Cam has been through hell and back. He was kidnapped and torn apart by scientists while the human government turned a blind eye, and he doesn’t think he will ever recover. How could he? Even now that he’s free, his pain and fear keep him captive.
Rocco never thought his mate would be one of his patients, but since Cam is related to one of the assassins’ mates, he’s Cam’s doctor first and his mate second, at least for now. He wants Cam to start living again, but he understands how hard it is, since he’d been through something similar.
Cam carries his fear, while Rocco carries guilt. Neither of them is sure they’ll be able to shed it and make space for love in their life. But when the warehouse where the assassins live is attacked, they’ll have to face their worst fear—and hopefully, win the fight.
Rocco sucked in a breath, then pushed the door open. He pushed too hard, and it slammed against the wall, getting everyone’s attention. They all turned to look at him as he stepped into the kitchen, and he looked away, using the excuse of closing the door to make sure they didn’t see how embarrassed he was.
He shouldn’t be. He’d been living and working with these people for years. He should consider them his family, and he did. That didn’t make it easier to spend time with them, though, not with his past.
He cleared his throat and strode to the counter, where the food was piled up. Graham was the cook, and he was an excellent one. He always made sure there were enough leftovers for everyone, which helped, considering they didn’t work a nine to five job. He was grateful. He was pretty sure that if he’d had to cook for himself, he would have died of hunger by now—or of food poisoning.
“Rocco,” Tali said. He worked with Rocco in the infirmary, so Rocco was closer to him and his twin brother than to most people here, even though he’d taken care of every single assassin, some of them several times.
Not wanting Tali to worry, he forced himself to smile. “Having dinner?” he asked, already feeling like an idiot, because it was evident that Tali was here for that.
Tali nodded. “What about you? Are you eating with us?”
Rocco never ate with the others. There was a good reason for that, but he knew Tali wouldn’t understand. None of them would. Most of them didn’t know what had happened, and Rocco wanted to keep things that way.
He forced himself to smile. “I’m going to put a tray together so I can take it to Cam.”
“I can do that. You should sit down and eat. You’ve been spending a lot of time with him in the infirmary, and I’m sure you’re ready to talk to other people.”
Rocco took a step back. He knew Tali was saying that to be friendly and because he cared for him. He didn’t understand. Rocco didn’t want him to understand. “I’ll do it. Don’t worry about it. Have fun with the others.”
Tali frowned. “But I can do it. It’s not a problem. I work for you, after all.”
Rocco shook his head. “I’m fine.”
He should probably tell everyone else that he and Cam were mates, but for now, he didn’t want to. He didn’t know how Cam would feel about it. Cam was still in so much pain, and he had nightly nightmares. He’d been through hell and back, and Rocco wanted to shield him, to make sure he was comfortable. That came before telling everyone else they were mates.
Telling the others probably wouldn’t change a lot, except for the fact that they wouldn’t look at him like he was Rocco’s professional responsibility. And he was. Rocco was a doctor, and Cam was in bad shape. But there was a lot more to it, and everyone would realize that as soon as they found out. Maybe then they wouldn’t ask to take the tray to Cam in place of Rocco. It didn’t matter, though. As long as Cam was uncomfortable telling everyone, he wouldn’t.
Besides, Cam wasn’t the only reason Rocco was avoiding the assassins and their mates. He always had, and he would continue to do it. It was already nerve-racking enough to deal with Cam and making sure he didn’t get hurt. Rocco needed to be a hundred percent sure he wouldn’t hurt the people he lived with, either.
Some days, it sounded ridiculous even to himself, but after what had happened, after what he’d done, he couldn’t take chances. He couldn’t allow himself to because he didn’t know what he would do if something happened and someone got hurt. Probably leave the warehouse and the assassins behind. But even though he did his best to keep them at a distance, they were his only family. He didn’t want to lose them. He just wanted them to stay at a comfortable distance, at least for him.
Ignoring everyone who was sitting around the table talking, Rocco put together a tray. Cam needed to eat so he would heal faster and stay healthy, but since Rocco knew that he didn’t enjoy eating right now, he tried to put together food that would be appealing.
“That’s for Cam?” Ox asked.
Rocco jerked, almost dropping the fork he’d been putting onto the tray. “I didn’t hear you,” he said when Ox arched a brow at him.
“I can see that. So? Is the tray for Cam?”
Rocco nodded. “He needs to eat.”
“Of course he does. You’re taking good care of him, aren’t you?”
Rocco glared at Ox. “What do you think?”
Ox shook his head. “I was just asking. I know you wouldn’t hurt him.”
Maybe he wasn’t quite right about that, but Rocco didn’t say it. “I’m doing my best. He has a long way to go, though.”
Ox’s smile faded. “I know. I’m terrified that he won’t be able to.”
Normally, Rocco wouldn’t take the time to reassure Ox. He would move away from him as soon as possible, just in case. But Ox was Cam’s brother, and that meant they were family. Rocco wasn’t sure how to feel about that yet, but he supposed he would get used to it.
“I think he’ll be fine. I don’t know how long it will take him to heal, and I can’t promise you he’ll be like he was before, but he has a lot to live for. He has you and your mate. He’s free.”
Ox cocked his head as if he didn’t understand what Rocco was saying. “He also has you.”
Rocco shrugged. “I’m his doctor, sure.”
“You’re more than that.”