Resolved to his fate, Thorne pressed the button. Bells beat together, filling the hallway with a crude sound that the thin walls failed to keep from escaping. He waited. No answer. Thorne hit the button again. This time, he held his finger on it and the bells continued to ring.
“Who’s there?” a hesitant male voice asked from behind the closed door.
Smart, Thorne thought. Only an idiot opened the door for a stranger. “Thorne Garrison. Head of the city guard. I’m here to protect you.” He waited for the door to open. Nothing happened. He hit the button again. Nothing. He kept hitting the button over and over again. A hand slammed against the door.
“Go away.” The fear had turned to annoyance.
“There’s been an incident outside the building.”
“I’m not interested in what you’re selling, so leave.”
Thorne looked down at his black city guard uniform. They didn’t give these to salesmen. “Open the door.” What was Trey’s friend’s name? Kite. Kit. Karp. Damn, he didn’t know. “We need to talk.” Thorne’s voice held the authority of a man who led. When he said jump, men leaped into the air. He pulled on the handle. The lock was as bad as the work put into building this hellhole. It would take less than a minute to open it. If he kicked the door in, it would take even less time.
“Why are you here?”
“I already told you. There’s been an incident.” The caution and distrust earned Thorne’s respect. So far, this man was a lot smarter than most of the men under his command. He questioned Thorne’s words, looking for lies. The caution almost negated the annoyance of having to wait.
“Incident? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Your friend Trey was attacked outside the building. We have reason to believe you are in danger, too.”
The door rattled and then opened. A man pushed past him, trying to dart around Thorne’s reach.
“Where is Trey?”
Thorne was faster. He grabbed the man’s arm, instantly pleased with the rock-hard bicep.
“Calm down. You’re not going anywhere. I’m here to keep you safe.”
Trey’s friend glared at him and Thorne was lost in an ocean of angry blue. There was a spark of defiance before he raised a leg and kicked at Thorne’s knee. Thorne dodged the assault, keeping his attacker in a tight hold.
“Where is Trey? What have you done with him?”
A fist moved toward him and Thorne used his free hand to stop the punch in midair. Then he twisted the arm and turned his captive around so he faced the wall. A mumbled cry escaped before he started to frantically pull from Thorne’s grip.
“Behave, or this is going to hurt,” Thorne warned.
His captive struggled harder, completely ignoring Thorne’s warning. The defiance should’ve angered him, but it had been so long since someone challenged him. Thorne tightened his hold and almost winced at the groan coming from the man he’d been sent to protect. He leaned closer to give another warning when a delicious aroma made his heart beat faster.
At first Thorne didn’t understand. He wanted this man with an intensity he’d never felt before. Attraction he was used to, but never like this. His body reacted to each breath. The intensity thrilled and terrified him. Thorne’s fangs grew sharp and his belly rumbled, demanding a taste. The skin where their hands met burned. One touch wasn’t enough. The need was too much to deny. The truth made Thorne loosenehis grip and his captive broke free. Blue eyes darted to the left, betraying his next move to Thorne, a master at reading opponents’ body language. When he turned to run, Thorne grabbed him. He was strong, but Thorne would never let this man go. They belonged to each other. This man was his lifemate.
He moved them into room 304. It took less than five seconds before Thorne had him pinned to the floor. A pained grunt tore at Thorne’s need to protect, but he didn’t move. The warmth tore through the cold as his warrior’s heart started to melt. This must be what it felt like to lie on top of paradise.
“Get off of me.” Hips bucked up, slamming against Thorne. He bit back the moan but kept their groins pressed together.
“I won’t hurt you. I’m here to keep you safe,” Thorne said as he sucked in more of the alluring scent.
His captive snorted before tilting his head back to get a better look at Thorne. “You already hurt me. Stop the bullshit and tell me what you’ve done with Trey.” The glare intensified. The need to protect his friend made him impulsive and stupid. Opening the door after hearing Trey’s name, and verbally and physically attacking a man who might have his friend, wasn’t just stupid but dangerous. Thorne’s blood boiled at the risk this man took. The honesty behind the response had been refreshing. Too many men played games. Some men pretended to surrender before thrusting a knife into his opponent’s gut. “I’m supposed to believe Trey was attacked and you came here to protect me? I’m not the one in danger.”
“You’re Trey’s weakness.” Thorne pressed closer. Blue eyes widened as Thorne leaned toward his ear. “I’m here to keep you safe.”
Thorne smelled the fear. It didn’t diminish the sweet scent of his mate, but it tore at his heart, so he stood and moved to block the door.
