Toby had always been passed over by the betas in his own pack, but more than anything he wants a pup, and someone to belong to. When he meets Luke, a beta from a neighboring pack, he can’t believe the man’s interested in him. Luke is there to find a mate, and Toby fears hoping that it’ll be him, even as their relationship grows. And when trouble calls Luke back to his home pack, Toby finds himself with a decision to make. Will he trust Luke enough to go after what he’s always wanted, or will he let his fears get the better of him?
Toby lay back on the blanket, sighing when he felt how warm the material had become in the sun. Luke reclined beside him and rolled to face him, popping a grape into his mouth. They’d packed a picnic lunch and headed for one of Toby’s favorite spots by the river. The handsome beta had spent the last two days fucking Toby senseless. Toby loved the way the other man touched him. While his body craved that touch, Toby realized he liked this quiet moment as well. He turned his head to watch Luke eating grapes and admiring the water.
The beta smiled when he noticed Toby watching him. “What is it?” he asked softly.
“Just watching you. I’m not used to just hanging out with a beta. As if we’re friends and all.”
Luke’s smile faded. “You don’t have friends?”
“No. I have plenty of friends. But not any betas. Evan, maybe, but hanging out always meant fooling around.”
Luke set the grapes aside and said, “Not anymore.” He inched closer and slid his arm around Toby’s waist.
Toby expected things to heat up, but instead Luke simply snuggled up next to him, lightly resting his head against the side of Toby’s. “We’re far more than friends, baby.” His breath felt so warm and good on Toby’s neck.
“Seems that way.”
Luke chuckled. “So damn cute.” He sighed and then moved away to lie on his back as well. “Tell me about Gideon. He’s a good alpha?”
“Yes. I think he’s fair. And I’m happy for him.”
Luke turned his head a bit. “His mating?”
Toby rolled to his side now. “Yeah. Think about it. Even fifty years ago, I bet the elders wouldn’t have allowed such a thing. They might’ve punished Gideon and Thomas. I’m glad they can be together.”
“So, you love your alpha? Beyond the usual loyalty, I mean.”
Toby had never thought about it. He chewed his lip as he considered the question. “I guess I do. I’d be said if he died. And scared. I’ve never been afraid of him. I don’t always understand his decisions or agree with him, but I do feel more than just loyalty, I guess.”
Luke held his gaze a moment. “Thomas can be odd at times. Pushy.” He laughed. “And blunt. I like it at times, but he can be a bit much. He and one of his betas used to fuck in public all the time. Not exhibitionism or anything, but they just didn’t care. The beta mated someone else, and Thomas seemed a bit down. I think it’s great he and Gideon found each other.”
“Two alphas in love. It’s like a fairy tale.”
Luke grinned at him. “Guess so.” He slid his hand over Toby’s stomach again, this time letting his fingers trail underneath his shirt. “You like fairy tales?”
“I kind of like the dark ones. The ones with all the scary stuff left in them.”
Luke licked his lips. “But you like the happy endings, too, right?”
Toby knew that had been why Luke had asked, but he felt unsure about having this conversation. The sex was amazing, but Luke seemed so ready to seal the deal between them. Toby looked deep into his eyes. “Yeah. I like them.”
“Good,” Luke said before leaning over and kissing his cheek.