Nikko woke to the most delicious scent filling his nose. Nuzzling in closer he sought to wrap himself around the smell. Warm flesh met his lips and a soft giggle vibrated the skin beneath him.
Oh, the little fae. The sweet, sweet boy with the broken heart and the most powerful blood he’d ever tasted. Energy still zinged through his body from the little sip he’d taken the night before. Remembering the taste, his mouth watered, and his fangs slid forward, eager for another burst of intoxicating flavour.
“Good evening, beautiful,” he murmured, wallowing in the feel of the slender man wrapped in his arms. Skin slid against skin as he found a smooth thigh to rub against. He nipped Luc’s shoulder with his fangs, lapping at the streak of blood oozing from the small wound.
“Oh, yeah. Right there,” the lyrical voice whispered as the sleek fae rubbed against him.
Need surged through Nikko like a tidal wave. Wanting to have his lover come with him, the vampire wrapped his hand around both of them, pumping them in concert.
It didn’t take long before he felt wet streams shoot against his stomach. The feel of Luc’s release pulled Nikko into an orgasm, sparkles lighting behind his eyes.
“Wow,” Nikko said, giving an awkward pat to Luc’s smooth, silky back. He waved a hand and magically dissolved the mess between them before wrapping them back up in their cocoon of blankets.
“That’s a great talent to have,” Luc’s voice was filled with admiration. Nikko couldn’t help preening a little inside even as he lapped at the sexy man’s neck. His voice became heavy. “I’m tired.”
“Go back to sleep, beautiful. We’ll get up in a little while.” He wrapped his entire body around the smaller man, instinct driving him to want to keep the fae safe, purposely ignoring the little voice whispering that this was the first lover he hadn’t kicked out of his bed right after sex.
In his mind he envisioned the collar he would put on his pretty, pretty lover. He waited until Luc’s breathing was slow and easy before he slid out of the bed in slow, easy movements, careful to not wake his companion.
Nikko dressed and removed the wards covering the door, resetting them once he was on the other side. Nothing would get to his fae while he slept.
Gabriel stood guard in the hall outside their room with a gleam in his eyes, flashing a bit of fang. “How’s it going boss?” he asked with a smirk. “I hear you found yourself a pretty boy to play with.”
“Bring me that gold collar in the showcase,” Nikko said, ignoring his lieutenant’s words.
Gabriel lost his smile. “You’ve only had him for a few hours. How much could you know about him?” he protested.
“I know that if you don’t bring me that collar, I’m going to lose my temper,” Nikko growled. He watched with satisfaction as the other vampire fled down the hallway. The need to return to the sleeping fae tugged at him like an aching tooth.
“Here, Master.” Gabriel bowed, presenting the thin red leather box formally.
Nikko must have sounded firmer than he thought if he was getting the full treatment.
Popping open the latch, he lifted the lid of the box and admired the sparkling rubies nestled in squares of pure gold. Each one-inch link of gold was antique and tempered with age. The elaborate piece looked as if it were something royalty might have worn in a bygone time.
To Nikko, it was perfection for his gorgeous lover.
“Master.” Gabriel kneeled, his auburn head bowing before Nikko. “Please don’t do this. You don’t need a thrall. I can get you any number of young men.”
“Gabe,” Nikko interrupted. “Have you seen my lover?” It was inconceivable to the master vampire that anyone could meet Luc and not understand his new obsession.
His lieutenant looked up with puzzled eyes. “No. But I was told he came here just last night.”
“Ah, come with me.”
He de-spelled the door and went through, guiding Gabriel to the bed. Nothing was visible but a still lump beneath the covers. “Luc, my sweet,” he said in a low voice. “Wake up and greet Gabriel, my second in command. He’ll be in charge of you whenever I’m away.”
There was a rustle of the sheets then a head of brilliantly coloured blond-gold hair appeared followed by a perfectly formed face. Silver-backed emerald eyes blinked blearily at him.
“What’s up?” Luc asked in a sleep-roughened voice.
“Wow.” He heard Gabe whisper behind him.
