[Siren Classic ManLove: Alternative Paranormal Romance, MM, vampires, HEA]
It’s been three years since Raphael Beaulieu met and ran from his mate. Raff’s longing to be with Ves wars with the horrors in Raff’s past. Will he ever be able to trust the coven leader?
Lord Sylvestre Desmarais doesn’t understand why his mate denies him so vehemently, but he’s willing to wait as long as Raff needs. He’s waited four hundred and fifty years to find his mate, what’s a few more? He has plenty to keep him busy—moving his coven, looking after his people, and keeping his sister out of trouble, but he craves Raff with every breath.
Raff is furious and scared when he finds out Ves is moving the coven closer, but with the help of friends, he starts to come around.
However, Raff’s past isn’t done with him and when he disappears, will Ves be able to find him in time?
“Boss man? Hi. Uh, you didn’t say you were coming up to check on things.”
If Ves had to pick a word to describe his second in that moment, he would have chosen shifty. “Eddie. Everything all right?” Maybe panicked would have been a better word. He narrowed his eyes at the man.
“Of course?” Eddie cleared his throat and tried again, making the words sound less like a question. “Of course. Why wouldn’t they be?”
“Mmm-hmmm.” Ves tilted his head, scenting the air, keeping his eyes on his second.
Disturbed earth, stone dust, paint, sawdust, various oils and metals, and other scents he associated with construction. Eight vampires from his coven, not counting Eddie or Annette, four shifters present, plus another few whose scents were fading from previous shifts. The heavy, rusty smell of old blood from Freddie’s accident, laced with the panic and stress of the people who had found him, including Ves’s mate Raff. But layered over everything was the stronger, much more recent scent of the man. Raff had been here. A lot. And recently. The need to see Raff constantly burned through his veins, but at his mate’s scent, it ramped up, clawing at his guts and lengthened his fangs. His mate was here, in his place, with his people. With a shudder, Ves forced his fangs to retract. He glared at Eddie. His mate was here, and his second, the man he trusted to support him and have at his back for everything, hadn’t said a word.
Ves held a hand up, stalling Eddie in his verbal tracks. “He’s here. He’s here right now.”
“I—yes. Boss, I’m—”
Ves stopped him again. “Not another word. You, I’ll deal with later.” With that, he scented the air again and headed into the building to find his mate.
His mate was here. Ves couldn’t stop the words circling around and around in his brain. They repeated over and over like a war drum, stirring his blood and calling him to arms. He walked past Emeric, Hedley, and Grace, vampires from his coven, who were taking up old floor tile along a long corridor. Domin and Silas were both prying up pieces of spike-covered wood from either side of another corridor which still smelled of musty carpet. All of them tried to say things, but he didn’t register a word. Claudie must have stopped whatever she was doing to speak to him when she scented him coming but thought better when she caught the look on his face because all she did was hover in a doorway and watch him stalk past.
“Come on, princess, we’re nearly halfway done.”
“Oh, fuck off. Have you seen these blisters?”
“The ones that heal before you finish talking? Yeah, they’re awful. Keep going.”
Ves heard his sister and his mate long before he entered the room. The bickering continued, distracting the pair of them and hopefully preventing them from realising he was here. Claudie had scented him coming, but neither Raff nor Annette did.
“My shoulders hurt,” Annette whined. Up a ladder, she held a stripper in one hand and was using it to scrape up a truly hideous wallpaper.
Are those flamingos? Long curls of the paper lay on the floor around the base of her ladder and around where his mate stood a few meters farther along the left-hand wall of the huge room.
“They’ll toughen up. So will you.”
“No.” Annette flung the stripper away. It embedded itself two inches deep into the still paper-covered far wall by one corner and wavered a moment before stilling. Annette jumped down from her ladder and made to walk out the far doors, shouting as she went. “I’m done. You can’t make me do this.”
Ves was about to intervene, but Raff was in front of her in a flash. “Wanna bet?” If he looked over Annette’s shoulder, he’d see Ves, but his gaze was on her and Ves was frozen, watching the pair.
Annette growled and launched herself at Raff. Ves lurched forward half a step—no one should be trying to hurt his mate—but stopped, one foot midair, watching in astonishment. Raff had her pinned in less time than Ves’s half step had taken. Another growl rumbled in Annette’s chest. She flipped over, throwing Raff off, and then jumped at him, only to be pinned again.
“Haven’t we done this a few times already, princess? Think you’ll get me this time? Haven’t you learned yet?”
“Get off me,” she snarled.
“You gonna get back to work?”
