Aubrey is a lot of things—clumsy, an enforcer for his coven, a babysitter when needed. He’s also stubborn, which is a good thing when it comes to Oren, the guy he has his eyes on.
Oren isn’t blind. He can see how gorgeous Aubrey is, and more importantly, that he’s a man Oren could easily fall for. He can’t afford it, though. He’s a conclave enforcer, and he’s in charge of finding the dhampirs who are killing the vampires in town one by one. He doesn’t have time to waste, even if it’s with Aubrey.
Aubrey knows all of that, but he doesn’t care. Oren won’t catch the bad guys by working twenty-four seven. He and Oren have different opinions, and they clash together only for Oren to push Aubrey away again.
The dhampirs are still on a killing spree, though, and Oren is terrified something will happen to Aubrey. He’s already lost one person to the dhampirs.
He won’t lose a second one.
After spending most of the day guarding the coven, Aubrey had barely sat down on the couch when Andrew found him. He groaned when he saw Andrew’s face. He could tell from his friend’s expression he wouldn’t like whatever Andrew was about to ask.
He closed his eyes and tried to ignore Andrew, but Andrew stood there until Aubrey looked at him again. “What do you want?” Aubrey asked.
“Falkner wants to visit Darren.”
Aubrey groaned again. “Why? The man was planning on killing him. Why would he want to see him or be his friend?”
Andrew shrugged. “I have no idea, but I won’t try to change him. He’s a good man.”
“If you ask me, he should be less of a good man and think of his safety more.”
“You know he won’t do that. Anyway, he needs someone to go with him.”
Aubrey was right—he didn’t like what he was hearing. “Why don’t you go with him?”
“I have something to do. I would if I could, but I can’t.”
“What about Richie?” Those three were together. Surely Richie could go with one of the men he loved.
Andrew shook his head. “He’s working with James. He tried to get out of it, but you know he doesn’t like it.”
Because James needed to be able to control his shift and his werewolf. An out-of-control werewolf was never a pleasant thing to have on your hands, but especially so in a vampire coven.
Aubrey sighed. “Can he go later once one of you is back? I just sat down.”
Andrew’s expression was apologetic. “I know. I would ask someone else, but I trust you with his safety.”
Aubrey knew Andrew wasn’t doing it on purpose, but he was saying the exact things that would get Aubrey to get his ass off the couch and go with Falkner. He liked that Andrew trusted him with one of the men he loved. Most of the coven trusted him, but Andrew and Falkner had been Aubrey’s friends since they’d arrived. He wasn’t their best friend—they’d been each other’s best friend for so long that he wasn’t sure anyone could change that, or at least, he hadn’t been sure until Richie had arrived—but he was close to them, and he wanted them to be safe and happy.
He dropped the back of his head against the couch and closed his eyes again. “Fine. I’ll go with him. I still think he’s nuts, though.”
“You and me both, though I understand why he’s doing this. He feels close to Darren because they’re both dhampirs. I still don’t like it, though.”
That still stunned Aubrey. He wouldn’t have known, since when he’d met Falkner, Falkner had already been a vampire. It changed nothing for him, but he knew a few coven members had grumbled about Fyfe allowing Falkner to stay with them. Personally, he didn’t care. He wouldn’t have cared even if Falkner was a purple cow shifter. Falkner was Falkner, and Aubrey loved him for who he was, not what he was. Besides, they already had two werewolves living with them. What did it change if a dhampir lived there, too? And there was Adrian. Aubrey loved him, even though he had no idea what to do with him most of the time, and even though Adrian was a vampire-werewolf hybrid. For whatever reason, Ignatius and Oscar had decided Aubrey was the perfect babysitter for their adopted son, and he couldn’t get out of it, no matter how much he wanted to.
Maybe that was because he didn’t actually want to. He might not know what to do with the baby, but he loved that kid.
He rose from the couch and stretched. “Where is he?”
Andrew looked relieved. “Still upstairs. I’ll tell him you’re waiting for him. I’ll also tell him not to spend too much time there. I know you need some rest, and I’m really sorry I’m asking you to do this.”
“But if you weren’t asking me, he would go alone, and we both know that’s a bad idea.” Bad was an understatement.
Andrew looked away, clearly embarrassed. “I know I shouldn’t be doing this. He’s an adult, and he can protect himself.”
“But he’s just been attacked by a bunch of dhampirs, and you can’t shake that fear. I get it. You don’t have to explain, and I’m more than happy to go.” Aubrey paused. “Well, I would have been more than happy if I hadn’t just spent an entire day guarding the coven, but I’ll survive.” Besides, maybe Aubrey would be lucky enough to see Oren.
Ignatius worked for the conclave, and Oren was his team leader. That man was so hot that Aubrey hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him, and he would always be grateful to James for being accused of murder and having Oren and his team come after him.
He doubted James felt the same way, though.
He suspected Oren didn’t like him, but that didn’t matter, at least not much. It wasn’t like they were getting married or anything. Aubrey just liked having some eye candy to look at while Falkner was busy with his murderous friend, and Oren was more like eye caviar or champagne, as far as he was concerned. He was delicious to look at, and Aubrey couldn’t look without wanting to lick him from head to toe.
He should probably stop thinking about that kind of stuff when he was with Oren, though. He was pretty sure every single thought showed in his expression, which would explain why Oren always looked like he’d rather be eating nails than spend any length of time with him.
Andrew patted Aubrey’s shoulder. “Thanks. I’ll tell him to come downstairs.”
“And I’ll be waiting.” Unfortunately.