Feeling hurt and betrayed, Arion left Vane and rejected their mate bond twenty years ago. He vowed never to return and even made Vane promise not to try to find him. He’s tried to bury the feelings of guilt and regret over the years, but he’s forced to face it all when Vane’s brother shows up to plead with Arion to save Vane’s life.
Vane knows the Dissolution will kill him if he doesn’t drink from his fated mate, but he refuses to break the promise he made to Arion. When Vane’s brother brings Arion back, Vane doesn’t know how to react to his mate’s return, especially when Arion proves so eager to take care of him.
Lucky for Vane, Arion has a plan. He’s tired of wondering what might have been, so he’s going to focus on finding out what could be. The past holds nothing but pain, but Arion already sees how much pleasure the future could bring if he embraces the love he once walked away from.
Be Warned: m/m sex, bondage, rimming
When Vane heard lots of shouting outside, he stiffened and put the book aside on the bed. He didn’t have the courage to go to the window at first, but when he finally did, he saw lots of people talking excitedly in clumps. They all looked toward the main entrance to the castle, and Vane grabbed at the wall for support. When he’d last seen Arion, he’d had to clutch at the doorframe of the stable to stay upright. He’d collapsed in a heap a few feet inside the stable and simply sat there staring until Marius had come looking for him. Marius and Alice had kept his secret, showing him a loyalty he probably hadn’t deserved, which only made him feel more ashamed of his behavior. That had been what had led everyone to speculate, and when his parents had arrived he’d had no choice but to explain why Arion’s departure had affected him so strongly. Most around him had been remarkably kind and understanding, but growing sick of their pity had been what had really made him snap out of his stupor. He’d built his emotional walls high and grown used to guarding his heart until this damned sickness had taken hold of him.
Vane closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the glass to try to steady himself. But he jumped and nearly lost his balance when the door to his bedroom flew open and hit the wall with a loud bang. The entire room seemed to shake as Vane tried to steady himself. Every nerve in his body jumped to attention as his heart thudded wildly. Vane turned and saw Arion for the first time in twenty years.
The lycan certainly knew how to make an entrance.
The day they’d met, Vane’s first glimpse of him had been a lightning-fast blur of fangs and fur as he leapt into action. And now? Arion had obviously been true to his word and run the last part of the way in lycan form. He wore nothing but a pair of brown linen breeches, just barely laced up and hanging off his hips crookedly as if he’d only seconds earlier fumbled into them. Every inch of his muscular frame glistened with a light sheen of sweat, and his dark brown hair was even longer than it had been years ago, falling all around his face and over his shoulders in waves of perfect dishevelment. His breath came in gasps as he crossed the room quickly in long strides. He tossed down a small bag he held in his hand as he closed in on Vane. His face had matured and showed some lines, but Vane still found him breathtaking. His virile presence only heightened his masculine beauty.
Vane opened his mouth but said nothing, his chest tight and his tongue unwilling to move. Arion held up his arm and brought it close to Vane’s lips.
“Arion…” Vane searched for words, but Arion took him by the shoulder and pinned him to the wall, actually pressing his arm to Vane’s lips now.
“Drink. We have a lot to talk about, and you need to be alive for us to do that,” Arion said, his smoldering gaze making Vane feel somewhat lightheaded. Vane had expected anger and detachment, not this passionate insistence.
Vane obeyed all too willingly, moaning as he tasted Arion’s blood again. He drank deep and clung to Arion, and he could already feel the blood making a difference. He stopped himself and healed the wound, and then he realized that his legs had given out and Arion was the only thing holding him up. The lycan scooped Vane up in his arms and carried him to the bed as if he weighed almost nothing.
“You should be resting,” Arion said as he sat on the edge of the bed and held out his other arm. “And you should drink more. I can give more than a human can. You know my blood regenerates faster.”
Vane shook his head. “In a little while. It’s too heady of a sensation because of the disease. I’m dizzy as it is.”
Arion looked him over. “If you say so. You’re sweating and pale and far too thin.”
“That will change.” Vane swallowed as he shifted positions on the bed. “Now that you’re here.”