Sylvester Ramsey jerked awake and looked around, groaning as his head pounded at the quick movement. What was he doing on a floor, and where the hell was he? Worse, Sylvester was completely naked. Had he gotten so wasted that he didn’t remember where he was?
With a moan and protesting muscles, Sylvester pulled himself up from the floor and sat on the edge of the bed, glancing around. Judging by the cheap art on the wall, the standard desk, the sixties-looking blanket, and ratty carpet, he came to the conclusion he was in a motel room.
And he was alone.
The sun peaked through the thick curtains as Sylvester got up and looked around. He found one tennis shoe under the desk, the other in the closet, both shoes stuffed with his socks. His underwear was in one of the desk drawers. As he looked around for his shirt and pants, he noticed the untouched bed.
What in the hell happened? Nothing made any sense. He was naked, but the bed didn’t look like he’d had sex on it or even slept in it. Why were his clothes strewn about? And where in the fuck were his pants?
He slipped his underwear on and instantly felt better. He set his shoes and socks on the bed and wandered into the bathroom. Not only did he have to relieve himself, but he prayed the rest of his clothes were in there.
He spotted his shirt and pants.
And the dead body.
“What the fuck!” Sylvester backpedaled so fast, he ran into the wall. He might’ve even peed a little as he stared at the milky-white gaze. And the blood. There was so much blood. He’d never seen a dead body before and he could have gone his entire life without seeing this one. The guy took up the entire tub, his head bent at a funny angle. His legs dangled over the side, as though he’d been pushed into it.
But the hole at the center of his chest was what had Sylvester dropping to his knees and vomiting in the toilet. He flushed and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, sitting on his ass as he squeezed his eyes closed.
“This can’t be happening.” Who was the guy and how had Sylvester ended up in the same room with him? How had Sylvester gotten to the room in the first place?
He pushed to his feet and stared at his jeans and a T-shirt that had once been white, but was now covered in blood and lying next to the dead man. His jeans were tucked under the guy’s head, as though whoever killed John Doe wanted him comfortable.
Sylvester slapped a hand over his mouth and shot out of the bathroom, trying to suck air into his lungs as he collapsed on the bed. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t handle looking at a dead body.
Shit, he needed to call Sario. Sylvester needed to get out of here and get answers. He used the motel phone to call his brother. Thank God Sario answered.
“Why didn’t you meet me last night?” Sario asked. “We were supposed to hang out.”
“I need you.” Sylvester talked bullet-fast, telling Sario what he’d found in the bathroom.
“What motel are you in?”
Sylvester had no idea. He grabbed the pad of paper the motel provided and grimaced. Of all the places he had to be, it was the motel known as “Frank’s Skank.”
That wasn’t really the name, but it might as well have been. It was a local pay-by-the-hour motel. Drug dealers paid for a room to chop up their drugs—or so Sylvester had heard since he didn’t mess with drugs—and hookers used it, too.
Great. His life was going down the toilet in a sleazy motel. Maybe the motel put complimentary dead guys in all the rooms. Sylvester wanted to smack himself for that thought. He needed to calm down and think, but that was hard to do considering the situation.
“I’m on my way,” Sario said. “Don’t move and don’t talk to anyone. And for fuck’s sake, don’t call the cops.”
“Bring me clothes.” There wasn’t a chance in hell he’d put on his T-shirt and jeans, but he did need to get them so he wouldn’t leave any evidence behind.
“Give me ten minutes.” Sario hung up. Sylvester was thankful he had a brother who always had his back. In truth, Sario was the biggest chicken he knew, but not when it came to his sibling. When it came to Sylvester, Sario always found a backbone.
After replacing the phone on the cradle, Sylvester glanced around. He didn’t have any enemies he could think of, but this felt like a straight setup.
He needed to wipe the place down. Using his underwear, he tackled the phone first, then went through the room, hitting every surface that could hold a print.
He even flushed the toilet a few more times just to make sure his vomit was gone. Seeing the dead body again made him want to throw up, but he managed not to.
“I don’t know who you are,” Sylvester said as he gazed at the floor, refusing to look at the carnage left in the tub, “but I didn’t do it…I think.” Since he couldn’t recall how he’d gotten there in the first place, Sylvester couldn’t be sure how true that claim was.
Sylvester turned over. He lifted his head and gazed at Xander with those sleepy blue eyes. “Did you say something?”
Unable to stop himself, Xander cupped Sylvester’s jaw and pulled him close, capturing his soft, warm lips. He grazed his hand down Sylvester’s back and cupped his ass, drawing him even closer. Xander didn’t feel worthy of Sylvester, but hell if he’d let the man go.
He didn’t have it in him to walk away. How could he when Sylvester was the light to his darkness?
