Ben looked around at the other males, hoping someone could elaborate on Redden’s declaration. Pet? What the fuck did that mean? If it meant what he thought it did, he’d just lucked out. He’d give anything to get into the alpha’s bed, and he had to help his family keep their modest home on Marcelle land.
But he had to be wrong. Why would the alpha want him for sexual favors when he could get any wolf in the region? Maybe he wanted to try something different, a novelty, and Ben was the only fox available. He stopped driving himself crazy with theories and looked to Ronan.
“What?” snapped the wolf.
“Can someone fill me in?”
Most of the pack dispersed, not giving him the time of day. He supposed he should be happy they weren’t ripping him to shreds. Without Redden’s protection, they’d be more than willing to destroy every fox within ten miles. He could still see the malevolent energy in their eyes after being granted asylum and every day since. The basic hierarchy and food chain had been shattered when Jacob chose Ben’s brother for a mate. Now the lines of right and wrong were blurry.
Cash leaned against a great oak. “You’re his toy until he tires of you. Don’t worry, you won’t keep his attention long.” He sized up Ben as if unworthy of the alpha’s attention. Northern shifters never wore clothing unless visiting public places where humans could be present. He didn’t think he was that unimpressive. Or was he? “Think you can handle an alpha wolf?”
He knew he could. He’d dreamt of the day in great detail. “Would this be something like a pre-mating custom?” he asked, knowing the answer but hoping he was wrong.
The wolf laughed. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Redden tolerates you because he cares about Jacob. Never confuse sex and love, foolish fox. Be happy you get to live to see another day.” He winked before turning to shift.
Ben wasn’t sure how he felt. This was something he should be thrilled about, but his nagging emotions wouldn’t leave him alone. He was doing it again—thinking of fairy tales. If only Redden felt the mating call for him like Jacob had for Nathan. He’d ask for nothing more.
Ben had allowed men to use him all his life. It was his way to get what he wanted and hide from true emotion. Now the numbness was slipping away like pins and needles. He felt things he wanted to avoid—desire, want, and desperation.
The forest was so quiet now that he’d been left alone. The wind passed through the forest canopy above like an ocean wave, soothing yet lonely. He tried to imagine what it would be like if a man like Redden loved him. Really loved him. He craved that sense of belonging so much it hurt. It twisted in his gut like a jagged blade, reminding him he’d only know loneliness. A fox like him was nothing to covet, certainly not worth claiming in a world where strength meant everything.
What should he do next? Return home? Demand answers? He instinctively thought of sex and alcohol, but he knew that path led nowhere. He finally decided to join the alpha wolf in his den. What did he have to lose? Stifling emotion and disappointment were what Ben did best. He was a fucking pro. If Redden wanted a pet, Ben would give him one to remember.
Darkness enveloped him once inside the den. He felt like he’d stepped into a different world, everything he’d ever known before now suddenly irrelevant. It smelled all male, rich musk and cedar. The interior was also five times the size of the home he shared with his family within the briar patch. It felt odd to be able to stand up straight while in his skin. He looked around, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the meager lighting.
“I remember the first day I saw you.” The deep voice came out of the shadows, heard yet unseen. “I couldn’t get your color of your eyes out of my head.”
“Really?” He’d noticed that much? When had this happened?
“I kept telling myself to look the other way, to forget that vivid shade of blue.” He chuckled. “Turns out it’s easier said than done.”
“I thought you hated fox. I mean, you almost banished Jacob for loving my brother.” He swallowed hard, not wanting to hear the answer. It was far more pleasant believing Redden could actually be attracted to him.
“It’s not about hate or love. It’s about survival. My enemies feed off my weaknesses. If I don’t show strength, my whole pack will pay the price.”
“What would be a weakness?”
“Caring too much.”
“I guess revealing you have feelings for anyone would be a bad move,” said Ben.
“Especially small red scavengers.”
He should be insulted, but could only focus on the growing lump in his throat. Part of him knew where this was leading, while the other part was in desperate need of reassurance.
“But keeping a pet is something else. It won’t create any red flags.”
Ben wasn’t sure what to think or believe. Did Redden want a pet or was it really a ruse to bring them together? He’d never cared about his sexual partners or catalogued his own behavior. But Redden woke up his long dormant passions. He craved acceptance and unconditional love. The wolf couldn’t offer him what he needed if everything they shared had to remain behind closed doors. He was tired of hiding in the shadows.
