[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Suspense, MM, HEA]
Elijah has lived in Midnight Falls all his life. When his parents move to Florida for their retirement, Elijah takes over caring for his grandparents. He's in way over his head. His granddad has onset dementia, and his grandma keeps calling him by his mother’s name. When Elijah ventures into Wild Tiger on one of his rare nights out, he meets Mason, and instantly falls in lust with the guy. If only his ex-boyfriend, Kyle, would leave him alone.
Mason knows the moment he smells Elijah that the human is his mate, and he vows to protect him from any harm—even if it means taking on a loan shark who has targeted Mason’s brother. He’s well aware of how volatile his relationship with Reid is, and he fears that the danger Reid now brings into their lives will only worsen the situation. Mason is determined to keep Elijah safe, but their enemies may have other plans.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“Hey, boss,” Gage said as he, Drake, and a guy Mason had never seen walked in. Mason was busy filling a large order, but his attention snapped to the stranger with Gage. The guy had dark hair that was mussed, a slim, short body, and killer green eyes.
Mason’s Bengal tiger sat up and took notice, too.
“Here to eat me out of business?” Mason joked. He didn’t mind feeding Gage’s friends. They were always respectful, if not flirtatious. It was comical to see Drake and Tido fall over themselves to get his attention. They weren’t his type, but his ego enjoyed their dreamy-eyed looks.
“I have a newly converted friend who’s dying for some more of your delicious food,” Gage said. “Go easy on Elijah. Don’t send him into a food coma. He has grandparents to look after.”
“You want to tell him my entire life story?” Elijah asked. “Jeez.”
Mason smirked. He liked Elijah’s fiery attitude. Then he frowned. Since when did he take interest in Gage’s friends? They were more like groupies, and that never interested him. He was looking for something deeper than a quick fuck.
But his tiger gave a low growl.
“Hey, Kenny, finish up this order,” Mason yelled to the teenager in the back.
“You got it,” Kenny yelled in return.
Mason leaned on the counter. “What do you guys want?”
Gage gave him Tido’s order, which Mason wrote down. Drake ordered pretty much the same, but Elijah stood there looking at the overhead order board as if he were lost.
Then it hit Mason square in his chest. An aroma of vanilla with a hint of jasmine. Mason’s tiger snarled louder as Elijah stepped closer, tapping his finger on his chin.
Mason was looking at his mate.
“What do you recommend?” Elijah asked, locking gazes with Mason. “Gage already had me try the pulled pork sandwich and some wings. Do you have anything else that delicious?”
You can have me.
Mason cleared his throat. Aside from his mate’s aromatic scent, he also smelled human, and Mason wasn’t sure if Elijah knew of the preternatural world. “Beef tips, fish, brisket, chicken tenders, polish boys.”
“You expect me to eat all that?” Elijah frowned.
Gage rolled his eyes. “Give him a rib tip snack pack.”
“What’s that?” Elijah asked Gage.
“Rib tips and fries,” Drake answered.
Mason started on their orders but made sure he served Elijah first. He not only gave his mate the snack pack, but he included some of his famous mac and cheese. He also gave his mate a can of soda from the cooler behind the counter.
“Why does he get served first?” Drake asked.
“New customers always get served first,” Mason said. “Besides, you’re getting this for free, so stop complaining.”
“I’ll pay for mine,” Elijah offered. “You’re running a business. I can’t expect you to give me this without paying for it.”
That just sealed the deal for Mason. Elijah had a kind heart and was thoughtful. “I’ll charge you a dollar of it makes you feel better.”
Not that Mason was hurting for money. He was 275 years old. In that time, he’d amassed a lot of money, and he only ran this place because he had a passion for cooking.
“One dollar?” Elijah looked incredulously at him.
“And fifty cents if one dollar isn’t enough.” Mason smirked. “Go sit down and enjoy your meal while it’s hot.”
Mason ignored Gage and Drake, who were already deep in conversation. Instead, he watched as Elijah settled down at a nearby table. Mason had been alone for so long he had almost forgotten what it felt like to have someone in his life. But now, with Elijah sitting just a few tables away, he felt a flicker of hope.
He watched as Elijah savored every bite of the rib tips and mac and cheese. His eyes closed in pleasure as he indulged in the decadent flavors.
“Here’s the next order,” Kenny said from behind him.
Mason turned and grabbed Gage’s and Drake’s orders, setting them on the counter. Then his attention was back on Elijah.
When Elijah finished his meal, he approached Mason at the counter. “That was amazing,” he said. “I’ve never tasted anything like it.”
Mason felt like preening, which wasn’t like him, but he’d preen like hell for his mate. “I’m glad you enjoyed it,” he replied with a wink.
Elijah leaned in closer, his breath warm on Mason’s cheek. He spoke softly as he asked, “Do you have any dessert?”
Mason’s heart skipped a beat. Did Elijah feel the pull as strongly as he did? “I do,” he said, his voice lowering to match his mate’s. “Peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream.”
“Seriously?” Elijah’s eyes widened in delight as his voice returned to a normal volume. “I’ll take it, but I’m still paying full price for my meal.”
