[The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Contemporary, ManLove, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Vampires, MM, HEA]
Jude Pearson is nearly killed twice, and now all he wants is to be left alone. But his ex-coven leader has different plans. He’s hired an assassin to kill Jude for something Jude had no control over. Things become worse when Deputy Roy Benton invites Jude out, and Jude reluctantly accepts the invitation. He has no clue his mate is the cook at the tavern. There was just one problem. Reese detests vampires.
Reese Baas lost his little brother to a vampire attack a decade ago, and the pain is still fresh. When a panicked man runs into the kitchen at the tavern, Reese is shocked to find out Jude is his mate. Jude also has trouble on his heels, and Reese is torn between helping his mate and walking away. The decision is taken out of his hands when Jude becomes pregnant and the assassin closes in on them.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“You’re gonna need to hire a second cook if you want to expand the menu that much,” Reese argued with his boss, Mike. What did the guy think, that they were some kind of fucking restaurant? They served bar food. If someone wanted more, they could take their ass to The Diner Train.
“It’s just six more items,” Mike said. “I’m sure you can handle it.”
Reese gritted his teeth as his boss walked away. Mike Cage was a cool guy, a normally nice boss, and a person who could be trusted in a pinch. But sometimes he was a downright asshole.
Annoyed, Reese had started to drop a basket of chicken wings into the fryer when the kitchen door crashed open. A slim, pocket-sized guy rushed in, looking frantically around as if the devil was on his heels.
“Great, another drunk to deal with.” More times than Reese could count, drunkards stumbled into the kitchen for one reason or another. Most of the time it was because they thought they were walking into a bathroom. “The restroom is down the hallway,” Reese called out, hoping the guy turned around and left.
Instead, the stranger moved farther into the kitchen, his arms clutched to his chest. He looked terrified. Reese studied him for a moment, noticing the sweat that was gathered over the guy’s brow.
“Did you hear me?” he asked. “Bathroom is down the hallway.”
“I just need—” The stranger closed his eyes and drew in a few short breaths. “So much noise.”
If this person couldn’t handle loud noises, why in the fuck had he gone to a tavern? The guy swayed and swallowed repeatedly as he pressed a hand against the wall.
“Don’t you dare throw up.” Reese hurried across the room to shove the guy out of the kitchen and point him in the direction of the men’s room. There was no way he was gonna clean up someone’s vomit. Just the thought made him want to dry heave.
“I’m not gonna be sick.” The stranger tried to wave Reese away, and that was when the smell of vampire hit Reese.
“Have you been drinking?” He would have to handle the situation differently if the vampire had. Red Spanking was a powerful liquor for nonhumans and fuck if Reese would allow this guy to attack him.
“I don’t drink.” He drew in a few deep breaths and looked a bit steadier.
“Why don’t you take a seat?” Reese led him to a metal folding chair. “Why’re you here if you don’t drink?”
“Stupidity and the delusion that I can have a normal life.” The stranger gave a small, wry laugh. “Thanks for not kicking me out. I’m Jude, by the way. Not that you care or it’s important.”
Jude pressed his elbows into his knees and rested his face in his hands. Reese needed to get back to work, but he couldn’t make himself leave Jude’s side. The vampire looked so hopeless.
Reese hunched down in front of him, trying to make himself seem smaller. “Why can’t you have a normal life?”
It really wasn’t any of his business, but Reese had always tried to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves. Not that Jude needed protecting. The guy just seemed…lost, and not in a directional sort of way.
Jude lifted his head, and that was when Reese took a really good look at him. His eyes were as dark as the midnight sky, his lashes thick, his nose angular, and he had a soft set of lips that Reese suddenly wanted to kiss.
“I made a decision that completely screwed me over.” Jude placed his hands in his lap and stared down at them. “That’s the story of my life.”
“So you came here to drink your sorrows away?”
“No,” Jude said. “I came here thinking I could be friends with the guy I made that decision for. He said our ordeal bonded us, but now I see…” Jude gave a bitter laugh that made Reese’s heart melt for the guy. “Thank you for your kindness, but I should get out of your hair, not dump all this on you.”
With a smile, Reese patted his own shoulder. “They’re tough. You can cry on them and your problems won’t weigh them down.”
Jude opened his mouth, as though he was about to tell Reese what was wrong, when the kitchen door opened and Lacey walked in. The waitress looked at Jude before her gaze swung to Reese.
“You got that order of wings and fries ready?” she asked.
“Give me a second.” Reese stood but didn’t move away from Jude. “I’m dealing with something but will have your order ready in a jiff.”
She eyed them then walked out.
“Stay right there,” he said to Jude before he headed to the deep fryer and dropped the chicken. When Reese turned back around, Jude was gone.
Damn it. Reese hadn’t wanted the guy to leave. His skin felt too tight, and Reese had an urge to chase Jude down. He rubbed his chest and wondered why he felt that way.
Then the thought struck him of why he’d wanted to help Jude so badly, of why he’d wanted to protect the vampire, and why he’d been so attracted to him.
Jude was his mate.
Jude took a step toward the bed, as if he wanted to sit down, but remained standing. “I’m sorry about that. I can get testy when I’m afraid for my life.”