Sylvester moaned as he eased his arm around Xander’s neck. Their kiss turned desperate as Xander rolled to his back, taking Sylvester with him. He grabbed Sylvester’s legs and tucked them on either side of him before cupping Sylvester’s face.
“We should slow down.” Sylvester peppered kisses along Xander’s jaw. “We just met.”
Xander chuckled as Sylvester pulled back and ripped his shirt over his head, then tossed it aside. His thin, naked chest was pale, but so damn perfect. Xander ran a hand over it, rubbing the pad of his thumb against his mate’s nipple, watching the skin pebble under his touch.
Sylvester bent over, pressing his hands against Xander’s chest as he licked along Xander’s lips. With a growl, Xander gripped Sylvester’s nape and held on as his tongue swept the interior of Sylvester’s mouth. “You taste like home.”
Sylvester pulled back, his brows furrowing. “I’m not even sure what that means.”
“Your kiss just does me in.” Xander stole another one. “I don’t care if we just met. I’m crazy about you, Sylvester.”
Sylvester’s laugh was infectious. Xander grinned like a fool as he sat up and pulled his shirt off. “Touch me.”
With a coy smile, Sylvester asked, “Where do you want me to touch you?”
Xander circled his fingers around Sylvester’s hand and pressed it against his heart. “Here.”
Sylvester’s blue eyes grew darker as he studied Xander. His fingers played over Xander’s chest, brushing back and forth. “Right here?”
With a nod, Xander lay back down, trailing his fingertips over Sylvester’s cheek. “But I think you already have.”
Cocking his head to the side, Sylvester asked, “Have what?”
“Touched my heart.” Xander cupped his mate’s ass, squeezing as he kissed Sylvester. The slow-burning passion built as Xander ghosted his fingertips up and down Sylvester’s spine.
Sylvester broke the kiss. He slid from the bed and removed his pants and underwear, then tossed his socks aside. His hands shook as he stood there staring at Xander.
After yanking the rest of his clothes off, Xander crooked his finger. “Come here, sweetheart.”
Sylvester crawled back onto the bed, and Xander folded his arms around his mate. Xander simply lay there holding him. He wasn’t in a rush to claim Sylvester, though Xander’s wolf was howling for just that. But, for that moment, Xander wanted to simply hold his mate. “You’re right where you belong.”
Sylvester snuggled closer. “It feels like it.”
Xander kissed his temple. “I told you, you were meant for me.”
Xander had never been more grateful for fate. If not for it, he probably would have remained alone forever. Xander never sought anyone out. Not that he didn’t indulge in sex, but he’d always kept his emotions disentangled from the act.
Sylvester pulled back and stared up at him. “Are we just gonna lie here naked and hug?”
Xander gave a deep chuckle. “What did you have in mind?”
Now who was playing coy? But in truth, teasing Sylvester felt nice. Already Xander’s heart felt lighter.
With a shrug, Sylvester said, “I don’t know. Maybe you can rock my world.”
Xander got up and hovered over Sylvester, placing his hands on either side of Sylvester’s head. He began to rock back and forth, making the mattress bounce. “Like this?”
Sylvester slapped his chest. “You’re such a dork.”
“Or like this?” Xander reached to his nightstand and pulled the lube from the drawer. He slicked his fingers before wedging them between Sylvester’s legs. His mate hissed as he parted his legs, opening himself for Xander.
Pressing his fingers against Sylvester’s hole, Xander captured Sylvester’s lips in a soft kiss as he slid his fingers inside the tight heat.
His canines descended as he scissored his fingers, groaning into the kiss. Sylvester might’ve been skittish of Xander, but when it came to sex, his mate simply let go. He responded so beautifully, his small whimpers and pleas sinking deep inside Xander’s heart.
Sylvester rocked against Xander’s fingers, impaling himself as Xander added a third digit.
“I’m ready,” Sylvester whispered against his lips. “Please, I need to feel you inside me.”
Now how could Xander refuse such a sexy request? He removed his fingers and lubed his cock. After tossing the bottle aside, Xander slid an arm under Sylvester. “Do you accept me as your mate?”
His heart thundered as he waited for Sylvester to deny him, to push Xander away and tell him he was a piece of shit.
But Sylvester looked at Xander with such tenderness in his baby blues. He bit his lower lip as his fingers curled into Xander’s biceps. “What does that mean?”
“That you’re mine,” Xander said. “That I’m yours. That you’re willing to spend the rest of your life with a man who doesn’t deserve someone like you.”
Sylvester’s brows furrowed. He looked as though he wanted to say something, but couldn’t form the words. He touched Xander’s cheek as a sweet, slow smile surfaced. “Okay.”
“Just like that?”
A scowl replaced the smile. “You just asked me, now you’re questioning my answer?” Sylvester gave a little growl that turned Xander on. “Make up your mind.”
“I really don’t deserve you.” Xander sighed. “Say the words, sweetheart. Say you accept me as your mate.”