The dead cat hanging outside Darren’s front door wasn’t a good sign that things were getting any better. The notes had stopped, which was a plus, but dead animals strung up where he could nearly walked right into them wasn’t much better.
Fuck. Darren glanced around, hoping no one else on his street could see it, or that it wasn’t some little girl’s beloved pet.
Darren snapped a couple of pictures of it before he took it down. Might as well preserve some evidence, but he lived in the suburbs. He didn’t want anyone else who didn’t need to see it, seeing it.
Pretty much everyone involved in Protection and Weapons Shifters, or PAWS, lived on this same street, but there were too many kids and enough retirees that he didn’t want to deal with that.
He set the stiff animal onto his front step to lie there.
Poor thing. He liked cats, even though he was a wolf.
Darren stood, pulling out his phone. Ezekiel’s name was the first number he went to. It was early morning, so he should be just waking up now with his mate, or about ready to walk out his front door.
Darren hesitated before making the call. He stared at the name, and then scrolled down his contacts list until he made it to Xander.
Ezekiel was Darren’s boss. Darren wasn’t sure he wanted the man to know Darren had been getting bullshit threats in his mailbox, and now, dead animals.
Well, he had to tell the man, but not just yet. He called Xander’s number first.
Darren walked a ways down his walkway, until he could see Xander’s house, four doors down and across the street from where Darren lived.
He wrung his hands out waiting for an answer.
“Come on. Come on.” Maybe he wasn’t home? He could have spent another night at the office and completely forgot about charging his cell phone.
Thank God, after Darren was nearly a hundred percent sure he was about to go to the man’s voice mail, he got his answer.
“Hey, Darren, what’s up?”
He sounded tired. Right, he’d slept in.
Darren couldn’t believe that even now he was imagining what Xander might look like when he was in bed, eyes puffy with sleep, and wondering if he slept naked or not.
“Uh, can you get over here, like right now? I’ve got a problem.”
There was a brief hesitation. “You want me to come over right now?”
“It’s an emergency.”
“Who is that?”
Darren tensed at the second voice over the phone, and suddenly his mental image of what Xander might look like when he was naked was replaced with what Xander looked like when he was naked in bed with someone else.
He had someone in bed with him. Holy shit.
Seeing the dead cat on his way out of the house hadn’t made his heart pound this much.
He had someone in bed with him. Someone who’d spent the night? Christ, what was he thinking, of course they’d spent the night.
Xander’s voice was muffled as he explained to whoever it was in bed with him…whatever it was he was telling them about Darren.
There was a shuffling noise, and Xander suddenly sounded a little more clear, more awake.
“What’s the emergency?”
Darren swallowed down the pain in his throat.
Xander was a good looking man, an alpha with a great career doing amazing things. Of course he would have someone. Darren just…didn’t know he was dating anyone.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
“Can you just get over here? I can explain it when you see it.”
The confusion in Xander’s tone was clear when he tried to dig for more details, but there was no way Darren could explain it over the phone.
He had to hang up. He didn’t want to risk overhearing the voice of Xander’s lover again. The person Darren would be most jealous of for the rest of his life if it turned out Xander had found a mate and Darren hadn’t known it.
Sometimes these things happened so fast they were hard to see coming.
Darren watched the front door to Xander’s house. He was eager to see if the mystery man would come out the front door. He had to know if the guy was good looking or not. Was it an omega? Or a beta? Probably not an alpha, those types of pairings were rare, but Darren didn’t want to exclude the possibility either.
Someone came out first. A tall, skinny looking guy. He applied chapstick as he walked out Xander’s front door, and the tight leather pants and open button down he had on looked a little like he was into clubbing.
Okay, was that a mate, friend with benefits, or could it just be someone Xander found for the night?
Xander was the second to rush out his front door. The guy in painted on leather pants waved and actually blew a kiss to Xander, which Xander half ignored as he spotted Darren, and started to rush down the street.
His chest was bare, and he had only a pair of jogger and shoes.
Darren really wished his chest wasn’t bare. Now he had to think about someone else pressing kisses to that perfect skin. He wasn’t sure how okay with that he was.
Xander stopped in front of him, sounding nearly out of breath when he made it.
Fuck, what if Darren caught the two men right when they were in the middle of something? There was no way Xander should have been huffing like that with just a brisk jog a few houses down.
“What is it? Are you okay?”
He sounded genuinely concerned. That was why Darren loved him.
The way Darren pushed himself up onto his toes and shouted made the wolf within Xander sit up straight and howl.
He struggled not to howl out loud for real. His mate was enjoying what Xander was doing to him. Xander was giving his mate pleasure, and Darren had the bite on him. Xander could still taste the blood in his mouth and it made him wild with need and pleasure.
