“What?” His mother inched closer. “What’d you say, baby?”
Austin’s voice was like the harshest of sandpaper against his throat. God, he hated this. “Where is James? I thought…I saw him.”
“He’s here,” his mom said, rubbing his arm. Austin realized his other arm was in a cast. So was his leg. “He found you. He brought you to the hospital. He’s been close by ever since.”
She smiled as she said it. Austin had no idea how long he’d been out for, but he got the feeling his mother wouldn’t be smiling unless she happened to think James was the best thing in the world since grandma’s homemade apple pie.
She’d been bugging Austin about when James would come over for dinner, she’d liked him, had liked knowing Austin had a boyfriend.
Even though he didn’t, because James hadn’t contacted Austin since then.
Except for when Austin had seen James with someone else in the diner, and then James had tried to talk to him, tried to explain, and Austin had blown him off.
Then James was the only person Austin could think about while he’d been fighting to stay alive. When he was tied up, and they were beating him to within an inch of his life.
Austin shivered. He’d really thought he was going to die.
He never felt smaller, or younger, in his entire life. “M-mom.”
“I’m here. It’s okay now. I’m here.”
She leaned in for another hug, and even though she couldn’t hold him that tightly, it helped. It was better than what he’d been feeling before, and he lifted his good arm to hold her back, as tightly as he could.
When Austin opened his eyes, he gasped slightly, the monitor that kept track of his heartbeat beeping loudly beside him.
James. He was standing right there in the doorway, and something in Austin’s chest cried out for the man. Much as he loved hugs from his mom, he wanted to reach out and grab James, touch him, hold him, and never let him go.
His mom seemed to understand, though she also appeared reluctant to let go of Austin and step away from him. She put her hand on James’s shoulder, as if there was some sort of kinship between them before she stepped out. “I’ll be right around the corner, sweetie,” she said softly, just before vanishing.
Austin nodded, but he could hardly take his eyes away from James. The taller man was just standing there, taking up so much of the doorway that when Austin’s mom had stepped through it, he had to get out of her way.
And Austin swore he never saw anyone so handsome in his entire life. He couldn’t believe it, and he wanted to cry all over again. A hard burning started up in Austin’s eyes, and he couldn’t hold it back.
James rushed into the room before Austin closed his eyes and put his hand over his face. He nearly touched the spot that was sore, but he managed to avoid it, and when he opened his eyes, James was standing above him, just the way Austin’s parents had been a few minutes ago.
“You’re awake,” he said, as if he couldn’t quite believe it.
Austin nodded. “What…what happened?”
Those people who had him had said some incredibly weird stuff, but there was no way in hell Austin could believe it all, could he? He definitely knew it all had something to do with James. They’d wanted James, and they’d come for Austin instead.
“You were…” James hesitated, as if he couldn’t quite get the words out. “Some people took you. I guess they didn’t like that a gay man owned a business around here.”
Austin was shaking his head even before James could finish the sentence. Even though it hurt for him to be doing that, he knew that wasn’t the truth, and he wouldn’t just lie there while James fed him those kinds of lies.
“They…they wanted you. I think. They talked about wolves, and omegas. Sending a message. I saw…I saw your hands. They had claws on them.”
Austin knew this was the truth now. He knew he hadn’t just been dreaming that up. There was no way. Even as in pain and woozy as he’d been, he knew what he’d seen. “Your eyes were red. What are you?”
A pained expression crossed James’s face. He reached his hand out, as if to touch Austin’s face, but then pulled back.
And the crazy thing was how much Austin wanted to be touched. He wanted James to touch his face, to feel his fingers across Austin’s skin.
Then maybe he’d stop feeling the ache of that giant wreck whenever it slammed into Austin’s legs.
“I…I’ll explain everything, but the police are going to want to speak with you,” James said. “Be careful of what you tell them. They’re not likely to believe you were targeted because you know a werewolf.”
