As alpha to the coywolves, Lucas has done everything in his power to keep his struggling bloodline from failing. His entire focus has always been the betterment of his people, often putting them before himself. When he finally achieves legitimacy and a place for the coywolves in the senate, he also makes a demand for himself—the one and only male who’s made him burn.
Duty has always been Jakob’s focus. He’s been captain of the king’s guard for centuries. His oath is all, but the temptation that Lucas presents makes him doubt everything. He refuses Lucas, unwilling to break the pledge he made to his king.
When King Eirik grants Lucas’ claim on Jakob, a war begins between the two. Without his duty and service, Jakob loses sight of who he is and he refuses to surrender to the dominant alpha forcing him down a new path.
Can the two find a way to have a future together, or will the human who enters their lives tear them apart?
A month ago, Lucas had agreed to lead the coywolves into battle for their would-be king. The senate had refused their bloodline for many decades, calling it unclean because of the mixing of coyote and wolf, yet who had Eirik turned to when he’d needed help reclaiming his throne from the Hokkaido?
The king had needed an army, and the coywolves had needed legitimacy.
And Lucas had needed something more.
That something more stood at the end of the castle’s hallway, the low light keeping much of his body in shadow. That didn’t impede Lucas’ ability to see all he wanted to, light or no. Like the others of his kind, his eyesight was beyond human.
Lucas let his gaze wander from the top of Jakob’s short dark locks, down his strong chest, and then down farther to the part of Jakob he wanted to learn most. The strong captain of the king’s guard stood tall and proud. Jakob ordered his men about, appearing to be unaware of Lucas’ attentions, so Lucas looked his fill.
After a few more moments, Jakob’s head swung in Lucas’ direction.
He wouldn’t hide back in the shadows any longer, stealing a glance here and there. It was time Jakob faced the inevitable. Lucas strolled out of the doorway and leaned on the cool stone wall and stared. He dared Jakob to look away.
Heat flooded Lucas’ body as he met that challenging stare.
A swirl of light circled in Jakob’s eyes, proving he felt… something. As the last of Jakob’s men exited, Lucas approached his prey and almost willed the man to run.
A chase would be so much fun.
His coywolf howled within, obviously agreeing.
“Lurking in the halls for a reason?” Jakob asked as Lucas approached.
Lucas drew in a deep breath, fighting for control. That breath didn’t help much as all he smelled was Jakob’s scent. Lucas’ heart beat all the faster for it, his inner beast demanding satisfaction. “I think you know the reason,” Lucas answered.
The swirl of light returned, only to be hidden as Jakob looked away.
“Why have you been avoiding me?” Lucas asked.
“I haven’t,” Jakob lied, staring at the wall across from him.
The low light washed half of Jakob’s handsome face. The other was bathed in shadow, but for the glow of his eyes cast on his cheeks. No matter how Jakob tried to hide his emotions, he couldn’t hide that illumination. Lucas stared at the sharp contours of Jakob’s face, learning each one intimately.
He only wished it could be his fingers… or his tongue… to glide over the lines and tempt that glow to burn in Jakob’s eyes.
Lucas caught his breath, trying to remember what they’d been discussing.
“You haven’t? It’s felt as if you’ve done everything in your power to avoid me, Jakob.”
“I’ve been busy… with the king back in power, we’ve had to improve our security measures. The Hokkaido made a joke of us. We can’t let history repeat itself. Wolf’s Chance won’t fall again.”
“It’s been a month. You couldn’t give me a moment in all that time?”
Jakob’s head spun, the light in his eyes telling. He met Lucas’ stare before he quickly looked away again. “You’ve been busy as well, have you not? Forcing the senate to accept the coywolves as equals must not be easy.”
It hadn’t been. Centuries of bigotry and ignorance wouldn’t be changed in a matter of weeks. They still had an uphill battle, but at least they had a place at the table.
And Lucas had the opportunity to be more than a warm body in Jakob’s bed.
“Having someone close at night might have made all the hard work easier,” Lucas drawled, trying to hide his smile as Jakob’s jaw clenched.
