“The human and I…it was a moment of weakness, Felix. There was nothing less or more to it than a night of fucking.” Felix paused in his words, fingering the handle of his white coffee mug. He wondered if it were wise to bring up anything more with his elder. He licked his lips and began speaking cautiously. “What did you mean when you were talking earlier? You said something about me doing something stupid and bonding with the human. I didn’t think it was possible to mate with a human.”
“It’s possible, just kind of stupid if you ask me. Why you would want to mate with a human when all that happens is making a half-breed mutt?”
“Has it ever been done?” Corey asked curiously.
“A shifter mating with a human? Of course, but it’s just been years since I’ve seen it and no mated pairs would ever be allowed back on the ranch.”
Of course, it would endanger the rest of herd. So mating with a human would mean exile. It could just as well mean death, since not being allowed to roam the open plains in his bull form would kill him. He would have to struggle with that desire to go to his bull form for the rest of his life because he would no longer have the freedom to do as he pleased on the ranch.
“How do you know this?”
“Over my life, I’ve known of three other shifters who chose to mate with a human and not come back. Most of the men faced with this decision chose to abandon their mates, and sometimes their children.”
“Who was exiled, Felix?
“They were older than you. Their names don’t really matter.” Felix shrugged.
“Of course it matters. Who were they?” Corey insisted. He suddenly felt the need to right this wrong. If they were true mates, there should be nothing holding them apart. Especially not his own kind. Happiness and fulfillment could only come from finding and keeping their mate. Who gave a damn if that man was human?
“The three men were Gabriel, Julian, and Morgan.”
“When we get back to the ranch, I think we should make an effort to reach out to those brothers who were lost to us and welcome them back.”
“If they’ll come back at all. They may have started new lives off the ranch. Better lives,” Felix said. “Besides, I’m not sure the rest of the men will be so happy to welcome them back, or their human mates.”
“Look, I don’t care if someone in our herd has a hair up his butt and a thing against humans, but this…it’s not right. How can we do this to our brothers? We can’t really control who our mate is. You only get one chance at it, and who are we to say a man can’t find happiness because a human is involved?
Felix eyes narrowed. “I think you’re making a mistake to open up old wounds in the compound.”
“I think old wounds can’t heal properly when they are festering. It might be best to open them up or cut off the offending body part.”
“Right now we have a peaceful valley. Our citizens are law-abiding and nobody starts any trouble, and do you know why that is, Corey? They have a healthy dose of fear and they want to belong to the herd. So they follow the rules. If you go out into the world and bring back those fools, you’re going to start something you may not have the guts to finish.”
Corey let the silence between them grow heavy with foreboding. This was a battle of wills. Felix didn’t want the responsibility of leading the herd, but he didn’t want to invite change into his orderly world. Corey was careful not to give any false promises when he replied, “Drink your coffee before it goes cold. I’ll think about what you said tonight, but I can’t promise it’s going to change how I feel. There is a right and a wrong in this world, and I am going to choose the right thing because I have to live with myself after we’re all done.”
Corey weighed his options. He trusted Felix, but the old man was stuck in the old ways of doing things. He was beginning to realize the old ways might not be better to embrace the future with. If his herd wanted to survive, they would have to change with the times. He would have to protect the rights of everyone and not just a select few.
The right to find a mate and be happy was a simple but god-given one, and that one right no one had the ability to take away.
And he didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but there was a possibility he might have found his mate tonight with a human. That absurdly close connection they’d found in their lovemaking was impossible otherwise. Too many of the signs were obvious, but Corey had pretended to not notice. He could go out to the world and proclaim his lover belonged to him forever and his love and immediate devotion, and Ryder could die tonight from an unfortunate accident and a broken neck after a bumpy ride on one of his shifter brothers.
He knew the odds were stacked against them and he felt he had little choice at the moment.
Corey had to keep his silence to protect Ryder.
Corey hissed in his breath as the erotic waves swept his body. He clenched his teeth and braced his fingers on Ryder’s shoulders. His dick swelled and heat centered in his groin. He wanted this more than he wanted anything and now that it was happening, he had a hard time not taking his pleasure immediately.
“You like that?” Ryder smiled, between his slurping, sucking sounds.
The tip of his bulbous cock slipped into Ryder’s mouth and he sucked it between the roof of his mouth and his tongue. Corey was trying desperately not to shove his dick down the man’s throat and fuck his face.
