[Siren Publishing Classic ManLove: Contemporary, Paranormal, Alternative, Shape-shifters, M/M, HEA]
Cecil Hayes has been physically abused by his stepfather for most of his life. He was held captive, out of the system. His mother passed away during childbirth. On his twenty-third birthday, during a one-sided fight with his stepfather, Cecil takes the chance to escape. But the commotion lures in a powerful Alpha, who rescues him and takes him in. Cecil knows nothing about the inner workings of a wolf pack, so they were off to a bad start.
Rowan Sands has no idea how to handle humans. Still, he finds a mate in Cecil and takes things slowly. Regardless of his attraction, Cecil is someone he needs to protect. His mate’s thoughts are haunted by his father and he needs someone by his side. But things aren’t that simple. Two investigators take matters into their own hands when it comes to Cecil. Another Alpha claims to be Cecil’s mate. Can Rowan keep them away from his mate?
“Who is this?” one of them asked.
Cecil flinched and tensed when a young man tried to touch him. He wouldn’t care if it were any other day, but it was his birthday. A bat would come at any moment.
“This is Cecil,” Rowan said. “I rescued him from his father. Stella and I don’t have the full story, but you can see the state he’s in, so don’t scare him. If anyone comes to the door asking questions, come to me first.”
As one of them rested their hand on Cecil’s back, he buried his face against Rowan. Breathing hard, he tried his best not to move. If he moved, it would only bring him pain. He tried to peek over at them.
Stella paced to the front of the small crowd. “Everyone give him space. Mia has to take a look at him.”
Cecil looked at a woman with long hair tied into a neat ponytail. Why did she smile at him? “Hi,” he said under his breath.
“Can you come with me? I need to check if your body is all right.”
“No. Please!” Cecil opened Rowan’s jacket and hid his head. He stopped when he felt the warmth inside. Rowan was so warm. He closed his eyes and pressed his cheek against Rowan. He felt the mounds of muscle hidden underneath the cloth. It made him feel strange that Rowan didn’t hit him for this. He jumped when someone touched his back again.
Mia continued. “I’m not going to hurt you, Cecil. Now, can you let go of Rowan? He needs to go somewhere.”
Cecil’s legs nearly gave out. “No. Please…Mia.” He gripped Rowan’s jacket until his knuckles turned white. “My father will come if I let go.”
“He won’t,” Rowan said. “Everyone here can fight an army of people who are the same as your father. This is my pack. They can promise not to hurt you. They will protect you if anyone like your father comes here.”
“A promise?” Cecil stared at him, his chin rested on the middle of Rowan’s chest. He glanced at the others. “Do you promise? Please?”
One of them sighed. “Alpha, it’s not as if we’re pleased to see a human clinging to you, but the way he’s asking…”
“Alpha, it’s a first to see you being sweet to someone, let alone a human,” Stella said. “Anyway, Cecil, we promise whatever Rowan just said. Your health is important.”
Cecil tightened his lips. Wasn’t that too easy? “Okay,” he said to Mia. He tensed when Rowan stepped away from him, and he held on to Rowan’s jacket.
“I’ll be in that room while you’re with Mia,” Rowan said, and motioned toward a large door to the left. “If you need anything from me, tell Mia. She will call me immediately.”
Cecil released Rowan’s jacket with hesitation. He watched attentively as Rowan walked into a room. Rowan hadn’t lied, after all. He remembered how he was surrounded by a small crowd and looked behind him. Only Stella and Mia stood there. Mia still wore a smile on her face.
“This way, Cecil.” Mia led him farther into the house. They went up three flights of stairs and into a spacious room. All the while, Stella told Mia what Cecil had mentioned in the car. “My goodness,” Mia said with her hand over her mouth.
* * * *
“He only knows fear and being neutral,” Mia said, checking her notepad. “Also, he can barely read. The man in question is his stepfather, not his biological father. His stepfather didn’t let him go to school for too long. It was in case his stepson told anyone about the frequent beatings. Cecil doesn’t understand the concept of happiness, and feeling pain is just another day on the job.”
Rowan listened attentively. He glanced at Cecil, who sat on the small couch in the corner of the office. “Anything else? What about his mother?”
“Cecil hasn’t said much. Just that his stepfather once told him that he met his pregnant mother shortly after she left her boyfriend at the time.” Mia sighed. “Cecil has bruises on top of bruises. He also has many cuts, new ones and older ones fading. Some would leave a scar from what happened tonight, so I treated them. Right now, he’s pretty clean, unlike the clothes he’s wearing.”
He couldn’t bring himself to care about what he’d done to Cecil’s father. Rowan leaned back on his desk chair. “Cecil, are you looking for something?”
Cecil switched his attention away from the closed window. The curtain was slightly open. “He might come here.”
