Justin wasn’t planning on moving to Gillham. He doesn’t have a reason, except that his best friend has just bonded with his mate and now lives there. But when Justin helps Pryderi move, he meets Pryderi’s brother, Yedley—his mate.
Yedley has no idea what he’s doing. He has a chance at a new life, but he doesn’t know where to start until Fate takes that decision away from him and puts Justin in his path. But meeting his mate doesn’t solve Yedley’s problems. Justin is there for him, but Yedley still needs to come out to his parents and find his way in life. He needs to let Justin become close, even though he’s still trying to get over his kidnapping and the time he spent with the Beasts, and he doesn’t know how to do that.
The danger the Beasts represent is still looming, and Justin is glad when his transfer request to Gillham is accepted, because it means he can be close to his mate and keep him safe. It’s a new start for both him and Yedley, but they’ll have to find their way around each other—and around their bond.
Yedley was happy. He hated that it had taken him being kidnapped to find his brother, but it was better than not having Pryderi at all. He could do without having to help his brother move, though.
“I thought you were going to help me?” Pryderi asked when Yedley opened the door of Calvin’s room.
Yedley grinned at him. “I’ll help you unpack.” There was no way he was walking up and down the stairs, not when he knew Calvin was uncomfortable with having someone who wasn’t part of their small family in the apartment. Pryderi had asked his best friend to help him move, and while Yedley didn’t blame him since it meant he didn’t have to help, he wished something could be done to make Calvin more comfortable.
“I suppose it’s better than nothing. Lunch is ready.”
“We’ll be right there.”
Pryderi walked away, and Yedley closed the door and turned toward Calvin. Calvin was on his bed, curled up with his back against the wall. It was his usual position, as if he expected someone to attack him. He probably did, considering what had happened to him. “You heard Pryderi. Lunch is ready.”
Calvin looked like he might decide not to have lunch, but he’d already tried that a few times and Yedley hadn’t gone along with it. Calvin needed to eat after all the time he’d spent between labs and the Beasts, and Yedley wouldn’t allow him to stay in his room only because Pryderi’s friend was there.
“He’s my brother’s best friend,” Yedley said. “Pryderi wouldn’t have asked him to help if he didn’t trust him.”
Calvin sighed. “I’m not trying to make this difficult, I swear.”
“I know you’re not. Come on. You can peek inside the kitchen and decide if you want to eat with us or bring your lunch back here.”
Yedley hated the thought of Calvin eating alone in his bedroom, but he didn’t want Calvin to freak out because a stranger was there. It would take him some time to get used to having people who weren’t planning to hurt him around. Yedley didn’t want to push him too hard.
Pryderi was leaving the bathroom when Yedley and Calvin got there. Pryderi waited for them to wash their hands, keeping his distance from Calvin. Yedley was grateful his brother did that without having to be asked. The three of them—Yedley, Pryderi, and Nate—might not know what Calvin had been through, but they were aware it had been hell for him, and they all wanted him to be happy sharing the apartment with them as a family. There was a lot of walking around on eggshells and making sure he wasn’t freaking out, but it was a small price to pay.
“Are you sure your brother’s friend is okay?” Calvin asked, leaning close to Yedley as they walked toward the kitchen.
“Well, I’ve never met him, but I trust my brother, and if he trusts this guy, then I do, too.”
The corner of Calvin’s lips curled up. “That’s a lot of trust.”
And that was precisely what Calvin was missing in his life, but Yedley didn’t say that. Calvin was aware of it, and there was no need to hurt him more than he already was.
Yedley followed Calvin into the kitchen, but he froze as soon as he saw the man already in there. Justin. It couldn’t be anyone else, since there was only one person helping today.
Justin was Yedley’s mate.
What was Yedley supposed to do? He wanted to talk to Justin. He wanted to run away.
He’d never imagined he’d meet his mate. He probably should have, but he’d been so busy and worried over his kidnapping and the time he’d spent with the Beasts, and of course, possibly having to come out to his parents if he ever got free, that the thought hadn’t gone through his mind.
And now he was staring at his mate. As far as he could see, Justin hadn’t realized something was happening. That was good. No matter how much Yedley wanted to talk to Justin, he had no idea what he’d say to him, or even if he’d be able to get a word out of his mouth. “He’s single,” Pryderi murmured. He tried to push Yedley into the room, but Yedley wasn’t moving. He couldn’t move.
He forced himself to swallow. “You’re sure?” He was confused, but knowing that his mate didn’t have a boyfriend made him feel better.
“Yeah. He’s one of my best friends. I’d know if he had someone, even though I haven’t been spending a lot of time in Whitedell lately.”
Yedley nodded, mostly to himself. He was relieved he wouldn’t have to take his mate away from someone else, but that didn’t mean he had even the slightest idea of what to do now. “Good.”
God. What would Pryderi think about this? Would he be happy that his brother and his best friend were mates? Or would he get angry? Yedley supposed there was only one way to find out. “Yeah. I’d hate to think of my mate with another man.” Or woman. Yedley didn’t know Justin. He didn’t even know if Justin was gay, or if he liked men at all.
“What?” Pryderi looked nonplussed as if he didn’t quite believe what Yedley had just told him.
Yedley didn’t blame him. “He’s my mate.” Yedley didn’t want to analyze his feelings about it too closely. They were a jumble of hope that Justin would want him in his life and they could be happy, fear that Justin wouldn’t want him, happiness at having found his mate, and a whole bunch of other things Yedley hadn’t even been aware he could feel at the same time.
Pryderi blinked. “Justin?”