Nikko couldn’t hide his proud smile. Yeah, he was riding a lucky star when he ran into this beauty.
He saw the moment Luc’s eyes focussed. He got a sweet smile that extended to his lieutenant.
“Nice to meet you,” his sweet boy said with a tentative smile before sliding out of bed and slipping into his clothes.
Nikko wasn’t surprised to see his new lover had no sense of modesty. If you were flawlessly beautiful, there was no need to be ashamed of exposing yourself to others.
He could smell the hormone level rise in the other vamp.
“Mine,” he growled, flashing his fangs.
“But he’s so glorious,” Gabriel murmured in a low voice. “I don’t even like men and I’d sell my soul to be his lover. What does he taste like?” His voice was wistful like a child seeing a new toy he yearned to have.
“Nirvana,” Nikko said before walking away from the other vamp and stepping closer to his lover. “I brought your collar.”
Luc slipped on his shirt but didn’t fasten it since most of the buttons were still scattered about the floor. He glanced at the pretty vampire that accompanied Nikko, but when the other vamp didn’t come closer, he turned his attention to his new lover.
Damn, but the man was adorable. Who knew a master vampire could look shy?
He flashed Nikko a reassuring smile.
Nikko dropped the box. It fell on the plush carpet with a soft thud.
Luc leant over and picked up the jewel box, opening it to find a stunning necklace inside. Ooh, pretty. The sparkles in the gems glowed with the inner fire of fine quality gems.
“Put it on me.” He thrust it at the vampire with eager hands. The fae part of him adored the sparkly while the part of him that was the devil’s son coveted the value of the gems.
Nikko’s large hands looked even larger as they fumbled with the necklace. The cool stones felt chilly against Luc’s warm skin, but quickly warmed with his body heat. The weight was reassuring instead of suffocating, giving him the impression of being cherished instead of owned.
“When you mentioned a collar, I was thinking something shoddy and leather,” Luc admitted.
The vampire gave him a quick kiss before stepping away to admire his neck. “Beautiful, just like you, my sweet fae.”
Luc gave Gabriel a quick look. The other vamp was gorgeous, but he just didn’t have the same appeal as the master. Why did he always have to fall for the mega-alpha?
A banging on the bedroom door caught their attention.
“Enter,” Nikko shouted.
The pretty waiter from last night rushed into the room. He stopped before them, bowing low to Nikko before speaking. “There’s an enormous wolf outside trying to tear down the door.”
“Bran,” Luc said without thinking.
Nikko gave him a narrowed look. “Is there a reason you know this?”
“Yep. I would bet my pretty new collar that my ex-lover is at your door.”
Fuck, Sal. Luc was going to have some fun. After all, the only thing more fun than meeting your old lover with your new one, is to do it while wearing a shiny ruby collar.
He’d teach that dumping bastard.
Luc pulled his cell phone from his pocket, pressing and holding the one key to activate speed dial.
It rang a few times.
“Talk to me,” Sal’s voice came across the line.
“Your missing wolf is here,” Luc said. He cut the connection, not wasting time on further conversation. He looked up to see all three vamps staring at him as if he were a new, interesting species they’d just encountered.
With a sweet smile to all, he walked past them and sashayed out the door.
Luc could hear a banging noise as they reached the lower levels of the club.
The doors groaned with the impact; the sound of shattering wood rose from the room below. Bran must’ve smashed the doorframe. A wolf’s cry pierced the air.
He knew that howl. The hair on the back of Luc’s neck rose at the sound.
Bran was in the building.
The master vampire came up next to him on the catwalk. They both looked down into the club. It was too early for a big crowd, but the vampire bouncers were leading a few club babies out the door at record speeds. By the glazed look in the humans’ eyes, Luc knew they wouldn’t remember leaving.
Vamps lined the walls, keeping away from the growling wolf prowling the room. In a contest between a wolf the size of a small pony and a vampire, Luc would put money on the animal. He’d seen how wolves fight and nothing comes between a wolf and his target.
“Bran, stop it,” Luc shouted down.
The huge animal sat on its haunches and lifted its head towards the sound of his voice.
