[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Shape-shifters, Paranormal, Fantasy, MM, HEA]
Pulling an innocent man into the danger Khari was running from wasn’t his first choice. He’d tried his best to keep Ridge at arm’s length, but the bear shifter wasn’t having it. Homeless, on the run, and terrified, Khari accepted Ridge’s offer for menial labor, something that would put money in his pocket. What Khari hadn’t expected when meeting the guy was the fierce attraction. Yet, Khari held back, unsure who he could trust when his life was in such jeopardy.
After losing his beloved sister, Ridge worked for the Ultionem. But it left a dark mark on his soul. That wasn’t who he was and went against his gentle nature. Until a slip of a demon approached him one night for food. Khari was guarded, afraid, and Ridge’s mate. Now Ridge would do anything to keep Khari safe, even go back to being a killer to grind the enemy into dust.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Khari grabbed the glass and drank half of the contents. Maybe he could fill up on water. It was better than nothing.
The guy next to him pushed his basket of wings aside. Not all of them had been eaten. Khari eyed them hard, practically tasting them just from the smell alone.
“Are…are y-you going to finish those?” Khari winced. Another thing he’d discovered since on the run was that people hated beggars. That was why he tried so hard to find work instead of panhandling. That and his pride.
The guy looked him over. He had warm, honey-colored eyes that seemed to soften the ruggish features of his handsome face. The stranger pushed the basket to Khari. “They’re pretty good.”
Khari gave a weak smile as his stomach tried to eat its way out. “Thank you.”
There were only six wings left, but they were the best six wings Khari had ever tasted. Okay, second best. King Wings in the demon realm couldn’t be beat. He should know since he’d worked there for years.
In a matter of moments, the six wings were demolished. Too bad he was still hungry.
“Hey, Merrick,” the guy next to him called. “Bring me another batch of those wings and throw in some fries.” He looked at Khari. “Want anything to drink?”
Khari shook his head. “I don’t have a way to pay for any of this.”
The guy stuck out his hand. “I’m Ridge.”
“Khari.” He shouldn’t have given his real name, but he hadn’t expected Ridge to introduce himself so Khari was thrown off enough to give an honest answer.
“I didn’t ask if you were paying. I offered,” Ridge said. “What do you want to drink?”
Khari bit his lip. He’d learned long ago that no one gave anything for free. Why was Ridge being so nice, and what was his angle?
Ridge leaned in closer and lowered his voice. “Just helping someone down on his luck. I promise I’m not looking for repayment.”
From the closeness, Khari could scent that Ridge was a bear shifter. “Any kind of pop.”
“Soda,” Khari explained. He knew that, depending on where a person lived, the drink was called either pop or soda and sometimes soda pop.
“Not a drinker?” Ridge asked.
Alcohol was the last thing Khari needed. He’d seen what Red Spanking had done to his father, how it had turned him into a raging alcoholic, and he wanted no part of that.
His dad was a mean drunk, selfish and abusive, and that was why Khari had moved out at such a young age and made a life on his own.
Until Thiago had come along and turned Khari’s life upside down.
Khari had even planned on moving to Serenity City—a really nice city in the demon realm—as soon as he’d had enough money saved. But one of Thiago’s men had broken into Khari’s apartment and robbed him blind.
Not that Khari had had much to steal, but the thug had taken his savings, which Khari had kept stashed under his mattress.
Now Khari was jobless, no savings, no home, and running out of options. That was why he wanted an ID. He would prefer the one he already had, but that was still in his apartment.
Unfortunately, you had to know a guy to get an ID when you were a nonhuman. It was just how things were. He needed someone who could fudge the birth year. If Khari had gone to a normal human place to get one, they would have tossed him out if he’d told them he was damn near a thousand years old.
He also didn’t have the required paperwork a human place would demand he have. Sometimes life truly sucked. He was currently trying his best to save any money he made—minus his phone bill and food—to get an ID made.
Which was no money at this point.
Khari damn near drooled when the food arrived and a “soda” was set in front of him. He reminded himself not to wolf everything down. He was hungry, not a savage.
Halfway through eating, he looked up at Ridge, who’d been watching him a little too closely. “Seriously, how can I repay you for this food?”
Maybe Ridge had things around the house he needed done or a business he owned where Khari could give him free labor.
“I’m not pressed over twelve dollars.” Ridge smiled. “Just enjoy your meal.”
He was the first nice person Khari had met since on the run. Merrick had been nice, too, but not like Ridge. “Again, thank you.”
“Nice bracelet.” Ridge tapped the black onyx beads with the tip of his finger.
It was the only thing Khari had of his mother’s. He wore it religiously and hardly ever took it off. She’d died when he was young, and he felt foolish for wearing it since he hardly remembered her, but it made him feel closer to her.
He told Ridge as much. Khari wasn’t sure why he was being so honest, opening up to a stranger when he never opened up to anyone. It was just so easy to talk to the bear shifter.
“Are you looking for work?” Ridge took a drink of his beer, side-eyeing Khari. “I could pay you for odd jobs.”
It was as though Ridge had read his mind. Khari shoved a bunch of fries into his mouth, wondering if it was wise. Sure, he needed the money, but there was just something about Ridge that gave him pause. Maybe it was the way Ridge kept eyeing him so closely. The guy was certainly nice enough, but Khari didn’t trust anyone—not since his flight from the demon realm—and that was too bad.
Constantly looking over your shoulder sucked. Unable to trust anyone sucked even more, especially when you really wanted to, but life had taught Khari that not every smile was trustworthy.
