There was no light or sound, only the presence of pain. It was like a searing hot iron being pushed through his brain, a vice clamping around his skull. He felt sick from the throbbing ache, a dizzying nausea rolling through his gut. He was scared, completely alone in the dark, and that was when he heard it. The sound of a voice, as deep and calm as the ocean on a still day.
“Rowan,” the voice called to him through the fog.
Rowan? he thought to himself. Who’s that?
Abruptly and without warning, the world came spinning back into view. His vision was blurry, but he could make out the shapes of a lot of people, all of them talking over each other. Large green trees loomed over them all. In his current state, it felt overwhelming.
“Quiet,” someone yelled, before kneeling down in front of him. “Rowan, are you okay?”
It was then he realized he was on all fours on the grass.
He blinked to try and clear the fog and looked up at the rugged face of the large man crouching in front of him. “Who are you?”
The man flinched and there was more chatter from the crowd.
“It’s me, Devon.”
“Then…who am I?”
Devon’s face was starting to become clearer, as was everything else. He was in the woods, on the ground, and there were eight people standing around him in a circle. There were candles and strange symbols craved into a tree.
“You’re Rowan. Rowan Adams,” Devon explained calmly. He reached out a hand and brushed a leaf from Rowan’s hair. “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay.”
The thing was that Rowan believed him. He nodded his head and instantly wished he hadn’t done it. The movement caused his headache to worsen. He put his hands to his head and squeezed as though he could push the pain away.
“Hey,” Devon said as he placed his own hands over Rowan’s and gently pulled them away. “Look at me.”
Rowan forced his eyes to focus on the man in front of him. Devon’s ice blue eyes were the first thing he zeroed in on. The intense gaze was framed with thick, dark eyelashes. His skin had a deep tan, built up over years of being outdoors, no doubt. His full lips and strong jaw were accentuated by some well-trimmed stubble.
Rowan felt himself leaning forward and breathing in the scent of the man before him. He smelled like warm earth and sawdust.
“That’s it,” Devon said. “Just focus on me. You’re going to be okay.”
The pain in Rowan’s head began to fade away, allowing room for panic. He had no idea who he was, who the people around him were, or why he was out in the middle of the woods.
He looked at his surroundings. The moon was full and ripe overhead, casting the woods in an eerie silver glow. He could smell something, burnt herbs. It coated the back of his throat.
“Go home,” Devon said, turning to the other people.
“Devon,” a teenage girl said, her voice an unsure whine.
“It’s okay, Gia,” Devon told her reassuringly. “Just go back to the house. I’ll bring him home. We’ll be right behind you.”
Another woman, this time older, took hold of Gia’s hand. “Come on, sweetie. Devon’s got this.”
Gia looked at Rowan with such fear in her eyes, as though his well-being was everything to her. He felt bad and wanted to say something to reassure her, but he had no idea who she was or what was going on.
“What’s happening? Why are we out here?” he asked Devon as the others reluctantly left. Still crouching down in front of him, Devon held out his hand.
“We were out here for the ritual,” Devon explained to him as he helped Rowan up.
“The ritual? What the hell are you talking about?”
The panic was starting to drown him. He had so many questions but no idea of where to start.
“It’s…if I tell you, it’ll just freak you out,” Devon explained.
Rowan stood, and Devon copied him.
“That answer you just gave me is what’s freaking me out!” Rowan shouted.
The corner of Devon’s mouth turned up slightly at Rowan’s reply. Devon quickly put a hand on Rowan’s shoulder.
“I don’t know what went wrong tonight, or if this was supposed to happen. You didn’t exactly have my full confidence in the first place,” Devon said. “I shouldn’t have let you talk me into this.”
“What are you talking about?” Rowan shouted again. “I have no idea what I’m supposed to have talked you into. Just tell me, already. I can take it.”
Devon raised an eyebrow at him and crossed his arms over his chest. “You can take it? Alright. I agreed to take you as my mate and to let you do this ritual so we could share our strength with you in return for your protection.”
Rowan took in their surroundings. The candles, the silver dishes filled with burning herbs. It was all so bizarre.
“I don’t know what any of that means!” Rowan shouted.
“I’m a werewolf,” Devon said as he grasped Rowan’s upper arms with his big hands and turned him to face him once more. “And you’re a witch. You and your sister. Tonight, we had a ceremony to bind the two of us together forever so that the two of you would be stronger and my pack and I would have two powerful witches in it.”
