Monday, September 2, 2013

Shelter Me: Part 4

Part 4 Playlist
Colour in Your Hands (Feat. Fink) – D.L.i.d
Where Will We Go – IAMDYNAMITE
Blue Monday – New Order
Find You’re Gone - Wolfshiem
Tears For Fears – Shout
Shelter Me: Part 4
“No.  You cannot bring the Guardians in on this, Dad.  Think mass panic from the residents, which is exactly what those bastards gunning down our guys want.  We won’t be able to control our safe little environment anymore.  Once the residents realize they aren’t safe inside these walls, and the Guardians just storm in here they’ll flip.  Mutiny.  And I’m not being dramatic.  I’m being realistic.”  Greg sat staring at the wall of his office, refusing to let go of Trey’s hand. 

His mate would run if he let go, and not because he didn’t trust Greg on some level, but because Trey had hit his limit and was edging towards a natural flight response.  They all had one.  Even vampires feared things.  Night and day, knowing some of the deadliest players in the game wanted to rip you apart as some end to bring peace—that would make any man nervous.

“We don’t have a choice, Gregory.  Do you understand what I’m saying here?  The situation is drawing attention, human attention.  We can only swipe so many cops before things get dicey.  Our men’s bodies just lying there in the open for humans to find and our tactical teams showing up in broad daylight to sweep for Haitian Assassins because not even sunlight keeps them away…  The humans will catch on.  One person goes to the authorities with their memories intact, carting along a video they’ve shot and we’re exposed.

“But exposure doesn’t even begin to compare to my men out there dying!  That traitor is in the shelter, Gregory.  You have a dangerous man somewhere in there.  The Haitians obviously have evidence of such.  Else they’d have pulled back by now and locked onto the other territories.  Even the dealers have checked out of SoHo.  They’re preparing for a clean sweep to find this Trey man, leaving none of theirs to chance while they cut through ours.

“They’re targeting my territory, Gregory, and I’m not man enough to take their threats on single handedly.  I need help to keep you, my family, and our people safe.  I… I am sorry if you think I’m weak for requesting the Guardians.  I know how little you think of me already.  Son, I promise you I’m not trying to darken your good deeds and all you’ve done by putting attention on the shelter.  That is not, nor will it ever be my intention.  I just want you safe. Can’t you see that?  I just want the bodies to stop piling up around me.  If I were to ever see your face among them… Gregory,” Flynn choked up.

Greg’s father had never been an endearing sort of man.  He’d had his moments in a past long gone.  Crouching next to Greg as the ships sailed by, smiling like he hadn’t a care in the world as he spent time with his son.  He taught Greg to ride a bike in Central Park, letting go of the seat to watch his son be free like any good father would.  Holding Greg in the dark after a nightmare, the nightmares that haunted Greg after he’d killed Drey.  His father holding him until the tremors stopped and he was able to breathe again.

His father was never a bad man.  The problem was that Greg was his father’s double; both of them stubborn and set in their ways.  Both of them had a hard time admitting their faults and weaknesses; both of them under the impression what they were doing was right and just, and that bending the rules wasn’t tolerable, except in small cases where their hearts wouldn’t forgive them if they didn’t.  That alone was proof that his father did care about more than just his job.

Greg had known this from the beginning. It was why he knew how his father’s admittance had cost him a piece of his soul.  It was the exact way Greg had felt when he’d revealed his past to Trey.  Only with Trey, Greg gave away his soul freely.  It didn’t hurt like it did for his father. And in this case, Greg would bend the rules to protect his mate with everything he had left.  He would lie to his father to keep Trey safe, and rely on the loyalty of his friends to get them by in one piece.  He would lie to Flynn just to let him feel better, because his father deserved some piece of mind, because, again, he wasn’t a bad man.  He was just lost.

But Greg would be damned if Trey was here when the Guardians came to party.  They had the touch of their ancestors to guide them, to get the truth, and bodies that were made as weapons.  One inkling of recognition in the Guardians’ minds and they would kill Trey in a heartbeat.

“I don’t like this,” Greg murmured.  His face relaxed with his father’s unwavering concern.  “But if you feel it’s our last option, and you really think some traitor is in my shelter then do what needs to be done.  Call me on my cell if you need anything else.  I need some fresh air and some sleep.  I can’t talk about this anymore right now.  It’s too much.”

Flynn sighed.  “Yes,” he murmured.  “I understand how much it is. If I’m tired, you must be exhausted.  Please call me when you get home.  You know how your mother worries.”

Greg closed his eyes, fingers laced in Trey’s hand.  An uneasy prickle of heat chased up his neck and behind his ears; the only tell he had when he lied.  “Tell mom I said hi, and that I’ll call.”

