Neal narrowed his eyes suspiciously at both of them. “Where’s this mythical pie you two have been talking about?”
Lizzie grinned. “We ate it all.” She giggled. “Sorry, Daddy. I promise to leave you some next time.”
Tanner smiled at the memory. He’d been appalled to discover the abnormal amount of Oreos and potato chips in the pantry, so he decided he’d be in charge of snack time, making sure his recipes were somewhat on the healthy side. Lizzie didn’t seem to notice if he switched up the tiniest things like white sugar to brown, or chose to almond flour as opposed to regular one.
“No wonder you’re getting fat,” Neal teased his daughter.
“No, I’m not!” she protested.
Their food arrived then, momentarily putting the conversation to a halt. A smile tugged at the corner of his lips. He never had anything like this. Growing up among wary pack mates, he’d not only been treated like an outsider, but sometimes the enemy.
It hurt, but he didn’t blame them. At least the Alpha didn’t let him die as a baby. Even in his own pack of misfits, the environment was always tense, hungry. Some of the shifters he took in had problems of their own, addictions they couldn’t shake off.
Neal had been right. He’d been young, idyllic, tried too hard, and in the end, none of those men and women showed any sense of loyalty, fled the moment they heard he landed himself in prison. Tanner couldn’t blame them though, only hoped they found better paths in life, the way he did.
After all, if he hadn’t been caught, he wouldn’t have the time to think about his mistakes, amend them, and make something better of himself. Fate wouldn’t have landed him in either Neil or Lizzie’s path. This, he decided, as Neal began teasing his daughter again, was one thing he wouldn’t trade for the world.
Too bad the undeniable attraction between Neal and him could be lethal, fracture the one good thing in his life. Except Tanner wasn’t the kind of man who backed away from challenges. These two made a place for him in their home, even though he was only the manny.
* * * *
“…and the princess lived happily-ever-after with the king and queen,” Tanner finished.
Neal lingered by the doorway, careful not to disturb the rapt attention Lizzie paid the Alpha. He was certain Tanner knew he was there, though.
“Next story, can the princess have two dads instead of a queen and king?” Lizzie asked sleepily.
Her words felt like arrows shot right to his heart. Neal once asked her if she wanted another dad in her life.
You’re enough for me, Daddy.
But perhaps not any longer.
“Alright,” Tanner agreed. “I’m turning off the light now, so get to bed. You have to wake early tomorrow, prepare for your school trip.”
No doubt Tanner would be back here the next day, even before the sun rose, to help Lizzie prepare. Never once did the Alpha complain about his job, although Neal knew Tanner didn’t live nearby, but in a rough neighborhood, which took about half an hour with a bus ride. His heart clenched, his wolf started to pace inside of him, like a ticking time bomb about to throw off.
The animal didn’t understand why Neal kept his distance, even though that stolen kiss in the car had been the tipping point.
“Can you leave the night-light on?” Lizzie asked.
“Always.” Tanner made sure her little mermaid night-light was on, before flicking off the switch.
By then, Neal retreated to the hallway. This wasn’t the first time he snooped on them during story time. Tanner and he took turns reading to Lizzie, simply because she loved it when they both had different stories for her to sleep to each night.
Most of the time, after spying, he’d retreat to his bedroom like the coward he was, wait for Tanner to knock on the door and bid him good night. Many times, he’d been tempted to tell the werewolf Alpha to stay the night. At the last second, he’d back away.
Not this time. He lingered in the hall. Tanner looked surprised to see him there.
The Alpha checked his watch. “I hadn’t realized it was this late. I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“Stay.” The word spilled from his lips easily. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to take them back, but no. He meant it.
Tanner raised an eyebrow. “Want to talk about this now?”
“In my bedroom.”
The Alpha said nothing, merely followed him to the one place in the house Tanner never ventured to. He entered the room, sat on the edge of the bed.
“I’m surprised. Usually, you hide in here until I leave.”
“I do not hide,” he blurted, blushed. Time to fess up, because all this teasing would drive me insane. “Okay, I do.”
“Yes, you do. Scared this big bad wolf will bite you?”
There was it again, the teasing side of Tanner he liked so much. Better teasing as opposed to grave and serious.
“I’m not scared of a little bite.”
His heart skipped as Tanner closed the door behind him, leaving him trapped and alone in the room with a sexy, gorgeous Alpha he was dangerously falling head over heels for.
“Clothes off,” Tanner practically growled the word out.
How could something so wrong, be so good?
They fumbled for each other’s tops. Speeding up the process, Tanner got off him, shrugged off his shirt, unveiling an impressive upper body lined with hard planes of muscle, tanned skin, and ink. Neal, too, took that opportunity to undress fully, shoving his clothes aside.
