[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Ansel is already dealing with the devastating loss of his sister, but now he is raising her two children. Life is chaotic raising small ones, but Ansel is pushing through it. If their father would leave him alone. Emilio keeps coming around, saying he’s suing Ansel for custody of Kayla and Jason, even though he’s never been a part of their lives. But Ansel knows the real reason. Emilio wants the money left for Ansel.
Vance knew from day one that Ansel was his mate. He works at the local daycare/preschool, and Kayla is in his class. But Vance has yet to ask his mate out on a date. Ansel already looks flustered anytime he drops off or picks up his niece and nephew, and Vance doesn’t want to add to that. But he makes his move, and Vance loves the instant family, until trouble strikes and he has to protect what is his.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Vance checked his breath before he slipped out of the driver’s seat of his car. He’d started to stop in town and grab a large pizza, but he wasn’t sure if Ansel fed the kids pizza, and he didn’t want to interfere in their eating habits.
Instead, he decided to cook whatever Ansel had on hand.
It was just his luck this morning that he’d caught Ansel before his mate had taken off. Ever since Vance had started working at the center, he’d tried to catch Ansel to talk to him, but the guy always seemed late for something.
If Ansel hadn’t forgotten Kayla’s permission slip for the zoo, he would have probably rushed out the door like he always did, and Vance would still be trying to come up with a way to talk to him.
Now he was here, and Vance was stoked about spending time with the human. His mate. Vance was still in shock that he’d found Ansel. Who knew moving to Willow Point would be the best decision of his life?
Vance had raised his hand to knock on the front door when he heard Ansel’s raised voice. “I don’t get it. The courts gave me custody of them, not that deadbeat.”
This didn’t seem like a good time, but then again, maybe Ansel needed someone right now. Vance wasn’t sure if his mate was talking to someone in the house or on the phone. Vance looked over his shoulder. The only cars in the driveway were his and Ansel’s.
He knocked, ran a hand down his shirt, and waited. Moments later the door swung open. Ansel stood there looking cute as hell with his phone pressed against his ear. Even wearing a scowl, his mate was gorgeous. Amazing green eyes, sandy-blond hair that curled in waves toward his cupid face, and to top that off were the deepest, sexiest dimples when Ansel smiled. How his mate was single was anyone’s guess. Vance was thankful for that stroke of luck, though.
“Schedule a hearing,” Ansel said to whoever he was talking to. “My sister entrusted me with her children, and I’ll be damned if I let Emilio try and take them away from me.” Ansel hung up and gave Vance a strained smile. “Come on in.”
The interior of the house looked a lot bigger than it did from the outside. Vance had stepped directly into the living room, and beyond that, to the right, was a hallway.
“The kitchen is in here.” Ansel led him through an archway on the right. There was an L-shaped counter, large sink, and plenty of counterspace. “I took out chicken to thaw this morning. Are you sure you don’t mind doing this for me?”
Vance had to stop himself from saying that he’d do anything for his mate. “Nope. In fact, I’m a pretty good cook.”
“I’m glad someone in this house is,” Ansel grumbled. “The kids are in their rooms playing. I’ll keep them occupied so they don’t bother you.”
“Nonsense.” Vance washed his hands at the sink. “I don’t mind kids running around.” He’d grown up with six siblings, and one was always in his personal space. That didn’t bother Vance. He was the opposite of most people. When things were too quiet, he became antsy. “Just tell me I have your permission to snoop around your kitchen and I’ll be fine.”
Ansel waved a hand. “Snoop away.”
Vance found the thawed chicken in the fridge. He sliced the boneless breasts into strips then washed his hands again before he touched anything else. In no time he had chicken strips and fries in the deep fryer.
“You make that look so easy,” Ansel said from his chair at the table. “I swear that would have taken me twice as long, and I was thinking baked chicken breast and some kind of veggie.” He frowned. “Though Kayla hates vegetables. I have a hard time getting her to eat them. I once put steamed carrots on her plate, and when she ate them, she gagged so much she spit them up.”
“You just have to get inventive.” Vance chuckled. “Try shredding them and adding them to batter. She won’t even know she’s eating something healthy.”
If Vance would have known that, he would have done that to the chicken tenders he was currently cooking. “I’m the second oldest of seven kids. My mother put me to work in her kitchen when I was six.”
And that was a long time ago, back before deep fryers were invented. Back when James Monroe was president.
“I can’t imagine letting Kayla cook,” Ansel said. “I would be too afraid she’d burn the house down.”
“Start off with small things.” Vance took the finished chicken out and added more pieces to the fryer. “Let her put the biscuits on the cookie sheet. Small things like that. Just working together will help you form a stronger bond with her, and she’ll feel accomplished that she helped with dinner.”
It had brought Vance and his mom closer. Even his grandmother had been there to lend a helping hand. It wasn’t often he thought of his family, and he knew why. Sadness always crept inside whenever he did. He missed them dearly and wished his parents and grandparents were still alive.
“There’s so much I need to learn.” Ansel gazed at his hands, as if avoiding looking at Vance. “There are days when I feel like I’m screwing everything up.”