“I need to clean up.” Kip, again, tried to move away.
“The room is spotless. The table shines. The floors have never been cleaner.” He reached out and rubbed his fingers along Kip’s cheek and down his jaw. Kip relaxed into the touch. Thorne stepped forward and Kip stepped back, one step after another, until he backed into the wall. There was nowhere for him to go. Thorne rubbed his fingers over hard muscles before leaning even closer.
“Thorne, I can’t move.” Kip’s voice was deeper, huskier, as the wicked scent of desire leaked from his pores.
“Good. I like it when you can’t run away.” Kip trembled as he tried to pull away. “I’m not letting you go tonight.” It was too soon. Thorne knew that, but Kip’s blood nearly drove him mad. Blue eyes glassed over with need. They both wanted more and he was the type of guy who liked to give.
Thorne leaned forward. He placed a string of kisses along Kip’s neck, letting his lips brush over sensitive spots. Kip’s skin pulsed under his lips. He waited, giving Kip a chance to pull away, but instead of fleeing, Kip lifted his chin toward Thorne’s touches.
Waiting was no longer possible. For weeks Thorne had kept his desire buried inside. Kip wasn’t ready. His mate’s needs were more important than the fire raging inside, but one tilt of the head pulled him closer. Thorne’s fangs sharpened as he prepared for the scrumptious feast before him, and then he was kissing Kip. The warmth turned into an inferno. He led Kip through the apartment as his tongue rubbed against his mate’s lips. His body pressed closer when Kip moved his fingers under Thorne’s shirt. He hissed as gentle caresses moved along his bare stomach. Kip froze. Then he started to pull his hand away, but Thorne wasn’t letting him go. He moved in, and tore Kip’s shirt off. The hesitant touches were replaced by something more needy, more primal. Thorne mimicked Kip’s fingers on his mate’s body. When Kip traced a line along his abs, Thorne’s hand traced a line down Kip’s toned chest.
Moving slowly was impossible. Kip’s eyes begged for more. They both wanted this too much to deny it. Thorne moved with a speed no human could ever match. He yanked Kip’s pants and undergarments down. The material rested around his mate’s knees. Kip looked down. His face turned red with embarrassment as he moved to cover his erection.
Thorne didn’t like to play nice. He bent down and moved Kip’s hand. He feasted on the sight. Kip swallowed and Thorne moved in, licking down his mate’s right thigh. “You’re beautiful.” He had whispered those words to other lovers, but they never held more truth than they did now. He regretted giving his sex partners the words they wanted to hear. Those words belonged to only one man. Kip’s pulse raced under his lips. He inched closer to his mate’s erection. A blush spread down Kip’s skin as he hovered over the place his mate needed the most attention. “I want to spoil you.” Spoil didn’t even begin to describe all the things he wanted. If Thorne could wrap the universe up and hand it over, he would do it.
The red covering Kip’s face traveled down his neck. Kip panted and turned his head away from him. Thorne bit back a growl. Kip only needed to look at him.
“I wasn’t born to be spoiled,” Kip whispered, probably not meant to be heard, but Warsarians heard even the softest sounds.
“You were born to be mine. I will spoil you.” The words were simple and true, but Kip would fight as he fulfilled that promise. Kip expected nothing. He didn’t want to be difficult, but life had disappointed Kip too many times. Thorne wouldn’t just tell Kip. He needed to show him.
Kip bit his lip as Thorne blew across his hard cock. The light accentuated Kip’s strong and perfect features. A small stubble of hair rested along his chin. The blond color made it barely noticeable, but Thorne studied every exposed inch of flesh. “You’re cute.” Cute? They were both men, and Kip wasn’t only cute. He was stunning.
Kip started to object to the cute comment. Thorne used his lips to silence him, not because he didn’t want to hear Kip’s fears. He wanted to know all of them, but he didn’t want Kip to tell him the reasons he wasn’t cute. Speaking the words gave life to the insecurities. Tonight belonged to passion and promises of love.
Thorne pushed Kip onto the bed. He gazed down at his precious prize. Kip’s hard cock glistened with moisture. He parted Kip’s knees and moved between them. Only they existed. They were the only two who mattered. Kip opened to him and he accepted the invitation. He laid over his mate, using his weight to comfort. A tremble moved across Kip’s body, but instead of pushing him off. Kip grabbed for Thorne like he was a lifeline in an ocean of confusion and uncertainty.
This time Kip kissed him. The clumsiness made him want more. Thorne pushed his tongue inside, deepening the kiss. Escape was impossible. Kip would never get away from him.