“Talk,” Steel practically barked out the words.
“Can you get off me? You’re distracting.”
Steel peeled his lips back and bared his teeth. “Don’t want to be under a monster?”
Thad looked confused. “What are you talking about? Anyone would be at a loss for words if a hot, sweaty buff guy was on top of them.”
Steel furrowed his brows. “You find me attractive?”
Thad swore under his breath. “Isn’t that clear?”
This must be some kind of trick. True, he knew Thad had a boner—so did he—but Thad could still be playing a role. Steel had to find out why Thad was here. Take Thad prisoner, but check him for monitoring devices first.
“Are they watching us?” Steel finally asked.
“Doubt it. They got tired of watching me move from one place to the next, trying to find a job.”
There was bitterness in Thad’s voice, too genuine to be faked.
“If you run, I’ll hunt you down.”
“Sounds reassuring,” Thad grumbled. He always liked how Thad acted fearless around him, when most humans were scared of him, considered him dangerous. Inhuman. Thad treated him like he always did, like Steel was an ordinary person.
He got off Thad. Thad sat up, and Steel joined him on the ground, culling the urge to touch Thad. Do something he might regret.
“Okay. Talk.” Steel knew he shouldn’t be falling for Thad’s trap, but was this really a trap? Where were the guards? He smelled nothing, sensed no danger nearby. What were they waiting for?
Thad drew a breath and began to explain. Steel could hear lies, but as Thad spoke, told him about what he’d been doing the past few months, he began to reevaluate his opinion.
He frowned. Thad hadn’t lied to him once the past twenty minutes. Closer inspection of Thad’s body supported the story. Thad was thinner. Dark circles haunted Thad’s face. Hell, the human looked like on the verge of crying, of breaking apart.
Steel reached out by instinct to cup Thad’s jaw, rubbing at it, unsure why he wanted to keep touching the human.
“W-what about you? How did you get free?” Thad’s gaze lingered on his dick and then he jerked his head back up to his face.
“I can’t tell you that.”
Thad looked defeated. Steel expected him to get angry. “I get it. I haven’t earned your trust yet.”
Thad might be telling the truth, but by coming here, Humans Always probably knew Thad was here. Steel had to warn Jagger and the others soon. They needed to move. It sucked because he saw how his fellow brothers and their mates were beginning to think of this place as their home.
“What’s going to happen next? Are you going to take me prisoner, interrogate me?” Thad asked, drawing his knees to his chest. The gesture made the human look vulnerable, scared. Steel didn’t like that, smelling fear on Thad.
That was the right thing to do, though. Capture Thad, but his brothers would be suspicious. They would drill Thad, demand Thad for answers. They didn’t understand Thad was no threat.
“I need to think.” Steel rose to his feet. He walked away, even though it felt like one of the hardest things he ever did. Steel ignored the rushing footsteps behind him. Thad grabbed his shoulder. He snarled, shoving Thad against the nearest tree. “Don’t. I feel strange when you’re too close.”
“That’s called desire, Steel.” Thad lifted his chin. “Why are you letting me go? Will I ever see you again?”
Growling, Steel caged his body against Thad so there was no escape. “Believe me, human. You’re better off without me.”
“You’re wrong,” Thad blurted out, pressing a hand on his chest, over the brand where his designation used to be. All captive Alphas were branded, like cattle upon acquisition by the humans. The first thing Steel did was try to erase that mark. Now it was only a mass of scar tissue. “Don’t you get it, Steel? Why I kept sneaking out to visit you in your cell? I’m in love with you, for a long time now.”
Steel didn’t know what to say to that. Emotions fluttered inside him, and he couldn’t put a name to them. “I don’t understand what love is.”
His answer seemed to hurt Thad, because the human flinched.
“I’m sorry,” Thad whispered.
“What are you apologizing for? I should be the one saying that.”
Thad shook his head, tears in his eyes. Fuck. Steel didn’t like seeing Thad reduced to crying, and he was pretty sure he was the one at fault.
“You know, in my fantasies, I imagined freeing you, so we can walk the outside world together. I just realized reality is more complicated.”
In his mind’s eye, Steel saw his brothers with their mates. He imagined Thad beside him, smiling, so he was no longer the odd one out. They’d all sit down, like a real family, laugh, share jokes. When the night was over, he and Thad would go back to their own place. Make love all night.
The image blazed so brightly in his head. Want rammed into him. Unable to contain himself any longer, he pressed up against Thad, dick against Thad’s stomach. He clasped the back of Thad’s neck, gauging Thad’s reaction.