Austin didn’t think it was possible, but his throat went even dryer than before. Desert-sand hot.
He still managed to choke out the word. “W-werewolf?”
Austin rolled onto his side while James got out of his clothes. He was so impatient that as he kicked his shoes off, he left his socks in place.
Austin splayed himself out. He reached for one of his pillows, pulling it down so his head had something to rest on, and let his arm stretch out in front of him.
“Does it hurt a lot?”
“It’s just tender.”
That had been the arm that had been fractured. Not broken to the grave extent that Austin’s knee had been broken, but still another spot for James to watch out for.
It was still a relief to finally be able to open the small bottle of lube. James panted and gasped for breath when he finally, finally slicked his fingers and pressed them to Austin’s tight hole.
And he was tight. Austin blew out a hard breath, and it was clear he was trying to force himself to relax, but he was still tense. “I have you. I promise.”
He just couldn’t promise not to hurt hum. That was up to the wolf at this point.
Austin nodded. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”
James pushed his fingers inside that tight, hot space. He moaned when he breached his mate, feeling the tight, slick heat clenching around his index finger. He pushed inside just a little at first, then slowly picked up the pace, easing his way inside until he was down to the third knuckle, letting his finger move around, hooking it, searching.
Austin gave out a small sigh, then a moan as James found what he was looking for.
James smiled. That’s what he wanted.
He pulled his hand back, reaching for the lube and slicking his index and middle finger this time. James didn’t push them into Austin’s asshole this time. He let his fingertips slide along the crack of Austin’s cheeks, teasing his hole. “You have no idea how much I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve wanted nothing but this ever since that day we were interrupted.”
Austin panted for breath, then nodded. “M-me, too.”
“Touch yourself. “Stroke your cock while I do this.”
It was looking a little neglected down there, hard and thick, dark in color and even…yes, James smiled, but it was actually pulling slightly in time with Austin’s heartbeat.
“Go on, do it.”
Austin nodded, still panting for breath as he took his cock in hand.
“Not too fast,” James warned. “Don’t want your first orgasm with me to be too soon.”
Austin nodded again, and at this point James was fairly convinced that Austin would nod his head and agree to anything so long as it meant he wouldn’t be denied any more of the pleasure he was desperate to achieve.
James kissed the man’s shoulder, then went back to what he was doing.
He pushed a second finger inside that tight hole. He hooked them, found Austin’s prostate again, and then pulled back before adding a third. He had to be a little more careful here. The third finger was when Austin hissed and clenched his teeth a little more tightly. Two fingers he’d seemed to be able to handle without much of a fuss, but the third was hurting him.
“Try to relax. I’m not pushing in anymore. I’m waiting on you.”
Austin nodded. “Trying.”
James pressed more kisses to Austin’s shoulder, but fuck, this was harder than he thought it would be. His mate was right here, getting ready to be claimed, and the stupid wild animal inside James’ head wanted to just say “fuck it” and start shoving away.
He wouldn’t do that. He was the one in control here, and just because the animal inside his head didn’t understand that it would be a big fucking mistake to just do something like that didn’t mean James was going to give over control.
Dakota was wrong. James could control himself. He would control himself.
Almost as soon as that thought rushed through his head, James felt the beautiful, pleasant sensation of Austin’s body giving in. It was right there. Austin moaned, and James was able to push his fingers in as deep as they needed to go. He was still tight, but the resistance inside him went away. It was no longer there to the same extent that it had been before.
James couldn’t hold back, and fuck, he really hoped that was himself talking and not the wolf as he pulled his fingers out, ripped open the condom packet and rolled the latex down his aching shaft. Austin tried to lift his leg a little, but James stopped him.
“It’s okay, I got it.”
Austin nodded, closing his eyes and biting down on his lips when he felt the thick head of James’ cock pressing against his hole.
“Oh, God,” he moaned softly.
James’ sentiments exactly.