[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Kicked out when he was a teenager, Horace has proven that he’s a survivor. He’s strong-willed and doesn’t let anyone walk over him. That was mostly true. Sort of. Horace has a bad habit of not speaking up for himself, but not when it came to Keller O’Brien. The guy is a straight-up jerk, and Horace is done giving the guy chances to redeem himself. Until Keller bites him.
Keller has just gotten out of a disastrous relationship and isn’t looking to jump into another one. He didn’t mean to act like a prick toward Horace and is trying to make up for his rudeness. Unfortunately Keller reacts before he knows what’s happening, and bites Horace, forcing the human to go through the change that will enable him to carry Keller’s child. But an ancient creature is after Keller, and he has to keep his mate and unborn child safe, at any cost.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“Now you can enjoy the morning sickness and crazy foods Stevie will want.” Keller winked, though he felt hollow inside. The chances of him becoming a father would never be. He’d been dating Marcus for two years, and if Marcus had been his mate, Keller would’ve known by now.
“Actually, it hasn’t been that bad,” Quinn said. “Not like it was with Layne.”
Layne was Nash’s mate, and the guy had gotten sick at every turn. He’d also delivered two weeks early. What shocked Keller was the fact that a person with the panthera mark didn’t give off pheromones until their twenty-fifth birthday, yet Stevie had given them off two weeks prior.
A person, usually a human, who was born with the panthera mark was able to get pregnant by a panther. That didn’t always mean the panther was their mate, but if a panther’s canines punched through, descended of their own accord, then the panther knew the human was their mate.
Keller’s canines had never done that around Marcus. Not in the two years they’d been dating. Not with all the times he’d discovered how truly unfaithful Marcus had been.
But Keller was done being an idiot. Besides, Marcus was thirty-five, and Keller had known the man’s body intimately. His lover didn’t have the panthera mark, which meant he would never be anyone’s mate.
“Hey, where’d you go?” Quinn slapped Keller on the arm. “You kind of zoned out. Is everything okay with you?”
Keller already felt like a jackass for staying with Marcus for so long. He wasn’t about to tell anyone what a fool he’d been. “No, everything is fine. I’m just tired.”
Faint wrinkles formed between Quinn’s gray eyes. “I hadn’t even thought about that. Did you work and come right here? You must be exhausted.”
Stevie came into the kitchen and looked between them. “I’m hungry. Can we order a pizza with spinach and pineapples?”
Keller grimaced. That sounded completely disgusting. “I’m sure Quinn will get you whatever you want.”
Quinn had his hand against his stomach, appearing a bit green. “Sure, I’ll order your nasty food, but you’re eating that crap all by yourself.”
Keller left them in the kitchen to bicker while he went out to his SUV. He needed to return the rental. He wasn’t sure he would ever go back to California. But if he didn’t, then what? Was he ready to settle back down in Kendall, Georgia? Was he ready to go back to a slower pace of life?
He stood outside, under the large cypress tree, and inhaled deep drafts of his hometown as he listened to the breeze rustle through the trees. When was the last time he’d stopped and done that? He wasn’t sure, but he had a decision to make. Not at the moment. He still had time to figure things out and hated the fact that he missed Marcus.
Saying a curse under his breath, Keller went back inside and dropped onto the couch, telling himself he was the biggest fool alive. Why did he miss such an untrustworthy lover? Ex-lover.
Keller looked toward the front door when it opened. Layne pushed the stroller inside, his friends coming in with him. Keller recalled them from the wake but couldn’t remember their names. His gaze landed on Connor, who was wide-awake and looking around.
“Hey, guys,” Keller said as he scooped the baby from the stroller and cuddled his nephew against his chest. “Missed you, little fella.”
He adored Connor, and his heart ached to have a family of his own, but Keller’s attention was pulled away when he heard yapping. One of the guys with Layne had a tiny dog tucked in his arm.
“You remember Stanton and Horace?” Layne asked. “And that’s Buttercup.” He waved at the dog. “Horace just adopted him from the animal shelter.”
Keller wasn’t fond of dogs. He’d been bitten two separate times when he was a kid. He guessed the dogs had smelled his cat. Buttercup was snarling at Keller, and he had an urge to make the ankle biter wait outside.
“Quiet him down,” Layne said to Horace. “Nash is probably gonna make you take him outside, anyway. He is in a house full of panthers.”
“That’s so weird,” Horace said. “It’s been months, and I still can’t get used to the fact they exist.”
Layne jerked a finger at Keller, and Keller hid his grin. “One is standing right here. Don’t be rude.”
“I wasn’t being rude,” Horace argued as he hugged Buttercup to him. “I was just stating a fact.”
Keller watched as Horace walked to the hallway closet. The human returned with a cleaning cloth and some furniture polish. The guy started cleaning the surfaces in the living room while juggling the tiny dog in one arm.
What an odd thing to do. Who came into someone else’s home and started to clean it? Layne and Stanton didn’t bat an eye, as if Horace did that all the time.
Stevie came into the room and groaned. “Really, Horace? If you keep cleaning when you come over here I might start thinking you think my house is dirty.”
“I can’t help it,” Horace argued. “I see dust, and I have to annihilate it.”
“Where the hell did you get that dog?” Stevie asked. “And why does he keep growling?”
The dog was looking directly at Keller. He probably wanted to take a bite out of Keller’s delicious face. But Buttercup wasn’t what was drawing his attention. Keller was watching the way Horace’s body kept wiggling as he ran the cloth over everything. His gaze locked onto the little human, hypnotized by the sway of his body, that perfectly round ass, and imagined Horace moving that way in bed.
He ripped his gaze away, wondering why he felt so guilty about his thoughts toward Horace. Keller had broken things off with Marcus before he’d left California, although Marcus, as usual, had pretended not to hear him.