“Sounds convenient. Take your fill and then kick me to the curb.” He didn’t hide the note of resentment in his voice. Sure, he’d fuck Redden, and he’d like it. But he wanted more. For the first time in his life, he wanted it all.
“That’s not what I meant, Ben. My pack just wouldn’t understand, never mind the Krells. It wouldn’t be safe for you.”
“Don’t kid yourself. Who are you really worried about? Me or yourself?”
“This is mine now.” Redden’s thick, moist finger pressed into his ass. The breach was slow and sensual, like melting chocolate. A shiver raced up his spine, thousands of pinprick sensations scattering throughout his body. He kept his muscles relaxed, somehow at home in the alpha’s presence. Despite Redden’s size and strength, Ben knew he didn’t need to fear him like other males.
A second finger joined the first. His mate began to scissor his fingers, slowly stretching his ass with a firm gentleness. It felt so good, so right. Redden’s free hand secured him by the hip, guiding him like a patient teacher.
“Don’t make me wait,” he said. “I’ve dreamt of this day since that time in the truck. I still remember every detail, hoping you felt the same connection.”
“I did,” said Redden.
He remembered that day like yesterday. They’d only just met, riding next to each other in the backseat of the truck. The sexual energy between them had been obscene, and they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. Ben never expected there was more between them than lust. He was wrong.
“Well, you’re good at hiding it.”
Redden smoothed his hands down Ben’s back. “This isn’t easy for me, Ben. I have men counting on me to lead them. Putting myself first isn’t something I normally do.”
He wanted to tell Redden to put him first because it’s what he wanted to hear, what he wanted to be true. Just his name on the wolf’s lips was music to his ears.
“I’ve never had a fox in my den,” said Redden. “I hope I don’t hurt you.”
“Promise I won’t tap out.”
Redden ran his moistened cock along the seam of his ass. “No? I guess we’ll find out.” He eased the first inch of hardened flesh into Ben’s nether hole.
All that Ben could think about was sex and more sex. His thoughts drifted to base desires and feral cravings. He wanted Redden to take without holding back, to fuck without mercy. He wanted them so close they became one. Right now, all he wanted was his huge wolf cock rammed hard into his ass. It would be heaven.
Instead Redden teased him, or maybe he truly thought he’d break. He moved so deliberately and controlled. Every inch of slow progression only built Ben’s anticipation.
“Give it to me,” he demanded. Ben attempted to rear back to steal the full length of Redden’s erection. He felt achy and empty, a desperate need pulsing inside him. But the alpha kept him in place with a firm hand to the back, even pulling away slightly.
“Patience, little fox. I know you’re eager, but I may be more than you can handle.”
“Aren’t we supposed to be mates? A perfect fit?” Ben’s insecurities would never be fully reined in. Redden’s love bite still stung his skin as a permanent reminder of his claim. But was it just a moment of passion? Did he regret choosing Ben as his life mate?
The beautiful cock sank deeper, nearly fully seated. “That’s right.”
“Then you can’t be afraid to take me.”
“Fuck, you’re tighter than I expected,” Redden grated. “So damn good.”
Ben smiled to himself, pleased that he could satisfy the other man. He tensed around the massive cock, adding additional pressure. Redden filled him to overflowing, sating that primal need for a total invasion.
His mate began to gradually pump his hips, his erection gliding in and out of his asshole. It felt exhilarating, a unique pressure building inside him. Pinpricks of erotic sensation scattered along his skin.
A droplet of sweat landed on his back as Redden fucked him with restrained passion. He braced his hands to keep in place with each strong thrust. The wolf was made for sex, making Ben feel like this was his first time. Now he knew what it felt like to be truly dominated by another male. And he could never settle for another lover after this experience.
“Touch yourself,” Redden ordered. “It’ll feel better that way.”
He did as commanded, stroking his now erect cock with one hand as Redden picked up the pace from behind, furiously fucking his ass. His mate was close. Ben wanted his seed filling him, making them one.
“Oh gods,” he cried as a second release began to build. Ben knew he’d come hard and fast with the dual stimulation. This was sex like he’d never experienced it. And the mating bond made all the difference.
“Good boy, take it all,” said Redden, not holding back. “Take my cock in your ass.”