Simon has been watching all his friends find their mates and fall in love, but he’s still waiting for his. He knows he’s young and that he has time, but time doesn’t keep him warm at night and doesn’t make him feel loved. He yearns to have that, especially after growing up with his parents and his brother.
Malik is both the alpha of his school and a council member. When Kameron asks him and his best friend, Quincy, to help deal with Tom, the man who’s dead set on eliminating him, the last thing Malik expects is to meet his mate. He knows they’ll have to talk and to make decisions, but Simon makes what he wants very clear, and Malik doesn’t even think of saying no.
Simon and Malik don’t waste time and mate right away. However, Tom is still threatening, and Malik, along with Kameron and Quincy, need to find a solution, or they could lose everything.
Simon pointed the remote at the TV. He was bored, but he couldn’t bring himself to go home, not yet.
He loved living with Mal, Elliott, and their mates, really he did, but it became a bit sickening sometimes. He had to watch them being all lovey-dovey while he was still desperately alone. It was depressing, and he knew both Mal and Elliott tried not to be too affectionate with their mates while he was around. That was the last thing he wanted them to do. They deserved their happiness, and he didn’t want to hinder it.
That was the reason he’d been spending so much time at Kam and Zach’s house lately. Not that he didn’t have to see lovey-dovey people there, too, but it was different. Simon and Zach were friends, but they weren’t as close as Mal and Elliott were. Besides, Kam didn’t spend much time in the house lately. He was always out doing council stuff and keeping an eye out for Tom.
Jago and Corbin also lived there, as did Nootaw and Merle, but Corbin was the least affectionate person Simon had ever met, and Nootaw and Merle were too busy with Aranck most of the time. They didn’t have the opportunity to be together as much as the other couples did.
It was relaxing. Simon knew he wouldn’t be blindsided by someone making out on the couch or by sex noises.
He changed the channel on the TV and relaxed back into the couch, but just as he was getting into the movie, a door slammed.
“Come back here!” Merle yelled, and Simon grinned.
He leaned sideways to peek into the hallway, and sure enough, Aranck was in his wendigo form, crawling along the hallway half-naked. He always lost his nappy when he shifted, because his wendigo form was so much thinner than his chubby baby one.
Aranck quickly came into the living room and hid under the coffee table. Merle entered only seconds after him, looking flustered. His T-shirt was dirty and sporting five holes that looked like they’d been made by claws. His face was red, his hair mussed, and his eyes were a bit wild.
“Have you seen him?” he asked.
Simon smiled and pointed at the coffee table. Aranck rumbled in delight. The sound was a bit disconcerting. Simon was used to babies giggling, not rumbling, but he’d become used to Aranck in his wendigo form. The trick was to keep fingers away from Aranck’s mouth and to find one of his parents as soon as possible.
Merle huffed and slumped next to Simon on the couch. Simon patted his knee. “What’s wrong?”
Merle sighed. “Nothing. This is not how I thought my life would be.”
“Tired of playing Dad already?”
“Not tired, just... it’s hard. I never thought I’d have kids, and now I have a wendigo shifter one. I think that side of him makes things even harder than they would be with a human or a shifter baby.”
Simon reached out and poked a finger through one of the holes on Merle’s T-shirt. Merle looked down and smiled deprecatingly. “Yeah. Exactly.”
Simon hesitated, because he knew Merle didn’t have a good relationship with Aranck’s mother, but he asked anyway. “Nepi?”
“Probably spying from the forest. She’s been pouting in there lately.”
“She’s still not used to you and Nootaw being together?”
“I’m not sure she ever will be. I see how she looks at me every time I touch Nootaw, and every time I take Aranck. She wants me dead.”
Merle sighed again and poked a socked foot under the coffee table. Aranck rumbled, and Merle snatched his foot away before Aranck could bite it. “Not really, but it’s only because she doesn’t want anything to do with me. I know Nootaw and she have been fighting a lot lately, and he’s scared she’s going to try and take Aranck away.”
“Have you told Kam?”
“Yeah. I know he’s keeping an eye on her, and he ordered that she shouldn’t be left alone with Aranck. Let me tell you, that’s not helping her like me. She thinks it’s my fault.”
Simon knew there wasn’t an easy way to solve Merle’s problem. Nepi was having a very hard time accepting that same-sex relationships and matings were allowed in the pack. Simon understood where she came from—Nootaw had told him and a few others how growing up in his tribe had been, and what he and Nepi had been taught. Simon had been taught similar things since he was a kid, and his parents still firmly believed same-sex relationships were wrong. There was Aranck to think of, though, and he hoped Nepi wouldn’t do something stupid.