Even so, Keller kept his eyes off Horace by leaving the room. He didn’t mind one-night stands. Keller had had his fair share, but right now, his heart wasn’t into anything, let alone indulging in some much-needed release.
He must have dozed, because, when he woke up, the sun was shining brightly in his room and Horace was awake, watching him sleep.
“Am I drooling?” Keller wiped at his mouth. He’d been known to do that from time to time.
“You didn’t bring me any cleaning supplies,” Horace said.
His mate was being too calm, and that concerned Keller. Horace should be shouting at him, not stating a fact.
“Because you needed your rest.”
“Why are you naked?” Horace’s gaze roamed down Keller’s bare chest before his attention snapped back to Keller’s face. Horace blinked a few times, rubbed at his eyes, then looked back at Keller.
“I have my underwear on.” That was all Horace had on, as well. After the two baths he’d given his mate, and as hot and sweaty as he had been, Keller hadn’t wanted to dress him again.
“Why are you in bed with me?” Horace’s gaze slid down Keller’s body again, and Keller could scent his mate’s arousal. The heat would kick in, and soon Horace would beg Keller to fuck him.
This wasn’t how Keller wanted things to be. He’d wanted Horace but in his right frame of mind, not suffering from the heat that would soon engulf him.
“Why am I so horny?” Horace threw back the covers and pointed to his cock. “I’m still pissed at you, but god, I can’t stop thinking about all the naughty things I want you to do to me.”
Keller explained what Horace was going through.
“Are you serious?” Horace sat up, his hair sticking up everywhere. He looked adorable as hell. “So I’m gonna stay this way until you impregnate me?”
“Why do you think I kept apologizing?” Keller sat up. “This isn’t fair to you, but unfortunately, that’s how my world works. I think it’s Mother Nature’s way of ensuring our survival.”
“Mother Nature sucks.” Horace fanned himself, and Keller couldn’t stop staring at his mate’s erection trapped under his pink boxers. There was a large wet spot on the front of his underwear, and Keller was dying to taste Horace.
“Why aren’t you threatening my life?”
Horace pursed his lips. “I’m not the arguing type, and last night gave me a killer headache. So, I’m still very angry at you, but I’m going to talk in a calm voice.”
“I’ll leave if you really want me to,” Keller said. “This isn’t fair to you.”
“You can’t close the gate after the horses have escaped,” Horace groaned. “And I’m not staying like this. I’m so horny I’ll hump your bedpost.”
“But you could get pregnant.”
Horace’s hand stilled. He licked his bottom lip as he gazed at Keller. There was a look in his eyes that Keller couldn’t decipher. Did Horace want to have sex or kill him? Either was a possibility at this point.
“And how does that make you feel?”
“Me?” Keller was shocked Horace was thinking about someone besides himself. “How does it make you feel? That’s what’s important.”
Horace looked so dejected that Keller’s heart ached. “But you don’t even want me.”
Keller started to say that it was complicated, but he didn’t want to use Marcus’s excuse. “Fate thought we would be a good match, and I want to give this a try.” He brushed his knuckles over Horace’s cheek. “So far I like what I’ve found out about you.”
Horace closed his eyes and leaned into Keller’s hand. “Like what?”
“I like your sense of humor. You had me laughing on your porch, and I haven’t laughed like that in a very long time.”
And hadn’t Keller just thought that earlier? That no one had made him laugh like that. But Horace had and more than once.
“I like your quirky personality.” Keller leaned in and brushed his lips across Horace’s. “You’re gorgeous, too.”
Horace’s eyes flew open. “You think I’m hot?”
“I’m sweaty.” Horace smiled, and that grin did Keller in. He rolled Horace to his back. “Tell me to get out. Tell me you don’t want this.”
Horace pursed his lips, and for a second, Keller thought Horace would do just that. “Since you’re using me for a family, I’m gonna make you my sugar daddy.”
Keller pulled back, and Horace laughed. “I was joking! But I do expect to be pampered since you rearranged my insides and want to knock me up. I won’t be able to work for long, and I’ve got bills to pay.”
“Can we discuss all of that later?” Keller was focused on one thing, and his brain wasn’t letting him think about anything else. A knot of need twisted in his groin, and Keller was desperate for relief.
“Are you about to do naughty things to me?”
“Very naughty.” Keller winked. He slid down Horace’s body and pulled his mate’s boxers off, tossing them aside. He heard Horace suck in a breath seconds before he licked the crown of his mate’s cock.
“Do your naughty worst.” Horace spread his legs in invitation.
Keller’s heart jolted and his pulse pounded as Horace’s pre-cum seeped onto his tongue. He wanted to devour the slim male, to consume Horace until they were bound together.
“I-I’ve never had anyone do this for me.” Horace panted his words. “I’ve been missing out on so much.”
Keller pulled back. “You’ve never had a blowjob?”
Horace looked down at him as he narrowed his eyes. “Don’t you dare make fun of me.”
“I’m not.” He arched a brow. “Are you a virgin?”
Horace chuckled. “Not in the slightest. I’ve had my fair share of lovers but nothing serious. Can you get back to what you were doing and we can talk about this later or not talk about it at all?”
“Sex between two people is a natural thing.”
“Don’t you dare get all clinical on me, Dr. O’Brien.”
Horace ran his hand through Keller’s hair, and Keller engulfed his cock again. He reached up and lightly touched Horace’s hardened nipples, tweaking them and smiling around his mate’s cock when Horace cried out.
His panther let out a loud purr as Keller took the cock all the way down his throat. He tightened his throat muscles, squeezing the hard flesh then worked his way back up Horace’s length.
Keller pushed his finger inside his mouth, right next to Horace’s cock, and wet the digit before inserting it into Horace’s ass.