[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Shape-shifters, Paranormal, Werewolves, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Elijah has accepted the fact that he might always be alone. He was fine with making his pets his fur babies. That was until a stranger entered his shop on a cold and rainy summer day. Elijah knew right away that the black panther was his mate. The problem was, Zane hated wolves. That was an issue considering Elijah was a wolf shifter. Now he feared Zane would reject him, leaving Elijah broken hearted.
Betrayed by those he thought he could trust, Zane had a target on his back. With nowhere to go, and two demons after him, Zane finds himself in Fever’s Edge. Trying to get out of the rain, he runs into the local flower shop, only to discover that fate had given him a wolf shifter as a mate. After wolves had killed his brother, Zane despises them. But he has to put his trust in Elijah’s hands if he was going to keep his mate safe and go after those who betrayed him.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Hardly anyone was on the street. The rain kept most inside. That worked both against and for Zane’s favor. It worked against him because he could have blended into crowds, and now he would be easily spotted out there by himself.
It worked in his favor because he would be able to see if Trent or Bart was following him.
So far he hadn’t seen either demon.
Zane needed to get somewhere dry. He was shivering so badly that his teeth were chattering. It was summer, but the temperature had dropped dramatically. The combination of wet and cold made him miserable.
After a few heartbeats, Zane darted out of the alcove and rounded the corner. A handful of cars were on the street, some waiting at the light. Zane scanned the drivers, making sure Trent or Bart weren’t behind the wheels. He doubted they would be since they were demons, but he wouldn’t put anything past the two.
What he wouldn’t give to still be at home, lounging on the couch, dinner in front of him. Warm. Dry. Ignorant of the betrayal.
Zane would never again put his trust in anyone’s hands. He would never make himself that vulnerable to anyone. How had he not seen the signs? How had he been that blind when all the proof had been right there in front of him the entire time?
Tension flooded his body when he saw two men walking down the street. With the heavy rain and darkness, he couldn’t tell if it was the men after him or just residents.
Zane made a split-second decision and hurried out of the alcove, going through the first door he came to.
A buzzer sounded, telling whoever was inside that someone had entered. Zane looked around and realized he was in a floral shop. The smell of fresh-cut flowers wafted toward him. The room was filled with bright and colorful arraignments. He stood next to a card rack and a shelf filled with small knickknacks one would place in their garden.
Zane looked toward the counter and saw a woman standing there, talking with a worker who was behind the counter. Spools of ribbons hung from the shelf behind the worker, as well as lace and wire, spray bottles, bows, and floral tape.
But it was the employee who caught Zane’s undivided attention. The guy had brown hair with highlights of blond that seemed more greenish under the fluorescent lighting. He looked to be around five-three or five-four.
Pretty damn short for a guy, and even shorter compared to Zane’s height of six-four.
He was also as slim as the stems of flowers. Willowy. Why had Zane thought that? Why was he so interested in the man behind the counter when he was being hunted?
“I promise to have this ready for you, Mrs. Nelson,” the guy said. “I’m just waiting on the shipment that was supposed to be here yesterday, but it’s delayed.”
“So how can you guarantee my order will be ready in time? My daughter gets married only once, and this day has to be perfect. We can’t have a wedding without flowers.”
“If I have to drive to the supplier myself, you’ll have your flowers,” the guy said. “You have my word.”
“Thank you, Elijah.” She smiled. “You’re such a welcomed addition to this town.”
“Aw, thanks.” Elijah blushed. “You go help Charlotte with the wedding details and let me worry about the flowers, okay?”
“You’re such a sweetheart.” She gave him one last smile before she turned and headed for the door.
Zane looked at the shelf beside him, trying his best to hide his face. The less people who spotted him in town, the better.
“Can I help you?”
The voice was right behind him. Sweet and airy. Like musical notes that floated through the air on a warm summer breeze.
“Were you looking for something specific or just browsing?” Elijah asked. “If you tell me the occasion, I can help you pick what would work best, unless she has a favorite flower.”
