Dasani winched when his cell phone rang. He pulled it from his pants and quickly silenced it, gazing at the stranger to make sure he hadn't heard it.
Standing, Dasani walked further into the woods before he answered it. He wasn't supposed to have a cell phone. The Shadow elves believed in living off of nature, of rejecting the modern world.
Whatever. Dasani wasn't giving up his iPhone even if his father tried to chop his arm off to get it.
“Why are you calling me?” Dasani whispered into the phone as if the stranger could hear him all the way up here.
“Dude, you missed our date,” Kevin snapped.
“It wasn't a date, dork,” Dasani said. “We were just supposed to hang out.” He hadn't told his best friend about his kidnapping. Kevin was a styre mente who lived in Pride Valley. Dasani had been afraid that his friend would have gone to the demon realm to exact revenge. Although Kevin had received a lot of training from Logan—a fully-grown styre mente who had been teaching Kevin how to control his powers—Kevin would have gone off halfcocked.
The last thing Dasani wanted was for his friend to get hurt. Or worse, for Kevin to hurt someone. Being a styre mente, Kevin could control minds. His best friend had been warned that there was a fine line between good and evil when it came to his kind. Dasani didn’t want to send his friend to the dark side.
They'd met when Dasani had snuck into Pride Valley to get a glimpse at the Winged Beasts he'd heard so much about. He hadn't spotted any, but he'd run into Kevin who'd been practicing in his backyard.
“Still,” Kevin said. “You could have at least called and told me you weren't coming. I've been stuck in the house for days. I'm ready to ditch this place and have some fun.”
Dasani turned and gazed through the trees. He saw his lust interest still working. His body became hard as the stranger wiped his brow, his muscles flexing.
“Hello? You still there?”
Dasani sighed. “I'm here.” He didn’t want to leave his spying spot. He could watch the tiger work for hours on end—and he had. “Fine, I'm on my way.”
“Ten minutes,” Kevin said as if warning Dasani not to leave him hanging this time.
Dasani slid his phone into his pocket and turned, ready to head to Kevin's when he froze. He swallowed around his heart which had lodged in this throat. “N–nice bear.”
There was a very large, very hairy bear standing in front of him. Dasani started to shimmer away when the bear shifted into a human.
“Hold on there,” the guy said as he grabbed Dasani's arm. “Don't go shimmering away. Not until you tell me why you're spying in the woods behind my house.”
Dasani's gaze snapped to the ranch. The old leader of his tribe lived there. If Ahm found Dasani here, what would the Shadow elf do? Ahm was now one of the Ultionem leaders. That made Ahm one scary guy.
“I was just—” Dasani couldn’t think. He couldn’t come up with a plausible explanation.
“Fine,” the man said. “You can tell Pa why you were hiding in the woods.”
“No, wait!” Dasani struggled to get free. He wasn't sure who Pa was, but if this guy dragged him to the ranch, not only would Ahm find him there, but his lust interest as well.
He'd been desperate to meet the guy, but now that he was heading there, Dasani felt faint. He was still a virgin and had never flirted with a man in his life. Heck, he'd never even been kissed.
If he was forced to the ranch, he'd have to confess why he'd been hiding in the woods.
“I just lost my way,” he lied. “I'm sorry about trespassing.”
The bear shifter eyed him for a long moment before he said, “You can't bullshit a bullshitter.” He grabbed Dasani around the waist and carried him as though he were a dang football.
Panic set in. Dasani shimmered away, taking the bear shifter with him.
“Whoa,” the guy yelled and then cursed. “What on earth did you do that for?”
They ended up in Pride Valley. More accurately, in Kevin's backyard. It was the only place Dasani could think to go under such duress.
“Look, you little evil elf,” the man said. “My mate is going to put his foot up my ass if I don't pick him up from work. If it's all the same to you, I'd prefer to keep Curtis's foot as far from my backside as possible. I'm not about to hitch a ride, so take me back.”
“I can't,” Dasani said as he hung from the man's meaty arm. “I can't let you take me there.”
“So,” the guy said. “You really were spying.”
Dasani sagged in the guy's arms. “Yes.”
“If you got some diabolical plan to hurt my family, I'm going to tear you limb from limb.”
The threat had Dasani lightheaded. “I wasn’t planning anything,” he said in earnest. “I was just—” This was more mortifying than if he'd been caught by his lust interest. “I was just watching one of the guy's on your ranch.”
The stranger set Dasani on his feet. “Care to tell me why?”
Because he fascinates me beyond measure. “Do I have to?”
The guy crossed his arms over his broad chest. “Duh, yeah.”
Worrying his hands, Dasani looked away, too embarrassed to look at the guy when he said, “'Cause I like him.”
The guy chuckled. “So, you've been spying on my house because you like a ranch hand?”
“But you can't tell him!”
“Which one?” the man asked.
Dasani frowned. “Which one what?”
“The one with the dreamy blue eyes.”