“Stay safe, my son.”  Flynn’s goodbye was almost a whisper.  Greg felt every bit of his father’s grief and stress as the phone clicked and the call died.

He’d almost forgotten Trey was there for a second.  His hand had been glued to his mate’s ever since their earlier chat.  It was eerie how natural their contact was, skin against skin like Greg’s hand was a part of Trey’s body or the other way around.  Greg slowly turned in his seat to face Trey.  He stared into Trey’s steadfast eyes.  His mate was a tough cookie, even if he did like to hide behind chairs like a child.

“Guardians?” Trey asked calmly.  A subtle flicker of fear gave him away.

Greg pulled him close until Trey’s knees bounced against his.  “Guardians.”

Trey swallowed, but remained still.  “What do we do now?”


He nodded.  “We.”

With a weak smile, Greg took both of Trey’s hands and squeezed.  “We get the fuck out of here.”

Trey’s eyes closed as if in prayer.  He nodded once.  Then his eyes opened.  Whatever he was thinking, he’d come to decision.  “Okay.  We leave, but how?”

Quinton pushed off the wall, snapping into action.  “Right.  We’ll need Jaska and Lizzy on this one.  Don’t tell me no, Gregory.”

“I don’t have a ‘no’ left in me, Quin.  Get us out of here and I’ll do the rest.”  Greg looked up to greet his best friend’s dark stare.  “And I’ll owe you everything.”

Quin smirked.  “I suppose you do owe me for the dating service monthly fee, seeing as how that very service you hate so much is going to save your ass right now.”

“Say what?”  Trey barked, yanking his hands out of Greg’s.  “What dating service?” he demanded of them both.  His upper lip flattened over his teeth, fangs bared.

“The newly mated always astound me.” Quin grinned.  “Possessive.  Jealous.  Territorial.”

“What?”  Trey blinked, his fangs sliding back into this gums.  His mouth quirked to the side as his teeth bit the inside of his cheek. “I’m not…”

“Oh, yes you are.”  Quin rolled his eyes.  He leaned toward Trey.  “I’d be a little more concerned if you weren’t,” he whispered.

“Get off of me.”  Trey shoved him.  “Are we going to do this or not?”  He blushed.  His nose twitched as he tried to cover up his beast’s response to his mate dating.

Greg got up from his seat and pulled Trey’s back to his chest. He smiled behind him, turned on by Trey’s jealousy.  And then pissed off they didn’t have time to do a thing about it, only to be sucker-punched with a more somber thought.  Trey might not want to do anything about it.  “Settle down.  Quin is an asshole and the dating thing was a gift to try and find me a mate.  It’s all the rage, apparently.  I don’t see how useful it is now that I’ve found what I’m looking for.”

In his arms, Trey became subdued.  “Vampires have dating services?”

“Google it.”  Quin winked.  “Now, are you ready for your makeover, Trey?”

“Is he fucking serious, a makeover?  No.  I don’t think so.  My head is on the line and you want to go shopping?  I’m supposed to trust you,” Trey spat.  He narrowed his eyes.

Quinton brushed a dark strand of hair out of his eyes, molding it back into his perfect waves.  His expensive silver timepiece glimmered on his wrist.  “Well, I doubt Gregory would be seen dating a bum.  No offense.  But the white cotton T-shirt and thrift shop jeans aren’t really going to set you apart from the residents.  Greg likes a little style for his bang.  No pun intended.  And I assure you, so does any other Royal.  Stereotype all you like, Trey, but if you intend to go on a lunch date with Gregory here, you’re going to have to kick it up a notch in the style department.  You need to look believable when the cameras kick back on.”

“What are you talking about?”  Trey raised his hands, mouth hanging open.  “You’ve got screws loose, man.  You’re off-the-wall nuts.”

“All of us shrinks are a little crazy.  It’s what helps us to understand people like you.  Now, as I was saying—”

Greg slapped a hand over Trey’s mouth before he could utter a word.  “What he’s saying is you need to get dressed up so I can take you out to lunch.  Are you with the program now?”  He rested his chin on Trey’s shoulder, letting his hand drop to soothe over Trey’s chest.  “Is it a date?”

Finally relaxed against Greg, Trey nodded.  If they were going to lunch it meant they were leaving the shelter.  They were getting Trey out in a way he hadn’t seen coming. “Fine.  But don’t you touch my hair.”

Quinton grinned.  “Deal.”  He extended his hand.  Trey shook it.  Greg sighed in relief.


