Throwing open the door to the classy Readings Restaurant, Drake scanned the room, ignoring the mix of creatures, some he knew and were bristling, ready for whatever had stirred him up. Others were human and alarmed by a big immortal cat shifter flashing his fangs.s.
Following the alluring scent of his prey further into the restaurant, Drake did what came naturally for his kind and many other paranormals. He stalked and would grab and claim. No debate. No talking. His. Have. That was how paranormals were taught from a young age to deal with their fated mates, ensuring there were no claiming issues.
Drake stalked the tall, slender, dark-haired creature silently. He was fast, lethal, and wasn’t giving any time for resistance.
His prey was paranormal and apparently very aware of everything around him. That drool-worthy, lithe, elegant body tensed minutely, and just before Drake grabbed him, the creature was gone from reach, sliding away easily in a move he was extremely impressed with and now frustrated by.
Facing him in a defensive stance was the most stunning creature Drake had ever seen. He was a few centuries old and had his share of gorgeous creatures, this one took his breath away though.
Eyes the color of blue chipped ice turned icier and long razor-sharp talons slid out on the vampire’s slender hands.
Every creature in the place had backed away, some making a hasty exit as most could sense the tension in the air, the heady endorphins that could lead to a scuffle. Drake would do all he could to not injure the vampire, but he was taking the stunning creature down, hard and fast.
The vampire quirked an elegant brow. “Well, well, Prince Drakius of the Sanchez Pride. A pleasure.”
Well damn, now Drake’s cock was throbbing so hard he could bust through his pants. And that was just from the sound of this creature’s voice. He couldn’t wait to strip and claim every inch of the vampire, but first, he had to get his hands on the beauty. Sizing him up, Drake’s mind worked like a computer, analysing, adjusting, calculating. He grinned slowly.
“Pleasure’s all mine. What’s your name, gorgeous?” He moved ever so slightly and stilled immediately.
The vampire’s eyes had gone deadly, a frostiness that nearly leaked out all the blue. It was irritating Drake now, sure he’d seen eyes very similar to the vampire’s before. This creature wasn’t weak, not in any way. He knew how to fight and defend himself. Drake didn’t want to harm the stunning creature. Just take him down, make him submit, fuck, and claim him. Simple.
“Come to me,” Drake ordered.
The vampire merely quirked an brow again, lips smirking. “You do have a reputation for issuing orders. I wonder…” The vampire tapped a long razor-sharp talon against his sweet lips, eyes icy and assessing.
“You can smell me, vampire, you know what I am.” Drake was growing impatient with the vampire’s resistance, like the creature was testing him or toying with him. Vampires were like that, the arrogant bastards. “Our laws—”
“Oh, I am well aware of the laws, cat.” The vampire flicked a hand dismissively. “You are within your rights. As am I. And yes, I can smell you. I do prefer not to be manhandled, though, so I suggest we take a moment to…” The stunning creature gave a somewhat derisive smile. “Chat. Perhaps have a five-minute conversation first, learn each other’s names, even a short synopsis of our lives may be appropriate rather than be tossed on a table.”
“Sure, we can do all that, right after I claim you.” Drake growled now, turned-on and annoyed at the same time. “Stand down, vampire, or we do this in a way I’m guessing you won’t like.”
Drake’s eyes narrowed on his litter mate Dominic as his brother took up position to corner the vampire in. Dominic was a diplomat and negotiator for the pride and council. He knew a great many creatures and also knew how to soothe and calm them down. Drake would rather grab and toss his vampire onto a table now than try to soothe and coax the bastard as his attitude was beginning to grate on Drake’s frigging nerves.
It was all that cat mating heat rising up, demanding he have his mate, and the creature was resisting him, saying they should chat.
Dominic inclined his head as Jax moved around the vampire. A few of the cat shifters who were members of the pride were hanging back but alert and ready to assist when given the signal.
“Hello, Xavier. You haven’t met my brother, Drake.” Dom waved a hand, smiling pleasantly, eyes watchful. “Crown Prince Drake of the Sanchez Pride, meet Lord Xavier Armstrong Dalton of the Armstrong Witch and Wizard Coven and the Durand Vampire Coven of New York and North America.” Dominic inched a little closer, stopping when Xavier smirked at him and shook his head. “Drake, Xavier is Lady Delia’s grandson, and Mason and Laurence’s cousin. Their older vampire cousin who is an esteemed member of the Durand Vampire Coven—”
“My mate,” Drake interrupted, receiving startled looks from every shifter in the place. “So you don’t need to give me a spiel on public relations and being diplomatic, brother. I’m giving you one last chance to stand down, Xavier. I’m gonna claim you right here and now. You know it’s our way, so you can either make it easy or hard. Your choice.”
