[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Shape-shifters, Paranormal, MM, HEA]
On a journey to find his own path in life, lion shifter and cousin to the Sanchez royals of Milson Valley, Jax Turner takes off on an adventure to find clarity and meaning. His journey of self-discovery doesn't include finding his Fated mate, and Jax doesn't react well. At first, he is reluctant to approach Quentin Bakker, then after one night together, confused, knowing he has to make decisions and that he isn’t ready to, Jax leaves.
At first Quentin is crushed. His Fated soul mate doesn't want him. He throws himself into his jam making business, determined to let Jax go. That’s what mates do, put the other first, even if it hurts.
Sorting himself out takes longer than Jax thought. But armed with an inkling of what he wants to do with his life, now Jax has to convince Quentin he’s sorry and back for good. And he wants Quentin more than anything in this world.
“Why are you looking for Jax?” Quentin asked.
“That’s a bit of a story.” Baron growled a little. “The basics are Jax didn’t like an order and decided the best way to handle it was disobeying, flipping me off, and running away.”
Well, that was quite a basic story. Quentin nodded and continued sipping his drink. “Okay.”
“We’re here to take Jax back to Milson Valley,” Marco said, turning in the passenger seat to look back at Quentin. “That’s where he lives, with us, his family.”
“Oh.” Quentin nodded. “Okay, I understand.”
“Do you?” Baron studied Quentin in the rear-view mirror. “Mates are destined. That means you and Jax will need to work out the living arrangements.”
His phone dinged. Taking a long sip of coffee first, Quentin then took his phone out of his pocket and opened a text message. He read it then re-read to make sure he wasn’t misunderstanding. Nope, the second time was exactly the same as the first. Jax had dumped him via text. The old “it’s not you, it’s me” line.
It actually made perfect sense. Once they were in bed together, Jax was a dynamo, but before that and after, he’d first bemoaned finding a mate then, after they’d had sex, was very quiet and looked worried.
Quentin was fairly laid back and realistic about life and himself. He was no Einstein, but he wasn’t dumb, and he was an above-average administration officer. He wasn’t unattractive. His hair was stylish and a deep sable color, his eyes a rich hazel. He was kind, very kind. He liked doing nice things for family, friends, and strangers.
He didn’t believe in class systems and anyone being better than anyone else. Everyone was equal. Except Jeremy Neuman. He was a pile of dung. The creep used to peek into women’s windows and take photos.
Jax dumping him was logical, considering how conflicted and even frustrated and annoyed he’d been. Quentin probably should have paid more attention to the signs, but he’d been caught up in finding his mate and enjoying the amazing chemistry between them.
Last night he was ready to claim and bond with Jax. As Fated mates, the instinct to bond was incredibly powerful. Jax said no, give themselves time to get to know one another. And now Jax was gone.
Loyalty to his mate had Quentin holding his tongue. Baron had said Jax ran away. Quentin didn’t know if that meant Jax was in trouble with his pride and might be severely reprimanded. He didn’t know how prides worked really and didn’t want to take the chance of causing Jax difficulties or harm. He remained quiet and, once at his place, let his parents say Jax was long gone. After that, Quentin mentioned he’d received a text from Jax telling him they weren’t going to be mates and he had left.
It was hours before Baron, Marco, and a few of their pride soldiers left the Bakker farm. They searched every inch of the property, quizzed the Bakkers again, and Baron was very adamant he would find Jax and that Jax and Quentin would claim and bond as was fated. Quentin didn’t argue, but he had his own thoughts on what was going to happen. It sounded like Jax had a lot going on and he really hadn’t wanted a mate, and he’d been surprised to find he had a male mate. Though he had also said that like most paranormals, he was bisexual. A gypsy fortune teller told him his mate would be a female.
Quentin had ignored all the signals Jax gave, and now he got it. Now he knew better.
The Sanchez pride was leaving a few soldiers in the area, though not the farm. Quentin’s parents had shooed them off the property. Quentin doubted Jax would be back, but he understood Baron was being prepared.
While Baron and Marco had been offended on Quentin’s behalf, Quentin just felt numb. When finally alone, he picked up his favorite book, curled up, and tried to read. For a little while it worked. But slowly he couldn’t ignore the hurt. He wouldn’t forget, and he wouldn’t move on. Though their time together was incredibly brief, he and Jax were mates. Their draw to one another, their connection had been deep immediately, and the need to be together was a strong force.