Thad didn’t fight him, simply surrendered as Steel pulled their mouths together. Heat and the amazing taste of Thad flooded down his throat, confirming what he’d suspected all along.
Thad was the one, his mate. Steel might be a broken Alpha, but he wasn’t so far gone. Thad could help restore the pieces the scientists took away. Oh, Steel recognized the danger, that by being closer to Thad, he might bring the organization’s attention back to all of them, but it didn’t matter. Not now.
“Same,” Steel said. “When the reprogramming or training got too tough, I thought of you.”
Oh God. This was really happening. Even confronted with reality, some part of Thad was still in suspended disbelief. He never imagined being able to reunite with Steel again, the man who haunted his dreams. Thad heard Steel uncapping the lube behind him and groaned when Steel drizzled lube down his crack. Steel worked two slick fingers in him a second later.
“Fuck, but you’re tight.”
“I haven’t,” he faltered, then continued, “been with any man for a long time. None of the men who hit on me could compare to you. Besides, it’s not like I’m attractive or anything like that.”
Steel’s growl made all the hairs on his back stand. “Those fuckers don’t know what they’re missing out on. Good. Plenty for me.”
Thad threw civility and shame out the window and thrust his ass at Steel.
“Please,” he begged.
He squirmed when Steel’s hand landed on his ass cheek. Thad jumped, aroused.
“Behave, little human. I’m not exactly small.”
“Oh, I’m aware of that.” Hell. Did Thad just say those words out loud? Steel’s sexy laugh made him bury his face into the bark. Thad was glad Steel couldn’t see his expression, and God knew he was this close to coming.
As if Steel knew what he was thinking about, Steel reached over and gave his dick a warning squeeze.
“Don't come without my permission.”
Thad nodded. Steel denying him orgasm was so hot.
“Spread your legs wider.”
Thad obeyed, feeling filthy, so wondrously good as Steel began finger banging him. Steel curled his fingers, reaching a secret spot inside of him. He gasped. Needing something to hold onto, he clawed at the wood.
“Steel,” he whispered. “I can’t take any more of this. Take me now.”
Steel nipped at the pulse point on his neck. “Remember who’s in control, little human.”
Thad would never forget. Ever since he met Steel, all he ever dreamt of was being dominated by this powerful sexy shifter. Steel brushed against his gland again, making him rake his nails over the trunk.
“You’re ready,” Steel announced, making him sigh in relief.
Steel closed the distance between them, and Thad could feel the Alpha’s slick hard chest pressing up against the curve of his back. More lube splashed into his hole, so much that Thad had a feeling Steel had practically emptied out the bottle.
The Alpha closed his powerful hands around his waist and began to push in. With all the lubrication, Steel pushed in easily and he barely felt the burn. Steel pushed several inches in him slowly, as if gauging his response, before burying himself balls deep.
Thad held his breath for a couple of seconds, before letting out a slow exhale. He could feel Steel’s dick now, so big and warm, like a heated forge, filling his tiny ass completely.
“Oh,” he murmured. Words eluded him. With his and Steel’s joined bodies, he couldn’t think very well.
“Mine,” Steel said the word like a promise.
“Yes. Fuck, yeah.” Thad wished he could say something romantic, but his consent was all he could manage.
Steel dragged his pointed teeth across his neck again. Thad felt like his skin would split open, but Steel merely teased. Then the big Alpha began to ride him, each thrust faster, stronger.
The sound of their bodies clashing and slapping together filled the woods. Thad didn’t know where he began and where Steel ended. Each sure stroke and Steel owned him, claimed him. Thad would gladly surrender to the whims of this powerful Alpha.
He had studied up on shifters. It was required of all the staff at the base, so he knew about mating bonds. Shifters had an internal radar built into them, telling them when they found the one. That didn’t work for humans, but when Thad saw Steel for the first time, it felt that way.
Thad knew deep down, he was made for Steel.
The scientists and everyone else at the facility messed with them, made their lives miserable, but Thad had enough. From now on, he was in charge of his own destiny. With Steel’s dick in him, the consequences of his actions, the danger he was putting both of them and his family in—didn’t seem all that urgent, not yet anyway.
“Fuck, you’re so tight. I’m going to wear your ass out, until you can barely walk so you’ll never forget,” Steel said.
“Yes,” Thad hissed, like a cat in heat, as if he were incapable of making human sounds.
Steel pounded into him, each stroke deeper, bringing them closer. Steel put his teeth against his neck again.
“Do it, Steel. I’m yours, always have been.” Thad prayed Steel heard the silent plea in his voice.