Kerwin is training to be a council assassin against his mother’s wishes, but then he does a lot of things against his mother’s wishes. The only thing she wants for him is to marry a nice demon woman and have lots of demon babies, so when he finds himself on a surprise blind date she organized, he grabs the first cute guy he finds and tells his date he has a boyfriend.
Fergus was at the coffee shop to meet his best friend, not to play fake boyfriend—to his mate? When Kerwin leaves, Fergus panics because he hasn’t had the time to tell him they’re fated to be together, but luckily for him, his best friend knows exactly who Kerwin is. Their problems aren’t over, though.
Fergus and Kerwin are just starting to work things out when Fergus’s sister gives birth to a half-demon baby she doesn’t want. Fergus can’t abandon his nephew, but he also can’t be sure that Kerwin is ready to be not only a mate but also a father. Will he have to choose between being the two?
When Greg reached for Kerwin, Kerwin’s first instinct was to grab him with his tail. It was like a third arm to him, and he was used to relying on it as much as he relied on his other appendages. The problem was that he was supposed to be learning not to rely on it that way. If he wanted to become an assassin, he needed to be able to attack and defend himself without using his tail.
Even though he hated it.
He tightened his tail around his waist and focused on defending himself with his arms instead of throwing it out at Greg. He raised one arm, blocking Greg’s punch, and since he knew the other man, he could predict what Greg would do next.
Kerwin grinned. Sure enough, Greg crouched just a bit and threw out a leg, trying to kick Kerwin off balance. Kerwin unwrapped his tail from his waist and used it for balance, pressing the tip against the ground. He kept himself on his feet, then used his tail to propel himself forward.
“That’s a good use of your tail,” Jamison said from the sideline.
Kerwin beamed. He wanted the trainers to see he was trying, and he was glad they did. It was getting easier, and he was damn proud.
What wasn’t getting easier was not being distracted. Kerwin didn’t feel in danger when he was training with his friends, but he would be when he was in a real fight, something he hadn’t yet experienced. He’d have to keep his focus then, something he wasn’t doing well just now.
And Greg took advantage of it.
Greg twisted and threw out his other leg. It knocked against Kerwin’s calves, and even with his tail out, the force was enough to send Kerwin backward. He circled his arms, trying to keep himself on his feet, but Greg stood in front of him with a grin. He quickly pushed Kerwin, who fell back, his ass hitting the ground.
Jamison clapped his hands. “Good job,” he said.
Greg offered Kerwin his hand, and even though Kerwin was tempted to pout, he took it and allowed Greg to pull him to his feet.
“I ended up on my ass,” he grumbled.
Jamison chuckled. “You did, but you made a conscious effort not to rely on your tail. Instead, you used it the way we’re training you to use it. That’s a win, in my book. You still have to think about not using it when you fight, but it’ll become instinct, and that’s what we’re aiming at.”
Kerwin found himself smiling. If Jamison, who was one of the trainers, told him he’d done a good job, he could believe him. None of the trainers would have said that if it hadn’t been true. They were training Kerwin and the others to become council assassins, and it would be too dangerous to lie to them when it came to this.
At least someone was happy with Kerwin and how he was doing. He couldn’t say the same for his mother, but then she seldom had anything to be happy about when it came to him lately. She had expectations, and unfortunately, they didn’t match Kerwin’s. She had a hard time understanding and wrapping her mind around that.
Kerwin followed Greg to the side of the training area. Two other trainees took their spot, and Kerwin flopped down on the grass next to Wallace. Wallace’s cheeks were flushed and he was still sweating, but from what little Kerwin had seen, he’d done a good job, too.
“Payne kicked my ass,” Wallace whined.
“And was Hawthorne there to see it?”
Kerwin hadn’t thought it possible, but Wallace’s cheeks flushed an even darker red.
“He’s not here today,” Wallace mumbled.
“Then it’s fine, right?”
Wallace rolled his eyes. “Fine? The others saw me.”
“Yeah, but you have a crush on one of our trainers. You know, both of you are adults. No one would care if something happened between the two of you.”
“He’d have to allow me to get close,” Wallace muttered. “But every time he sees me, he runs the other way.”
Kerwin had noticed Hawthorne’s behavior, but it was none of his business. He wanted his friend to be happy, and whether or not that was with Hawthorne didn’t matter. He wished Hawthorne wasn’t making such a visible effort to keep Wallace at arm’s length, though.
Kerwin dried his face with his towel and dug into his bag for his phone. When he found it, he took it out and checked his notifications, groaning when he saw a text from his mother. Wallace leaned against him, peeking at the screen.
“I thought she wasn’t talking to you,” he said.
“Looks like she changed her mind.” Kerwin unlocked the phone. He might as well see what his mother wanted. Trying to ignore it wouldn’t help. If anything, it would make things more challenging, because she’d know he was ignoring her, and she’d be pissed.
And no one wanted to deal with her when she was pissed.
Kerwin opened the message with apprehension. He read it, frowned, then reread it. “Huh. It looks like she decided it was time for us to make peace.”
“Yeah?” Wallace asked.