “I wanted to call him King, but Pancake is all he responds to.”
“I need to go. Sorry about earlier.” Eric’s mouth was working again, thank God.
“You’re sorry you robbed the wrong person, or sorry for the kiss?”
God. How could this handsome bastard be so cocky? Better than pissed, he supposed. Most dominant shifters didn’t take shit from a weaker one.
“For both,” he said, although he sounded hesitant.
“I have a job to do and you’re in the way, a beautiful distraction, but distraction either way.”
Those lips Eric knew first-hand was capable of rough, all-consuming kisses, curved into a small smile, and he was certain a man like Grover didn’t smile often. “Did you just call me a beautiful distraction? What do you mean by job, this extra-curricular activity isn’t a side gig?”
Polite way to call stealing, but he appreciated the effort Grover made to not tattle on him. “What are you, the police?”
“No, but what if you bumped into someone you couldn’t take on?”
Eric let out a frustrated sound and rolled his eyes. “Are you playing older brother now, after you kissed me like that?”
“As I recall, you enjoyed the kiss.”
“You’re blind.” Okay, pretty rude comment, but he had to cut this conversation short. Sometimes, Jackal’s enforcers made a circuit of town, checking all their assets. That was what Jackal called his crew when he thought they weren’t listening, but tabby cats had excellent hearing.
“I can smell your need. You leaned into me, responded to my kiss with equal hunger.”
He blushed. “You’re perspective.”
“I’m trained to notice the little details. Want to get coffee?”
Eric was too stunned for words. “Dude, are you bad at reading the situation? I’m not interested.”
“You smell scared now. Sorry.” Then Grover tugged the leash and both jaguar shifter and Golden Retriever turned the opposite direction.
He bit his lip. His inner animal hissed at him, angry for sending away the big cat. In other circumstances, he would have been flattered a guy like Grover would ask him out, but the last thing Eric wanted was to drag a nice guy like Grover into his mess. If Jackal found out, he shook his head, refusing to think about that now. Eric should walk away too, forget about Grover and find a new target.
Instead, he ran to Grover.
“Grover, wait,” he called out, reaching the entrance of the park. They stood at a crossing now and he noticed Pancake observing the road while Grover hung back, tilting his head towards his direction.
“Little cat, what now?”
Little cat. His insides warmed at the nickname. On Grover’s lips it didn’t sound condescending, but teasing, special.
“Give me your number. Please. Maybe we can meet some other day for coffee.” He fished out his phone and held his breath.
Fuck, what a little hellion he had on his hands, and his jaguar liked that. There was steel underneath Eric’s smooth supple flesh. Beneath that steel, lay a heart that beat as furiously as his own. He ran his hands down Eric’s sides, annoyed at the obstruction of fabric, so he ripped that off. A moment ago, he’d brushed against tiny, rounded things. Buttons. This was easier.
Eric gasped, but soon recovered, peeling his shirt away. He let out a breath, probably taking the sight of him in. Before Grover had lost his sense of sight, scars had crisscrossed his body. He knew his rough flesh was a sharp contrast to Eric’s skin. Grover waited, not the least bit self-conscious. He couldn’t change what he was, or what he’d seen and lived through.
“Mmm, so many places to explore,” Eric said and Grover felt quick fingers on his shades a second later. He gripped Eric’s fingers without warning. “I want to see.” The little cat insisted.
“It’s not pretty.”
“I don’t care. These scars are part of you.”
“It will ruin the mood.” And Grover sure as hell didn’t want that. It had been so long for him, that so much longing surged through him.
Grover let Eric take the sunglasses off, wondering if he should take a step back because soon, Eric would tell him he’d changed his mind. Grover didn’t blame the little cat. Unlike some of his brothers, he didn’t bother finding out if other men would still be attracted to a broken shifter. He knew no one would willingly bed a monster. But he felt Eric’s cool fingers brushing across the ragged scars. The little cat’s touch was comforting and, fuck, did Eric have a heart so huge, it was mind blowing.