Trey looked at a stranger in the mirror that was magnetized to one of Greg’s file cabinets.  When he’d been human, he’d never been this styled, this confident designer man on the outside.  Trey had been a student at The City College of New York, just coming out of his sophomore year, and looking forward to a bright future at their Grove School of Engineering branch.  He’d been chosen out of a hundred applicants for a free ride in the department. His parents had been ecstatic, so very proud of him.  They loved the way he looked because he was just Trey and nothing other than that mattered. 

He was their good little student who loved his parents and didn’t care about clothes or money.

To Trey, managing to find a clean pullover sweater and jeans without holes in them was his idea of dressing up.  He’d always favored his shaggy hair, only because he hated the feeling of hair clippings on his skin after a trip to the barber, and he liked to twist his hair in a low knot when he was studying.

It gave him something play with while he read, especially after he’d unconsciously nibbled the crap out his pencil during final studies. Just a nervous habit that calmed him. His hair was a part of who he is, much like his eyes were green, and his knees were too knobby.  He was a quirky kid from a colorful, Brooklyn neighborhood who’d been smart enough to get somewhere.  His look wasn’t something he bothered with much.

Now, looking into the mirror in Greg’s office, his past was chased away by the reflection staring back at him.  An electric shaver had taken care of the stubble around his jaw and chin.  Gone was his convenience store disposable razor routine, two for a dollar or sometimes cheaper.  Jaska’s expensive device reminded Trey of his dad’s, the one that had its own carrying case and charger, the one his mother had bought his dad for Christmas. 

But to the Royal, the shaver was merely something in Jaska’s duffle bag he carted around when working overnight at the shelter.  Not a luxurious gift that took saving to buy.  Not a thoughtful act of love.  Not a memory that made Jaska’s stomach twist like it did Trey’s.

Touching his fingertips to his face, Trey felt the skin slip, velvety smooth to the touch where some sort of icy moisturizer had worked its magic.   His hair had been slicked back, parted in a disheveled, yet desirable manner to the side.  The style carved around his ears, letting his thick hair wave around to meet his jaw then curl away.  It amazed Trey what a little water and Lizzy’s hair spray could do. 

Simple things that managed to bask Trey’s face with life and allow his eyes to shine bright.  Although, those eyes seemed a little older with the weight he carried.  He looked a little older too.  He wondered where the years had gone.  His face may be stuck in time, but the look in his eyes was much more mature, hardened to the plights of his past.

If he couldn’t recognize the distinguished face in the mirror, Trey had no doubt no one else could either.  He’d shed his street clothes, removing a part of his soul and life with the Haitians and Jackson.  Jaska had rustled up a few outfits from the donation room.  A couple of racks were reserved for the nicer items sent in by charitable Royals.  These articles of clothing were intended for those residents going on interviews within the vampire community.

Trey excused the theft from those less fortunate as an emergency and shimmied into a pair of hugging Versace slacks.  He couldn’t understand why someone would have a pair of dress pants lying around in their closet with the tags still on them.  Much less why they would just toss them to the homeless like they hadn’t cost a small fortune.  But they fit him.  The shelter staff had even pressed a crisp crease down the legs with love and care.

A dusty blue dress shirt embraced his upper body, exposing lively green and hazel flecks in his eyes.  The material of his shirt was unlike anything he’d ever worn, feathery against his skin, not uncomfortable like the starchy, pre-folded and bagged dress shirts his mom would send back with him to school.  The ones he never wore, but kept around because his mom meant well and he knew she couldn’t afford them in the first place. 

He had treasured those plastic wrapped shirts sitting at the top of his closet.  They’d reminded him of her, of the way she’d cared for him all of his life even when she didn’t have the things she wanted herself.  They were sacrifices.  Those shirts, albeit small sacrifices, were huge gifts to Trey.

His eyes misted over thinking of his mom.  Of the pain she’d gone through when she’d found him missing, of the distress his parents had suffered after that night.  Their only son was lost in the city, dead without a hand to hold.  Gone were their dreams of his success, of the future they wanted him to have.  Every parents wish to see their child blossom and stand on his own two feet, that dream had been shattered for them.

All because of the man that stared back in the mirror… the Royal imposter.

Trey rubbed the back of his hand over his eyes, catching any tears that may or may not have been there.  His nose stung with a nervous twitch in the back of his nasal cavity that indicated emotions on the rise.  He slid into the folding chair, putting his elbows on his knees as he waited for Greg to come back into the office.

Trey had toughened over the years with all the changes stampeding over him, a pack of wild horses with different names and separate stories, all leaving their mark on his body.  This change had to take the cake.  Becoming Royal, when he was far from it, was a lie he didn’t want to bear.  Up until now he’d been clean with himself.  He’d known right and wrong all along, but had chosen the easy path instead of sticking to the beliefs and morals his parents had taught him.  He’d become a victim of survival and now he couldn’t shake his wrongs.

