[The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
Renny and his brother are on the run when they win at a backroom card game. Renny is stunned to learn one of the players is a demon and is accusing them of cheating. When Molimo threatens their lives, Renny and Roberto must flee. They find refuge at a fire station in Maple Grove, but Renny finds out some hard truths that rock his world, including the fact that Chief Sal Monroe isn’t even human, and claims that Renny is his mate.
On a pizza run one night Sal is approached by two men who swear they’re hungry and need someplace to warm up. Not only is Sal trying to protect his mate from a crazed demon, but there is a serial arsonist running around town setting fires, and Sal is determined to find out who it is before a life is claimed. When Renny steals Sal’s truck to find his brother, it’s up to Sal to rescue them both before Molimo has his revenge.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“Who exactly are those hotties?” Scott Mulligan asked when he caught up to Sal in the hallway. “Since when did we start inviting random guys to dinner?”
Sal was still in shock that Renny was his mate. He felt a bit lightheaded as he turned to face Scott. “And since when do we turn away anyone who’s hungry?”
Not that he could recall anyone coming to the station needing food and a place to stay. They’d hosted a lot of events over the years to raise money for local charities that helped the homeless and other worthy causes.
His favorite event was the annual chili cook-off, which Sal had yet to lose. In fact, the event was two weeks away, and already Sal had been testing his recipe at home. His dad had dropped by a few times to “taste test” what Sal had cooked.
“No, no. I get it,” Scott said. “No one should go hungry, but it’s almost midnight. We don’t know anything about those men, and you invited them inside.”
Sal grunted. “The day two puny humans can take us down is the day I not only quit but hand in my man card.”
“Shifter card.” Scott grinned. “Fine. What’re they gonna do when they’re done eating?”
“They’re taking the couches. Make sure you wake Connor. Tell him if he’s that tired to go to bed.”
“You got it, boss.” Scott walked away.
Sal let himself into his office. He needed time to himself to take in the fact that he’d found his mate. He also wanted to know what kind of trouble the brothers were in. Roberto kept contradicting himself, and that was a red flag in Sal’s book.
Sal would ask his friend, Deputy Malik Burrows, to do a background check on them, but for one, Sal didn’t know Renny and Roberto’s last name.
Second, he didn’t want to learn about his mate from someone else. He wanted Renny to tell him what they were running from. For Sal, honesty was the best policy, although it would take time to earn Renny’s trust.
He was willing to wait and to keep Renny safe until he found out. Sal looked up when a knock sounded on his open door. Renny stood there looking around, his gaze never landing on Sal. “Do you have a minute?”
“Sure.” Sal waved Renny into his office. He stayed seated, unwilling to stand and intimidate his mate. Sal was pretty damn tall, and his mate couldn’t be more than five feet seven inches.
“Nice office.” Renny took a seat on the leather couch on the right side of the room. He clasped his hands between his knees and stared at the floor.
“Thanks. I try to keep it clean.” Sal sat back and studied his mate. He wanted to pull Renny into his lap and hold him, to tell the guy that he had nothing to fear. But Sal didn’t know the trouble he was in, so he couldn’t make that promise.
“I…um…I know you know we’re lying.” Renny’s cheeks burned red. “I’m not usually that kind of guy.”
“If I recall, it’s your brother who can’t fabricate a story.” Sal grinned when Renny looked at him. “He’s terrible at it.”
Renny shrugged. “Roberto is a good guy. He’s not a liar, as you can tell.”
Sal nodded. “Why don’t you tell me what’s going on and maybe I can help you guys.”
Renny snorted as he looked back down. Sal gazed at his mate—the dark hair, pretty green eyes, slight stature, and the way he kept fidgeting. Fate had definitely been good to Sal to give him such a handsome mate.
“Trust me, the less you know, the better.” Renny stood and headed for the door, but Sal didn’t want his mate to shut down. He needed to know what was going on.
Sal stood and blocked Renny’s exit. He held his hands up in a placating gesture. “I just want to help.”
The pull slugged Sal in the gut. It was a feeling compelling him to be near Renny, to wrap the slight man into his arms, to claim what was his, and to protect his mate from whatever he was running from.
“Hey.” Sal tucked his finger under Renny’s chin and sucked in a breath when Renny closed his eyes and leaned into Sal’s touch. “Just talk to me.”
Renny sighed. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt. I mean I’m tired of running, and I’m dying to tell someone else. Roberto and I went to this card game. We knew they were held in the back of Carl’s Corner. It’s a local bar where we’re from. The only reason we went is because our parents are about to lose their home.” Renny took a step back and curled his arms around his stomach. “It’s the house we were raised in and means everything to them. Roberto won ten grand. I thought I’d pass out from relief. But one of the guys at the table accused him of cheating.”
Renny went back to the couch and sat then rubbed a hand over his forehead. “Roberto didn’t cheat. He’s not that kind of guy. But Molimo was pissed, and he…” He rubbed his forehead harder. “Things happened, and we had to get out of there, and we did, but not before Molimo threatened to kill us.”