She screamed in frustration and then the fight went out of her. “Fine. Whatever.”
She realised before Raff did that they had an audience. While Raff climbed off her, she stiffened, and then her gaze shot straight to Ves. He hurriedly put his foot back on the ground.
“Sylvestre!” Her outraged yell might as well have gone right to Raff’s spine because he snapped up straight as if hit by lightning. “Have you seen how they’re treating me here? What they’re making me do?”
Raff turned slowly to look at Ves.
“Did I hurt you?”
“No. No, Ves, you didn’t hurt me.” He stroked his hands down the smooth skin of both his hips with a wiggle far too sexy for Ves’s peace of mind. Whatever minor scratches had drawn blood must have already healed. “See? I’m fine. I’m sorry. Just, you should see your face. You didn’t even realise you did that, did you?” Raff leaned up on one arm, took the shredded underwear from Ves, and tossed them aside. Eyes still twinkling, he took one of Ves’s hands and kissed each of the fingertips on it. “Listen, you’re going to have to trust yourself with me. And trust me to let you know if you cross a line I don’t want to cross. Trust me to tell you to stop. I’m a vampire, Ves. Just like you. A few drops of blood, a few claw pricks, a scratch here and there. It’s not going to send me running. Not when it’s what I want. Or when it’s the one person I want it with. I like that you want me so much. Now come here and do something about it.” He let go of Ves’s hand and crooked a finger at him with a soft look.
Ves took a deep breath. When he released it, he let all his worries go, too. Raff was a grown man. He was a strong man and would stop Ves if there was anything he didn’t want.
Leaning in, Ves brought their mouths together again. Raff hummed into the kiss and sank back into the pillows. He wrapped around Ves like an octopus as Ves dipped his tongue in and out, stroking and seducing. Ves rolled his hips, simulating what he’d be doing once he got inside Raff, and Raff whimpered in need, jerking against him.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.”
“What? What’s wrong?” Ves pulled away from Raff’s neck. Raff’s eyes were hazy and blown out with need, but there was a furrow between his brows.
“Nothing. I just…” He wriggled out from under Ves and lunged for the bedside table. “Oh, thank God! Thomas really is magic.” He collapsed face first into the covers, one hand aloft holding out a plastic bottle. “The one I left here would be so far out of date it wouldn’t even be funny.”
Ves glanced at the bottle. Lube. “You know, I’m not all that sure I like Thomas. I don’t like the idea of someone else thinking about you to the point of supplying you with a new mattress and lube.” Ves did his best not to think about Raff needing lube when he was living here before. Raff was over a hundred years old. It’s not like he would be a virgin, but Ves could do without those images in his head, thanks.
Raff tried to turn over, but Ves stalled him with a hand to the lower back. His view was just fine the way it was. Raff had a truly amazing arse. Ves leaned down and bit it. Not all that gently either.
Raff squealed and jerked, and then froze. “Can we pretend that noise didn’t just come out of my mouth?”
Ves chuckled. “Nope.” He licked the spot he’d bitten. Raff tried to turn over again. “Oh, I think I like you right where you are,” Ves said, holding him still. He nibbled on the same spot. Raff twitched abortively as if not sure whether to push into the sensation or pull away.
“Fuck, Ves.” His voice had gone all throaty and low.
Ves pressed a few kisses to random places across the twin globes. Each one made Raff shiver. He pulled on Raff’s hips to lift his arse higher and then palmed his buttocks.
Raff let out a shocked sound, which descended into a helpless moan at the first swipe of Ves’s tongue across his pucker. Ves had done this before, but there was something in Raff’s reaction that told him no one had done it for his mate. It wasn’t long before Raff was pushing back into the slick pressure of Ves’s tongue.
Though he loosened up a little, Raff was still incredibly tight when Ves slipped a finger in beside his tongue, so Ves took his time stretching him. Finally, when the pleas falling from Raff’s lips took on a desperate tone, he kissed his way up Raff’s back. One day soon he wanted to rim Raff until he came, but right now, he needed to be inside him, to finally claim his mate the way Raff deserved.
“Last chance to back out,” he whispered into Raff’s neck. His cock rode the valley between the cheeks of Raff’s arse, the area still wet with his saliva, nudging his balls.
“Fuck that.” Raff’s laugh was breathy and disbelieving. “Waited far too long for this. For you.”
Though Ves would stop at any point if Raff needed him to, he was inordinately glad Raff wasn’t showing the smallest doubt.
“Me too.” He kissed the spot where he would lay his claiming bite.
Raff pushed his head against the side of Ves’s, like a cat. “Don’t make us wait any longer.”