Setting up the food on the table in the lounge room, Drake went to the study and spent half an hour catching up on some e-mails that required an urgent response, and then, when he heard movement from the bedroom, saved his work and closed his computer down. Going through the lounge, he found Keeley sitting at the table nibbling an edge of the sandwich and reading an e-book.k.
“Hey, Keeley, all rested?”
Keeley glanced up with a start, hazel eyes wide. “Drake! Oh, ah, I d–didn’t know you were here.”
“Just in the study doing some work until you woke.” Drake pulled up a seat on the other side of the table and poured Keeley a glass of milk. “I would like to show you around the pride compound this afternoon. I think it would be good for you to see the place, meet a few of the shifters, and see how everything works.”
Keeley shrugged. “Why?”
“Because this is your home now.”
Keeley’s eyes grew dreamy and a little smile played on his pink lips. “So you’ve said. I guess I don’t get any say in that either.”
“I’m responsible for the pride here, and two more in Europe. I spend my time between all three, plus attend Council meetings and committee events. I don’t really get a choice either, my mate, otherwise I’d give you that.”
“Europe? Where in Europe?” Keeley’s eyes lost the dreamy look and grew wide with excitement. “Will you take me to Europe? I want to see Paris and Amsterdam and New York—okay, I’ve been there lots—maybe Jamaica and I want to go to a beer festival in Germany and eat chocolate in Belgium and…” Keeley blushed, dropping his head.
Laughing, and a bit shocked by the outburst, Drake nudged the glass of milk closer to his quirky little human.
“Sure, I’ll take you to all those places. There’s a Sanchez Compound in Prague, close to the gargoyle’s head clan actually, and another in Switzerland.”
“Oh my Gods! Switzerland! Can I go sledding?”
“Sure, my light, we’ll go sledding. I can’t wait to take you.”
Keeley gaped at him. “For real? You’ll let me come along and take me places? You…want to?”
Standing up, Drake couldn’t help himself. He swooped his little mate up into his arms and deposited them both on the sofa, Keeley on his lap. Purring, he nuzzled Keeley’s throat, licking and kissing till he got to those soft pink lips and covered them with his own and thrust his tongue in deep as he gently coaxed Keeley to return the little sweet kisses and let Drake caress his hot little body without nearly jumping out of his arms and tensing up.
Surprisingly, it only took a few minutes to have Keeley melting against Drake, pressing their chests together, and turning so he was straddling Drake’s lap, their groins brushing, making both of them groan as Keeley took over the kiss and explored Drake’s mouth with his lips, tongue, and shy inquisitiveness.
Drake let him. Whatever Keeley wanted, he’d have. His little mate was so warm and shy, quirky and beautiful.
And he kissed like a wet dream come to life! Drake was panting and purring, body thrusting up and humping against his mate’s little one to get closer.
“Wow.” Keeley was breathing heavy as he pulled back, the fingers of one hand tracing Drake’s lips. “You’re not really a big bossy shifter. Err, I mean—”
Chuckling, Drake kissed Keeley’s fingertips. “I have my moments, babe. Probably too many of them but I’m sure you’ll put me in my place. I meant what I said, Keeley. I want to take you to all those places, be with you. Just like Xavier.”
“He doesn’t take me anywhere.” Keeley pouted, actually pouted! His bottom lip jutted out and his face went mutinous.
Biting his tongue to stop from laughing over the look, Drake purred and nibbled his mate’s cute little ear, earning a giggle, a real giggle, from his adorable, soft little mate.
“I’m sure Xavier would love to take you to all those places. He’ll be coming, too. He may be a vamp but he knows how to have fun.”
Keeley snorted. “For real? Have you met Xavier? Like, I love the guy more than life, but he’s not really the sledding type, more like ‘sip a glass of blood wine by the fire and discuss important shit’ type, ya know what I’m sayin?”
Drake grinned. “Yeah, he just needs us to show him how to relax. Sooo, you love Xavier?”
Receiving a “duh” look, Drake snuggled his Keeley closer and purred, nibbling his soft lips again.
“You don’t act it by taking off and leaving him, my light.”
“That’s what Xavier calls me.” Keeley shivered as Drake slipped a hand up beneath his shirt and caressed his narrow chest. “He’s like…well, everything, but he keeps so much to himself.”
“So do you.” Drake slid a hand down the back of Keeley’s tight jeans and between his ass cheeks directly to that perfect little star Drake wanted to feel wrapped around his cock. He tapped his mate’s hole. “I want you, Keeley.”
Sliding his finger in and out of that tight little hole, Drake nibbled Keeley’s jaw, wanting to feel all of his mate, see the pleasure as he came. Moving his hand down Keeley’s chest, over his flat stomach, stopping to play with the fine blond hairs along his treasure trail, Drake got to the button of the tight jeans and flicked it open, followed by the zipper. He grinned as Keeley groaned, tensing a moment then pushing his underwear-covered cock into Drake’s hand.