[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Romantic Suspense, Shape-shifters, MM, HEA]
Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year. Not for Flint. He’s done with the Seelie people and decides to strike out on his own in the human realm. After winning enough money to start over in a game of cards, Flint thinks his luck has finally changed, until the demon he’s beat comes after him. Fling grabs the bag the money is in, only to discover there’s more in that bag than he bargained for.
Nolan can’t believe his mate simply walks into his life. Is it really that simple? If only. Flint has no ideas how to use his powers and shimmers at random, and at the most inconvenient times. The Seelie has a demon after him, and Nolan must protect his mate. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done when Flint keeps shimmering away. When they find themselves in the most unexpected place, Nolan holds out hope that they have finally found a Christmas miracle.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“Does this Broman know where you are?”
Flint shrugged. “I doubt it. I didn’t even know where I was going, so I doubt he’ll figure it out anytime soon.”
God, Flint hoped not. He didn’t feel like fighting Broman for what was rightfully his. Broman had lost, and the game had been fair. Flint didn’t believe in cheating but knew Broman had been, and the demon had still lost.
“There’s a motel nearby.” Nolan washed some glasses in a sink under the counter as he talked. “I can drop you off there.”
“Don’t you have to work?” Flint liked Nolan’s chocolate-brown eyes. They seemed sincere enough that Flint wanted to trust the shifter.
“I’m just hanging out here. I got bored at home.” Nolan smiled when Flint shoved his empty bowl toward him. “Full or do you want more?”
Flint patted his stomach. “Stuffed. Thanks. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I don’t know too many shifters who would be so kind to me.”
“Then you haven’t met the right ones.” Nolan winked. “Tell me, Flint. Are you Seelie or Unseelie?”
“Seelie,” Flint said. “I don’t practice dark magic.”
He barely knew any magic. No one had taught him. What he did know he’d taught himself. His father had died before Flint was born, and his mother was a bit touched in the head. He wasn’t saying that in a derogatory way. It was the truth. That didn’t stop Flint from loving her. He just wished she’d taught him better magic.
She wasn’t so out of it that he feared leaving her alone, but Weenie Meadows was strange, even to Flint. She hummed sometimes instead of talking and at times looked past him as if he wasn’t there. She constantly talked about fairies in her garden, not fae, but actual fairies, like Tinker Bell, and left bread crumbs for them at the foot of large trees, along with sugar that always attracted a ton of bugs.
Bugs that migrated toward her garden and tried to consume everything she’d planted. Trying to convince her that fairies didn’t exist went in one ear and out the other, never bothering to stick to anything in between.
“A ride to the motel would be fantastic,” Flint said. “I appreciate your kindness.”
Though he wasn’t sure what he was going to do after that. Flint hadn’t thought that far ahead. He just knew that he wanted a place of his own. Something he could call all his.
That was Flint’s dream. He didn’t want anything fancy. A small home would suit him just fine. He’d lived with Weenie his entire life, venturing out to the demon realm whenever he needed a break from her strangeness or the political corruptness in the Seelie realm.
Flint also liked the demon realm. It had been a cool place to hang out, somewhere he didn’t have to hide his pointy ears, until Broman had ruined it for him. Now Flint doubted he could go back without the demon causing trouble.
He started to say something else then stopped. He stared wide-eyed at Nolan. The black panther’s eyes were just as wide as he stared right back. The guy inhaled deeply, his eyelids fluttering for a moment.
“Mate,” Nolan snarled.
Flint jumped from the stool he’d been sitting on and backed away. He felt the pull, that feeling of an unseen hand trying to reel him toward Nolan. That need to do whatever his mate wanted just as long as that made Nolan happy.
The shifter walked from behind the bar and headed straight for Flint, his strides long and eating up the distance. A moment later, he was yanked into Nolan’s arms. He yelped and shoved at Nolan’s chest, but the guy’s arms were strong, and he kept Flint pinned in place.
Though the guy did smell good.
“Why are you fighting this?” Nolan asked.
All of Flint’s life Weenie had talked about how he would find the perfect fae woman and have a brood of children. No matter how many times he’d told his mother he was gay, that went right over her head. It was as if she didn’t want to believe it, so she did what she always did. Pretended her world was perfect, as was her son. She stuck her head in the proverbial sand and built a world around her that wasn’t entirely real, ignoring the fact that her son was gay.
But that wasn’t why Flint tried to get out of Nolan’s death hold. Far from it. Nolan had never slept with another man. Sure, he’d kissed plenty of guys, flirted a ton, but he’d never actually had sex, and Nolan was… Well, he was overwhelming.
If Flint had had some experience under his belt, he might have sunk into the embrace instead of trying to get out of it.
“You’re making a scene,” Flint whispered. “Let me go.”
There weren’t many people in the bar, but those who were there were staring right at them.
“Then say you’ll come home with me.” Nolan nuzzled Flint’s neck. For a moment, Flint became lost in those soft lips on his skin, until Nolan’s hand slid to his butt.
Flint shoved at Nolan’s chest, stomped his mate’s foot, and reeled backward when Nolan cursed and let him go too quickly. Flint landed on his rump. He got to his feet and headed right for the door.
“Flint,” Nolan said as he came after him. “Wait.”
Outside Flint spun around. “When someone tells you to let them go, you let them go, Nolan.”
Nolan held up his hands, palms out. “You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t you think you’re too old to be an elf?” some guy said as he walked by. “Grow up.”
Flint touched his ears.
“Mind your own damn business,” Nolan snarled at the stranger. “Don’t you think you’re too old to be giving unwanted advice?”
The guy hurried away.