But Jax wanted to be free. To be free of the mate the Fates led him to and matched him with. And apparently to be free of his life with the Sanchez pride also. Jax had made that very clear. Quentin thought of texting, and he thought of calling, but his brief time with Jax told him Jax would go his own way when he wanted.
Quentin would get through this. Maybe he’d never be the same, but he’d do his best.
Picking his mate up around the waist, Jax kicked the office door open. Quentin gave a breathy squeak and wrapped his legs and arms around Jax tightly.
“I want you, Quentin Bakker.” Jax sat Quentin’s cute ass on the table his mate used as a desk. “I love the way you blink your pretty hazel eyes. I love that you have bizarre taste in pizza toppings, and I love that you’re my mate. I’m sorry I ever made you doubt that, baby.”
It was true. Jax was sorrier than he could ever express. One day he hoped Quentin would believe him. For now, he helped Quentin pull his blue and black striped, three-quarter-sleeve top up over his head and dropped it beneath the table.
“I forgave you, Jax.” Quentin tugged at the hem of Jax’s top. “I guess it will take longer to feel absolutely certain.”
Cupping Quentin’s cute face, Jax felt a heavy sadness for the hurt he’d caused his mate and the resulting lack of faith and trust. These feelings would take time to repair. All he could do was be true and honest.
“Thank you for giving me a second chance.”
“You’re welcome. I have a feeling you’re worth it.”
Jax was going to do his best to live up to his mate’s belief.
They stripped off their clothes, sharing kisses between tossing clothing aside. When they were finally naked, their hands caressing one another, Jax placed the small bottle of lube he had in his pocket on the table. He was always hopeful with Quentin. He was prepared and had actually once been a Boy Scout.
“Not on the table.” Quentin urged Jax over to the office chair. “It’s not stable.”
Jax was happy to take Quentin on the floor, against the wall, or in the chair if that’s what his mate wanted. He grabbed the lube and sat in the chair, pulling Quentin down on top of him.
It was awkward, and private parts were bumped and a knee was shoved into Jax’s stomach. Still, their lips sought each other, their bodies found their joint rhythm, and passion grew stronger. He liked learning what his lover enjoyed, that running his hands along the sides of Quentin’s body caused gasps and wiggling on his lap. When he nibbled the flesh of his mate’s collarbones, Quentin moaned and offered his throat.
Taking his time, luxuriating in every stroke, every lick of pebbled nipples, of dewy soft flesh, Jax filled his hands and mouth with every inch of Quentin he could reach, teasing his ball sac, rubbing their cocks together, stroking till they were both leaking pre-cum, their breathing labored, and their needs fierce and demanding.
Wrapping his arms around his mate’s hot, naked body, Jax drew a pink nipple into his mouth, loving the taste, enjoying how it tightened to a hard, little nub. He could lick, suck, and play with Quentin’s nipples for hours, loving the gasps and moans as Jax flicked with his tongue, nipped with his teeth, and sucked. His right hand trailed down to his mate’s ass, slipping between the cheeks and finding the little hole. He rubbed lightly, wanting to drive himself inside again and again until they were both wet and sated.
Quentin stiffened, his cock jerking, and pre-cum spurted.
Breaking their kiss, Jax grunted a growl. “Baby, do you want this to go any further?”
“If we stop, I’ll self-combust. Do you want to stop?”
“Fuck no. Just making sure.”
Quentin held up the lube. “Hand out.”
With his fingers now smothered in lubricant, Jax reached around and glided them between Quentin’s spread cheeks, teasing and rubbing until the muscles loosened enough for him to slide the tip of his finger inside.
“More. I want to feel you stretch me.”
Jax willingly obliged, working his fingers inside, taking time for Quentin to adjust. Once Jax felt sure Quentin was ready, he removed his fingers and Quentin drizzled lube over Jax’s cock. With a tight grip, Quentin jerked him slowly from head to root, lathering him up before holding him still.
Quentin took Jax’s cock inside in one smooth movement, both gasping at the feel as Jax’s cock was squeezed in the wonderful, snug warmth of his mate.