Jude isn’t one for one-night stands, especially when he has a cold, but he can’t resist the cute guy he meets at his best friend’s mom’s wedding. The quickie in the bathroom leaves him satisfied, yet not, because he knows he won’t see the guy ever again.
The last thing Flynn expected was to be introduced to the guy he had sex with at his father’s wedding during a family dinner a few weeks later. Since Jude seems as surprised as Flynn feels, Flynn acts like they’ve never seen each other, but that doesn’t last long after Jude drags him into the bathroom—again.
Jude’s life is a mess, and adding meeting his mate to the mix doesn’t help. It becomes worse when his brother lands on his doorstep after a fight with their bigoted parents. He doesn’t want to give up the chance to be with his mate, but will Flynn accept not being a priority for Jude, at least for a while?
Jude felt like he could barely breathe, but he wouldn’t have missed the wedding. It didn’t matter that his nose was stuffed and that he hadn’t been able to taste any of the amazing food Regan and Maris had chosen. It didn’t matter that he kept coughing in his napkin. Maris was a second mother to him, and he’d needed to be here.
Still, he was glad it was almost over. He’d barely left his chair the entire reception, and he couldn’t wait to go home, take off his suit, and curl up in bed. He was only a few days into this cold, and he couldn’t wait for it to be over.
He leaned back in his chair, wondering when it wouldn’t be rude for him to get up and leave. Billy, his best friend, was too busy to even notice he was thinking about leaving. He was dancing with his boyfriend—mate—and looking happier than Jude could remember him being. In the end, it was a good thing that Billy had decided not to marry his ex-fiancé.
He could have done it in a way that didn’t involve running away the day of their wedding, but everything had ended up okay. Even Robin was doing better, which Jude knew because he’d kept in contact with him.
Jude’s gaze moved to Regan and Maris. Maris was Billy’s mother, and she’d been alone for a long time. Billy had been shocked when his mom had told him she had a boyfriend, but Jude hadn’t. It was time for her to get everything she wanted in life, and she seemed to have found it. She didn’t just have a husband now. With Regan, she’d also gained another three kids, although all of them were adults. She still seemed happy to have a big family, and the smile on her face made Jude smile, too.
He took his fork and poked at what remained of the wedding cake on his plate. He usually loved cake, but he couldn’t taste anything, and it felt like a waste to eat it. He couldn’t afford this cold, not between the wedding, settling down in Green Hill, and getting everything ready for the grand opening of his new bookstore. He didn’t have a choice, unfortunately. His cold was here to stay, and he’d just have to deal with it.
The sound of laughter made him look up. Billy’s head was thrown back, and he was still snickering at something Niall had said. The way those two looked at each other, Jude wouldn’t be surprised if they got married soon. A lot of shifters never did, mostly because they didn’t have to after they bonded, but Niall was human. From the conversations Jude had with him, he thought it was important to Niall for everyone to recognize that he and Billy were together.
Jude didn’t know if he was ready to go through another wedding with Billy, but he would if his best friend headed that way. Hopefully, he wouldn’t get a cold a few days before.
Jude twisted the fork in his fingers. Seeing Maris and Billy find love made him a bit wistful. He’d always been more focused on other things, like his job as a lawyer, but he’d left all of it behind. Moving to Green Hill felt like a new beginning in more ways than just moving to a new town. He’d left a big city for a tiny town. He’d left his job as a lawyer and had no intention of working in law ever again. Instead, he was finally giving in to his childhood dream of opening a bookstore. It might be a stupid dream, but it was his, and he was living it. Maybe asking for love, too, was too much.
But Green Hill was opening up a realm of new opportunities, and Jude didn’t want to miss any of them.
He huffed at his thoughts and got to his feet. This was a wedding, dammit. He couldn’t spend the entire time sitting on a chair thinking about how he was still single while his best friend wasn’t. He wasn’t the kind of guy who did that. Instead, he was the kind of guy who went out there and danced with all the single guys, straight or not. What would come, would come. Jude could do nothing to change the future, but he could stop moping and have a fun evening. Besides, if he stayed on his chair, Maris would eventually notice, and she’d get worried. He didn’t want her to have to go through that on her wedding day.
Jude had taken off his suit jacket and tie an hour ago, and he left them at the table. It wasn’t like anyone would steal them. He made his way to the dance floor, stopping by the bar to get a glass of water before he threw himself into the mix. He might not be able to breathe, but it wouldn’t stop him from dancing.
That was what he did. He stopped thinking about when love would find him. He didn’t need love. He didn’t even need anyone to warm his bed. He had everything he could ever want, and if love was in the cards for him, then it would happen in its own time.
Jude grabbed the first single man he noticed and dragged him into a dance. He knew the man was single because he’d overheard him and his friends talking earlier. He had no idea if the guy was more inclined to ladies, but he didn’t seem to mind that Jude was a guy as they danced. They kept their distance from each other, though, so maybe he was straight.
It didn’t matter.