Rune sat at his computer, with his ever-present shadow, Carver, sitting on the couch against the back wall. He could feel the man staring, but Rune did his best to ignore it. It would be a lot easier to do if his elephant would lie down and sleep instead of battering his head against Rune’s mind to get at their mate.
It had been a week since his life had been turned upside down. They had only just gotten home from the memorial for those who had died during the bombings. As soon as he’d entered the Alpha manor, Rune headed straight for his haven, the communications room.
It probably wouldn’t keep him any safer, but surrounded by his computers and equipment, Rune felt better. He sighed at that thought. The ache of being a coward was slowly killing him.
He’d seen plenty of death and destruction in the Paranormal War but nothing prepared him for what happened a week ago. Nightmares plagued him, leaving him exhausted as he was too afraid to close his eyes.
He wasn’t sure being sheltered from the evil of the world had done him any good. Maybe if Rune had more experience he would be able to get past it like his friends seemed to be doing.
Talon had always been their leader and did his best to give each of them what they needed. For Rune that had been love, support, and making sure he was protected. But was that really what he needed?
He loved them all, but by keeping him in a bubble Rune hadn’t been prepared for the evil in the world. Not that he could blame his friends. They were just doing what Rune wanted. He’d never liked violence, and shied away from it so he wouldn’t get hurt.
He snorted. Fat lot of good that did him.
“Did you say something?” Carver asked with concern.
Rune shook his head. Carver was another one who was doing whatever it took to protect Rune. He shouldn’t resent his mate treating him like spun glass, yet he did.
Carver blew out a harsh breath. “Can you talk to me? Please.”
As much as he didn’t want to talk about what he was feeling, Rune couldn’t deny his mate’s plea. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
His mate’s hands covered his face, head lowered, he dropped his hands between his legs to dangle just above the floor. When he looked back up, frustration and despair marred his features. “I just want you to talk to me.”
But that wasn’t what Carver really wanted. Rune knew he wanted him to break down and cry so his mate could put back the pieces. Except, Rune wasn’t so sure anyone could do that for him. This time he was pretty sure he had to do it himself.
“I think I’ve found two members of the Cadre. They were hidin—”
“That’s not what I meant.” Carver practically exploded off the couch, his fingers digging grooves into his short brown hair.
Rune wasn’t sure why he was pushing the man’s buttons, but something inside him just didn’t want to have this conversation. “You said talk. So I’m talking.”
That might have been the wrong thing to point out as Carver came over to where he sat and leaned down until his hands were on the armrests of Rune’s chair, his face just inches away. “You need to talk about what happened. You’ll never get over it if you don’t talk.”
“Get over it?” Pissed, Rune pushed the man away from him to stand and face him on his own two feet. “Get over it?” Okay so maybe yelling was going overboard, but all he could see was red at Carver’s callous words. “How in the hell am I supposed to get over it, Carver?
He stripped his shirt up over his head. “Look at me. Every damn time I see myself in the mirror, get dressed, take a shower”—he thrust his arms out to show the scars marring his flesh—“or even just look down at my arms, I see what that man did to me.”
The tears that tried to form, he pushed back, refusing to show his weakness. “So excuse the hell out of me if I haven’t managed to get over it fast enough for you.” His control was shot. His emotions were bursting inside of him begging to be set free.
Suddenly Rune’s mouth seemed to be dry as a bone. He wasn’t sure if it was from his embarrassment or from the fact that his mate’s naked body was suddenly an inch from him. Rune was sure if he leaned forward just a bit, he’d be able to rub up against all that naked flesh.
As if his thoughts commanded his body, Rune felt himself doing just that. Lust shot through him as Carver’s long thick cock pressed against his abdomen. Moans of need filled the room.
Carver clenched his jaw as if he were forcing himself not to move. “Is this what you want?” The words were barely more than a growl as lust rode them both.
Did he? Up until that moment Rune had planned to just talk to Carver. To apologize. But right now all he could think about was having that thick cock deep inside his body until he didn’t know where one of them ended and the other began. “Yes.”
* * * *
The whispered word was all Carver needed. Closing the distance, his mouth covered Rune’s. There was nothing sweet and gentle about the kiss. It was a branding of ownership.
His tongue pushed past Rune’s lips into that hot wet cavern, sweeping inside until his mate’s taste was imprinted on his tongue. With one hand he tilted Rune’s head to gain better access, while the other wrapped around his mate’s back, fusing their bodies together.
Moans of need were spilling from Rune’s lips directly into Carver’s mouth. He wanted all of his mate, including his noises.
When air became necessary he broke the kiss, nipping a path along his mate’s strong jaw and down his throat until he reached the point where he’d leave his mating mark. His teeth gently clamped down on the sensitive skin. A smile formed when he heard Rune whimper with need.
His canines dropped just enough for him to scrape the area with the sharp teeth. Lust pulsed through him when Rune pushed up into him. Wanting to feel his mate’s skin more than he wanted his next breath, Carver ripped the clothes off his mate’s body.
Their dicks slid together, leaving trails of moisture across their abdomens. Carver was sure he was about to go out of his ever-loving mind if he didn’t get inside his mate right now. He was being consumed by every touch of his mate’s hands and body.
He gripped Rune’s bubble butt, carrying him across the room until they hit the wall. His mouth latched on to Rune’s once more. Their tongues dueled for dominance. Hands touched, pinched, and caressed every inch of skin they could touch.
Carver wanted to weep for joy to feel Rune giving as well as taking. He’d been afraid his mate was too meek to participate like this. Carver had always enjoyed a lover who gave as good as he got, attesting that Rune really was his perfect mate.
Every inch of skin he touched quivered for him. When his fingers brushed across the man’s nipples, Rune’s whole body arched up. A growl rumbled deep in Carver’s chest at his mate’s reaction. Knowing he was the one to set his mate on fire pushed him ever closer to the edge.
While his one hand continued to tease that pretty brown nipple, his other hand wrapped around his mate to that plump ass. He knew Rune was self-conscious of his body, but to Carver it was a work of art.
He couldn’t say why exactly, but the extra bit of layering turned him the hell on. His mate was by no means fat. The lines of muscle clearly said the man was in shape. But he loved being able to sink his fingers into the flesh of his mate’s ass. It had him ready to explode with need.
All Carver could think about was sinking deep into that plump ass. The need to see it had him flipping his mate, so he was facing the wall.
Carver trailed his mouth down the line of Rune’s spine. He smiled at the sight of goose bumps forming on the man’s skin at his touch. Rune was so perfect for him. Now that he was finally going to get the chance to claim the man, Carver didn’t plan on ever letting him go.