Reese felt his anger dwindling. Jude stood there looking so damn lost. But he wasn’t going to let Jude get off that easily. His mate needed to learn upfront that treating him like a throwaway mate wasn’t acceptable, even if the guy was scared.
Jude’s head snapped toward the door when they heard the television in the living room cut on. Fucking Aiden. He treated Reese’s house like his own, and normally that didn’t bother Reese. Tonight it did.
“You have company?”
Was that jealousy Reese detected in Jude? “I told you, you lost the privilege to ask questions when you kicked me out.”
Reese flipped through the channels but watched Jude from a side-glance. His mate slowly moved toward the bed then took a seat on the edge. He kept his hands tucked between his knees, his eyes on the television.
Reese fought the smile that was struggling to emerge. “Do you break into people’s homes often?”
“Only when that person turns out to be my mate and I’ve acted like a complete ass toward him,” Jude said. “Crawling through windows helps to break the ice.”
Reese couldn’t stop the chuckle that rumbled through his chest. He also felt an inexplicable need to draw Jude closer, to brush his fingers through his mate’s thick black hair, and to kiss his lush lips. It was the pull. Reese knew that, but that didn’t stop his body from wanting Jude’s.
He patted the spot next to him. Jude hesitated then scooted closer. “So, are you ever going to tell me what kind of shifter you are?”
Reese’s gaze dropped to Jude’s lips. “If you kiss me, I might tell you whatever you want to know.”
He cupped Jude’s face with both his hands and felt a sort of electrical buzz throughout his body. As upset as Reese had been, as conflicted as he felt, there was no denying the intense attraction between them.
Their lips touched, and that was all it took to remove the awkwardness clinging in the air. Jude gave himself fully over, moaning into Reese’s mouth, sucking in Reese’s tongue, slowly crawling into his lap.
Reese massaged Jude’s ass then worked his hands upward until he was pulling Jude’s shirt off.
“Okay, I kissed you,” Jude panted as he licked his lips. “Now tell me what you are.”
Reese spun them and placed Jude on his back. He worked the rest of his mate’s clothes off then spread his hand over Jude’s chest, amazed at how perfect he was.
“I’m going to claim you.” Reese stood, keeping his gaze locked on Jude as he stripped his boxer briefs off. He cock sprung upward, slapping his stomach as he reached into the nightstand drawer and grabbed the bottle of lube.
Jude palmed his cock and gave the heated, hard flesh a few strokes.
Reese didn’t do a damn thing but watch.
Jude got up, shoved Reese onto the bed, and sucked his cock down to the root. Reese shouted as his eyes rolled to the back of his head. His hips bucked, driving his cock farther into his mate’s hot mouth.
God, the man was sucking him so hard that Reese was mindless. He threw his legs onto the bed, spreading them farther apart as he began to fuck Jude’s mouth.
But his mate wasn’t having that. Jude pressed Reese’s hips down, keeping them in place as he ran his tongue around the head, pulling the pre-cum out like honey, and then he dove right back down onto Reese’s cock.
“Fuck, Jude…fuck!” Reese shouted and then gritted his teeth, staving off his orgasm. He wasn’t about to let this moment end so soon, but if Jude kept up at his current pace, Reese was a goner.
His damn legs were wobbling as Jude rode Reese’s cock with his lips, sliding them up and down his shaft, faster and faster. His head was bobbing, the suction tight, and Reese felt like his damn brain was melting into the side of his head.
“Jude…please…god!” Reese threw his head back and ground his back molars, curling his fingers into the bed. He wasn’t going to be able to hold off. Not when Jude was sucking him so goddamn good.
Reese began to rock his head back and forth as jolts of pure pleasure pulsed through his body. The man was out to kill him. Jude had to be because Reese’s heart was beating so fast he feared it would burst from his chest.
And then Jude slid a finger into Reese’s ass.
His eyes crossed.
“Motherfuck!” Reese howled as his body unraveled right there. His hips shot up, and his seed was being ripped from his very balls. Stars began to form behind his eyelids. It took concentrated effort to breathe.
“Mine,” Jude growled at him with a tight command in his tone.
“Yours,” Reese said as his chest contracted rapidly. “All yours.”
Jude nipped Reese on his chin and then attached his lips to one of Reese’s nipples. Reese’s body was still riding the high of his climax, which made his nipples ultrasensitive. Reese hissed, running his hands through Jude’s hair, pulling at the strands.
Jude pressed one hand into Reese’s chest as he used the other to grab the lube. He wet his fingers and then slid them into his ass, the whole time never breaking eye contact. Reese was going out of his mind. He wanted to watch Jude stretch himself, but his mate wasn’t letting him up.
Reese let out a low growl.
Jude narrowed his eyes.
Fuck this. Reese rolled with Jude, intending on watching his mate’s fingers slide in and out of his ass, but instead, they ended up wrestling on the bed.
Which was an even bigger turn-on.
He pinned Jude then grinned down at him. “I’m a rhino shifter.”
Jude’s dark eyes widened. “I was just trying to have some fun.”
Reese winked. “I know.”
He lubed his cock and inched his way inside his mate’s ass. Jude groaned, his fingernails digging into Reese’s upper arms.