“Let me guess, your last boyfriend was the alpha of the Evergreen Pack?”
Luc shrugged. “What can I say, I like alphas.”
Nikko growled as he descended the stairs, pulling Luc behind him.
Luc could feel the tension pulsing through the air, squeezing the oxygen out of the room. Stubbornly, he stepped to the side of Nikko, letting the wolf see him.
“What do you want, Bran?” he asked, more than a little proud that his voice didn’t shake under the baleful gold gaze.
There was a shimmer in the air. When it cleared, a man stood where the wolf had been. The Evergreen alpha had smooth mocha skin, lush black hair and the same gold eyes in either form. Bran stepped forward fully clothed, his eyes fixated on Luc’s slim form.
“I’ve come for my mate,” he said in a deep, sexy voice. The same voice that used to whisper sweet words of love to Luc in the darkness of the night.
Luc ruthlessly stamped down the memories as he looked at the handsome wolf. “I’m sorry to hear you lost her already.”
They stared at each other—two strong men neither willing to look away.
“Why is it that you have clothing when you shift?” Nikko asked.
“It was a gift from Luc,” Sal’s familiar voice rang out. “He wanted to keep us safe when we shifted.”
Luc looked past the alpha wolf and saw that besides the beta a few other members of the pack had arrived.
“And out of jail,” another voice spoke up.
A few laughs went through the group, an old joke shattering the tension. Luc felt the sweet pull of a shared memory. How he missed his friends.
“I love you, Luc. Come back to me.”
The words were perfect, but the tension in Luc’s chest told him there was more to it than the perfect words. “Why?”
Bran’s handsome face crinkled in confusion. “Why, what?”
“He means. Why should he go back to you instead of having his new man suck you dry and throw your corpse into the river?” Nikko’s arm came around Luc’s shoulder, his embrace strong and protective. The vampire’s long fingers slid across Luc’s neck, drawing attention to his new jewellery. “Besides,” Nikko said, tucking a finger beneath the collar, “I’ve already claimed him.”
“Claimed? You claimed my man?” Bran’s eyes shifted, gold eyes turning a burnt orange. Feral. His hands shifted into claws.
Luc slid to the side in one graceful movement as Bran leapt at Nikko, claws extended. The pair spun, slashing at each other. Hopping onto the nearest table, Luc settled into a comfortable position, crossing his legs, he watched the alpha wolf and the alpha vamp try to tear each other apart.
He should stop them.
Sipping the rich brew, he watched Bran take a bite of Nikko’s right leg. The vampire got even by sinking his fangs into the wolf’s side.
Ouch, that had to hurt.
“Aren’t you going to stop them?” Luc recognised Sheila from the night before.
He shrugged. “Why?”
“Because they’re fighting over you,” she said, her eyes hard and accusing.
Luc smirked. “They aren’t fighting over me. They’re fighting over who has the bigger balls.”
“You could settle that too,” she smirked, jumping up to sit on the table beside him.
“Yep.” Luc swigged another sip of beer.
A chair flew over their heads, crashing into the opposite wall. “Nice throw,” he yelled to the pair.
“It’s like you can’t help yourself,” Sheila said, laughing.
“Naw.” He took another sip. “More like I don’t bother to try.”
Clinking their beer glasses together, they watched the fight.
It ended when Bran took full wolf form and the alphas separated to flash fangs at each other.
“Very impressive boys,” Luc said, clapping. “Are you finished yet?”
Two pissed off alpha males turned to glare at him. Bran shifted back to human.
“Oh, you like to live dangerously.” Sheila giggled beside him.
Weres and vamps filled the room, each group surrounding their respective alpha.
“What are you doing here, Bran?”
“You’re my mate. Where else would I be?”
Luc stood up on the table. “Fuck you. Maybe you should be at home with your new wife. You know, the bitch you dumped me for.” Fury rode him hot and hard, power surging through him like lightning. He could feel the burn as symbols on his face and arms glowed red with the strength of his anger.
Every wolf in the place took one step back. Every vampire froze.
Sal, stepped forward blocking Bran from Luc’s view. “Easy, Luc.”