“He won’t take your money,” Gage called out from Elijah’s table. “Try all you want, but he’s going to turn you down.”
“Like he turns me down,” Drake said. “A big tease.”
“Coming right up,” Mason said to Elijah, ignoring Drake.
When he slid the plate to Elijah, their hands touched, and damn if the cliché of sparks flying didn’t happen. Elijah yanked his hand back, staring curiously at Mason. “Static shock.” He laughed. “I hate when that happens.”
It wasn’t static shock, but Mason kept that to himself. “You just might fall into a food coma after all.”
Mason growled low in his throat as he returned the kiss with the same passion, and Elijah felt as though a huge spark had been lit within him.
Mason’s voice was low, throaty. “Is this what you want?”
Elijah nodded, unable to speak.
Mason looked deep into Elijah’s eyes. “If we do this, there’s no going back. We won’t just be friends, Elijah. We’ll be connected for life. Are you ready for that?”
Elijah swallowed hard. He knew he was in over his head, but it was too late to turn back now. He knew he wanted Mason, in whatever capacity that might be. He nodded. “Yes. I’m ready.”
Was he really ready? He had no clue. He just knew that he needed someone in his life who would cherish him as much as he cherished that person. He didn’t know Mason all that well, but Mason had proven to be kinder and more caring than Kyle ever had.
And he wanted Mason with a need that bordered on crazy. The guy had an amazing body, and Elijah wanted to feel all those muscles wrapped around him. He wanted to feel Mason pounding into him.
Mason seemed to sense Elijah’s need and enveloped him in a passionate embrace. Elijah melted into Mason as he deepened their kiss, feeling as if nothing else mattered in that moment.
The heat of the night and the warmth of Mason’s body mixed together until a fire began to grow within Elijah, and he knew that this was destined to be more than just a one-time thing.
He silently thanked the stars for bringing him someone like Mason, and he started to believe that maybe, just maybe, he could finally find the love he was looking for.
Elijah sucked in a breath when Mason pulled his shirt off then tossed it aside. Mason slid his hand over Elijah’s naked chest, his eyes filled with raw need. Then Mason stood, scooped Elijah up from the couch, and turned.
“Tell me where your bedroom is.”
Elijah’s mind was swirled with so much lust-filled fog that he had to concentrate just to remember. “Upstairs, last room on the right.”
Mason took the steps two at a time, as if he couldn’t wait to be inside Elijah.
Once they were in his room, Mason laid Elijah on the bed and gently brushed his dark hair away from his face. His fingers were so gentle that Elijah felt like he was made of glass.
A thrill of anticipation ran through him as Mason removed his own clothes and slipped into bed next to him. Cheese and crackers! If Elijah thought Mason had a nice body while dressed, that was nothing compared to how he looked naked, with all those sinewy muscles flexing while he moved.
Elijah’s heart raced as Mason’s hands explored every inch of him, sending waves of pleasure through his body. He had never felt this way before, and it only made him want Mason even more as Mason slowly undressed him.
“I feel like I’m unwrapping a Christmas present.” Mason slid his hand down Elijah side. “The best present I could have asked for.”
Okay, so call Elijah a groupie. He didn’t care. Hell, he’d shout it to the world himself if Mason kept talking that way.
In that moment, Elijah was sure that Mason was the one for him. He didn’t know how or why, but he knew it in his heart.
Mason worked his way around Elijah’s body until they were pressed together, their skin heating even more as the intensity between them heightened. His heart thrilled as Mason kissed a line from his neck to his stomach and back up again.
The guy definitely knew how to drive Elijah wild.
Elijah grabbed Mason’s hair, tugging lightly as Mason brushed his lips over Elijah’s. Their mouths met with a desperate hunger, and Elijah moaned in pleasure.
Mason said against his lips, “I want you. All of you.”
Elijah smiled as he wrapped his arms around Mason’s neck and pulled him closer. “You already have me,” he whispered. “All of me.”
Mason kissed his way down to Elijah’s hipbones, eliciting more gasps of pleasure as he explored every little corner of Elijah’s body. Elijah felt like he was on the edge of something incredible, and he wanted to experience it all.
He arched against Mason’s touch, his heart beating faster as Mason’s gentle caresses and passionate kisses made Elijah feel alive and desired in a way he’d never experienced before.
“Stop being a tease,” Elijah whined. “You’re already down there. Do something!”
Mason chuckled against Elijah’s hip. “So impatient.”
“So needy,” Elijah moaned. “I want to feel your mouth on my cock.”
Elijah gasped and squeaked when Mason grabbed his legs by the calves and shoved them backward. He dove in, devouring Elijah’s hole, licking and sucking as if he were starved, and then moved to Elijah’s balls.
“Yes!” Elijah wiggled his ass, thrusting against Mason’s mouth.
Then Mason dropped his legs and took Elijah’s cock down his throat. Elijah’s eyes crossed as waves of pleasure crashed inside of him. He gripped Mason’s hair again, tugging the strands as the guy took Elijah to paradise.