Vance crossed the room and ran his hands up and down Ansel’s arms. “Talk to me. What has you so afraid?”
“Really?” Ansel looked wide-eyed at him. “After everything you just dumped into my lap, you have to ask that?”
“Specifically,” Vance clarified. “Hit me with one fear at a time.”
“You didn’t answer me.”
Vance sighed. “There is no such thing as breaking up, Ansel. That’s why nonhumans do everything in their power to make their mate happy.”
“And if they’re not?”
“I don’t know.” Vance frowned. “I never even considered my mate being displeased with me.”
Ansel needed to set this man’s ego straight. “What if it’s the other way around? What if you’re not happy with me?”
There was no way Ansel was living out the rest of his “unnatural” life with someone he despised or who despised him. He wasn’t going to spend centuries with a guy he constantly argued with or who might cheat on him because Vance was unhappy.
That would devastate him.
Vance took his hand and led Ansel back to the living room before they sat on the couch. “I’m already fascinated with you. True, we don’t know each other yet, not that things that count, but like any relationship, we’ll work at it.”
Ansel explained about his mom and sister.
“No offense, but they were with the wrong guy,” Vance said. “They weren’t with someone who worked hard at making things work, Ansel. It sounds like your dad just gave up and walked away. That’s unheard of for my kind. And Emilio sounds like a big loser. Any guy who abandons their kids should be hung by his balls.”
“I’ve only had two boyfriends,” Ansel confessed. “Both broke up with me because they found me excessively boring.”
Vance frowned. “What is wrong with human males?”
“Hey, I happened to be a human male.” Ansel popped Vance on the arm. “Not all of us are jerks.”
“And you’re not boring.” Vance took Ansel’s hand in his. God, he loved when the guy touched him. It was as if Ansel’s body roared to life whenever he was this close to Vance. “Every time I’m with you I feel this sense of peace wash over me,” Vance said. “You could be putting away grocery bags, and I would find that sexy.”
Ansel arched a brow. “You find grocery bags sexy?”
A burst of laughter escaped Vance. “Hardly. I find you sexy, and if we had more time, I’d prove it.”
Sweet baby Jesus. Ansel was going to pass out from the intense look in Vance’s blue eyes. He felt as if they were pulling him in as Vance moved closer, forcing Ansel to lean backward. When his back hit the cushions, Vance was on him, the heat from his body welcoming.
Maybe there really was something seriously wrong with him, because, despite what Vance had told him and shown him, Ansel wanted to be with the guy.
Ansel moaned as he felt a strong hand sliding over his hip. Instinctively, he turned into the touch, his body instantly on fire with need. Never in his life had he felt anything better than Vance’s tongue on his or the feel of the guy’s body as he pressed Ansel into the cushions.
“I thought you said we didn’t have time,” Ansel said against his mouth.
“That doesn’t mean we can’t do other things,” Vance said with a slight purr. “When I finally claim you, I want to take my time. Right now, we’re just going to help relieve our mutual ache.”
Once again, Ansel wrapped his legs around Vance’s tapered waist, grinding himself shamelessly into Vance. He ran his hands over honed muscles, delighting in how warm and strong they felt under his palms.
“You’re making it hard to keep my control.” Vance ran his lips over Ansel’s jaw.
“I hope I’m making it hard.” Ansel smiled. “It sure feels hard to me.”
“Brat.” Vance nipped at Ansel’s chin. “You have too many clothes on.”
“So do you.” Ansel lowered his legs and worked his pants and underwear down to his thighs. God, tonight had not been the best night to wear skinny jeans. Ansel had to wiggle like crazy just to get them lowered that far.
Vance pressed his lips to Ansel’s ear. “I could rip them off of you.”
Ansel sucked in a breath at the thought. “Then I’d end up at Cristine’s house in my underwear.”
Vance looked as if he was actually considering that. With a laugh, Ansel popped him on the arm. “Don’t even think about it.”
“You’re right. I wouldn’t want to gouge out a woman’s eyes for looking at you.” Vance spit on his hand then curled it around Ansel’s cock as he stared down at Ansel with a powerful hunger. Had anyone ever looked that needy with him? Had anyone ever made Ansel feel as if he’d combust at any second?
Not until Vance.
Too bad they couldn’t spend the rest of the night exploring each other. Ansel would give anything to make that happen. He was so caught up in what Vance was doing to him, so needy, that he wondered how much Christine would charge him to watch them an entire night.
That was all Ansel wanted. Just as single night.
Eight hours of pure bliss with Vance.
Ansel groaned as Vance sucked a bruise up on his neck while stroking Ansel’s cock. He grunted and moaned, fucking Vance’s hand as fire consumed him. He thrust his hand into the waistband of Vance’s underwear, cupping the man’s balls before sliding his hand up and coiling it around his shaft.
“Fuck, never stop touching me,” Vance growled. He was staring down at Ansel’s hand, thrusting his hips just like Ansel was doing.
Feeling the need to take this a step further, Ansel scooted down the couch and engulfed the head of Vance’s cock. Vance hissed, yanked backward, then flipped them. Ansel nearly fell off the couch because his pants and underwear were at his thighs, but Vance caught and steadied him.