Sal could tell there was more to the story, something Renny was holding back. “He was pissed and…”
A bark of hysterical laughter escaped Renny. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Hell, I can’t believe it myself.”
“Try me.” Sal leaned against his desk and entwined his fingers. “I’ve heard just about everything.”
“Not this.” Renny shook his head as he slid the tip of his tongue over his bottom lip. “It’s in the realm of impossibilities, and we are so screwed.”
Sal had a feeling he knew what Renny wasn’t telling him, but if he was wrong… “The guy wasn’t human?”
Renny’s head snapped up. He stared wide-eyed at Sal. “How did…”
“That’s not important. What happened?”
Renny swallowed tightly. “His eyes turned red, and horns appeared on his head.”
His mate stood and backed away, nearly tripping over a throw pillow that had fallen from the couch. “Are you a demon?”
“We can start by getting out of our wet clothes.” Sal slid his hands down Renny’s sides then grabbed the hem of his shirt and pulled it over Renny’s head.
His clothes weren’t even that wet, but Renny was too mesmerized to point that out. He quivered as the air brushed over his heated skin. He felt like he should say something to Sal, because the guy had been Renny’s real-life hero. Roberto was still out there somewhere, and that worried Renny, but he also felt safest when he was with Sal. The guy had taken them in, had fed them, and let them stay even before Sal knew they were mates.
“What’re you thinking about?” Sal gripped Renny’s hips. “You have this faraway look in your eyes.” He took a step back. “Are you changing your mind?”
“No.” Renny grabbed Sal’s hand. “It’s not that. I want this. I was just thinking about how big a heart you have.”
“How’s that?” Sal looked as if he didn’t fully believe Renny, so Renny told him what he’d been thinking about. “It’s called having humanity,” Sal said. “Even if you hadn’t turned out to be my mate, I wouldn’t have left you and Roberto out in the cold.”
To prove he still wanted to be with Sal, Renny kicked his shoes off and finished undressing. He felt a bit foolish standing there naked while Sal was still fully dressed.
With a low growl, Sal picked Renny up and carried him to the bedroom. He deposited Renny on the bed and simply stared down at him. “You’re beautiful.”
Renny blushed. “I would say the same about you, but you’re still wearing clothes.”
“Not for long.” Sal winked as he stripped. Golden skin was revealed to Renny as Sal tossed his clothes aside. Renny looked over Sal’s body, the muscles, the lean waist, and damn, his large cock.
This was like a fantasy come to life. Renny was both nervous and excited as he stared at Sal’s hard body. The guy was mouthwatering with a side of delicious.
“Now that’s the look I was hoping to see.” Sal crawled into bed. “I’ll take lust over a faraway look any day.”
Renny scooted back as Sal crawled into bed. His soon-to-be lover slid his arms around Renny and kissed him as they fell backward, Sal careful of his weight. But Renny could handle all those muscles. He wasn’t made of glass and reveled in the feel of Sal’s weight against him.
He curled his legs around Sal’s waist as Sal kissed him along his jaw and throat. Renny’s breathing became shallow, and his cock was so hard that all he wanted was release. But Renny didn’t want things to end between them so soon.
“I’m gonna show you what being mates is all about,” Sal said as he kissed his way down Renny’s body. “What being a mate truly means.”
Renny was only paying half attention to what Sal was saying as he completely surrendered himself to Sal. Renny caressed Sal’s silky hair as his hips jerked upward. How long had it been since he’d been with someone in such an intimate way? How long had it been since he’d felt this way toward anyone?
Sadly, Renny had never been in love. He’d liked a lot of guys, but he hadn’t even felt this way toward his ex. Not this intense, not the need to do whatever Sal wanted, to surrender his entire life over to this strong and powerful shifter.
His thoughts scattered when Sal kissed each of Renny’s inner thighs. Goose bumps surfaced, and a shiver of pure pleasure raced through him. Sal’s lips were soft and warm, and Renny felt restless, waiting for Sal to wrap those soft lips around his cock.
Sal’s movements were slow, dining on Renny as he shoved Renny’s legs back and licked around his puckered hole.
“Oh fuck,” Renny moaned. He gripped the blanket beneath him and tossed his head from side to side. His body shook from anticipation. Renny’s breathing became shallower, his chest rising and falling in quick pants.
Sal rimmed him, sucking at Renny’s hole, his tongue delving inside the tight ring of muscles. Just when Renny didn’t think he could stand it any longer, Sal pulled back and worked his way up to Renny’s cock.
Renny arched his back and cried out as Sal devoured him. He took Renny’s hardness all the way down to the root, his tongue sliding along the side of Renny’s cock as he hummed.
The vibration was Renny’s undoing. He thrashed under Sal as he came, incoherent words falling from his lips as Sal drank every last drop of Renny’s seed.
Sal kissed his way back up Renny’s body then took his lips in a soul-stirring kiss. Renny felt hungry for Sal, desperate to have his mate inside him.