He’d been human and then he wasn’t.  He’d been smart and then he’d been stupid.  He’d been a drug dealer, handing over death to the very people it would eventually kill, people he’d believed were hateful.  He let himself tango with the enemy, and in the back of his mind he knew it was wrong.  He’d never let himself believe otherwise.  Even in the safety of the tiny bed he and Jackson shared, comforting each other by simply being near to check if the other was breathing, it was all wrong.

Now he dressed like the people he’d come to hate.  His mind screamed and raged against his skull.  Get out. Run.  This isn’t who you are.  And then Greg walked into the room, shutting the door with a quiet snick and his mind came to a halt.  Trey sought out his mate’s eyes.  He found a solid rightness in those golden irises to combat the sinking feeling in his gut.

He was surprised to see a variety of thoughts chasing through Greg’s eyes.  A carousel of the same horses that had trampled Trey’s soul lived in Greg’s stare.  The shelter coordinator didn’t praise Trey’s appearance with honey tinged, predacious words of a lover coming to call.  He didn’t throw himself at Trey, pushing the limit when their touches had so far yet to catch any heat.  He sat in his rolling, desk chair and mirrored Trey’s posture, putting his elbows on his knees.

His eyes did the talking.  They were tired, yet somehow flawless and youthful around the edges. A smattering of freckles high on his cheeks gave Greg a boyish air.  But inside those eyes, Trey saw him.  He saw a man.  Trey saw himself, always running but never getting anywhere.  He saw pain and longing, miracles and tragedies. He saw confidence shift to the forefront, a warrior with no one to protect except the man in front of him, his mate.  Trey saw regret, a flash of a boy who wanted to please his father, but wanted to be someone else.

But then Trey saw something he was missing.  Warmth and safety.  In those calm eyes, Trey could see a hand reaching out to him, the chance to be someone if only he’d take Greg’s hand and run.  The chance to love and be loved.  The chance to forget who they’d been and learn who they really were.

All with a single look, on the precipice of a storm, Trey saw Greg.  This man was a Royal, one Trey didn’t hate.  He couldn’t refuse Greg, no matter the odium Trey had carried on his shoulders for fifteen years.  He just couldn’t refuse this gift.

Greg pulled his chair over the tile, rolling along with his heels.  He stopped just shy of Trey’s knees, waiting patiently for a chance to come closer and turned his palms up.  “I’m not good with this shit.  I’ve never really had the chance to try before.  I’ll be honest, Trey.  It’s been about sex up until now … with the others.  But this… Us… This is different and I think you know that.”

Trey’s fingers dug into his knees, scared to blow away his careful smokescreen and just put his hand in his mate’s.  Somehow the act seemed more intimate than before when they were holding hands or when he’d let himself be held in Greg’s lap.  Somehow placing his palms over Greg’s was the seal of their bond, of the promise they’d make to try.  Putting his hands in Greg’s meant washing away what was before and starting from scratch, together.

“Me either,” Trey whispered.  He glanced to the side to take in air.  Greg’s presence rendered him breathless.

“Do you believe in fate?  Or do you think the Royals made it all up?”

Greg’s question threw Trey for a loop.  He snapped back to Greg’s face, haunted by the doubt he saw.  “Do you mean do I feel for you how you feel for me?  Or do I think it’s all hocus pocus?”

“Before we step out that door, yeah, that’s what I want to know.  Do you think you’re being forced to be with me because your body tells you to, or do you—do you feel me for real?”  Greg’s hand lifted from his knee to push through his tousled hair.  I’ll still you keep you safe,” he added.  “I just wanted to know what to do.  Whatever I can do.”

Trey slipped his palm over Greg’s, hovering an inch above contact before he brought their hands together.  Greg’s eyes skimmed back and forth, asking him to admit it, needing beyond anything to hear Trey say he was in.  Greg was desperate, starved for a companion.  He wasn’t after sex, although, they had both wanted it from the first second they’d seen each other.  Trey was just too stubborn and terrified to admit it.  Right now, their tastes had changed.  Comfort and security outweighed the need to rut like animals for the sake of their beasts.

Trey squeezed Greg’s hand.  “Tell me one thing.”


“Do I look like an idiot?”

Greg’s brows climbed before he caught on.  He smiled, huffing softly.  “Not exactly my style, but it fits you.”  He shrugged.  “You look nice, Trey.”

It was a compliment without the skeezy undertones.  It was honest, just like Greg.  Trey fidgeted a bit.  He sighed, and then smiled back.  “Is this who you would normally date?”  He waved over his new look.

Shaking his head, Greg scooted up until their knees touched.  “No, this is who Quin thinks I should date.  This is who Quin would date. I’d take you out for a beer in your pajamas if it wouldn’t raise hell with the Guards out there.”