“That’s not so bad, right?” Eric whispered.
“No,” he agreed, deciding he wanted to play now that it was certain Eric wouldn’t run away from him screaming.
He dragged his nails down Eric’s slender body, petted and stroked, memorizing every detail in his head. It didn’t help when Eric sighed against him, like a cat in heat. Once he reached the button of Eric’s jeans, the little cat’s breathing turned shallow. Smiling to himself, he pried the zipper open and curled his fingers around the velvet, slick heat of Eric’s cock.
Eric groaned, the sound music to his ears as he began to move his hand up and down. He stroked his little cat in leisure designed to tease and torment. Eric purred against him and he lowered his head, creating a trail of kisses down the side of Eric’s jaw and neck, lingering on the spot between shoulder and neck.
Eric shuddered, body practically begging him to do it, seal the deal and put his mate mark.
No. Eric didn’t know what he was asking. Grover might have been a deadly predator at the top of his game once, but now, he was only damaged. Eric deserved better, so he ignored his furious jaguar and took one of Eric’s nipples in his mouth and sucked. Eric cried out against him, but he didn’t let go of Eric’s dick. He kept the same pace, caressing until Eric’s prick grew thick and long under his care.
“God,” Eric whispered. “You big tease.”
“Cats like to play, even the big ones.”
He grazed his teeth against Eric’s other nipple, hearing Eric’s indrawn breath. So fun. He could do this all day, playing with his little cat and seeing how many whimpers he could draw out of that sweet mouth.
He liked how Eric said his name, full of need, tenderness. “Hm?”
“I’m going to blow if you keep doing that.”
He stopped. Eric let out a frustrated snarl as he slipped a hand between Eric’s thighs.
In moments, he lifted Eric. Eric didn’t weigh much and it was easy with his supernatural strength. Eric gasped, wrapping skinny arms around his neck, and automatically wrapping his legs around his waist.
“Jesus. Warn me next time.”
“You liked it. You’re aroused and I can smell it.”
Eric shivered, dick rubbing against his abs. The muscles in his abdomen tightened and he knew playtime was over.
“Fuck me. Please.”
He chuckled. “So polite.”
“I want to feel you inside me.”
How could Grover possibly say no to that? Keeping one arm wrapped around Eric’s waist, he used his other to thumb Eric’s dick. He flicked the pre-cum at the tip, then gave Eric’s dick a few pumps.
He dragged his fingers lower, thumbed Eric’s puckered entrance.
“Shit. I need to grab the lube,” he muttered.
“No. You won’t need that.”
He had a sneaking suspicion Eric was blushing, because the sweet little cat in his arms turned anxious.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“I’m an Omega tabby shifter. We’re self-lubricating.”
Grover growled in pleasure. Abram’s mate, Kane, was the same, but he hadn’t believed it. He pushed an experimental finger inside Eric’s entrance, surprised to find Eric slicked and primed for him. Still, he knew he wasn’t exactly small, and hurting Eric was a huge no. He added a second finger in and made twisting motions. All the while, Eric squirmed and whimpered under his care.
“You ready for me, sweet cat?”
Eric mewled in response and he guided his prick to Eric’s entrance and pushed in, halting when he heard Eric’s moan.
“You’re so big.”
“You can take it, baby. I promise to make you fly soon.”
Once Grover pushed past the thick wall of muscles, he felt Eric relax in his arms.
“I feel full, like you’re completely stretching me, but in a good way. Is that strange?” Eric whispered in his ear.
He kissed Eric just for that, but this time he didn’t rush. Grover savored the taste of Eric in his mouth as Eric kissed him back. He pulled his mouth away and began to fuck his mate, thrusting in and out, finding a rhythm which suited both of them. Electricity started from his insides and spread to the rest of him.
“Faster,” Eric whispered. “Please.”