“Yeah.” Though Khari wasn’t sure he would do anything for the guy. He would be lying if he said he hadn’t considered selling his body, but Khari had never been able to bring himself to do that. And Ridge was damn good looking. Would he want sex for money? Was that what those looks were all about? Was the offer of odd jobs a way to lure Khari to the guy’s house?
Ridge reached over the counter and grabbed a napkin and pen then scribbled on it. “Here’s my address. You can be at my place around ten tomorrow morning.”
Out of politeness and gratitude for his meal, Khari took it and stuffed the napkin into his pocket. “Ten. I’ll be there.”
Why had Ridge threatening to put Khari over his knee turned him on? It shouldn’t have. He’d never been spanked in his life, but the thought of Ridge leaving a handprint on his ass had Khari half hard.
They drove back to Ridge’s in silence. Khari wasn’t sure what to say. His mate looked seven kinds of pissed as he drove, and Khari didn’t want Ridge yelling at him now that the immediate threat was over.
Khari only wanted to feel safe after the ordeal he’d just been through. Taking a chance, he scooted a bit closer, relieved Ridge hadn’t told him to move back to his side of the truck.
“I’m sorry I took off.” Khari rested his hand on Ridge’s thigh. “I panicked when you told me what you’d done. I didn’t want you reverting back to that kind of life for me.”
Khari slid his hand up Ridge’s chest, holding back his smile when his mate let a tiny moan escape. This was something Khari had seen on television a million times. People making out in the back of a taxicab or in their own vehicle.
Would it be as fun and sensual as it looked? Khari really wanted to find out. He watched Ridge’s reaction as he unfastened his mate’s pants and reached into his underwear, circling his hand around his mate’s fat cock.
Ridge didn’t ask what Khari was doing or say that he’d lost his mind. He glanced down at Khari before looking back at the road. Encouraged, Khari licked his lips before leaning over and taking the head into his mouth.
Ridge hissed as the truck swerved slightly. Khari breathed out of his nose as he opened wider, feeling the sides of his mouth burn with the stretch. His tongue played over the thick veins as he began to bob his head. He could hear guttural moans falling from Ridge as he tried his best to suck his mate off.
Khari whimpered when he felt a hand slide down the back of his pants. He wanted to get fucked right here on the back road.
Now it was Khari who was moaning as he took Ridge’s cock deeper into his mouth, feeling the head tap against the back of his throat.
The truck swerved again, but this time, Ridge stopped, shoving the gear into Park. He moved the seat as far back as it would go, giving Khari much more room to explore.
He didn’t even care if they were out in the open. If someone came by and stopped to see what was going on, they would get an eyeful.
Ridge pushed his jeans and underwear down his legs, palming the base of his cock as Khari slurped and licked, sucked and swallowed. His mate’s hand carded through Khari’s hair as he groaned, his fingers tightening every so often.
The hand that had slid down Khari’s pants was now squeezing his globes, one finger tracing his hole. Khari didn’t think he’d ever been this turned on in his life. He rocked back against the finger, wishing it would slip inside of him.
He nearly cried out in protest when Ridge pulled his hand away, but he spit on his finger then returned it to Khari’s aching hole. As he took as much of Ridge’s length as he could, Ridge pressed his finger inside Khari’s body.
Khari felt like a wanton slut as he moaned and wiggled his ass, trying to drive the finger deeper.
“Oh, crap, Khari.” Ridge threw his head back as he thrust upward, fucking Khari’s mouth. “That’s it, baby.”
With Ridge’s cock still buried in his mouth, Khari shoved his hand lower, palming his mate’s balls. Ridge hissed, driving his finger fast and deeper until he pulled it free.
“Get those pants off and climb onto my lap.” Ridge shoved his pants and underwear down to his ankles when Khari moved back and did as he was told.
Excitement sang through him, making his cock so hard that Khari was ready to take matters into his own hands to find relief.
“What about lube?” Khari asked as he kicked his shoes off then slid off pants and underwear.
“There’s a brand-new bottle in the glove box.”
Khari stopped and arched a brow. “Why on earth would you have a bottle in there?”
Should he be jealous? Did Ridge have sex in his truck so often that he had to keep replacing the lube?
“Don’t you get that look.” Ridge wiggled a finger at him. “I got it the night I discovered you were my mate. I wasn’t sure how the sex would play out between us, and I just wanted to be prepared.”
“Keep to that excuse,” Khari warned as he grabbed the bottle from the glove box.
“What?” Ridge looked wide-eyed at him. “It’s the truth.”
Khari slapped the bottle into the palm of Ridge’s hand. “Just slick me up so I can ride you.”
Ridge chuckled. “Yes, sir.”
As he watched Ridge lube himself, the way his hand glided over his own cock, Khari’s mouth watered. If his mate was truly pissed at him, Ridge wasn’t showing it. Right now, Ridge looked like he wanted to devour him.
Ridge patted his thigh. “Get up here, hon.”
Khari climbed over the center console and straddled Ridge’s legs. It wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be. His right leg kept pressing into the door, making the position a bit uncomfortable, but hell if he wasn’t going to deal with it and take the ride of his life.
Pressing his hands into Ridge’s firm chest, Khari lifted his ass. Ridge grabbed the base and guided the head to Khari’s hole. Then Khari slowly eased downward.
His ass stretched and burned as he took Ridge’s cock into his body. Khari hissed until Ridge yanked him forward, kissing him like he was branding Khari. Then he released Khari and pressed his hands against Khari’s hips.