At that, Trey knew Greg was a far cry from the Royals he’d encountered in his past.  Greg was real, not a doll who sat on a pedestal letting money rain from the sky as he held his hands out to bask in his wealth.  He was just a guy with fangs who had a rather large band t-shirt collection.  Trey would have fallen for him before, as a human.  And he was falling now.  He was lucky to have Greg here.  Maybe fate did exist, because he couldn’t rationalize how his other half, his perfect ideal man, was seated in front of him when Trey needed him the most.

“Good.  That’s… uh… good.”

Greg gathered air in his lungs.  He let it go in a rush. “Yeah.  Good.”

“So where are you taking me?”  Trey sniffed.  He was glad Greg didn’t stare at him for long.   Those eyes held a weight that pressed on his chest.  “I mean, for real.  I know you can’t take me out on a date.  Are we hiding out in some hotel or something until it’s safe to move on?”

Greg sat back and crossed his arms, knees stretched apart in a relaxed pose.  His smug grin told of the rebel he wanted to be, but couldn’t quite capture because of the big heart he had.  “I said I was taking you to lunch.  I’m taking you to lunch.  Food, ya know?  We all gotta eat.”

“That’s not a good—”

“My father has Guards on me night and day, Trey.  He doesn’t think I’ve noticed.  They’re everywhere, at least two of them at all times.  One even moved into the apartment building behind mine where he could spy on me through the windows. How he managed to lock down a two bedroom on that block I have no idea, but thank fuck for blinds, right?”

Trey sighed.  “Guards are tailing you?  More reason not to take me out to lunch and get somewhere safe.”  He stopped and looked up.  “Why would you need to keep your blinds shut?  Got something to hide?”

“Yep.  Me, dancing around my kitchen naked—I’m not really a fan of anyone watching that.  Might make them go blind.”  Greg’s easy laugh bounced around the tiny office, setting Trey to simmer.  Where was this jealousy coming from?  Why had he even jumped to the conclusion of Greg getting it on with another guy in the first place?

Greg must have caught the internal struggle on Trey’s face and squeezed his knee.  Trey shivered as his mate rolled his chair up until their knees rubbed.  “Look, if we use this as our cover story, because they’re going to ask where I’m going in the middle of the day… We’ll need to proceed as if they’re watching because chances are, they are watching.  I’ll take you out to lunch, circle the block in a cab a few times, and then we go from there.”

“But where do we go after?”

“My building.”  Greg shrugged.  “Won’t be a new sight for me to bring a guy… Never mind.  They won’t question it and they’ll probably back off if they know I have someone in the apartment with me.  Cool?”

Trey huffed.  “You want me to act like your lunchtime booty call?  Dammit, Greg.”

“It’s either this or we stick you in the laundry bin, most likely get caught and end up with our heads on fucking sticks.”  Greg put his hands through his hair and growled.  He spun the chair away to look at the blank wall.

“I’m sorry, Greg.”  Trey stood.  His mate’s stress was enough to make him nauseous.  He could actually feel it, among other emotions the more time he spent with him.  Trey put his hands on Greg’s shoulders, surprised at exhibiting such comfort.  The revelation didn’t deter Trey as he kneaded hard muscle behind Greg’s neck.  His mate’s scent lured him close enough to touch his nose to Greg’s neck. 

The office, small as it was, became too small to handle.  Heat packed the room like walking into his gran’s one hundred degree, Hell’s Kitchen attic in mid-August.  He tasted it.  It sizzled, bouncing back and forth between them until Trey started to sweat.  Greg titled his head back, eyes closed, lashes fluttering under Trey’s intoxicating ministrations—a massage he didn’t realize he was still doing.

“Lunch,” Trey reminded him on a passing whisper.  His eyes were hooded.  His hands became warm like the air around them.  His fingers seemed to be made of melted caramel, dripping down Greg’s back slowly.  Everything about his body felt heavy, drawn to let his weight sink against Greg until they were molded together so perfectly no one could pull them apart.

“Lunch.”  Greg blinked.  He straightened quickly and stood.  “Yeah,” he croaked.  “They’re waiting.”

Startled, Trey almost fell on his ass, bumped in the knee with Greg’s empty, spinning chair.  “What?”

