Pascal agreed to move with his two brothers to a vampire coven which runs a dude and cattle ranch. With both of his brothers wrapped up in their mates, he has plenty of opportunities to explore. He accepts his sexuality as he learns his likes, dislikes, and cravings, which include submitting to a dominant lover. With abuse part of Pascal’s past, his brothers don’t understand why he occasionally sports bruises from sex he claims is consensual.
When the new blacksmith arrives at the ranch, Pascal finally understands what his brothers had talked about when describing the mate-pull. Abner Johnson is all he can think about. Unfortunately, while the huge redhead is okay with a little fun, he doesn’t want a relationship…with anyone. He’s also upfront about his feelings on biting—don’t even try it.
Can Pascal get help wooing his mate from his family and friends, even when they don’t understand his desires?
As Pascal watched, Abner crossed to the front windows and drew the curtains, throwing the place into shadows. His human headed to the back of the house and drew the curtain over the kitchen sink as well as changed the direction of the blinds over the sliding doors, blotting out all light. The only sun came from the second story windows, which Pascal knew no one would be able to look through. There weren’t any flying shifters in the area.
Pascal rubbed his palms over his thighs as his heart rate spiked. He realized he was alone in a complete stranger’s home. Praying Fate gave him an okay mate, he tried to calm himself.
Shit! What am I doing here? Why did I go home with a stranger without telling my brothers? Mate or not, I should have talked with him first. I shouldn’t have allowed my cock to rule my head. I’ve never done this before.
Feeling gentle hands cradle his face, Pascal jolted in his seat.
Abner’s deep rumbling voice caught Pascal’s attention, and he tipped his head back, giving in to his mate’s guiding hand, and met his gaze.
His lips curved into a warm smile, Abner continued, “There you are, Pascal. You went somewhere I couldn’t follow, and it wasn’t a good place. Not like the blissful place I’d rather send you. Do you want to talk about it?”
“No. No, I don’t.”
Pascal shuttered his gaze and focused on Abner’s chin. He knew he’d answered a little fast, with a little snip in his tone, but defensiveness was a knee-jerk reaction. Pascal didn’t want to talk about his past…especially with his mate.
What if Abner thought he was damaged goods or something?
While Pascal knew the abuse, the physical, mental, and sexual trauma wasn’t his fault, that didn’t mean he wanted to discuss…to relive it…even for his mate.
Abner slid his right hand to the nape of Pascal’s neck. With his other, he threaded his fingers into his hair and gripped it in a light hold. Sweeping his dark-eyed focus over Pascal’s face for a few seconds, Abner seemed to assess him.
Pascal held still, unable to meet his gaze. He couldn’t stop or even hide his tremble as he felt Abner massage his nape lightly. Finally, he saw his mate nod once.
“Very well.” Abner released him, his nails skimming over Pascal’s flesh as he did so. “Then we talk about what we want.”
Abner settled on the opposite side of the long sofa, his back to the corner. His left knee was bent on the cushion since he was at an angle, and his right sock-clad foot was flat on the floor. He placed his right hand on his thigh and his left arm along the back. His dark-eyed gazed seemed to settle on Pascal with laser-guided intensity.
“Pascal, I know you are a shifter. A dingo shifter. I don’t have a problem with paranormals in general, but I didn’t move to this coven to be a donor or to be bitten in any way,” Abner began bluntly. “I have a lot of shit going on in my life, and I don’t need the headache of trying to figure out a relationship of any kind.” The thumb of his left hand tapped against the back of the sofa, betraying that he wasn’t quite at ease as he obviously wanted to appear. “With that said, I can see that you are a submissive. It’s as plain to me as the nose on my face. I am a dominant and would be happy to occasionally play with you. We can set up times to meet and scratch our mutual itch, my need to control and yours to give up the same. Is that something you are willing to agree to?”
With each word Abner spoke, Pascal’s disappointment grew. His mate wasn’t open to a relationship? He also didn’t want to be bitten?
How the hell am I going to bring up being mates now?