Sometimes falling in love is the easy part.
Kylen is now king of the fae and missing his mate. The question as to whether the fae are as committed to their mates is answered when Kylen can no longer sleep, or eat. The rest of the fae worry he isn’t a good king, and truth to tell, Kylen doesn’t want to be. He wants nothing more than to curl up with Farro, play with their son, and live happily ever after, but sometimes life doesn’t give you what you need.
“Dad, where’s Papa?”
Sammy stood in Farro’s bedroom doorway, his teddy bear dangling from one small fist. Blue-footed pajamas covered him from neck to toes. Farro blinked back tears when he recalled Kylen had insisted on buying Sammy a pair in every color. Farro had only put his foot down when Kylen had pointed out the hooded ones with bunny ears. Not even Kylen’s hopeful smile would persuade Farro to let his half-shifter son dress like prey.
Brushing off the memory, Farro walked over to kneel down to his son’s level. He wrapped his hands around Sammy’s smaller ones.
Talking past the lump in his throat made speaking difficult, but he pushed through. “Papa isn’t coming home. We talked about that. Papa has taken a job that moved him away from us. He still loves you, but he’s not coming back.”
Despite his anger over how Kylen left them, Farro had no doubt his mate still loved their son. Kylen just needed a good kick in the ass. For the past four months, Farro had given several variations of ‘Papa’s never returning’ talks to Sammy, and each time, the words tasted sour in his mouth. Sammy refused to believe the man who had adored him so deeply would just abandon him with only a brief letter and never a look back.
Farro couldn’t blame his son. Some days he had difficulty believing it himself. Unfortunately, Farro had grown to face the truth: Kylen wasn’t returning. Kylen was never returning. His inner wolf whimpered sadly inside.
“Why can’t he come home?” With the simplicity of a child, Sammy waited for an easy explanation.
A sigh escaped Farro before he could pull it back. “He’s in charge of the fae now. They need him to rule.”
“We need him more. You should go get him.” Sammy tilted his head and pinned his father with a no-nonsense look. In Sammy’s world, there wasn’t anything his father couldn’t do. Farro hated to disappoint him.
“It’s not quite that easy.” Farro stood and crossed his arms over his chest. He needed every advantage he could get. Unlike the other times he’d explained Kylen’s disappearance, Sammy didn’t appear willing to drop the subject. Farro wouldn’t back down. He had absolutely no plans for retrieving the asshole that had abandoned his family with only a note. He didn’t care how bad Anthony claimed Kylen felt about leaving. Kylen had left—end of story. Farro’s inner wolf might pine from lack of his other half, but Farro’s human half was made of sterner stuff and he refused to give in to his beast.
“But he’s lost!” Sammy wailed, a screechy, high-pitched sound. Farro winced at the noise.
“What makes you think he’s lost?” This was an approach Sammy hadn’t used before, and Farro had to admit he was curious over where it was going. His son had become increasingly creative in his demands for Kylen’s return.
“You told me if I’m not where I’m supposed to be, I’m lost. Papa is supposed to be here so he must be lost too. You need to go find him.” Sammy’s big eyes shone with tears.
Farro didn’t need to go and find Kylen, he knew exactly where his mate was with every breath of his being. The presence of Kylen lived in the back reaches of his mind like a festering wound, constant and painful. Farro was now eternally connected to a man who’d abandoned his family but could never leave him entirely. Now Farro knew why Silver had appeared so ragged after Anthony had vanished. Farro had already penned a letter for Dare and Steven to accept custody of Sammy if Farro snapped under the strain of losing his soul mate. Dare loved Sammy as if the half-wolf shifter was his own, and Steven would make sure Sammy wasn’t ridiculously spoiled.
Farro turned his focus on his child again. Sammy’s eyes were bright with tears, and the grip on his bear had turned his knuckles white. Biting his bottom lip, Farro nodded.
“I’ll go talk to him,” he agreed. His wolf howled in delight at the chance to see their mate again. This could either heal Farro or destroy him entirely.
He had to at least try so he could come back and tell Sammy that Farro did his best to retrieve his other parent. Kylen didn’t belong with the fae; he belonged with Farro and Sammy. Farro had held off doing anything because he thought Kylen would rather be king than Farro’s mate. Kylen’s note had explained the situation, but the least the bastard could do was break Sammy’s heart in person. After Kylen had blathered over how children were precious to the fae, he’d quickly abandoned a child he had claimed he considered his.
“I’ll go find him tomorrow,” Farro promised, his heart beating with anxiety. He didn’t know what would happen, but he couldn’t let Sammy down. He had to at least make an effort.
“Bring him home. No one tells a story like Papa.” Sammy’s expression didn’t show any doubt that Farro would haul his Papa back home.
