Wren Cleaver only wants to keep his goddaughter safe. Having looked after Penelope since her parents died when she was sixteen, Wren is used to keeping tabs on her. It’s hard for him to remember that she’s an adult. It’s also hard for him to accept that she’s dating a man twice her age, Golren Rabenau. When Wren drops by her home one evening to talk to Penelope about her involvement with Golren—who he discovers is not who he says he is—Wren arrives just in time to see her climb into the man’s SUV. Wanting to know where Golren is taking his goddaughter, Wren follows them to the grounds of the massive Falias Estate, a place, according to town gossip, has been shrouded in mystery for decades. Sneaking onto the grounds, Wren thinks the arboretum will be a safe place to sneak inside so he can learn a bit more about the place’s occupants. Unfortunately, he’s faced with the shock of his life…massive snakes. Watching them transform into humans would cause anyone to faint from shock. Right?
Feeling the dull thrumming pain radiating through his head, Wren wondered what had happened to him. Had he been hit on his bike? He didn’t remember being in an accident but surely that could be the only explanation for the pain rolling through him.
“How are you feeling?” a deep voice asked.
Wren felt his blood flow from his aching head to his prick. He bit back a grunt as he racked his brain for the last time he’d responded to just the voice of a man. Wren couldn’t remember that ever happening.
Holy hell, who is this guy?
Forcing his right eyelid open a crack, Wren expected to be blinded. Instead, his vision was met by soft illumination on the far side of the room. He eased his other eyelid open and blinked a few times, adjusting to the dimly lit room.
Wren spotted the lamp on a small nightstand against the far wall some distance away, but the light it cast didn’t reach very far. He saw chairs directly to his right and, squinting into the darkness, realized they were occupied. A pair of men—large men, from their silhouettes—sat in the room with him.
“Wh—” Wren paused and cleared his throat. “Who are you?”
“They are Maelgwn and Einan,” the deep voice said from his left. “I am Perseus.”
Wren whipped his head around to peer at the man, then instantly regretted the action. The throbbing intensified and his vision swam for just an instant. Grunting, Wren lifted his hand to the back of his head.
“Easy, now,” the man, Perseus, purred deeply. “You took a hard knock to the head. I can offer you some aspirin or ibuprofen, if you’d like.”
That sounded pretty good. “Sure, yeah. Aspirin would be great,” he agreed. “Uh, where am I?”
“You broke into my manor, Wren Cleaver,” one of the men to the right stated, drawing his attention. “Now you will learn more than you ever wanted to know.”
Wren thought that sounded confusing as hell…and ominous. “What’s that mean?” he murmured, squinting toward the man. Was he wearing a cloak?
“Try to keep from falling off the bed when you see me, Wren,” Perseus said, causing Wren to turn his head back to the left. “I am going to approach, and you’re going to remain calm. Falling off the bed would just aggravate your condition.”
Wren felt like he was watching a tennis match, and it was causing his headache to intensify. He groaned, but even that hurt. Staring up at the ceiling, he breathed deeply and thought about what Perseus said.
“Why the hell would I fall off the bed?” Wren snapped.
A snort came from the second man to his right. “Because you’re not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy,” he replied.
“Einan, that’s enough,” the first guy scolded.
At least that told Wren whose voice belonged to which man.
“What?” Einan continued, amusement lacing his tone. “Would you prefer I say he’s Alice and he fell down the rabbit hole?”
Maelgwn scoffed. “Who the hell did you learn that from? Cornelius?”
“Learn what?” Einan asked.
“To be a shit,” Maelgwn responded.
Einan snorted. “Guess I am a bit happier now that I’m mated. Yeah.”
“Wait a minute,” Wren mumbled, suddenly recognizing the names. “I’ve met you guys. At my restaurant,” he continued. The memory of a huge Caucasian with a plump, boisterous green-eyed man entered his mind. Maelgwn sounded familiar, too. Wren had always been good with names and faces, and it only took his pounding mind a few seconds to remember seeing a massive male who looked like a cross between African American and something else—Native American, maybe—with long black hair. He always came in with a jubilant twink with dark hair and green eyes. “Bobby. Your partner is Bobby, right?”
“Good memory,” Maelgwn commented. “Then you know we have nothing against gays and we’d never put you in danger in any way.”
Before Wren could wrap his mind around that comment, movement to his left once more drew his attention. He couldn’t help feeling some measure of excited anticipation at seeing the man whose voice caused such a reaction in his body. Except, what moved from the darkness didn’t look like a man.
Wren’s chest seized making his lungs ache for a second. In an instant, he took in the swarthy skin that had a distinct greenish hue, but that wasn’t the oddest thing. He saw a square jaw, prominent bones instead of eyebrows, and—holy hell—were those canines protruding from his lips? Still, Wren swept his gaze over the massive chest on display and, to his shock, felt his body responding.
This has to be a dream.
Wren realized that must be it as there could be no way that was real. Creatures with wings and fangs did not exist. They also did not turn him on. Therefore, this was a dream created by his pain-muddled mind.
So, I can enjoy it, right?
More than happy to get behind that decision, Wren took the pills the creature offered—Perseus, according to his dream—and levered up on his elbow. If this was a dream, how come he couldn’t have this crazy encounter pain free? That was a bummer.
Wren popped the pills into his mouth, took the water from the…creature’s hand, which was green—holy crap. Then, he took a swig and downed the pain relievers. Lowering himself off his elbow, Wren stared up at Perseus. Now that he realized what he was going through, he could appreciate the sexy attributes of the male…and the…thing…was most definitely male. His, uh, loincloth was tenting rather enticingly.
Interested in what was underneath…and not wanting an audience, even in a dream, Wren turned his head to peer through the darkness at the other men’s silhouettes. “You guys want to make yourselves scarce? Because I want to see this sexy beast naked and I don’t want an audience.”
Maelgwn cleared his throat. “Are you certain you wish us to leave?” he asked. “Don’t you have questions?”
Wren snorted. “Questions and wet dreams don’t really mix,” he said. He’d be embarrassed, but hell, this was his own mind, so why give a fuck? “How about sex, then questions?”