Rusty Peruke works as a mechanic and is close with his family. His wheelchair bound brother, Korvyn, lives with him, and he sends extra cash home to his parents on a regular basis. When he meets Acheron while the man is at the shop buying a set of fast wheels, Rusty is both excited and concerned—and it’s not because he’s never been with a guy. Acheron is a loner scorpion shifter who hasn’t stayed in one place since he left his family home over eight decades before. Rusty has no intention of running out on his family. To him, their needs come first. Can two polar opposites find enough common ground to build a future? Or will assumptions and miscommunications create a wall between them that’s impossible to scale?
Nodding, Jethro headed their way. “Sounds good. Introduce me?”
Payson grinned widely, his gray eyes sparkling mischievously. “Yo, Acheron! Louis! Come over here a sec.”
The blond spun, his blue eyes wide, clearly startled. Acheron wrapped one dark arm around his shoulders and guided him toward the group. Louis was clearly unsettled by the prospect of approaching so many big men, the acrid smell of his unease wafting on the breeze.
Rusty noticed another smell, too. It was earthy and masculine, yet still fresh, and reminded him of walking in a cool forest. It also caused his blood to heat and flow south. He swallowed hard as he glanced between the two men.
One of them is my mate!
When Acheron’s black eyes widened and his nostrils flared, Rusty didn’t need to be a genius to realize which one it was, either.
Acheron’s full dark lips curved into a wide smile, and his eyelids slid to half-mast. “Oh, my,” he murmured, his voice surprisingly deep for such a small man. Releasing his hold on Louis, the slender male stepped into Rusty’s space. He rested his right hand on Rusty’s chest and his left on his hip. Tipping his chin up, Acheron peered at him from beneath his lashes. “Hello, my pretty kitty.”
Rusty sucked in a harsh breath as surprise filled him. Another burst of Acheron’s heady scent filled his nostrils, too. Goose bumps broke out on his forearms, and his fingers twitched. Even his mouth watered for a taste of the shifter currently pressed against his side.
Lifting his hands, Rusty gave in to the urge to touch. He rested his hands on Acheron’s hips. Then he slid his right one up his back, smoothing along his lean form.
Acheron hummed, his body undulating slightly as he rubbed against him. Peering at him with a hungry expression, he met Rusty’s gaze fully. “Hmmm, are you shy?” he asked softly, sliding the fingertips of his right hand over Rusty’s left nipple lightly. His smile turned hungry. “Cat got your tongue?”
His stomach clenching and sparks dancing across his skin, Rusty struggled to find his tongue. “H-Hi.”
Gods, I sound like an idiot.
“Hi, yourself,” Acheron murmured back, his voice husky. Teasing his fingertips over Rusty’s name where it was stitched on his work shirt, then back to his nipple, he asked, “You work here? Is Rusty your real name?” He slid his left hand up Rusty’s back, then scraped his nails back down again, caressing his spine. “Like fast bikes?”
“I do work here,” Rusty confirmed. His voice sounded rough even to his own ears. He cleared his throat, then continued, “Yeah, my name’s Rusty. I’m a mechanic.” His mind was a bit sluggish, what with the petting stimulating his nerve endings. “No, fast bikes are a good way to get hurt. Can’t help my family if I’m hurt.”
“Helping family is admirable.” Acheron cocked his head as he smiled up at him. “Knowing what to do with your cock is even more admirable.” His expression turned hungry. “Do you?”
Of course, Rusty had never considered himself an extremely eloquent man. He spoke to the machines he worked on more than people. Clearing his throat, he moved his left hand so he could grip Acheron’s, stopping the teasing to his nipple that was causing his blood to fire in his veins. Rusty focused on the other shifter’s dark eyes, seeing the merriment dancing within their depths.
“A mechanic means you’re good with your hands, right?” Acheron waggled his brows as he growled softly. “Do you know what to do with this big shlong you’re sporting for me, too?”
Unease slithered through Rusty.
“You are making fun of me,” Rusty mumbled, frowning at Acheron. He moved his hands to Acheron’s upper arms and took a step backward, separating them. “We are mates.” Rusty paused just long enough to glance around and make certain there were still no others but his boss and Kontra’s people. “And the first thing you do is…give me shit about whether or not I can use my dick?”