“Yeah, I do like it,” Corey gritted out while he tried desperately to search for control. He dug his fingernails into Ryder’s skin, just deep enough to let him know he wanted more sucking and less talking.
“That means I’m doing it right,” Corey said before taking Corey into his mouth again. Just the tip, and not much more felt the slick, wet tongue wrap around it. He felt the pressure in his stomach increase and his balls tightened in anticipation.
Corey hissed in his breath through clenched teeth.
Ryder stopped and looked up. Fear lurked in his eyes. “Did I hurt you?”
“Not even close. It’s just really sensitive at the tip. Can you take more?” Corey grasped Ryder’s thick short hair between his knuckles and pulled Ryder closer.
Ryder nodded mutely and Corey thrust his hips forward until the tip of his cock pressed against the back of Ryder’s throat. He took it like a man and eagerly slurped, feeding on Corey’s thick cock as if it were his last supper.
Corey moaned. He could barely control himself. He felt like a young man fucking for the first time, eager and ready for anything.
He thrust into Ryder’s face and fucked his tight, wet mouth. It turned him on to hear Ryder’s excitement in that throaty purr and feel his unbridled enthusiasm in his actions.
A shudder rippled through his body when he felt his balls tighten and his cock jump. He didn’t want to come. Not yet. Not this soon.
The sensations rippling across his body were too good, and he wanted the delicious sensations to last, but Ryder’s experienced mouth and talented hands were destroying his resolve to wait.
“Fuck. I feel myself coming. You have to stop so I can finish this inside of you.”
“Oh yeah! No, don’t hold back. Give it to me.” Ryder moaned and then swallowed his cock whole again. Imagining him drinking his juices turned him on even more.
“Watching you suck me off like this is so fucking hot. You have no idea how much you turn me on, Ryder.”
“Do it, cowboy. Come for me.” Ryder’s movements were in earnest as he sucked and stroked Corey’s cock.
It was all the encouragement Corey needed to unload his hot seed. He came inside of Ryder’s mouth, while holding him close. Ryder held to Corey’s hips before grabbing him by the ass.
“Fuck yeah!” Corey screamed as he fisted Ryder’s hair in his hands. His breath came in heavy pants as his cum bolted through his dick into Ryder’s mouth. He was shaking, trembling from the sexual experience but his dick was still hard and he was feeling the aftermath of it. Ryder had his lips locked around his cock, but it worried him that Ryder had stopped sucking and was gagging.
Alarmed he could be hurting his new lover, he withdrew from his mouth.
What the fuck had he done? Ryder was human and not someone he could be rough and tumble with. Corey suddenly felt like an ass who had used him for his selfish needs. Ryder was human and weak. He had to be gentle with him.
Corey withdrew his cock from his lover’s mouth and asked, “Are you okay?”
Ryder grunted but quickly recovered his composure. He nuzzled against Corey’s stomach and kissed and stroked Ryder’s cock with his hands and tongue. “Oh yeah, I’ve never been better. I’ve never tasted anyone quite like you before.”
“When you talk like that, it’s making me hard again. Let’s take this to the bedroom where we can be more comfortable or we’re going to spend all night here in the hallway.” Corey pulled Ryder up to his feet and kissed him deeply before walking backwards toward the room with the queen-size bed in it.
Ryder chuckled softly and his eyes lit up with pleasure. “Seriously. The moment your cum hit my tongue it was like a million little lights went on inside of my brain and I don’t know how to describe the taste but it was better than chocolate.”
“I taste better than chocolate?” That startled Corey for a moment. He knew the unique taste of his mate was supposed to drive him wild for more. That was part of how he knew how to recognize his mate. Their first sexual encounter was supposed to be disturbingly addicting. He would want no other man in his bed, but Ryder was human. He wasn’t his mate. He might be more interested in his unusual taste because he was the first shifter he had ever tasted. It’s not like many of his kind allowed themselves to take this kind of risk. Maybe the unusually good reaction was because they were two different species, but if they were mates, it would be the first pairing of its kind on the ranch. In the past, mates were always the same breed, and always shapeshifters. “It’s my turn now. I bet you taste like moonshine. Intoxicating and refreshing. You are hot and sexy and you probably taste good enough to want me to drink you until I can’t drink anymore.” Corey could imagine himself getting drunk off Ryder’s cum. The intense attraction he felt for the other man wasn’t dissipating with their first encounter.