Haben Bello heads for Kansas to help his old friend, Wes. The human attorney deals with child custody in shifter-human cases, protecting shifter secrets. Wes needs help uncovering the true motives behind a young boy’s mother who suddenly wants custody after she’d given up all rights to him twelve years before. When Haben meets the boy’s human foster father, Lou Reynolds, he realizes the man is his mate.
Lou is still coming to grips with the fact that shifters exist. It’s one thing for his son to be able to turn into a lion, but a spider? Lou may be able to accept Haben the man, but can he learn how to accept Haben the tarantula? And what about when Haben’s job in town is done and he decides to move on? Lou has a son and can’t just up and leave to join Haben on his nomadic travels. Can Lou trust Haben’s insistence that he’s willing to turn his life upside down, adopt a lion shifter cub, and settle down after nearly one hundred years of freedom?
“Hey, you okay?”
Lou’s soft question interrupted him a few moments later, and Haben swung around to face his mate. My mate, Gods that still sounds so odd to me. He smiled at Lou and nodded. “Just thinking.”
“About what?” Lou leaned his butt against the arm of the sofa.
This wasn’t really the conversation he’d planned to have with his mate, but at least Lou was willing to talk to him after his display at dinner. He’d practically mauled the man in front of everyone. Shaking his head to clear his wayward thoughts, he said, “I’m just wondering how Vivian knew Damon had shifted. Wesley told us it happened in the living room. Did he shift again at some point—maybe in front of people?”
Lou frowned. “Not that he’s told me. Maybe when Terence starts training him, your friend could ask. He might feel more comfortable sharing shifter stuff with him instead of me,” he added thoughtfully.
Haben cocked his head. “He seems like a good kid. Do you think he’d keep things from you?”
Sighing, Lou rolled his shoulders. “About anything else, I’d say no, but, after everything that’s happened? Maybe. This is a big adjustment—for both of us.”
“And I’m just complicating things,” Haben muttered.
Lou’s brows shot up and he leaped to his feet. To Haben’s surprise, Lou took his hand and squeezed. “Hey, I didn’t say that. I admit, this is a lot to take in, but,” he paused and shrugged before adding, “I’d really like to get to know you. See where this goes.”
His hand tingled where his mate held him. Haben brought Lou’s hand to his lips and gently kissed the palm. “Where this goes is to a permanent partnership, Lou,” he whispered, liking the shiver his kiss and rough admission caused in the other man’s body. “I’ve searched too long and hard to find you to just let you go.” Shaking his head, Haben continued, “I know that sounds a bit like a stalker, but I know we’ll never find this level of attraction to another.” He smiled at Lou’s confused look of disbelief. “I know you’ll need time to understand, and I’d like to give that to you, but resisting you is difficult.”
“What if I don’t want you to resist me?” Lou whispered.
Haben groaned and gave in to the desire coursing through his system. He grabbed his mate’s hip with his free hand and yanked his body close, bringing their pelvises crashing together. The contact against his half-hard dick had him instantly firming. His mouth hovered over Lou’s and he forced himself to give his mate one more chance to turn him away. “If we start this now, we won’t finish until we’re in your bed, naked, sweaty, and with my spent dick in your ass.” So it was more of a premonition than an out, but it was the best Haben could do.
Lou moaned so sweetly, then tipped his head and closed the distance between their lips. Haben let go of Lou’s hand and wrapped his fingers around his mate’s slender neck, cupping his skull. Taking control, Haben tilted Lou’s head. He nipped Lou’s lower lip gently, then soothed the sting away with his tongue.
Lou hissed, and Haben thrust his tongue into his mate’s mouth. He growled at the human’s minty taste, which told him Lou had brushed his teeth not too long before. It was thoughtful of him, but he’d enjoyed the man’s natural taste. Of course, it occurred to him that because Lou had brushed his teeth, he’d expected to at least make out with Haben.
That sent a soft growl of excitement rumbling from his chest. One last thought managed to surface in his brain and Haben brought the kiss to an end with a groan. Resting his forehead against Lou’s he whispered, “Is Damon still up?” He’d already given the kid one shock today.
“He’s in bed but probably not asleep yet. We just need to be quiet,” Lou replied.
“Quiet. Right,” he growled. “I can do that.”
Lou snickered. “You sure?” he whispered against Haben’s lips.
“Sure, sure,” he responded absently.
He slid his hand under Lou’s shirt, massaging the muscles along his human’s back. He pressed his erection against Lou’s stomach, feeling a bit of give and loving the sensation. He had to work to keep the moan at a low volume. Okay, so maybe being quiet would be a little tough. Haben couldn’t remember the last time he’d fucked a man when another was in the house. The kind of men he met at bars weren’t really family men.
“Bedroom. Now!” Lou gasped.