Jakob glanced his way for a moment, but kept it too brief. “I’m sure there are plenty of males willing to find their way into your bed.”
“Yet the one I want ignores me.”
“I am no courtesan,” Jakob answered, his jaw tightening.
Lucas reached out and brushed a few dark locks behind Jakob’s ear. Jakob stiffened and took a step back, his eyes bright with illumination.
“Don’t,” Jakob whispered.
Lucas frowned and tilted his head. “Were we not growing close when you came to Sanctuary?”
Sanctuary was as close to a kingdom as the coywolves had. Built as a wolf preserve to hide their shifter nature to humans, the thousands of acres held a clinic where Lucas and his team of doctors and techs offered medical treatment to the coywolf nation, as well as any natural wolves humans occasionally brought his way. It gave them a place to be free and run away from prying eyes, a place to heal from any wounds. Wolf shifters regenerated quickly, but in severe cases, a shifter needed help to survive. A broken bone could heal wrong if not reset properly. A gunshot wound could heal around the bullet or fragments, potentially making it painful or impossible to shift if they were not removed.
Eirik had needed him to perform surgery on his blood mate—removing the technology the Hokkaido had implanted inside the male. Jakob had come along to protect his king, and while there, Lucas had felt a bond grow with the captain of the guard.
Or maybe… maybe Jakob had been there to tempt Lucas into doing Eirik’s bidding. Now that the king no longer had a need for Lucas, neither did Jakob.
Lucas couldn’t breathe for a moment. Could that be true?
He stared along the profile of Jakob’s face, his stare drawn to the glow. If Jakob felt nothing, that glow wouldn’t be there, would it? Or perhaps it was shame—for having been made to play the whore for the king.
Lucas pushed the thought aside, refusing to think it. What he’d sensed had felt too real for it not to be.
“I appreciate what you did for my king,” Jakob said. “Perhaps I allowed you to become too familiar and that was a mistake.”
Doubt filled Lucas for another split second, but he refused for it to take hold.
This isn’t me. I know what I want. I simply need to take it.
Lucas grabbed Jakob and forced him against the wall. Jakob stared up at him, his eyes widening for a moment… until they quickly grew hooded. The look of lust on the man’s face only fueled Lucas all the more. He lowered his head and captured Jakob’s lips, intent on showing Jakob there was no mistake.
No mistake at all.
Jakob fought him at first. Lucas could feel the man’s hands clawing at his chest, pushing him away, but Lucas refused to give in. He would have what he wanted. One way or another, he would have this male as his. Lucas forced the kiss, seeking entry into Jakob’s mouth, sensing the need for Jakob to give in swirling around them like a cloud.
After a few moments, he won the battle. Jakob opened to him, and Lucas swept his tongue inside. His body shook from the need that had built all these weeks.
The need to claim was strong.
Jakob melting into him only made the need stronger. As his lover yielded, Lucas felt his body harden all the more. Rubbing his denim-covered cock against Jakob’s hip, he knew he was close to coming from just that sensation alone. A kiss and a rub was enough to do him in?
Jakob moaned, his hands sliding up Lucas’ chest. Lucas lowered a hand and cupped Jakob’s cock, approving of the hard flesh he found under the leather there. Jakob wanted him, it was apparent.
So why had the male run from him all these weeks?
Jakob suddenly pushed him away, knocking him into the opposite wall. An instinctive growl came from Lucas’ lips on impact, and he rushed back to his prey and pinned the male against the wall.
“Why do you deny me?”
Jakob’s face contorted in what looked like pain. “I can’t be what you want me to be.”
Lucas frowned. “And what is it you think I want?”
“I have given my life over to my king. It’s not mine to give to you,” Jakob whispered. “And I won’t be just a warm body in your bed for a night or two.”
“And who said I wanted more than that?”
Lucas regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth.
The wounded look in Jakob’s eyes twisted at Lucas’ gut. It also showed Lucas the male had felt their bond. They both knew a handful of screws would never be enough.
An eternity would scarcely suffice.