[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Werewolves, Shape-shifters, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Fever’s Edge was the third town Ansel has moved to in so many months. He is tired of fleeing because of his stalker. Roy Cohrs is relentless, and isn’t going to give up until he has Ansel in his clutches. But Ansel’s luck changes when he meets Liam. Their first encounter was a disaster since Ansel shifted and ran from his mate. Liam is a wolf, and so is Roy, so why should Ansel trust his mate?
Liam is stunned when he discovers the employee of the bookstore is his mate. The little bunny is everything Liam could hope for, except for the fact that Ansel is frightened of him. But Liam isn’t giving up. When he learns of why Ansel is so jumpy, Liam sets out to find his mate’s stalker and destroy him. In the meantime, the two light up the sheets, finding solace and passion in one another.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“I’m fine,” Liam said for the hundredth time since he’d had the magical collar removed from around his neck and he’d been able to shift and heal.
“You got your ass handed to you by two demons,” Lee reminded him. “You were on your deathbed.”
Liam clenched his teeth. That was a headfuck he would save for a later time. He wasn’t ready to process the situation right now. He was still pissed that the demons had gotten the upper hand. It was rare anyone got the drop on him.
When Liam was younger, his dad used to get drunk and beat the crap out of him. He’d made an art of hiding from his old man until the heat had worn off. Liam had gotten damn good at becoming undetectable.
But the demons had known he was following them and had set a trap.
A trap Liam had walked right into.
And what had they done to seal his humiliation? Put a fucking ancient collar on him that no one could get off. No one except the person who had placed it on him.
Liam was grateful he’d been in a coma when the demon had removed it, or he would have torn the bastard apart. From what Ben had told him, the demon was now a resident in the underworld. That wasn’t a good enough punishment in Liam’s opinion.
“Where are you headed?” Lee asked as he fell into step with Liam. “Want some company?”
“Look.” Liam turned to face the wolf. “I appreciate your concern, I really do, but right now I need you to stop hovering.”
A few of the wolves had been like this since Liam had woken from his healing, as if he would break at any second. He wasn’t fragile and resented everyone treating him that way.
“Seriously,” Lee said, “if your thoughts start slipping sideways, I’m here. Just remember that.”
“Thanks.” Liam walked to the underground garage and jumped into his ride. What he needed right now was to get away from the house, to throw himself into something that had nothing to do with demons, comas, collars, or well-intentioned friends.
Liam just needed to blow off some steam, and the way to do that was to find a willing bed partner.
As soon as he reached the downtown area of Fever’s Edge, his phone rang. Liam looked at the screen and then ignored the call from his alpha. Ben was another wolf shifter who kept a close eye on him, and Liam wasn’t in the mood.
Instead of going to Cresting Moon to see if there were any prospects at the restaurant, Liam drove toward the local bookstore. He had no idea why he’d changed routes but was soon parking in the lot and getting out.
He knew exactly why his subconscious had rerouted him. He loved to read, to get lost in mystery or crime novels. They were his guilty pleasure and would help him to forget his problems longer than sex would.
Liam was a frequent customer to A Novel Idea. He and the owner got along great, and Liam wouldn’t mind talking to the guy for a small reprieve from his problems.
As he walked closer to the front door, Liam heard shouting. Standing there was Sheriff Mitch Greeley and some guy Liam had never seen before.
The stranger was cute, short, blond, and so red in the face that his head should have exploded.
He waved a piece of paper at the sheriff. “You’re telling me you can’t let this slide? What kind of two-bit cop are you? Everyone jaywalks!”
“Have you seen the traffic?” Mitch waved a hand behind him. “You nearly got hit by two cars.”
“Stop being extra,” the guy snapped. “Those cars were nowhere near me.”
“Be that as it may,” Mitch said, looking as if he was losing his patience, “the ticket stands.”
“Is this any way to welcome a new resident?” the guy yelled as Mitch walked away, heading to his patrol car.
Liam had to admit the traffic was pretty heavy, but it was Saturday, so most residents were out trying to enjoy the beautiful day.