“My father gave me most of my fond memories,” Winter confessed. “He was a strong man who worked hard to provide for us, but it was the times when he invited me to hang out in the garage that I cherish the most.”
“He sounds like a great dad,” Dasani said.
“Was?” Dasani frowned.
Winter didn't want to go there. The memories of what happened to his parents would only kill the mood and that was the last thing he wanted to do. “He loved working with his hands. He had this old Buick that he loved and would tinker with it on the weekends. I was his official helper. I learned all about fixing cars from him. He had me crawling through the engine by the time I was nine.”
“Did he ever fix it?” Dasani asked.
“He tried,” Winter said. “But with money so tight, he could never really afford the parts. He had many projects he worked on, though. I helped him build my fort in the backyard. It wasn't fancy, but I cherished it and slept many nights out there in the summer. Once in a while he camped out with me and he'd tell me stories of when he was growing up.”
“I wish my father—” Dasani sighed and shook his head. “I would have loved to have met him.”
“He would have liked you,” Winter said and it was the truth.
“Nope, just me,” Winter said as he brushed his hand over the head of Dasani's cock. His mate groaned and scooted closer.
“W–what about Ryker?” Dasani asked, his voice a mere whisper as he slid his hand down Winter's bicep. The man was relaxing and that was exactly what Winter wanted.
“We hung out when we could, but his parents—especially his mother—didn’t like their only son associating with people beneath them.”
“But your cousins!” Dasani tilted his head back until he was staring into Winter's eyes. The green in his mate's eyes reminded Winter of dark emeralds. “Why would they forbid the two of you from bonding?”
Winter shrugged. “White Bengal tigers can be arrogant and haughty. Most are. But I was blessed with great parents who had their feet planted firmly on the ground. They didn't believe they were above others. My dad's best friend was a wolf shifter. That alone pissed my aunt off.”
“Language,” Dasani reminded him. “That's too bad, though. But it seems you two are close now. I mean, he lives here, right?”
“We try,” Winter said. “But Ryker is more of a recluse. Always has been. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's just who he is.”
When Winter wrapped his fingers around Dasani's cock, his mate moaned and thrust his hips. Winter lowered his head and brushed his lips over Dasani's before he plunged his tongue deep. His mate opened to him, parting his lips as his hand curled around Winter's arm.
Winter tilted his head to take the kiss deeper as he slowly stroked his mate's cock. To his delight, Dasani threw a leg over Winter's, grinding his erection into Winter's hand. He pulled back the arm he had under his mate's neck and cupped the back of Dasani's head, his fingers gliding through the long, silky strands. He knew he would have no problem playing in Dasani's hair for hours on end because touching the silk fascinated him.
When Winter released Dasani's cock and moved his hand behind his mate, separating Dasani's cheeks and probing at his tight hole, Dasani stiffened.
“Relax,” he whispered into Dasani's mouth. “Don't be frightened.”
“I–I won't.” Dasani breathed against Winter's lips before he hesitantly pushed back on Winter's finger. “It–it feels good.”
Winter nuzzled Dasani's slim neck as he rubbed the tip of his finger around the tight entrance. He used the hand that had been playing in Dasani's hair to reach under his pillow and extract the tube of lube. He squirted a good amount onto his finger before he pressed it back against Dasani's hole.
“Kiss me,” he said. When Dasani did, Winter pressed into Dasani to the first knuckle. Dasani inhaled sharply, but didn't pull away. Winter kissed the man as if he were dying, trying his best to take his mate's mind off of what he was doing.
Dasani ground his erection against Winter and then pushed back onto his finger. “Eager, bluebird?”
His mate's skin flushed a gentle purple before he buried his face against Winter's chest. “I just never thought…when I imagined sex…” Dasani's words trailed off as Winter sank his finger deeper.
“That it would feel this good?” Winter asked and then a rumbled chuckle worked its way up. “But we haven’t even started yet.”
“It still feels good,” Dasani said. “Better than I ever expected.
If Dasani thought Winter's finger felt good, the man was in for a shocker when Winter sank his cock deep inside Dasani's tight ass. “Trust me, bluebird. It gets much better.”
“Better than this?”
“Oh, yeah.” After working his lone finger in and out of Dasani, Winter added a second. His free hand tugged at Dasani's hair. When his mate leaned his head back, Winter became fixated on the rush of pleasure that washed over the man's features. The expression was nothing short of breathtaking.
“I–I see what you mean,” Dasani stammered.
“Gets even better,” Winter teased.
“I'm not sure I can handle even better,” Dasani confessed. “My body already feels like it's going to explode.”
Winter smiled as he pressed his nose against Dasani's neck. “Such a quick trigger.” And then he added a third finger.
“Winter,” Dasani said, his tone growing frantic.
“Don't fight it, bluebird.” Winter nipped at Dasani's shoulder as he quickened his thrusts. Dasani's hole tightened around his fingers. The man was close. Real close. “I want you to fly.”