Need drove him, his skin flush, fever hot. His mouth went dry when Tanner dropped those nice worn jeans that looked amazing on him, and he saw the monster hanging between Tanner’s legs. Tanner rejoined him, blanketing his body over his. When Neil began to reach out to trace the curious, neat circles on Tanner’s chest, bullet holes he realized, Tanner gripped his wrist and planted them above his head.
“Keep them there,” Tanner ordered. “I plan to take my time enjoying you.”
“You always this bossy in bed?” he asked.
“You always this talkative?” Tanner threw back, then began kissing the side of his mouth, his neck. “I’ll make you purr for me instead.”
Tanner chuckled, nipping at Neal’s collarbone, before moving lower, leaving a trail of kisses and tiny bites. His left nipple Tanner took into his mouth, sucking until he cried out. Tanner reached for his dick, giving it a squeeze. A moan tore out from him. The only action he’d seen for a while was his own hand, so the experience was visceral, Tanner’s touch addictive. It was hard, keeping his hands still, so he clawed at the sheets instead.
The Alpha bit at his nipple, leaving a perfect imprint of his teeth. He realized Tanner was marking him, claiming him. It had been so long since he belonged to anyone, and it felt nice even if this was a fluke, a moment of weakness, but he didn’t think so.
Tanner raised himself again and kissed him, this time sweet, slow, and tender. The Alpha swiped the pre-cum away from Neal’s tip with his nail, made him groan as Tanner curled those fingers around his cock again and continued the hand job, alternating between fast and slow.
“At this rate, I’ll blow,” he confessed as Tanner released his mouth.
“Go for it. I want to see you come undone.”
Tanner moved his hand faster, making him groan, squirm, but Tanner pinned his smaller body in place. Not that he wanted to go anywhere anytime soon. It felt delicious, the press of skin-on-skin. He almost forgot how comforting it was to lie next to another wolf.
“What are you thinking about?” Tanner asked.
“Good answer.” Then Tanner gave his balls a squeeze. He let out a breath, the pressure inside him breaking. Neal’s mind blanked as he painted Tanner’s abs and stomach with his jizz. He came for a long time, forgetting the last time he had an orgasm this intense.
When his vision cleared, he noticed Tanner gazing down at him, wearing the look of a man confident of his possession. That look jolted him awake, because for the longest time, after Lester left him, he wondered if there had been something lacking in him, something repulsive that would send Lester running.
“I like the look on your face,” he whispered.
“You have no idea, how long I’ve wanted you, pet.”
That sounded more and more like a term of endearment, he thought, beginning to like it.
“Me, too,” he whispered.
“Then what took us?” Tanner asked with a smile.
“They’re not silly. You have Lizzie to think of, and I was a stranger you took a chance with.”
“You’re no stranger, you’re the best thing that ever happened to us.”
“I should be the one saying that.” Tanner lifted Neal’s legs over his shoulders, exposing him completely. He was all too aware of his prick pulsing back to life and Tanner’s massive cock, rock hard and ready for action.
“It’s a good thing,” Tanner said after the moment of stunned silence, “that Omega wolves are self-lubricating.”
“Why? You been with a lot of Omegas?” he challenged. Strange envy rammed into him, although there was no reason for it. Tanner had just gotten out of prison, for crying out loud.
“No, just you.” Tanner circled a finger over the puckered skin of his asshole, before pushing in. He was already slick, ready, but Tanner made twisting motions.
He hissed. “I need you in me now.”
Tanner chuckled. “Demanding little pet. Be patient. I’m not exactly small, and the last thing I want is to hurt you.”
This Alpha, he thought, was unexpectedly tender, even in the bedroom, although he had no doubt Tanner could be rough if he wanted to.
Tanner added a second digit, brushing against his secret spot. He gasped, need building inside him again. Neal clutched at the sheets as Tanner added a third. He longed for Tanner to put something bigger inside of him. Finally, the Alpha replaced his fingers with his cock, the head covered in a smear of pre-cum.
Gripping Neal’s thighs, Tanner began pushing in. He held his breath for a moment. A burn started as Tanner began to make his way, one slow torturous inch at a time. Neal was suddenly thankful for Tanner’s preparation.
“You’re so big. I’m not sure you can fit in me.”
“I can and you’ll take me. In and out, pet. After this, I’ll make you fly.” Those soothing words calmed him and eventually Tanner was buried balls deep in him, stretching his ass completely.
“Wow,” he whispered, his dick hard by now, at half-mast.
“Look at you, pet. So exposed, so perfect.” Tanner took his mouth, a quick, hot kiss that left him panting. He wrapped his arms around Tanner’s neck and this time, the Alpha didn’t stop him.
“Ride me. Please.” He begged.