Demi flees Starhaven, the demon town, when his ex won’t take no for an answer. Noah takes him in and Demi meets Reed. He knows from the first moment that he’s Reed’s mate, but Reed has been through a lot, and neither of them knows whether Reed can trust Demi enough to open up to him or if he’ll run away instead.
Reed has been having nightmares and other problems ever since the lab. He’s been working on it with Gentry, but the road to recovery is still long. Still, he’s happy when he finds his mate, and even happier when Demi turns out to be an affectionate and sweet man who does everything he can to help Reed.
The couple slowly works toward a future together, but what will happen when Demi’s past finds him? Will Reed break under the pressure, or will he be able to trust his mate enough to work his way out of his own dark thoughts?
“Where are we going today?” Demi asked his father as he finished loading the truck.
“The Thorton in the morning, and the Esslemont in the afternoon.”
Demi groaned. The last thing he wanted was to have to work for his ex, but they couldn’t afford losing a client. Besides, his dad didn’t even know about Demi and Larsen, and Demi wanted to keep things that way. He just hoped Larsen wouldn’t cause problems, or even better, that Larson wouldn’t be home.
Demi thought about telling his father he wasn’t feeling well, but one look at him was enough for Demi to decide he wouldn’t. His dad tried to hide it, but Demi could see the way he pressed a hand on the small of his back and grimaced with almost every move he made. He was getting old, but he couldn’t quit his job. They needed the money, and Demi couldn’t do everything on his own. Hiring help would mean giving some of the money they desperately needed to someone else, though, so they made do.
But Demi knew his dad wouldn’t be able to work for much longer, despite the way he tried to hide his health problems, and Demi would have to find a solution.
“Demi? You with me?”
“Oh, yeah. Sure.”
They climbed in the truck and Demi started driving. His father was silent beside him and Demi searched for something to say. It was at times like these—among others—that he missed being able to see Noah easily.
Noah had been his best friend since they’d been kids, but he’d recently moved away to be with his mate. Demi didn’t have other friends. He spent his days working and his evenings trying to make ends meet, pouring over bills and accounts. It didn’t leave him time to go out more than a few times a month, but since Noah had left, Demi spent those times in Gillham with him. So, no new friends.
Besides, he’d learned his lesson. Loneliness had pushed Demi into Larsen’s arms, and that had probably been the worst mistake he’d ever made.
Demi steered into the Thorton’s driveway, relieved to have something to take his mind off things. The last thing he needed was to think about either the money they didn’t have or even worse, Larsen, because he sure as fuck didn’t deserve it.
The morning passed way too fast. Demi and his father drove to the Esslemont estate, stopping on the side of the road to eat their packed lunch. Demi decided it was time to push the retiring speech on his dad again, even if he knew it wouldn’t change anything.
“Oh, I know that tone, and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to hear what you’re about to tell me.”
“Aww, come on. I just want to talk about your retirement again.”
“That’s easy. No, I’m not retiring.” He gave his roast beef sandwich a bite.
“We already talked about this, Demi. We can’t afford it.”
Demi wrapped his sandwich again. His hunger had vanished. “I know. But I can see you’re hurting, and continuing to work isn’t helping.”
“I have no other choice, though.”
Demi sighed. “I know. I just wish you did.” His mind went to Larsen’s proposal of giving Demi money to get together again, but he discarded it. There was no way he was doing that.
Demi’s dad looked his way, a tired smile on his lips. He patted Demi’s knee. “I know. You’re a good man, Demi. A good son. I know you only want what’s best for me, but I want what’s best for you, and you can’t have it if I don’t work too. And even like this, it’s hard.”
“I could talk to Noah. He’d help.”
Dad shook his head. “No. I won’t take money I haven’t earned. You know that.”
Oh, Demi knew it, and he actually agreed with it. But it was Noah, and Demi felt that maybe it’d be worth it. Maybe he could find a way not to tell his dad, ask only for a small amount of money. Noah had been bugging Demi to accept money for years, but Demi had always said no. Now, though, with his dad getting older and probably needing to see a doctor... he might just say yes. It would be better than saying yes to Larsen, that was for sure.
They got to the Esslemont estate in time and Demi was relieved to see that Larsen’s car wasn’t in the driveway. It didn’t mean he wasn’t home, because it could be parked in the garage, but Demi knew Larsen. He was probably with his rich friends, spending his father’s money shopping or drinking.