“There is no she,” Zane said. Not after what Hannah had done. There wouldn’t be a bouquet of flowers waiting for her. Never again.
“Oh, okay. Then what brings you in today?”
Complete and utter betrayal was what had driven him in there.
“I’m sorry,” Zane said. “It was just raining so hard that I had to take shelter.”
“You are soaked to the bone. Why don’t you stand by the vent? I’ll turn some warm air on and stop you from shivering.”
Zane finally turned around. Elijah stood a few feet away, his hands behind his back, smiling up at Zane.
Something struck Zane in his chest. A strange feeling that he didn’t understand. He’d never been attracted to someone so strongly before, and Elijah was just so…pretty.
“I can also whip you up a cup of coffee,” Elijah offered.
Zane fell silent for a moment, trying to figure out the tsunami of emotions crashing through him.
Elijah’s brows dipped. “Are you okay?”
Zane cleared his throat, forcing his gaze away from Elijah’s angelic face. “Are you always this accommodating to strangers?”
His fingers itched to caress Elijah’s cheek, to run through the man’s soft-looking hair. What in god’s name was wrong with him? Why was he thinking about sex when he should be thinking about his next move?
Elijah cocked his head to the side and stared curiously at Zane. “You don’t belong to a small town, do you?”
Zane simply shook his head.
“We do things a little differently here. You’re soaking wet and cold. I have hot coffee and a space heater in the office. Why not offer you comfort when you clearly look miserable?”
“Um, yeah.” Zane slowly nodded. “That would be nice.”
The guy stuck out his hand. “Where are my manners? I’m Elijah.”
Zane hesitated then enveloped Elijah’s delicate fingers in his. “Zane.”
As soon as their hands touched, Zane felt a deep connection, as if some unseen twine curled around their hands, bringing them closer.
But that wasn’t what Zane wanted to play with now. His mate looked just as needy as Zane felt. There had been tension building between them since they first met, even if Zane had buried his desires because of his hate.
Even so, there had been an attraction between them from the start, and Zane was tired of denying what he truly wanted.
It was as if a perfect storm was brewing inside him. The air seeped out of him as Elijah moved forward, pressing his hand against Zane’s chest, making him move backward until the backs of his legs touched the bed.
Zane didn’t say a word. He was interested to see where this was going. He felt snagged in Elijah’s gaze, unable to move or breathe. It was as if the air was trapped in his lungs as Elijah shoved Zane backward, making him fall on the bed.
The plan had been to seduce Elijah, but it seemed the tables had been turned on Zane.
The air between them seemed to crackle as Elijah smiled down at him. Those hazel eyes sparkled with mischief, and Zane wanted to see what his mate would do next.
When Elijah simply stood there, Zane reached for Elijah’s shirt. His mate lifted his arms, and his shirt was tossed aside. Zane ran his hand over Elijah’s sinewy stomach, feeling the hard, flat planes under his fingers. He reached up and brushed his thumbs over his mate’s nipples, smiling lightly when Elijah shivered and his nipples turned into two hard pebbles.
“I’m done waiting for you to make a move.” Elijah was panting, his lips parted, sucking air in and out in a shallow manner.
“So am I.” He shoved Elijah’s pants down to his thighs, and then Elijah stepped out of them, taking off his underwear, as well. A blaze of lust flared inside Zane when Elijah’s cock sprang free, the head already an angry red. His mate’s body was slim, pale, and so gorgeous that Zane almost whimpered to be inside him.
Elijah released his jeans over the side of the bed and then stared down at Zane from the fall of his bangs. The prolonged anticipation was almost unbearable. Zane reached a hand behind Elijah’s head and fisted his mate’s hair, bringing him down in a crashing motion as Zane claimed Elijah’s lips.
