When wolf shifter Yates Cruner helps save several humans from a dingo shifter pack using them as slaves, he doesn’t expect to find his mate among them. Oh, not one of the humans, but one of the surviving dingo shifters who has been beaten and abused just as much as the humans. It seems the dingo pack had one rule...I’m more dominant than you, I can do whatever I want to you. Yates realizes his little mate has a long road of healing ahead, and most of it isn’t for physical wounds.
Aryen Fowles learned his place early in life, keep his head down, kneel at the other shifter’s feet, and do whatever they ask. If he did that, he could avoid being punished. When a group of strange shifters take over the pack, the rules change. Aryen struggles to understand what’s expected of him. When one of the wolves offers him pleasures he’d never experienced before, he wonders if he could accept his offer at face value or was it too good to be true?
Content Warning: This story includes scenes of near rape and talk of dubious consent.
Yates paused and cocked his head. “I’m wondering if you’re naturally submissive, or if this has been ingrained in you after decades of abuse,” he whispered.
Aryen kept silent, still uncertain of what was expected of him.
Turning away from the sofa, Yates settled onto the large, padded chair, instead. He rested the bowl of food on the arm of the oversized chair, then ordered, “Stand up.”
Obeying quickly, Aryen gained his feet. Yates crooked his finger, indicating that he should move toward him. Once he stood directly in front of him, Yates held out a hand, palm up. “Give me your hand.”
Appreciating the short, simple commands, things that were easy to follow, Aryen lifted his hand and slid his palm against Yates. The wolf shifter closed his thick, blunt fingers around Aryen’s much smaller ones.
Aryen stumbled, gasping in surprise. He placed his free hand on the chair’s arm opposite the bowl of stew. Peering up at Yates, his jaw gaped upon seeing his smile.
“Climb onto my lap, Aryen.”
Aryen did something he hadn’t done in years. He questioned another’s order. “Why?”
Instead of getting upset, Yates’ smile spread into a grin. “Because I plan to hold you while I feed you.” He tugged again. “Come on up.”
It seemed that eating the wonderful smelling stew was still a possibility…he just had to sit on the wolf shifter’s lap to get it. Was whatever unknown catch Yates had in store worth enjoying the meal? Oddly, Aryen felt his dingo yip in the back of his mind, urging him to accept the wolf’s offer, to curl up on his lap and allow Yates to care for him. It wasn’t often Aryen felt his animal while in human form, and his dingo had never been wrong yet.
Obeying not only his body and animal’s urges, but Yates’ as well, Aryen carefully crawled up on the other male’s lap. He obeyed the slight push and pull of the other man’s hand until he sat sideways across the shifter’s lap. Yates had his arm around his shoulders, petting his opposite arm as he pressed Aryen into the crook of his body.
Aryen decided it felt…nice to be held.
To Aryen’s surprise, Yates settled the large bowl of stew onto his lap. The aromatic food flooded his nostrils. His stomach growled loudly, betraying his body’s need. Yates chuckled, but instead of using his weakness against him, Yates stabbed the spoon into a potato, cutting it in half. Then, he scooped up part of the potato with a carrot slice and a piece of meat.
Yates brought the utensil to Aryen’s lips. “Eat,” he commanded.
Aryen turned his head a bit and peered up into Yates’ eyes, unable to help himself.
Smiling, Yates nodded once. “Eat, little one.” This time, it sounded like urging.
Opening his mouth, Aryen accepted the spoonful of food into his mouth. Flavors unlike anything he’d enjoyed in ages burst across his tongue. Aryen couldn’t help the moan of appreciation at the taste of meat and spice and vegetables flooding his senses.
“Like that, do you?” Yates asked, his tone sounding kind. “Eat as much as you like.”
Even before Aryen managed to finish chewing and swallowing, Yates had another spoonful of food ready and waiting before his lips. Aryen didn’t even hesitate. He quickly opened his mouth, leaned forward, and captured the spoonful of food. With food like this filling his belly, Aryen would happily give this shifter whatever he wanted.
Except, as Aryen ate one bite after another, Yates never asked anything of him. The wolf shifter just offered bite after bite of the succulent stew.