Once dressed, Mike looked at himself in the mirror. He still kept himself in top shape. Like Abram and the others, working out at home seemed the best way to keep his mind off other things, bad memories. He grabbed his crutches, sank on the couch with the dog leash, and put it on Brownie. Mike debated whether to put on his prosthetic but decided against it since he taught himself to walk Brownie without it anyway. With that done, Mike headed out. Brownie, thankfully, had learnt to match her pace to his, although it took plenty of practice.
Mrs. Gibson from downstairs greeted him on his way out. He nodded to her, eager to get out of the building. His apartment sometimes felt closed in, like a cage, but that wasn’t much of a surprise. Mike prevented himself from shifting, denying his tiger to experience running in the woods. Well, not that he could run that well. Mike would just be another kind of prey, limping on three paws, when he was once top of the food chain.
No use thinking about that. His tiger felt restless today, and even standing outside didn’t help the unease growing inside him. What was different about today?
A chill went down his spine. Was it time to call Abram or the others to put him down? The thought of harming some poor passerby didn’t sit well with Mike. Stomach queasy, he continued his way to the local park where Brownie could run with other dogs. Even there, she didn’t seem interested in socializing, just like him, but he wanted to try.
If Mike couldn’t adjust to normal life, maybe she could. Jesus. Would Abram and his mate take in Brownie? He remembered being at the compound, filled with ex-police dogs and wondered if he could take them all. Save them.
He let out a dry laugh. Mike could barely save himself. He passed more people. It was past noon, so there were people in office clothes smiling around. Shit. Mike hated crowds. He ignored some of the glances his way, especially from shifters who knew he was one, too. Mike sped up but remembered his embarrassing incident earlier. Falling face first into the gravel in front of so many strangers would be a nightmare.
He could imagine their stunned faces and one good bloody Samaritan or two would try to help him. Mike shuddered in revulsion. It was better if people left him alone.
He reached the park, relieved to see less people here. The scent of something or someone alluring then hit his nose. If he were in tiger form, he’d twitch his ears and start to stalk. Brownie started tugging at the leash, probably finding something of interest. Since she used to specialize in sniffing out narcotics, it was a habit of hers to sniff at people they passed by.
The next thing he knew, she was sniffing up someone.
“Jesus, can you tell your dog not to sniff someone’s crotch?” an annoyed voice asked.
Mike halted, his tiger confirming this was the source of that wonderful scent. The speaker was in his early twenties, with light brown, wavy hair and intriguing emerald green eyes glued to his phone. His tiger tried to identify the shifter’s animal. Some kind of small cat, but not prey, not a domestic cat. He would know, because Abram’s mate was a tabby shifter, but this stranger’s scent was different.
He didn’t stop Brownie from sniffing at the guy’s crotch again. She wouldn’t bite, but the guy jerked back.
“Hey, did you do that on purpose?” The handsome young man narrowed his eyes at Mike, then probably saw the crutches and his missing leg, because the fiery hellion started apologizing profusely. “Oh my god. I’m so sorry.”
“What are you apologizing for? Brownie’s an ex-police dog. I’m trying to wean her off the habit from sniffing strangers,” he joked.
Oh God. Was Mike actually…flirting? Why wasn’t he moving on? Even Brownie eyed the young man with interest.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know your dog was a service animal.”
His inner tiger woke, made his skin fever-hot and the young man’s eyes widened in fear. Mike couldn’t help it. He snarled, showing teeth, which in hindsight, wasn’t the best idea. “I’m a cripple, but I’m not fucking blind.”
“You’re an Alpha,” the young man whispered. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you.”
Even though Mike was a lone Alpha, he didn't necessarily need to be in charge of a group. Tigers weren’t like wolf packs or lion prides, but solitary by nature—although if Mike were whole, he could have led a group of tiger shifters. He’d heard of other tigers forming packs, but joining a group never interested him. Groups had pecking orders but he, Abram, and the others worked as a single unit, which was different. Used to, he reminded himself.
Now, the guy looked ready to bolt and Mike would never catch up to him. Something told him he had to do something, before this gorgeous stranger slipped out of his grasp.
“Take off your jeans, little cat,” Mike said in a hoarse voice.