His calm was shattered with the hunger building inside of him. The touch of Elijah’s lips against his was a heady sensation that Zane quickly became addicted to. He could kiss Elijah for hours on end and never tire of the man’s sweet taste. The soft swish of Elijah’s tongue only added pleasure to the already-explosive kiss. Zane grabbed the length between his fingers and gave a light tug. Elijah moaned and parted his lips, and pleasure radiated outward as Zane’s tongue swept into the moist mouth of his mate.
The brutality of Cory’s death. His father’s betrayal. Elijah being taken by demons. All that was forgotten in that moment in time. The only thing that mattered to Zane was Elijah. The only thing he cared about was claiming his mate and bonding Elijah to him for all eternity.
Elijah skimmed his delicate hands over Zane’s hard chest until his fingers began to play with Zane’s nipples. Zane groaned at the sensation as his eyelids fluttered closed for a brief second. The kiss was wilder than anything Zane had ever experienced before. Intense. Electrical. Sending sparks between them that could barely be contained.
Zane parted his legs and then pulled his mate between them, their cocks brushing against one another, making Zane’s thoughts spin out of control. Feeling their skin touch unhindered was more exquisite than Zane had even dreamed it would be.
His mate broke the kiss and scooted down Zane’s chest, taking one lone nipple into his mouth. Zane hissed, running his fingers through Elijah’s soft hair, gently scraping his nails over his mate’s scalp.
Elijah’s lips were made of pure silk as they caressed Zane’s skin. It felt as if Zane had died and gone to heaven. Straight to the pearly gates with the way his mate sent ripples of pleasure through him.
None of his fantasies of taking Elijah came close to the real thing. Zane couldn’t keep his hands to himself. He kept rubbing them over his mate’s head, down his back, and gripped his ass, hissing at the thought of burying his cock inside of him.
Elijah closed his lips over the peak and then gently bit Zane’s flesh, rolling the nub around with his teeth. A growl ripped from Zane’s throat. The caress of his lips on Zane’s body sent Zane up in flames.
“You’re driving me crazy,” Zane groaned.
Elijah gazed up at him, his swollen lips parting in a smile. Zane growled at the erotic portrait his mate painted and grabbed the man, pulling him up until Elijah was straddling his hips. Elijah’s cock jutted out, and Zane wrapped his fingers around the heated flesh. His mate moaned, his head rocked back on his shoulder, as Zane began to slowly stroke him.
Elijah’s smile widened, and Zane’s heart was knocked out of the ballpark. “Why do you look so mischievous?”
“Because I finally won you over,” Elijah said. “Was it my sparkling personality or the fact that I became a damsel in distress?
Zane snorted. “You were hardly a damsel in distress. I heard your mouth outside the house. If anything, I should have been rescuing Frick and Frack from you.”
Elijah chuckled as Zane reached behind him with his free hand and circled Elijah’s tight ring of muscles, dipping the tip of his finger inside and then pulling free. He reached over to the nightstand and prayed there was some lube inside the drawer. He wasn’t in his bedroom after all.
He snagged the bottle and released Elijah’s cock, spreading the clear gel onto both hands and then dropping the bottle. He used one lubed hand to stroke his mate’s straining erection while the other made its way back to Elijah’s ass.
“You ready for this?”
The raw pleasure on Elijah’s face said it all. “God, yes.”
Elijah pressed his hands into Zane’s chest, his breath coming out quicker as he stared down at Zane with so much trust and desire that Zane felt his heart seize from the emotions tightening his chest.
Sliding one finger into Elijah’s ass, Zane gripped his mate’s cock harder, their eyes never straying from each other.
Elijah moaned. “I can take more.”
Zane obliged his mate, slipping a second one in next to the first. As much as he wanted to hate the entire wolf population for what had happened to Cody, there was no way Zane could hold on to his anger.
Elijah leaned forward and nipped Zane’s chin, his tongue skimming across his jaw. Zane’s chest began to rise and fall more quickly now, the head of his cock brushing Elijah’s ass and throbbing with need.
His mate brushed a featherlight kiss across Zane’s lips, grinning. “I’ve never had sex with a cat before.”