Jacob and Adrian fell in love in high school. They are mates and always have been, but then Adrian cheated. It was one night of stupidity, and it ruined their relationship forever.
Or so they both thought.
Now, three years later, they’re thrown back together when Adrian’s parents want Jacob to mate with Charlie. Adrian isn’t thrilled with the idea of Jacob being with his little brother, but there’s nothing he can do about it either.
If Adrian wants him back, he’ll have to prove to Jacob that he’s never going to hurt him again. But it might already be too late for them.
“Adrian! Come down here please!”
He and his brother shared a look across their bedroom at their mother’s yell. With a sigh, he stopped reading the book he’d been heavily involved in and got off his bed.
“What’d you do now?” Charlie asked.
Adrian shrugged. “Not a damn clue. Don’t you dare eat my cookies.” Charlie had been eyeing his package of Oreos all afternoon. Charlie rolled his eyes, but Adrian didn’t put it past him not to sneak a few while he was downstairs.
Adrian went downstairs and was surprised to see his parents waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs. “Whatever it is you think that I did, Charlie is the one actually responsible for it.”
“Liar!” Charlie yelled down from the hall above the entryway.
Adrian rolled his eyes and his father chuckled. He sounded nervous. “No, it’s nothing like that at all. Come on into the living room.”
A feeling of suspicion rolled over Adrian as he followed his parents over and sat down on the couch across from them. “So then what’s up?” They wouldn’t be there like this if there wasn’t something amiss.
His mother smiled at him gently. “Sweetie, you remember Jacob, don’t you?”
“Uh. My ex, Jacob? Sure.” Why the hell they were bringing him up three years after Jacob had left him? It made absolutely no sense.
“Well,” she continued as she crossed her legs and looked elegant. “Your brother’s eighteen now, and we’d like to see him mated to someone stable, someone nice. Someone who we know will treat him well.”
Adrian was starting to get a sick feeling. “And you thought what? That my ex would be a good choice? He’s my ex for a reason, and it’s kind of really screwed up that you’d jump to wanting to mate Charlie to Jacob out of everyone else you two know. Seriously?”
His father frowned and shook his head with a loud sigh. “The only reason you and Jacob didn’t work out was because of your own actions. We love Jacob. He was a great kid, and since he started working at the landscaping company with me, I’ve seen that he’s just as sweet and nice as he always was. We wanted him in the family as your mate, and that was our goal before you ruined that. We’d still like him to join us, but this time as Charlie’s mate. But this isn’t a decision we would make if it would hurt you in any way. So we’re asking you if you’ve moved on and forgiven him or whatever else you needed to do. Would you be okay with Charlie being mated to Jacob?”
Adrian’s gut reaction was absolutely not, he would never be okay with something like that. He’d loved Jacob. They’d met in middle school and they’d fallen in love at sixteen. Jacob had meant the world to him. But all that was gone now, and his parents were giving him the choice of whether or not he was ready to move on and put Jacob and the mistakes he’d made with their relationship in the past, where they belonged.
He took a deep breath and thought about the Jacob he’d known. He’d been an absolute sweetheart, completely unselfish and ready to help out anyone he could. And Adrian still remembered the look of absolute torture on Jacob’s face the moment he’d confessed to getting drunk and cheating on him.
“Yeah, it’s good. Charlie and Jacob.” He shuddered. It would take some getting used to, but he would do his best. And Jacob had been an awesome boyfriend. He tried to think of Charlie and what he would want for his little brother. A mate like Jacob was pretty close to perfect for him. “You didn’t tell me he was working with you.”
“I didn’t want you to be upset,” his father said.
Adrian wasn’t sure if he would have been or not. Jacob was definitely in his past, but then again he’d never cared about anyone as much as he’d cared about Jacob since their breakup. “Can I talk to him first? Before you go tell Charlie what’s going on?”
“Of course you can,” his mom said as she pulled a slip of paper out of her purse. “Here’s his number. We figured you’d want to catch up with him before anything else happened. I’m sure you two have a lot to talk about. And if you decide you’re okay with Charlie and Jacob being together after you two talk, we’re going to take this slow. We want to make sure it’s the right decision for everyone before we mate them.” She handed him the paper. “We just want what’s best for everyone”
Which meant he’d be seeing a lot of Jacob soon, since he still lived at home. “That’s fine.” He tried not to sigh as he took Jacob’s number from her. “I’ll text him and see if he can meet tonight.”
“That’s great!” His mom sounded so excited. She must have really loved Jacob to be that happy about having him back in her family again. “Now, whatever you do, don’t mess this up like you did before. When you’re ready for us to look for a mate for you, let me know. There’s a growing number of shifters waiting for mates, and these arranged matings are working out well for everyone concerned.”
Adrian rolled his eyes as he hurried out of the room. It was as if Jacob was their son and he was the outsider. Even as he thought that, he knew it wasn’t the truth. They loved him, and they had loved Jacob, too. It was hard not to care about someone as nice as he was. Gray Whales had a well-deserved reputation for being pretty perfect all around.