“What are you looking at?” the pipsqueak barked at Liam. “You here to give me problems, too?”
“Whoa.” Liam held up his hands. “I’m not the enemy. I’m just here to buy some books.”
The guy shoved the ticket into his front pocket, though Liam had no idea how since his jeans were so tight. “Sorry. I’m having a lousy day, and I don’t mean to take it out on you.”
This was not the kind of action Liam was looking for. He ignored the short shit and started toward the door, but when he passed the stranger, something inside him roared to life.
His wolf went nuts, making Liam pause to take a closer look. He scented the air and was shocked to discover that Mr. Tantrum was a bunny shifter. Liam had run across bunny shifters only once in his life, and that guy had been just as feisty as this one.
The stranger stomped inside, and Liam followed, curious at his sudden attraction to someone so rude.
Could he be…?
The guy moved behind the counter, telling Liam that the bunny worked there.
“I haven’t seen you around here before,” Liam said as he stopped and rested an arm on the counter. “Where’s Mr. Puddle?”
“I just started a week ago. Mr. Puddle gave me this job so he could spend more time at home. He’s getting up there in age.” The guy took a deep breath and let it out slowly and then stuck his hand out. “I’m Ansel Gretchen.”
Liam was not going associate the name with Hansel and Gretel, but god, it was so tempting, just like the guy standing in front of him. It was possible his day was already looking up.
“Liam.” He shook Ansel’s hand. “How do you like the town so far?”
Ansel glared at the door, and that was when Liam noticed that the bunny had the most amazing blue eyes he’d ever seen. “Fine until ten minutes ago. I swear there weren’t any cars about to hit me. The sheriff was over exaggerating. He probably gets a bonus from every ticket he writes.”
Liam chuckled. “I doubt it works that way.”
The softest scent of baked cookies and hot apple cider wafted toward Liam. The store usually smelled of old paper and cardboard, but not right now. Right now Liam was inhaling heaven. Had Mr. Puddle added a coffee station and sweets to the store?
Ansel turned his frosty look on Liam. “Let me guess, the sheriff is a buddy of yours.”
“Well, he is a friend of the pack.”
“Pack?” Ansel sniffed at Liam, his button nose twitching. “You’re a wolf.”
Liam grinned. “Nothing gets by you, little bunny.”
“I swear,” Ansel said toward the ceiling, “if you give me another chance, I won’t blow it this time.” He had no clue who he was talking to, but it felt good to say that out loud, as if he had a bargaining chip he could turn in.
He looked up when the door opened. Ansel half expected it to be Roy, but it wasn’t.
It was Liam.
Hell. That had worked. Ansel couldn’t believe it had really worked.
He looked back at the ceiling and whispered, “And give me a million dollars.”
It had been worth a shot.
Was Liam really there? Ansel’s mind went completely blank as his breath caught. He wasn’t sure what to say or if Liam even wanted to hear him speak. Ansel’s pulse thrashed in his ears as he scrunched the tissue in his hand, waiting to see what Liam would say or do.
“I figured I’d give you time to cool off.” Liam stayed by the door, as if he were waiting to be rejected again.
Ansel thought about the song Liam had hummed to him, the way he’d tried his best to soothe the scared bunny, even after Ansel had bitten him.
God, Ansel really had acted like a complete shit.
He came from behind the counter but stopped a few feet away from his mate. “It did give me time to reflect.”
When Liam reached out and wiped away a stray tear, Ansel’s breath caught again. His bunny didn’t care if Liam was a wolf. It didn’t care one single bit. It was jumping around inside Ansel, desperate to get out.
“Do we need to do a second do-over?”
Ansel twisted his hands in front of him as he stared at his feet. “Why would you give me another chance? I keep blowing them with you. As you can tell, I’m highly emotional.”
“Yeah, I see that, but I would never really give up on you. We’re mates, and no matter what, we work out our problems.”
Before Ansel knew what was happening, Liam pulled him close and lowered his head, crashing their lips together.