“Lunch…  Right,” Greg groused.  “Quinton is waiting for me out there.  He and I are going to circle the gym with the Guards, do a quick check like we’re scoping out the residents and going over a security schedule for the whole Guardian thing...” He gave Trey an apologetic look. “We need to play up the normal stuff for this to work.  Meanwhile, Jaska is going to do a camera check on the system.  He does it every day at noon, downloads the feeds for the SCCB, and then refreshes the video.  In that gap all the cameras will be off and all the Guards will be with us.  The closest Guards will be posted two blocks down.  Jaska already checked.  Lizzy will have a five minute window to take you out to the courtyard while we keep the Guards busy—”

Trey dropped into his chair, rubbing his face.  “This is never going to work.  This sounds the plot to an action movie, Greg.  I was a dealer, not a stuntman.”

“Hey,” Greg growled.  He dropped to one knee, tilting Trey’s chin up with his hand.  “Listen to me—this is going to work.  I need you to trust me, follow the plan—however shitty and thrown together it sounds—and put some faith in me.  Okay, Trey?  I understand our situation is a mess.  I get that.  But, I also know I’m leaving nothing to chance where you’re concerned.  I am going to get you out of here, safe and sound.  Then you and me… we’re going to get a drink.  A nice cold drink.  And a steak.  Do you like steak?”

Trey sniffed to keep the smile at bay.  He comprehended Greg’s desperation, the need to make him feel safe and he caved.  Trey leaned forward.  Greg had done so much in such a small window of time to hatch this plan.  And Trey had done nothing to reciprocate except be the resident skeptic.  Greg was taking this mating business with ease, like he’d practiced being one half of a whole this entire time until he found his Mr. Right, while Trey spazzed out in the background, a poster child for doom and gloom.

He wanted to rid his mate of his worrisome expression and put the light back into Greg’s golden eyes.  Trey leaned forward, surprising Greg with a light kiss.  Middle school as the peck started, Trey groaned against Greg’s lips the second he was surrounded by body heat and scent of his mate, taking their lip-lock to another level entirely.  It was a trap.  The smell of drugstore aftershave—citrus and fresh—and sweat mingled with the faint hint of vanilla laced cigarettes as if Greg had been standing near someone but not smoking.

Long gone cinnamon chewing gum lingered on the inside of Greg’s lips when their mouths parted and his tongue slid in.  Greg’s thumbs skimmed over Trey’s cheeks as his hands slid into his hair.  A groan pushed into Trey’s mouth.  Suddenly he wasn’t hungry for steak.  He was hungry for his mate—those moans causing his stomach to growl.  He slid off the chair, his groin brushing down Greg’s firm stomach before his knees settled to either side of Greg’s lap.

He slanted his mouth, gasping for air through his nose, deepening their kiss.  Eyes closed, Trey’s surroundings disappeared.  Only the thrum of Greg’s heartbeat under his fingers and the scent—fuck, that scent—and his mate’s thick taste stayed behind.  Greg’s hands cupped Trey’s shoulders, sliding down, thumbs kneading into the expensive dress shirt to trace his muscles, his spine.  Large palms settled on his ass, giving a nice squeeze that shot Trey’s body in to overdrive.

“Yes,” he encouraged, undulating his body in Greg’s lap, creating friction through their clothes.

Fangs grazed his neck.  A hand yanked his hair, exposing the column of his neck to Greg, to allow him whatever he wanted.  Soft and wet, the flat of Greg’s tongue dragged over his skin.  The room spun even with Trey’s eyes shut.  Sweat gathered under his clothes.  His cock refused to be held back, straining behind his zipper to uncomfortable proportions.

“Please,” he begged.  Fangs pricked his skin, not enough to break through.  Greg rumbled, each low note vibrating across his neck, asking if this was okay.  “Fuck, please!  Greg,” Trey gasped.

Trey pushed Greg’s head down, mouth flush to his skin, unforgiving in his grip on his mate’s hair.  “Do it,” he commanded hoarsely.

Greg’s tongue flickered over the soft spot where neck met shoulder and Trey’s head fell back, unable to support it any longer.  Greg cradled his head, suckling now at his neck, scraping his teeth in careful lines.  Never breaking skin, but leaving perfect red lines that would fade within moments—an invisible mark on his mate, a signature of who owned his body.

The office snapped back at Trey when the door clicked open. He hissed at the person in the doorway.  It took him a moment to understand who it was, why they were here, and what they were supposed to be doing.  When he did, Trey slapped Greg on the back to get his attention.  Swirling eyes came into focus when Greg’s head lifted from Trey’s neck.  The predator in Greg called to Trey like the beat of a tribal drum, a song only the two of them could hear and dance to.

“Mine,” Greg hissed.

Trey nodded.  He took a few deep breaths, keeping Greg’s focus on him rather than on Quinton quietly shutting the door.  “Yes.  Yours.”

Before today, Trey had never uttered those words.  He’d never needed to or thought he would.  He was a human-turn, and not a very special one at that.  Turns out even human-turns, bad ones, undeserving ones and criminals, they got mates too.  Trey thumbed Greg’s warm cheek and smiled slightly. 

