Elias has a nice life now that Kameron is alpha. He’s in his senior year, his father is happily mated with a man, and Elias can finally be himself without fearing someone might hurt him. What could go wrong?
Blake fled Gillham six years earlier, when he realized his best friend’s son, Elias, was his mate. Elias was only twelve at the time, and their alpha was homophobic. But now Blake is an enforcer, and the council sends him back to Gillham, where he knows he’ll have to face both his best friend, Thomas, and Elias.
Elias realizes Blake is his mate as soon as they meet again. He’s happy about it, even though his father certainly isn’t. Blake and Elias decide to wait until Elias graduates to mate, but between creatures that lurk in the dark and new questionable friends, will they make it to June in one piece?
Eli sighed and Jarrett stuck his elbow in his ribs. “Stop it.”
“You should just go there and ask him out.”
Eli shook his head. “No way.”
“Because he’s—he’s Zane. What would he do with someone like me? Besides, you known as well as I do that he’s straight.”
“Yeah, well, your dad was straight too.”
Eli scoffed. “Please. He never was. He just had to fake it. Zane doesn’t, because he really is.”
Zane chose that moment to look away from the guy he was talking to. He glanced Eli’s way and Eli blushed and dropped his gaze when Zane noticed him staring and smiled. “I should go.”
Jarrett snorted. “Why? Because he saw you looking? Come on, Eli. Don’t be a girl. You two are friends. Talk to him.”
Eli frowned. “You’re an ass.” He got up from the bench they’d been sitting on and walked away. He heard Jarrett follow him and went faster, angry with his best friend.
“Eli, come on. I’m sorry.”
“I don’t care. Leave me alone, Jay.”
Eli swirled around and pointed at his best friend. “No. I don’t want to talk to you right now. You’re an ass, and until you stop telling me stuff like don’t be a girl and man up, I don’t want to talk to you.”
“But, Eli. Come on.” Jarrett made his puppy eyes at Eli and Eli almost caved in. Almost.
“No. You’ve been saying that stuff ever since I told you I was gay, and I hate it. It’s not because I like guys that I act like a girl or that I’m more girly than before, and I don’t want to be your friend if that’s what you think of me, so leave me alone.”
“You know that’s not what I think of you,” Jarrett insisted.
“Do I? You’re always saying stuff like that, and I’ve had enough of it.”
“Everything okay, guys?”
Eli and Jarrett both turned to look at the owner of the new voice, and Eli gulped. Did Zane really have to come over to talk to him just when he was fighting with Jarrett?
“Yeah, we’re fine,” Jarrett answered for both of them. “Just a small discussion.”
Zane’s glance slid from Jarrett to Eli, and Eli looked down. “About what?”
“Not your business,” Jarrett snapped. “Why don’t you go back to your friends and leave us alone?”
Zane held his hands up. “Sorry. I didn’t want to interrupt your lovers spat.”
Jarrett spluttered. “We’re not lovers. We’re just friends.”
Zane’s gaze was on Eli again. “Really? Everyone thinks you two are together.”
“I’m straight,” Jarrett declared, crossing his arms on his chest.
“Good to know,” Zane answered him. “What about you, Elias? Are you straight?”
Eli straightened his back and faced Zane. He might have a crush the size of Wyoming on the guy, but it didn’t mean he was going to let him walk all over him. “No, I’m not. You have a problem with that?”
Zane smirked. “Nope, no problem at all.” He came closer and Eli sent Jarrett a frantic glance, silently asking what the fuck he should do. Jarrett shrugged and Eli scowled at him and mouthed bastard at his best friend. Jarrett just grinned back.
“In fact,” Zane went on, completely ignoring the exchange between Eli and Jarrett, “I was wondering if you wanted to go out sometime.”
Eli gaped. “I... you know I meant I was gay, right? I mean, I like being friends with you, but people might think we’re something more than that if they see us together too much.”
Zane smiled. “Who said I wanted to be friends?”
“I, yeah, sure. Okay. Whatever you say.”
Zane’s smile softened even more. “Great. How about tomorrow night? I’ll call you in the morning to plan.”
Eli knew his eyes had to be huge. “Okay. I’ll wait for your call. I need to go now, though...” to freak out in private, because Eli didn’t want Zane to run even before they managed to kiss at least once.
“Yeah, sure. See you.”
Zane made to step away but changed his mind and stepped toward Eli instead. He kissed Eli’s cheek and waved at Jarrett, then hurried to his friends, who were hooting and catcalling.
Eli blushed and hurried toward the trees, knowing Jarrett would follow him. Eli didn’t stop. He was still angry with Jarrett, but he needed to talk to him right now, so he didn’t send him away. “Did that really happen?”
Jarrett pinched Eli’s ass and Eli yelped. “Hey!”
Eli rubbed his ass-cheek. “Yeah.”
“Then Zane asking you out was too.”
Eli stopped in the middle of the path and Jarrett stumbled against his back. “What the fuck, Eli?”
“What the fuck did I do?”
“Umm, you said yes? That’s what you wanted, right?”
“Yeah, but... Zane? Really? I mean, we’re kind of friends, but we’re not that close. What if it’s a joke?”
Jarrett squeezed Eli’s shoulder and gently pushed him forward. “Stop panicking, Eli. He asked you out because he wants to go out with you, not because it’s funny. And start walking. I don’t want to stay out here longer than necessary.”
Eli shivered and looked around as he started walking again. “Still nothing about the creature?”
“Not that I know of, but Craig should know more. Maybe we can ask him.”
“Yeah, let’s go over to my dad’s house.”
The fact that his father was with a man still puzzled Eli sometimes, but he was happy for his dad. Craig was bringing the best out of him, and Eli’s father wasn’t as snappish and aggressive as he’d been before.