“Don’t you easy me, Salvador. I left the pack so that there wouldn’t be any problems. Why are you all here? Why can’t you leave me the hell alone? Haven’t I given up enough?” Anger drained from Luc as quickly as it had come, the symbols on his skin blinking out like burnt light bulbs.
Bran stepped around his beta, lifted Luc off the table and into his arms. “Don’t do this to us, pretty.”
For a moment, memories flooded Luc’s mind. Years of breakfast in bed and twilight walks, discussing pack issues and politics. Birthdays and holidays celebrated with the pack like a big happy family. Sweet memories quickly drowned out by fresher ones of his former lover courting an entire cadre of bitches in heat.
“I didn’t do this to us, you did.”
Bran released him and stepped away; his face tight with anger. “You think this vampire can replace me? What happens when you start to fade because you aren’t getting enough physical contact? Last time I checked vamps weren’t big on collective touching. He’s a master vampire he’ll turn on you in the end. Vamps can’t be trusted.”
Luc closed his eyes, turning his face away from his former lover. “Neither can a man who promises me love then marries another.” He tried to sound strong but even to his own ears he sounded more broken than anything.
A muscular arm wrapped around him. Luc recognised the feral smell of the beta and the feel of the other man’s strong chest at his back. “Come on, Luc. Let me take you to your room.”
Luc nodded. “Okay.” He’d had enough drama for one night. Anymore and someone would have to die.
Letting the other man lead him away, Luc was careful not to look at either of his lovers as he left. No one tried to stop them as they went to Nikko’s rooms.
Sal broke their silence at the door. “I know even after all this time you still don’t understand everything about weres, but vampires are even more dangerous.” He stroked Luc’s hair like he was petting one of the wolves. The motion was automatic and soothing. “Despite what you might think, Bran loves you and his wolf is hurting because he yearns for his mate. The human part of him may want children, but I don’t know if his wolf will ever be able to take another. Be patient. He’s hurting right now but he’ll come to his senses soon enough.”
“So, what do you want me to do? Wait around while he fucks every female on the planet? I’m not going to go through that over and over while he makes up his mind. This is my life too, and he made it more than clear that I no longer had a part in his. He might want to share that information with his wolf.”
Sal pulled Luc close and kissed him on the top of his head, a familiar, loving gesture that brought tears to Luc’s eyes. “Just don’t give up on the whole pack, baby. Some of us still want you in our lives. Some of us still need you.”
The last part, whispered against his hair, was so quiet Luc might have imagined it. He kissed Sal on both cheeks as they separated.
“Take care of him, Sal,” he said, meeting the beta’s eyes. “He’s not perfect but he is your alpha.”
“I know.” Sal gave him a sad smile as he turned to leave. “I know.”
The soft click of the door closing sounded final to Luc’s ears.
* * * *
Luc tried to stay awake. He desperately wanted to know what happened downstairs, but the events of the day had drained him. Despite his best intentions, he was drifting towards sleep when the slam of the bedroom door jerked him awake. He blinked blearily at his lover. “What’s up?”
“I am.” Nikko’s lips crashed down on his. “I don’t care if he has a prior claim. I’m not letting you go.”
Luc broke away from the kiss to get back some of the oxygen Nikko sucked out of his lungs. “I didn’t ask you to. I won’t have sex with a married man. I may be pitiful, but I’m not desperate.”
“I don’t think he’s really married.” Nikko stroked Luc’s face. “The beta told me the mating isn’t official since the pair didn’t have sex.”
“It’s official enough,” Luc said, hearing the bitterness in his own voice. Seeking to distract the vamp, he undressed his lover and pounced.
The sex was wild and rough. Afterwards, both men were panting and sweat-soaked.
“Now that he knows where you are it’s better to stay here. He won’t hunt you as a wolf if he senses a larger predator.”
Luc nodded. He didn’t bother to tell the pushy vampire he could take care of himself.
A man needed his secrets.
Besides, he wasn’t feeling up to house shopping right now. He just wanted to take things easy for a while and coast on nights of hot sex and partying. Was that too much to ask?