Inside him. He needed to be inside him, right now, fucking him, taking him, making Darren his.
He growled, letting a little of that possessive wolf out so Darren would know what page they were on. “Mine after this. No one else will ever touch you like this. Do you understand?”
Darren gasped and panted for breath, nodding, as though he couldn’t bring himself to get the words out that he really wanted. As if all speech had completely left him.
Xander growled. He pushed his fingers deeper, pressing the tips against Darren’s prostate and making him cry out again as he stroked that sweet spot again and again.
“This belongs to me,” he rumbled. “You are never allowed to touch it after this.”
Darren’s eyes bulged. He tried to look back at Xander, but he seemed to be having some difficulties with that, what with the way Xander worked and stroked his mate’s pleasure spot.
“Y-you’ve got to be kidding me!”
“So you can speak,” Xander growled, stroking again and again, pushing his fingers back and forth through Darren’s asshole. “I don’t like being ignored.”
“Oh God,” Darren moaned, his head falling down on the stone counter, as if he was completely helpless against the pleasure he was being given.
That was exactly how Xander wanted to keep him.
Forever. He wanted to keep Darren forever. Darren would belong to him and no one else. Darren was Xander’s to touch. Xander’s to make love to, to fuck, to hold, and no one else would ever dare lay their filthy fingers on him or else Xander would find them and murder them.
He was still angry Darren hadn’t told Xander he was being threatened. Still furious about the dead cat, and the risk that had been put onto the mates of his friends, but damn himself to hell and back, he fucking loved this beta and he wouldn’t let anyone hurt him.
And he sure as fucking hell wasn’t about to let Ezekiel toss Darren out on his ass for the mistake.
“You want my cock inside you, don’t you?” Xander leaned over Darren’s back, putting his lips to the man’s ear. He bit down on it, hard enough that the man would feel it. It might have even hurt, but that didn’t matter. He waned Darren to feel Xander all over his body. “Tell me how much you want it. Beg me for it.”
Darren nodded, his eyes still screwed shut, as though he struggled against those very feelings.
Xander didn’t like that.
“I want to be fucked.”
“By me,” Xander growled.
Darren looked back at him, those eyes open and...perfect. “By you.”
Xander needed no more. This was fast and powerful anyway. Slow love making might never be in their future but so long as they had this, Xander would consider it worth it.
He slicked his dick with the oil, biting his bottom lip when his slick hand gripped the shaft a little too hard.
The pleasure mounted, his balls were tight, and pulling his fingers out of Darren’s hole and losing the heat and pressure on his fingers was enough to make him push his cock head against that spot and hold his breath.
Xander braced himself before shoving inside.
It was harder than he meant it to be. Darren cried out, but there was as much pleasure in his voice as there was pain, and the wolf couldn’t hold back, couldn’t give the man a chance to adjust.
There was just the hard, back and forth pounding of his pelvis against Darren’s ass, and the noises that came with it.
Along with the clenching heat and pressure around his cock as he was finally where he wanted to be, where he’d fantasized about being ever since he met Darren two months ago, when he’d been hired to handle the books.
Those other men Xander had found to warm his bed were nothing compared to this. This was instinct, this was fate, and why the fucking hell had he held himself back from taking it for so long?
Xander growled, grabbing tightly to the back of Darren’s neck, steadying the man, and himself, as he surged forward, fucking Darren hard in his kitchen.
“Oh God, oh God, oh God!” Darren cried out. His claws came out, scratching hard and leaving marks in the countertop. That would be an expensive fix, and the wolf within Xander loved the fact that it was him who was doing this to his mate. Only he could give Darren this kind of pleasure. Only he could be the one to make his mate moan.
No one else would touch. No one else would kiss. Fuck. Nothing. This was for Xander and Xander alone.
And he’d stopped himself from making the claim, he’d ignored his instincts and pretended they hadn’t been there...why? To keep to a professional working environment?
Christ, he’d kept himself from his mate, letting himself believe it was simple lust, because of some human rules.
So stupid. He was so damned stupid.
“But you’re mine now,” he growled out loud, fucking harder into Darren, his pelvis slapping against Darren’s ass.
This was a claim. This was as primal as it was ever going to get, and his orgasm was near.
Yes, yes, yes. He had to come inside him. Xander had to put his scent inside his mate’s body.
His bite, his seed, and his scent.
Then it would be done.
Darren cried out. Xander did, too. The internal pressure and fire of pleasure as it built up becoming too much for even him to handle. He came hard inside Darren’s body with a shout. Xander didn’t slow down. He sped up, milking his orgasm and spilling as much of his cum into Darren’t body as he could.
And then, just like that, the animalistic strength and power that built up within him was gone.