Oh god, Ansel was going to faint. Liam must have drunk something sugary, because his lips tasted sweet. He cupped Ansel’s face, tilting his head for better access as Ansel clung to him, drowning in the kiss.
Their kiss didn’t stop as Liam walked backward and locked the door. Ansel was so caught up in the moment that Mr. Puddle could have walked in and fired him and he wouldn’t have cared.
“You taste so sweet,” Liam said when they finally broke apart for air.
“Funny, I was just thinking the same thing.” Ansel went in for another hot, steamy kiss that made his freaking toes curl. Why had no one ever kissed him like this before?
Not a single past boyfriend had ever been this passionate about Ansel before. It was as if Liam couldn’t get enough of him. Ansel clung to his mate as Liam carried him to the back and cleared the antique desk with one swipe of his hand.
The animalistic look in his eyes made Ansel’s heart kick into high gear.
“I’ve had enough crap in my life,” Liam said with a low growl. “You’re the one good thing, and we’re not going to screw this up. You belong to me, Ansel. Got that?”
Why did Liam’s possessiveness turn him on while Roy’s scared the crap out of him? Ansel quickly shoved thoughts of Roy from his mind.
“Beat on your chest like a caveman and I’ll say yes.” Ansel was just teasing, calling out Liam for his Neanderthal ways, but damn if his mate didn’t look sexy when he did just that.
“Me wolf want you bunny.” Liam continued to beat on his chest. “You bend over so wolf claim you.”
Ansel burst out laughing. He’d never had this much fun when it came to sex, and all they’d done so far was kiss.
“Wolf gonna eat bunny,” Ansel said.
Liam drew in close, their lips almost touching. “Only in the most pleasurable way, my sweet little bunny.”
Ansel shivered at the way Liam gazed at him with those gorgeous light gray eyes. “Promise me you aren’t an asshole.”
Liam pressed himself closer, his groin against Ansel’s jean-clad butt. Ansel’s erection was hard and thick, pulsing as his breathing quickened.
“Not an asshole, babe.” In a flash Liam seized Ansel’s lips again. The movement brought Liam closer, his hard chest pressed against Ansel’s, reminding he was dealing with all man.
All logic abandoned Ansel. His protests were forgotten under the sweet, sweet assault. Ansel involuntarily flexed his hips, gasping at how good it felt to have Liam’s weight pressed against him.
Liam nipped at Ansel’s throat, the sharp sting sending ripples of pleasure through him as Liam threaded his fingers through Ansel’s hair. “So fucking sexy, my little bunny. Such a tight, tempting body that I want to possess.”
Ansel felt overwhelmed, but at the same time, he didn’t want Liam to ease away from him. Something melted in his gut, as if his bunny recognized the wolf and wanted him with a desperate need Ansel had never felt before. A desire to be owned by Liam.
Blood pounded dizzily in Ansel’s head as Liam reached between them and unsnapped his pants. He teased Ansel’s sensitive flesh with the tip of his finger, making Ansel nearly beg the man to fuck him.
“So soft,” Liam murmured against Ansel’s ear. “I could pet you all day.”
Boldness engulfed Ansel as he sucked in a deep breath. “There’s one part of me that’s dying to be petted.”
A thick hand slid down Ansel’s body and didn’t stop. Liam pressed his hand between Ansel’s skin and his underwear, circling his fist around his pulsing cock. He pulled Ansel’s cock free, showing off the bulbous head that had dots of pre-cum surrounding the slit.
“Is this where you need petting?”
“Stroking,” Ansel corrected as he swallowed roughly. He was seated on the desk, his back against the wall, making him feel hunched over, but Ansel couldn’t bring himself to move.
“With my mouth?” The side of Liam’s mouth twisted into a sinful smile. The intensity in his eyes made Ansel shudder. His mate was fully focused on him, intent on whatever he planned on doing to him.
Ansel cried out when Liam swiped his tongue over the head, licking away the pre-cum. His body was coiled, ready to explode at any second.
“Let’s not neglect the rest.” Liam took Ansel’s cock all the way down his throat, squeezing it as Ansel’s legs shook, as did his breath.