Yerad never expected his mate to run seconds after they met, but that’s what fate dealt him. Lenny insists on saying he doesn’t want Yerad. Yerad wants to push for answers, but he’s a liaison agent for the council, and his job is more important than a stubborn man who doesn’t want him.

Lenny never wanted to meet his mate. His parents, the people who should have shielded him from the world, kicked him out, and he doesn’t want to be hurt again. He knows that’s what will eventually happen if he agrees to give Yerad a chance, and that’s why he tells his mate to leave him alone.

Lenny’s resolve weakens as his friends try to convince him to give Yerad a chance. When he finds out Yerad is working with his birth pride, he runs to the rescue, only to find out Yerad doesn’t need him. Will Yerad forgive Lenny for pushing him away? Will Lenny manage to get over his fear of being hurt and give Yerad a chance? Or will fear have the upper hand and ruin their mating?

Yerad
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Cover Art by Valerie Tibbs
Excerpt

Yerad stared at the door his mate had just used to leave the room. He could feel the stares of everyone in the living room on him, but he kept his gaze on the door. The door wasn’t looking at him in pity, or in any way at all, really.

He’d never thought about what would happen when and if he met his mate. He’d thought about being with his mate, but not about the moment they’d meet. Even if he had, he didn’t think he’d ever have thought his mate would reject him after just one sniff.

“He’s your mate?” Cerris finally asked, breaking the awkward silence.

Yerad finally looked away from the door. Lenny wasn’t going to come back anyway. “Yes.”

Jackson grimaced, and Yerad knew what he needed to know. Whatever the reason Lenny had run, he wasn’t going to have an easy time getting through to him.

“Well?” Nysys said. “Go after him.”

“Why should I? He clearly doesn’t want to talk to me.”

“And you’re going to let him go just like that?”

“No, but he probably needs some time to gather his thoughts and realize what this means for him.” Yerad didn’t add that he, too, needed some time to fully realize he’d found his mate.

It wasn’t something he’d expected would happen that day. He’d come to Gillham to see Cerris, to make sure he was fine and to talk to him about what had happened with his old tribe. Of course, no one ever expected to find their mate. It was a surprise, but it could have gone better.

Nysys huffed. “What are you going to do, then? Let him go wherever it is he went and do whatever he wants to do?”

“For a little while, yes. I still need to talk to Cerris.”

“But you’ve already done that! He told you what happened and that he didn’t do anything to that asshat. What else do you need to talk about?”

Yerad tried to find a good answer, but he didn’t have one, not when it came to what had happened with the tribe, anyway. “I just wanted to know if Cerris was all right. I know I already asked him about the tribe, but we didn’t get the chance to talk about him yet.”

“You were the one who stopped him before he could tell us what happened with Jackson.” Nysys looked at Cerris and his mate, who were still standing together. “Although I have to say it’s a hard decision to make. Listen to how those two mated, or go after your mate. Mmm.”

“Since I’m not going to tell you anything about what happened with Jackson, you should probably go find Lenny,” Cerris said.

Nysys pouted. “You’re no fun.”

A Nix entered the living room. “What happened to Lenny? He ran out of here as if his ass was on fire. I mean, I know he hasn’t been to the clubs in a few days, but he can usually go a bit longer between two fucks. Was he in that much of a hurry to get his hands on a dick?”

All the men in the room turned as one to look at Yerad.

The Nix stared. “What? Did I say something weird?”

“So Lenny is a slut, huh?” Nysys said unhelpfully.

“Uh, yes?” the Nix answered, looking like he wondered if that was the right thing to do.

“And he went to a club?”

“It’s afternoon,” Jackson intervened. “He doesn’t usually leave the house until later.”

“Well, he just did. I told you, he ran past me as if the hounds of hell were coming for him. That wouldn’t surprise me, with all the broken hearts he leaves in his wake.”

“Maybe you should all stop saying just how much of a man’s man Lenny is, since Yerad is right there,” Cerris suggested, and Yerad could have kissed him.

Nysys waved. “Yerad needs to know what kind of man his mate is. That’s why I interrogated Jackson when he first came to the mansion to find you.”

“No, you did that because you thought it was fun. Maybe you should go after Lenny and interrogate him. I’m sure Yerad could do without knowing all of Lenny’s secrets.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone,” the Nix said. He looked at Yerad, holding his hand out. “I’m Mael. I’m in Lenny’s team.”

Yerad nodded at him. “I’m Yerad.”

“And you’re Lenny’s mate.”

“Yes. I also work with the council on the integration of Nix tribes.”

Mael grimaced. “I bet that’s fun. So, are you going to go after Lenny?”

“You know him better than me. Should I?”

Mael sighed. “I don’t know. He’s a friend, and God knows he talks a lot, but he never tells much about himself. We all know he likes to go out and pick up men, and since I’m not blind I can tell there’s a reason for that, but Lenny never told me about it. I don’t think anyone in the team knows anything about his family, his pride, or what he did before becoming an enforcer. He just doesn’t talk about feelings or anything like that. I’m not sure you’ll get anything out of him if you try talking to him, but you should try.”

Yerad should have known better than hoping his mating would be an easy one. Not only was his mate a man’s man, but he also had personal problems. Yerad wouldn’t care, as long as they managed to get over it in some way, but he wasn’t sure they’d be able to, not if Lenny really was as closed off as Mael was telling him.

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