Noel straightened the papers on King Kylen’s desk. He bit his bottom lip as he worked, his mind on everything but what he was doing.
“Noel, what are you doing?”
“Cleaning up. You’re not exactly tidy.” Noel didn’t bother to turn to speak to the king. They’d known each other long enough to not be formal in private.
“Why aren’t you home?”
Noel sighed. “Hart asked me to stay late tonight.”
“He what?” Kylen spun Noel around to face him.
Noel gripped the papers until his fingers turned white. “I’m sure he didn’t mean anything bad. He just said he needed me to occupy myself this evening.”
Noel glanced at his watch. “Another half hour.”
“You know anything about this?” Kylen asked to someone behind Noel’s shoulder.
“About what?” Farro’s voice wrapped around Noel, a warm aural hug. It took Noel a few months to get used to a wolf shifter in the fae world. Once he accepted Farro wasn’t going to leave he’d come to appreciate Farro as a kind man and devoted father. Noel couldn’t have picked out a better match for the king.
“Hart’s hiding something. He asked Noel to stay late.”
Farro grinned. “I would think that if he were up to something he wouldn’t be so obvious. Maybe he just wants to arrange a surprise for his mate. Some people do that.”
King Kylen ran a finger along the inside of his collar. “What kind of surprises?”
Noel snorted. “I don’t think I need to be here for this discussion.” Watching the king squirm might be fun but the sparkle in Farro’s eyes prompted Noel to find a new place to bide his time. He waved to the royal couple. “I’ll see you both tomorrow.”
“See you.” Kylen’s absent wave made Noel smile. The king’s entire focus had switched to his mate.
Noel did several more bits of busy work until it became closer to time to go. His trek through the forest didn’t take long despite the swirls of nervous anticipation swishing around his stomach like a whirlpool.
The entryway to the cave he shared with Hart had a line of gold coins luring him from the entrance. Other lovers would’ve used rose petals. A dragon mate had different ideas about romance.
At the junction between corridors an arrow formed of rubies pointed the way. The depression riding him like a clingy beast evaporated. Hart still wanted him.
Noel entered their main chamber. A gasp left his lips. Lit candles covered every surface, reflecting off shiny coins and metal vases. Hart stood in the middle of the room wearing a beautiful grey suit and holding a glass of wine.
“What’s all this?” Noel waved a hand to indicate the decorated room.
“It’s our one month anniversary.”
Noel flushed. “Is it?”
Hart walked over and handed Noel his glass of wine. After Noel accepted it, Hart leaned down for a kiss that Noel willingly offered. Hart kept his embrace light, welcoming instead of overwhelming before stepping back. Noel resisted the urge to follow.
“I don’t expect you to fuss. It’s not a contest. I just wanted you to know that I love you.” Hart handed over his heart without any fuss, simply laying out his emotions for Noel to see.
“I love you too.” Noel took a sip of wine before setting the glass on a nearby table. “Now I think I should show you how much.”
Hart’s eyes glowed as Noel approached. “I have dinner ready.”
Noel slid his tongue across his bottom lip. “Can it keep?”
Air rushed out of Hart’s lungs with an audible whoosh. “As long as you want.”
Noel grinned. “Excellent.”