Rowan stared at the man in front of him for almost a full minute as he tried to make sense of the words coming out of his mouth. There was really only one way any of this made sense. This man and his friends were crazy, and they had kidnapped him.
He bent his head and kissed him again, moving his hands from Rowan’s face to his waist. He wouldn’t say the words, not yet, but he was certainly feeling it. He loved Rowan.
He didn’t know if his feelings had been amplified by the fact that Rowan was now his mate or not.
He let go of Rowan long enough to start the shower. They were both tired, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Rowan naked and wet. Their hurried, spur of the moment grinding the other night had left him desperate for more.
There was no uncertainty or shyness as Rowan started to undress. He held Devon’s gaze as he slowly pulled his shirt over his head and began unbuttoning his pants.
“God, you’re pretty,” Devon said.
Rowan glared at him, making Devon laugh.
“Sorry,” Devon said as he slowly stalked back toward Rowan. “Should I say, beautiful? Handsome? Alluring? Ravishing—”
Rowan cut him off by taking hold of his shoulders and pulling him in for a kiss. Devon smiled against his lips, that was until Rowan’s hand started roaming down over his bare chest. His long fingers grazed over Devon’s nipples, making him shudder.
It had been a gamble, agreeing to Rowan’s proposal, but he was glad he’d taken it.
Devon kissed his way along Rowan’s jaw and ran his hand over the swell of the witch’s ass.
He loved how Rowan felt under his hands. He loved how quickly the younger man became undone.
“I’m gonna love you so good,” Devon promised him.
The two of them shared a look that spoke more than any words could.
Capturing Rowan’s lips again, Devon pulled his mate against him, moaning at the contact of skin against skin.
Devon’s cock throbbed in his jeans. He needed the constricting garment off of him. Reaching between them, he fumbled open his fly and pushed the denim down so he could kick them off.
Rowan broke their kiss and looked down Devon’s body.
“God, how do you look like that?” he said, his voice breathy and his eyes heavily lidded. He ran his hands over Devon’s sculpted chest and down to his stomach. Devon’s cock gave an eager twitch.
He watched his mate closely, seeing all the emotions play out over his perfect face. When Rowan was done taking his fill, he swallowed thickly and took in a deep breath.
“Get in the shower,” he said.
Devon’s body was coiled in anticipation. He stepped into the warm spray and turned in time to see Rowan remove the last of his clothes. Rowan was half hard, and there was a pink flush on his pale skin that Devon wanted to lick.
He loved that Rowan was more confident now. The witch held Devon’s gaze as he followed him into the shower. The tension between them was as thick as the steam filling the air.
He leaned in to kiss Rowan again, but Rowan stopped him. Instead, Rowan slowly sank down to his knees. Devon didn’t think he’d ever seen such an erotic sight. The water sprayed down on them, but Devon’s large frame stopped it from hitting Rowan in the face.
He was aware that, as far as Rowan knew, he’d never done this before. He reached down and cupped Rowan’s face, and felt his dick twitch when Rowan turned his head slightly and licked Devon’s palm.
Rowan smiled, clearly pleased with himself over the effect he was having on Devon. He leaned in and nuzzled Devon’s stomach. Devon ran his fingers through Rowan’s hair, tugging gently on the strands. Rowan placed a kiss just below Devon’s navel and took Devon’s cock in his hand.
Devon licked his lips and put one hand on the glass wall of the shower to steady himself. Rowan stroked him slowly, his long fingers gripping him tightly. He kissed and nipped at the tender skin of Devon’s abdomen, making his way south.
Devon watched, his breath caught in his throat, as Rowan placed a kiss on the tip of his cock.
He bit his lip, his hand balling into a fist, and watched Rowan part his lips to take the head into his mouth. Rowan’s eyes fluttered closed as he lightly sucked on the tip. He was tentative at first, experimental even, but he soon gained some confidence.
He took more of Devon’s cock into his mouth and ran his hand around to Devon’s ass. He shuddered as blunt nails scratched over a cheek.
He didn’t know if it was because Rowan was his mate and the bond they shared made what they had feel more special, but Devon couldn’t remember ever being so turned on.
He tenderly stroked Rowan’s hair and enjoyed the moment.
He was with his mate.
He had a mate.