Cerris is an orphan who’s been told he’s a monster all his life, and he’s come to believe it. He did his best to keep his werewolf half under control, but when he killed a hunter, Dominic asked the enforcers for help. Cerris is sent to work with their only werewolf, but as soon as he sees the man, he realizes they’re mates, and he runs.
Jackson doesn’t understand why Cerris runs, but he intends to find out. When he finally locates Cerris, Cerris’ friends intervene and explain what happened to him and why he doesn’t want to see Jackson—Jackson is a werewolf, and all werewolves are monsters.
Jackson knows he’ll have to work hard to convince Cerris of the contrary, and he hopes finding Cerris’ long-lost father will help. He also has to teach Cerris to control his wolf before something happens.
Will Cerris learn control, or will he become the monster he always thought he was?
Cerris shimmered into his room, wrapping his arms around himself as soon as he was alone. “What the fuck? It can’t be.”
There was no way his mate could be a werewolf. He didn’t want a werewolf mate. He didn’t want to have anything to do with werewolves. Hell, he’d get rid of his werewolf half if he could. He’d tried ignoring it, until Dominic had told him he needed to stop if he didn’t want to get seriously hurt.
Cerris hadn’t been able to deny that—having to chain himself in his room every full moon, not being able to control what he did, waking up with scratches running along his skin every time he lost control—he’d had enough of all of that. He was tired of waking up bloody every month, of being scared of hurting someone. That was the only reason he’d accepted working with Aeron.
Then Aeron had told Dominic there was nothing more he could do to help, and Dominic had decided to send Cerris to Gillham, to train with the only werewolf enforcer the council had for now.
Shit. Dominic wasn’t going to be happy when he found out Cerris had taken one look at the guy and shimmered back home.
Cerris couldn’t blame him. He knew he was dangerous, and it was a miracle Dominic had let him stay with the pride for so long. He could have hurt someone anytime he’d shifted. It happened only a few days every month, but it was enough. What would happen if the wolf managed to get free? If it started roaming the mansion’s hallways during the night? If it encountered someone and hurt them?
That was the only reason Cerris had agreed to go to Gillham, but he couldn’t deal with a werewolf mate.
His chest tightened. Why had this happened to him? Why had fate thought it was a good idea to give him a werewolf mate?
There was no way Cerris could accept the man—Jackson. There was no way Cerris could be with him, and that meant he’d lost his mate before even being able to talk to him, to get to know him, to love him.
Cerris’ chest sagged. He felt empty, and he didn’t even care about what Dominic was going to do or say. In the best case, he’d have a talk with Cerris and try to convince him to go back. In the worst, well, it wouldn’t be the first time Cerris had to leave a place he called home.
Leaving the mansion wouldn’t be as easy as leaving his tribe had been, though. His tribe had always hated him, feared him and treated him like shit. He’d called it home anyway because he hadn’t had any other home, any other place to call his.
Then Nysys had convinced him and the rest of their little banged-up group to move to Whitedell, and he’d finally realized what having a home meant, what having a loving family meant. It wasn’t anything Cerris had ever had, and the last thing he wanted was to lose it.
He sighed and let his arms fall to his side.
He didn’t want to have to leave the mansion and lose everything he’d had for the past two years. He also didn’t want to have to go back to Jackson and wait for him to realize what they were to each other.
The only solution would be talking to Dominic. Maybe he knew another werewolf who could help Cerris. There had to be more of them out there, right? Dominic wouldn’t force Cerris to talk to Jackson, not if Cerris explained what was going on.
Or maybe he would. He might think Jackson deserved to know, and he wouldn’t be wrong. It wouldn’t change anything, though, so why torture Jackson that way? Why tell him Cerris was his mate only to add that Cerris didn’t want him?
Cerris softly snorted and pushed a strand of blond hair behind his ear.
Of course, he wanted Jackson. He just couldn’t allow himself to want him, not with what he was.
Well, there was nothing Cerris could do about it except finding Dominic and telling him he couldn’t work with Jackson. He could try hiding they were mates, but he had no doubt Dominic would find out sooner or later, so he’d rather be honest right away. Dominic would try to change his mind, but Cerris just had to say no, right? Dominic wouldn’t force him to talk to Jackson.
Cerris nodded to himself and stopped in the bathroom before going downstairs. He looked at his reflection, wondering how his day had gone to hell. He hadn’t thought he’d meet his mate when he’d gotten up that morning. It wasn’t something he thought of often, because there was no way to predict when or if he’d ever meet the man meant for him.
Now he had, and he couldn’t even be with him.
Cerris shook his head and washed his face. He avoided looking at himself as he dried and left the bathroom without looking at the mirror again. He tied his hair as he walked down the hallway, wondering if maybe he should cut it. He wasn’t really a Nix, yet he’d stuck to traditional Nix long hair all his life. Cutting it would mean accepting he wasn’t what he so desperately wanted to be, though, and he’d never been able to bring himself to do it. Sometimes he envied Nysys, who was strong enough to cut his hair short and dye it that outrageous bright pink.
When Cerris arrived in front of Dominic’s office, he hesitated. He needed to go in, but he didn’t want to. He raised his fist to knock but stopped before actually doing it. Since he was lucky that way, the door flew open anyway, and Ani barreled into him. Cerris oomphed and grabbed Ani’s arms to stay on his feet.
Ani shook his head. “What are you doing here?”