Bowen eagerly slipped out of his pants and bottoms, and helped Mike out of his. He hesitated at the prosthetic. “Do you want to keep it on or take it off?”
He was aware of Mike intently watching him, waiting for his reaction maybe. The dominant tiger was still thinking he’d run, which made him a little angry.
“Mike, my dick’s close to bursting, so please. Hurry up and decide.”
“Off.” Mike bent down and with a few grunts, unlatched the prosthetic. Bowen paid attention. Hopefully someday, Mike would let him help. It seemed like an intimate gesture, an ultimate show of trust, which was something he badly wanted to earn.
“Let me,” Bowen insisted, holding out his hands. Mike paused, then handed him the prosthetic. “It’s heavier than I thought. Where do you want me to set it?”
“By the TV console.”
Bowen gently placed it down, before returning to Mike. Mike had been amputated from the knee down, he noticed, and Mike was watching him warily, an injured predator ready to bolt or lash out any second.
It was up to Bowen to chase away those fears, so he straddled Mike until his legs hung on either side of Mike’s thighs. Mike’s pupils changed colors again, and the tiger shifter automatically banded one muscled arm around his waist, tugging him close. He let out a breath, as their sweat-slicked chests touched, so did their dicks. He noticed that Mike was already getting hard again. God, Bowen was happy they were both shifters.
Mike grabbed the back of Bowen’s neck with his other hand and crushed their lips together again, thrusting heat down his throat. Bowen shamelessly rubbed his body against Mike, groaning as Mike closed his fingers around his dick and began working him, moving up and down. Mike flicked the pre-cum on his tip, used it as a lubricant to stroke him. Mike released Bowen’s mouth and closed his lips on the side of Bowen’s neck, licking at the spot between shoulder and neck.
His heart beats kicked up a notch. A kind of peace settled over his lynx. He silently willed Mike to do it, complete the mating bond by biting him.
“I’m sorry,” Mike whispered, dragging his teeth lower.
“What are you sorry for? I want you to claim me.”
Reckless words, but he wasn’t drunk on the moment. Bowen realized it was something he badly wanted. All the time he and his brother ran, moved from one place to the next, he wondered if he’d ever find a placed to settle down and call home, find a mate who looked at him like he was more than a possession, but someone worthy of fierce love and devotion.
That man was Mike, he knew that with absolutely certainly, but his train of thoughts disappeared when Mike numbed his mind with more heated kisses. Mike left a little trail of bite marks, too, hard enough to bruise but not break skin. He liked knowing Mike was eager to mark him up, show the world Bowen was his.
A tingle went down his spine. Mike’s hand moved from his prick, to the skin separating dick from asshole, and fingered his puckered entrance. He let out a breath, groaned when Mike pushed a finger and stilled.
Mike looked surprised to find him slick and ready. “This is my secret, my curse,” he whispered. “I’m a rare male lynx shifter capable of giving birth, the equivalent of an Omega wolf.”
Mike swiftly recovered, nodded. “I won’t ever betray your trust. This ability is a gift, not a curse.”
Mike pushed a second finger in, widening Bowen for access.
“It’s a curse,” he whispered. “If I hadn’t been born like this, my brother wouldn’t need to give up his life and spend it running with me.”
“If you were mine, I’ll never let you out of my sight. I’ll make sure nothing and no one can ever touch you.” Mike kissed Bowen’s neck while he said those words. Once again, Bowen felt the edge of sharp teeth, grazing skin
“I want to be yours.” He looked Mike in the eyes. “Badly.”
“You don’t know what you’re asking for.”
Mike positioned his dick into Bowen’s entrance and he gasped as Mike breached him. It burned for a couple of seconds, but once Mike pushed past the thick ring of muscles, it was easier to breathe. Finally, Mike buried himself all the way in, until Bowen could feel Mike’s heavy balls slapping against his ass.
Bowen wasn’t a virgin. On lonely nights, when his brother was out seeking solace in the arms of a woman, he’d recklessly find a guy to shack up with, but he’d never had sex in this position. It was intimate, left him feeling exposed, because Mike had a view of his dick and the expressions on his face.
Bowen locked his arms around Mike’s neck. “You’re the man I’ve been waiting for my entire life, my mate.”