“I’ll do my best.” Farro had little hope he’d be coming back home with Kylen. This wasn’t a big romantic story where one glimpse of his mate would make Kylen abandon a kingdom for Farro’s love. If that had been the case, he would’ve returned already.
Farro would do anything to make his son happy, though, and if it involved stealing the fae king and starting an interspecies war, well sometimes sacrifices had to be made—other people’s sacrifices. He’d claimed Kylen fair and square, and it was time to take back his mate.
Farro waited until morning to descend on the pack leaders. Anthony answered his knock wearing nothing but sleep pants and cradling his adorable son. Farro eyed the boy cautiously. Trin watched him with a steady gaze unnerving in one so young.
“What can I do for you?” Anthony turned his head. A silver wolf paw glowed on his upper cheek like a magical tattoo. Zeus had left his mark on Anthony; not only was the god Anthony’s grandfather but he also considered the alpha-mate one of his few favored descendants. Farro still had slivers of guilt over what Anthony had suffered through due to Farro’s spite.
“Can I come in?” Farro didn’t want to ask his question out in the hall.
“Of course.” Anthony stepped back. “Sorry, this one decided he wanted to play first thing this morning.”
Farro nodded. “Sammy went through a stage where he woke me up every morning.”
“Really? Did he do it by starting a thunderstorm in your living room?” Anthony scowled at his son who grinned back and patted his father’s cheek with one chubby hand.
“Um, no.” Maybe they didn’t have the same experiences after all.
Anthony sighed. He waved a hand and the living room righted itself. The water vanished, and the couch fluffed dry.
Silver sniffed as he walked into the room. Unlike Anthony, Silver had on a shirt and a pair of sweats. “Why does it smell like rain in here?”
“You don’t want to know,” Anthony replied.
Silver’s gaze settled on his son. “Ah, never mind.”
He took Trin from Anthony and cuddled the child closely. “Good morning, Farro, would you like some coffee?”
“No, thank you. I was hoping Anthony could get me to the fae dimension. Sammy says I need to retrieve Kylen. I’m just hoping I can get Kylen to write me a note or something. Anything I can bring back here to show my son that his Papa isn’t coming back.” Farro knew he sounded bitter, but he couldn’t help it.
Anthony frowned. “You can’t get across the portal without taking a fae with you.”
“You’re not going,” Silver told his mate. “I’m never going back there and neither are you.”
The alpha’s tone had a finality to it Farro doubted even Anthony would challenge. He saw the demi-god open his mouth but then shut it again. “Yeah, I won’t be going there for a long time, that’s for sure.”
“Or ever,” Silver scowled.
Farro watched the alpha move around the kitchen preparing coffee. Anthony set Trin down. The child scampered across the floor, no doubt seeking more trouble.
“How can I get there, then?”
“How about I send you with the twins? With the last dark fae king dead, you should be fine with only them as an escort,” Anthony said after a moment of contemplation.
“Do you think they’d be willing? They don’t like to leave Gabe.” The fae twins Viell and Vien were notoriously obsessive about their shifter mate. It surprised Farro that they still let him work at Anthony’s firm, probably only because they trusted the alpha-mate to watch out for him.
Anthony shrugged. “They can take him with them. Like I said, there shouldn’t be any issues. I can send you with an automatic return bracelet to pull you back to this side once you’re done with your trip if you find yourselves stuck. I’ll ask them today.”
“Thanks.” Relief swept through Farro. At least he was doing something. He could tell Sammy that he would be seeing Kylen. He wouldn’t promise his return, but he could at least honestly claim to have visited the man. “Do you think Dare will watch Sammy while I’m gone?”
“I’ll lighten his bartending duties if it helps,” Silver offered.
That was why Farro appreciated belonging to a pack. Everyone stepped in to help the others in time of need. It didn’t seem to occur to Silver to tell Farro to find a less busy babysitter or to deal with it all on his own. Both of the alpha pair immediately offered to do what they could to help Farro with his problem. Neither of them tried to talk Farro out of his trip.
“Thank you. I appreciate the help,” Farro said formally. A lump in his throat had him blinking back tears.
Anthony squeezed his shoulder. “Hey, it’ll be all right. Go see him. At least he can write a letter for Sammy.”
“That’s the least he could do, the bastard,” Farro growled.
“Let me go call the twins and find out when they would be willing to go,” Silver offered.
Farro nodded. “Okay.”
He paced the floor as Silver made his phone call. The alpha returned a few minutes later. “If you want to go home and pack your things, they’ll be ready in a few hours.”
Farro shook his head. “Thanks.” He wondered if Gabe knew he was taking a trip.