This man was willing to do whatever it took to help his mate, an otherwise stranger, so they could live a life together.  He wanted to give Trey the life he once had, not the same life because that could never be, but a life founded on love and trust, on connection and chemistry, and normalcy.  To be normal…

Trey put his forehead to Greg’s.  “Lunch,” he whispered.

Greg blinked once.  The word triggered a shift of emotions in his eyes. “Lunch,” he repeated.

“Come back, Greg.”  Trey petted the hair at the nape of Greg’s neck.  “We have to go.”

Greg cleared his throat.  As if finally noticing where he was and what they were doing, his face went bright red.  He sniffed and craned his neck to see Quinton standing there.  “Fuck.”

Quinton leaned against the wall.  He winked at Trey.  “Told you so.”

“Will you just… Fuck, Quin.  Stop standing there watching us like a creep.”  Greg pushed up, using his strength to bring Trey with him.  When they were both on their feet, his eyes were pained as he pulled away from Trey to brush himself off.  There was no brushing away the hard-on he sported.

“Wow.  I’m impressed.” Quinton tilted his head at the pronounced bulge in his friend’s pants.  Greg’s slap across Quin’s chest echoed in the small room.  “Okay, okay, sorry!”

“You better be.”  Greg rubbed his temples, ruffled his hair, and then faced Trey.  “Quin and I are going to…”

“I know.”  Trey shoved his hands in his pockets.  “Go.  I’ll wait for Lizzy.”

“It’s going to be okay, Trey.  Just another day.  Think normal.”  Greg nodded, exhaling slowly.

“Yeah. Sure.”  Trey turned around.  “Let’s get this over with.  Go.”

Greg covered his back in the blink of an eye.  “You and me.  Steak.  Half an hour.”

Trey smirked.  “It’s a date.”

His mate’s approval vibrated against his neck in the form a growl and a nip to his skin.  With one last kiss, Greg left Trey there.  The click of the door brought the anxiety back.  For the first time in a long time Trey prayed.  He prayed it would all work out.  Never having envisioned a future, a normal future without drugs and stained walls, without being woken up in the middle of the night to make a run, without clinging to a man that was just a friend to find comfort.  Now that he had a chance at one with Greg, he was going to take it.

He straightened his clothes, righted his hair with his fingers, and waited until Lizzy cracked the door open.  “Hurry, we have five minutes.”

Trey left the safety of Greg’s office and took Lizzy’s hand.


Henry took Rascal and Ari to the front desk to swipe a few tissues from the counter.  The kid’s hands were covered in finger paint that he kept wiping all over his face and sticking up his nose.  Henry laughed, trying to get Rascal to sit still on the desk while Ari kept the tissues coming.  It took him a few minutes to notice that something felt off.  Lizzy wasn’t at the desk.  She hadn’t come back with Alex.  Greg and Quin had appeared with a dozen Guards in the gym. 

He’d overheard something about the Guardians and freaked out a little bit.  He didn’t want anything to do with hulking warriors, especially if they were coming here to deal with the Haitians knocking on the shelter’s door.  He’d used the excuse of Rascal to flee and now he couldn’t shake the feeling something else was wrong.

When Jaska popped up from under the desk, looking like a deer in the headlights, Henry knew in his gut he’d walked in on something bad.  Seconds later Lizzy pulled a man out of Greg’s office and the two of them froze.  Another hard study of the man had Henry’s eyes bugging.  “Alex?  What are you wearing?”

Ari set down the tissues.  “What’s going on?”

Jaska swallowed.  “Go, Lizzy.  Go now.”

“Wait, what?  Where are you going?”  Henry demanded.

“Keep your voice down,” Jaska hissed.  “Lizzy, I’ll handle this.  Take him out of here now.”

Alex stared off with Henry.  “It’s… It’s complicated.  Take care of the kid, all right?”

“You’re leaving?”  Henry’s mouth fell open.  “You just got here.  That’s not fair.  Greg can help him get out, but he can’t get me approved!  What am I, yesterday’s news?  Who the fuck are you to just waltz out of here looking like that after a few days?”

“Henry,” Jaska croaked.  “Please.  You don’t know what you’re saying.”

“Henry, calm down.  I don’t know what’s going on, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they’re helping him.”  Ari squeezed his shoulder. “Think before you shout.”

“And they can’t help me.”  Henry shook his head, near his boiling point.  “Greg promised.  Why am I not good enough for him?”

Lizzy yanked Alex towards the doors.  “We’ll discuss this later.  We don’t have time right now.”

