Too lost in his own misery, Breeze hardly noticed being taken to an aircraft. If it hadn’t been for being in Noble’s strong arms, he wasn’t sure he would have known he was no longer in his bed. But his mate’s scent of wide open spaces and fresh dug-up earth had him burrowing his nose into Noble’s neck.
He didn’t know where they were going and he didn’t care. All he wanted was to drown in his despair. Just thinking about those scars had him shuddering in horror. How was he supposed to look at himself in the mirror? How was his mate ever going to want to touch him?
And that, right there, was the hardest of all the truths he had to face. He wasn’t fit to be someone’s mate. Noble was never going to want him and Breeze couldn’t even blame the man. Yet fate didn’t play fair. Walking away from one’s mate wasn’t possible, at least no one Breeze had ever known had been able to do it.
It left Noble with no other choice than to stay by Breeze’s side, even if he was repulsed by what he saw. Breeze just wasn’t sure if he could live with that. A part of him wished he’d died, then he wouldn’t have to watch as Noble pretended to want Breeze around, when he was nothing more than a burden—a gross, hideous burden.
Drowning in his morose thoughts, Breeze didn’t notice Noble hadn’t let him out of his arms, or the flight they’d just taken, or being carried once more. He didn’t see the charming log house, or the thousands of acres of farmland, or even the animals that seemed to crowd the fence line as they greeted their master.
It wasn’t until he was being lowered to a mattress that he realized Noble was putting him down. Most likely sick of holding a freak. Breeze tried not to whimper at the loss of his mate’s warmth, but he just couldn’t hold it back.
“Shh, darling. Everything will be okay.” Noble’s hand stroked the top of his head, which had miraculously come out unscathed from the blast. “I just need to help unload all the supplies and then I’ll be right back to check on you.” A soft blanket was draped over his body, helping to warm the chill he’d gotten when Noble had put him down.
A soft kiss was pressed against his lips. “I’ll just be a few minutes, darling.” Then Noble was gone.
Breeze didn’t know where his mate was going, and he didn’t care. All he knew was this was to be his life. His own mate making up excuses to leave his side. He might as well get used to it.
Looking around, his eyes took in the dark greens and browns that decorated the large room. The soothing tones were in direct contrast to the brightly colored blue-and-white room he’d been in before. For the life of him, Breeze couldn’t imagine why he’d been moved.
A beautiful hard-carved dresser stood along the wall opposite the bed. The bed itself was large, much larger than anything Breeze had ever seen before. It must have been specially made to be this big.
The headboard had an intricately carved scene of animals frolicking in the tall grasses of a prairie. The slight bend to the grass gave the feel of a gentle breeze blowing. And in the middle, looking stoic and content, was a bison happily watching over the land.
It was so real, Breeze couldn’t help but reach out and trace each groove with his fingers. There was just something so peaceful about the scene that made Breeze long to experience it.
“When I carved that I never understood why I felt the need to add a breeze to the scene.” Noble’s deep, husky voice sent a shiver through Breeze. His mate stood in the doorway with a wistful smile on his face as he looked at the headboard.
Then those dark brown eyes turned on him with lust blazing in their depths, knocking the air out of Breeze’s lungs. “I guess even back then, I knew how important a good Breeze would be to my life.”
No matter how hard Breeze tried, he couldn’t get air into his lungs, not with the way Noble was staring at him. It was like the animal within Noble thought him a tasty treat. With his scars, it wasn’t something Breeze had expected. Not sure how to feel when he knew he was ugly, Breeze couldn’t deny the pleasure that filled him at being desired.
He just wished it was because of him and not the mating bond.
It took a lot more effort than Noble would have thought to leash his runaway lust. His mate was still hurt. The pain etched into the lines around his eyes and mouth, a testament to just how much he was suffering. The last thing Breeze needed was his mate pawing at him.
But the sight of Breeze’s fingertips tracing the lines of his bison as if he were caressing the wood had Noble’s cock rock hard. Refusing to cause his mate any more harm than he’d already endured, Noble finally managed to control his raging lust.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, hoping Breeze was up for a look around his new home. Noble couldn’t deny his excitement to show his mate everything. The house itself wasn’t much, but Noble had built every inch with his own two hands.
When he’d entered, Noble could have sworn he’d seen something in those eyes other than the lifelessness that was staring back at him now. Determined to get some sort of response from Breeze, Noble didn’t wait for his mate’s answer before striding to the bed.
“Tired.” It was what Breeze had been saying since learning of his scars. As he was still healing, Breeze probably was tired, but Noble wasn’t going to let that stop him.
Scooping his mate into his arms, he smiled when he heard the small sigh as Breeze snuggled deeper into his arms. This precious man was too expressive to keep that numb look on his face much longer. He may not know his mate well, but from the stories Ares told him and the few glimpses he’d seen for himself, Breeze had loved life. He just needed to be reminded why.
“I thought I’d show you around your new home before getting you something to eat.” It wasn’t a question and with Breeze still too weak to stand on his own, his mate really didn’t have a choice in the matter. If Noble had to drag him kicking and screaming, well, at least it would be a reaction instead of lying there wallowing in misery.
Striding into the en suite bathroom, Noble looked at the space that was just as big as the bedroom with pride. The one thing Noble enjoyed was his shower and bath, so when he’d planned this house, he made sure he had plenty of room for both. “This is our bathroom.”
Breeze’s eyes widened as he looked longingly at the tub. “Is that a whirlpool?” his mate whispered wistfully.
Thoughts of sharing a bath with his very naked mate made Noble have to bite his cheek to stop the moan that threatened to spill from his mouth. “Yes, it is.” His voice lowered an octave as he said, “And there’s plenty of room for us to share.”
His heart sped up when Breeze’s breath hitched. The scent of arousal filled the room and it took all of Noble’s willpower not to fuck his mate right there. But nothing in this world could have stopped him from kissing those sweet lips.
Softly he pressed his mouth against Breeze’s. First he kissed the top lip, then the bottom before lapping along the seam. He didn’t want to push his mate, but he was hoping Breeze would let him in. On a sweet sigh, those lush lips separated, granting Noble entrance.
Dipping inside, Noble moaned as he got his first real taste of his mate’s mouth. The flavor of a cool spring morning coated his taste buds, driving Noble to delve deeper. He slid his tongue along his mate’s, reveling in the needy little moan that Breeze fed into the kiss.
As much as Noble desperately wanted to take this further, he knew sex was out of the question right now. Regretfully he gently pulled back from the kiss, until he was placing butterfly kisses along Breeze’s lips and jaw.
A cry of pain had him pulling back. The agony that clouded his mate’s eyes tore at Noble. Guilt ate at him for causing Breeze any more pain. “I’m so sorry, Breeze. I never should of have done that.”
He rushed back to their room and laid his mate on the bed. “What do you need? I can call Caleb if you want.” Noble was a terrible mate. He put his own desire to kiss Breeze ahead of what was good for him. “Please, just tell me what I can do to help?”
All emotion was removed from Breeze’s blue eyes. The curiosity, the wonder, and even desire, if he’d read his mate correctly, were suddenly gone to be replaced by…nothing. Noble wanted to cry.
“Leave me alone,” Breeze whispered.
Even when he knew it was a bad idea, Noble did as his mate asked and left the room.