Rowan glanced at Mia, who nodded. They knew Cecil had been broken by his stepfather. Nothing they said made Cecil believe his father was gone. “Do you want to come here?” Instead of answering, Cecil nearly ran to Rowan’s side. He stood next to his desk chair and rested his forearm against it for direct contact. “Listen, your father was an awful man, but he can’t hurt you now. No one in this house has that intention either.” The only thing he could do was reassure Cecil until he got used to it.
With a deep breath, Cecil finally relaxed from the aftershocks, but still needed to control his breathing. “Don’t worry. If I’m not okay, I can tell you.” He lay on his side, facing Rowan. “Thanks for loving me,” he said in a whisper.
“You too.” Rowan caressed Cecil’s cheek. “The pack members in the house might have heard us. Are you all right with that?” he asked and wrapped one of his arms around Cecil. Rowan pulled him into a tight embrace.
Cecil enjoyed the comfort his mate offered to him. He couldn’t believe he and Rowan were mates, that Rowan had marked him so everyone knew they belonged to each other. “It’s a bit embarrassing, but I couldn’t help it.”
Rowan chuckled, his expression soothing Cecil. “I’m sure they either went outside or shut down their wolf senses. Now, we should take a shower. It’s going to be our first shower together.”
“We’re doing many first things together,” Cecil said with a smile.
Rowan got out of bed, and Cecil followed him to the bathroom. He sensed Cecil’s heart skipping when he held his hand. When they walked into the bathroom, he got the shower ready. “You’re going to wear my clothes this time,” Rowan said, glancing over at Cecil while he checked the water temperature. He got under the steaming water spray and motioned Cecil to join him.
“I don’t mind. You smell nice,” Cecil said.
“You’ve been expressing yourself a lot more since you returned. I like that.” Rowan rested his hands on Cecil’s shoulders and turned his back to the tile wall. “Are you cold?” he asked, and Ceil shook his head. Rowan moved his hands down to Cecil’s hips and pulled him against him. Their pricks barely touched due to their height difference. He kissed Cecil and slid his tongue past his soft lips.
Cecil moaned against Rowan’s lips. He got on his tiptoes and wrapped his arms around Rowan’s neck. It seemed that Cecil had picked up on how to kiss. He’d been improving, as well as becoming more daring.
Rowan reached between them and grinned when he touched Cecil’s hard shaft. He held it in his hand and stroked it as he kissed Cecil. He had expected Cecil to be too tired after mating, but it was the opposite. Cecil’s quick heartbeat helped him to please him even more.
“You know what to do. Have you done this before?” Cecil asked in a daze.
For a moment, Rowan gave Cecil a blank look. “Well, I’ve been with other people before, but they weren’t my mates. I’m thirty, after all.”
“You’re thirty?” Cecil nearly shouted. “I thought you were twenty-six or something.”
Rowan raised a brow. “Are you upset that I’m older?”
Cecil looked away. “It’s not a problem. I just didn’t expect it. I should’ve known something like this much sooner.”
“We have plenty of time to know more about each other.” Rowan continued to stroke Cecil’s cock. He had kept his hand on it so Cecil wouldn’t go soft. Cecil buried his face against Rowan’s chest. The feeling of love emanated from Cecil. Rowan pinned him against the wall and kissed him deeply.
“What about you?” Cecil asked before Rowan kissed him again. “Do you want me to do it, too?”
Rowan gazed into Cecil’s eyes. “No need. I want our first moments to be about you.” He picked Cecil up and wrapped his legs around his waist. “We can go again if you feel like it. I’m definitely up for it.” He chuckled when Cecil’s heart skipped several times. Cecil wrapped his arms around him and put his face against the curve of Rowan’s neck. His silence said everything.
Cecil groaned out when Rowan pressed the tip of his cock against his hole. “I’m not sure I’m as comfortable as before.”
“We can stop, if you want,” Rowan said, pulling out. He had a pleasant surprise when Cecil moved down and impaled himself on his cock. “I guess we have to continue now.” He pinned Cecil against the tile wall and thrust his prick into Cecil’s clenching hole. The way Cecil breathed hard in lust made him feel alive. He had a mate by his side who yearned for him. Their time apart had taken his mind for a spin.
Cecil crossed his ankles behind Rowan as he rocked up and down. “I like your sounds,” Cecil said quietly.
Rowan attacked Cecil’s lips with his. As he kissed Cecil, he squeezed Cecil’s ass in his hands, causing Cecil to let out a moan close to his ear. Rowan moved Cecil down and laid him on the shallow pool of hot water. He wanted to keep Cecil warm, and he also didn’t want to slip.
“You found it again,” Cecil said in a daze. He put his hands on the tile wall behind his head and took Rowan’s cock.