So did Flint. He concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other as he hurried down the street. Seconds later, a firm hand gripped his wrist. “Why are you running away from me?”
“I have no idea.” It was the truth. Flint might have been overcome by the knowledge that Nolan was his mate, but he didn’t have a flipping clue why he was running away. Aside from being a clueless virgin. “It just seemed like the thing to do.”
“Is it because I came on too strong, you know, with the hug?” Nolan slid his hand from Flint’s wrist to his hand. “Come on. I promise not to tackle-hug you again. My car is this way.”
“What about your customers?”
“There are two other bartenders working,” Nolan said. “Merrick and Tay.”
“I have no idea who they are.”
Nolan’s laugh was rich and inviting. Like a warm breeze sliding over him. Warmth was exactly what Flint needed since he was shivering from the dang cold.
Unsure what else to do, he let Nolan lead him away.
Unsure what to do, Flint got up and went back to the living room. Of course Nolan followed. “Why are you running from me?”
“It’s not you.”
Nolan held up his hand. “Don’t you dare give me the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech.”
“The what?” Flint had no idea what Nolan was talking about.
Nolan took a seat on the couch, but Flint remained standing. “Nothing. Just tell me why you always dodge my advances, Flint. We both know the score. We’re mates. Claiming is as natural as breathing to our kind.”
“Nonhumans.” Flint nodded, trying to stall. “I’m well aware of what this means for us.”
Flint rubbed his eyebrows as he exhaled. “Because I’ve never been with anyone intimately.” There, he’d said it. Just put it out there. It wasn’t like Nolan wouldn’t find out. Flint was inexperienced, and it would show if, no, when things progressed.
Flint was drawn to his mate, intensely, but found it embarrassing to confess the truth. He approached the couch, staring down at Nolan’s handsome face, gazing into his gorgeous eyes.
Walking along the back of the couch, Flint ran his fingers over the fabric, watching the way Nolan breathed, the way his hand rested on his chest. His fingers were large, thick, and Flint wondered what they would feel like caressing his body.
He might have been inexperienced, but Flint had seen a few pornos. Not that he watched that stuff a lot, but curiosity had made him find a few gay websites where he saw how men made love. Well, not made love. It was a porno, after all. Even so, he had a better understanding of the mechanics.
When Flint moved to the other side of the couch, he was pulled down, right on top of Nolan. In a matter of seconds Nolan had unbuckled and unzipped Flint’s pants before Flint knew what was happening. His pants were gone, lying on the floor beside the couch. Flint had never removed his own pants so damn fast and was impressed.
“Need to feel you in my hand,” Nolan growled seductively, making Flint shiver.
Flint lay there staring into the most amazing chocolate-brown eyes. Eyes that ensnared Flint, trapping him and making it almost impossible to look away.
Until Nolan sucked at Flint’s neck, nice and slow and unbelievably gentle. Flint lifted his hips as Nolan stroked him through the cotton of his boxers. Nolan traced a finger along the edge of Flint’s underwear before delving that finger underneath, a strong hand brushing past Flint’s erection before quickly moving away.
“Nolan.” Flint noticed his voice was already strained. It was as rough as gravel, and far too desperate. He didn’t care what he sounded like. Flint just wanted Nolan in the worst way. He wanted his mate to make that deep ache go away.
“This is natural, hon.” Nolan lifted his finger to his mouth and sucked the hand that had just brushed past his cock.
Flint forgot to breathe as he watched. It was intoxicating to watch Nolan, to track his every move, to see the need in his eyes as he stared back at Flint. This was every fantasy Flint had ever had—which weren’t many since he wasn’t experienced—come to life.
In one smooth motion, Nolan had Flint out of his boxers and his hand wrapped around Flint’s cock. The pleasure and intensity had Flint tilting his head back as his mouth went slack. The pressure stayed, a slow stroke from base to tip and a swipe of a thumb over the head that was beaded with pre-cum.
Biting back a moan, Flint thrust into Nolan’s hand in time with the strokes. He heard a soft purr before there was a warm breath at his ear and a firm hand at his stomach, pressing him into the couch.
“We’ll take things as slow as you need me to.” Flint was speechless. Nolan’s face was hardened with determination and control...and want.
Flint’s desperation was back with the mind-numbing kiss that Nolan gave him. Hot. Breathless. Needful. Nolan sucked and licked into Flint’s mouth as his hands gripped Flint’s cock tightly.
Nolan flipped positions and was on top of Flint in seconds, his hard body pressing Flint firmly into the cushions. Flint gasped, surprised and excited as he brushed his knuckles over Nolan’s jaw. He could see himself falling in love with the black panther. It would be so easy to love his mate. Nolan was kind, giving, and protective, and sexy as fuck. Not that looks mattered. Not to Flint, anyway. It was what was in someone’s heart, the way they treated others, that drew Flint to a person.
Not in a sexual way. Not until now.
His mate looked at Flint as he continued to stroke Flint’s cock. He started bucking into Nolan’s hand, desperate for friction, for some kind of release. Nolan stopped Flint’s movement easily, pinning him down with his hips.
“Ever had anyone suck your cock?”
Flint shook his head, too speechless to talk. He wanted to know what that felt like, and he was about to find out. He was surprised he didn’t orgasm in that moment from nerves and excitement.
Nolan kept their gazes locked as he slid down Flint’s chest then settled between his legs. The Christmas lights twinkled. The fire in the fireplace added to the ambiance of the room. The crackling sound somehow soothed Flint’s worries and calmed him.
His mate gripped Flint’s cock, the other hand holding Flint’s hips in place, as if afraid Flint wouldn’t be able to control his own body. He probably couldn’t.
Then Nolan took Flint into his mouth.