Shocked, Henry watched Lizzy and Alex swipe out the front door and the front gate.  Not one Guard was there to stop them.  And when he checked out the security cameras, the red lights were off.  Henry whirled around to Jaska.  “You’re going to tell what the fuck just happened or I swear to God I will go get the Guards right now.  Pretty obvious you don’t want them to know.”

Jaska bared his fangs.  “How dare you.  You have no idea what you’re doing, Henry.  That man needed our help—”

“I needed your help and you don’t care.  None of you do.  Greg is a fucking jackass.”  Henry leaned forward, squeezing Rascal to his chest.  “Start talking.”

“I can’t—”  Jaska gasped and hit a button on the keyboard.  The cameras started moving again, red lights blinking over and over.

“Don’t forget to keep the residents calm.  That’s our main focus during the Guardian visit.  I want round-the-clock security in each wing, especially covering the lobby and the other exits.  The last thing we want is for the Guardians to think we’re slacking.  I know you’re all good at your jobs, so show them that.”  Greg came into the lobby with Quin and the Guard detail. “Quinton will finish showing you…”  Greg met Henry’s stare.  His lips flapped for a second.  He turned away.  “Quinton is going to show you the schedule for this week, see if you have any questions, and then back to the usual.  Good?”

The Guards grumbled in reply.  Henry’s head felt as if it were spinning.  Not one of the Guards noticed Lizzy and Alex escape.  No one said a thing about the cameras.  No one noticed Jaska about to glitch out behind him.  Greg noticed, though.  He kept checking back to Henry, because he knew.  “I’m off for the rest of the day, so if anything comes up it’s Jaska or Quinn.”

“Where you off to, Chief?” One Guard raised a brow.  “We’ve got Guardians coming in a few days and you’re gonna split?”

“Gregory has a date…with someone important to him.”  Quinton beamed.

“Serious?”  The Guard grinned.  “Good for you, man.  Didn’t think you did the whole dating scene.”

“I didn’t until I found someone I liked…”  Greg blushed.  He turned a scowl on Henry.

Henry’s lips turned up in a cold smile.  “Yeah, he’s a real nice guy.  He’s taking me and Rascal out with them.  Isn’t that cool?”

“He what?”  Greg blanched.  He flicked his eyes to Jaska, sucked in air through his nose, and then cleared his throat.  “Yeah… We’re taking Henry and Rascal with us,” he gritted.

“Wow, that’s nice and all, but don’t you think it’s unsafe?”  One Guard crossed his arms.  “That’s a baby, Greg.”

“We have plenty of security following us.  I’m not worried.”  Greg’s face began to glisten with sweat.

“You know about your dad’s tail on you?”  The Guard whistled low.  “Nothing gets past you, huh, Greg?”

“Guess not,” Greg said.

Henry licked his bottom lip, elbowing Ari.  She squeaked.  “Yep.  You guys have fun.” She narrowed her eyes at Henry, turning her back to the Guards.  “You are in so much trouble,” she whispered.  “You better fucking call me later if you’re not dead.  And you owe me bigger than stolen baked goods this time, you asswipe.”

She smoothed out her jacket, giving Henry her best glare.  Ari turned to the Guards.  “Whatevs.  That leaves me with more time to go over this frumpy uniform you boys have going on.  What is with that heinous sweater?  And those khakis?  Yuck.  My dad is a preacher and even he gives a shit about what he wears.  Probably a lot to do with my mom who would never let him walk out of the house looking crazy, but still, he’s got a bit of taste.  You’re vamps, start looking like them.  Geez…”

Ari approached one baffled Guard and yanked on his vest.  “Vests are out, Biggie.  I mean, you could add a few safety pins and studs and pull off a little punk, but I don’t think that’s your style.  Really, you don’t even have style.  What am I thinking?  Haven’t you boys seen What Not To Wear?  I mean, it’s been on since my parents were babies.  Give me a break.”  She slanted a look at Greg.  Henry wanted to laugh at the confusion on Greg’s face, but he was too impressed with Ari’s babble to give a shit.  She was so damn hot when she went on a rant.  If it wasn’t for Rascal in his arms, he would’ve kissed her.  No, he thought.  He probably wouldn’t because he was too scared to do that.

He didn’t even notice when Greg walked up to him.  But he did notice when Greg blocked his view.  “You’re dead,” he whispered.  “I mean, really, really dead.”

Jaska took up their right.  “What the hell is wrong with you, Henry?  Now we have to worry about the two of you out there while Haitians are gunning down vamps?”  He rubbed his face.  “You are so immature I can’t even look at you.”

Greg’s eyes swirled a little.  “This isn’t about you, Henry.  This is a life or death situation that you just fucked up to the extreme.  I am only one person.  I can’t protect all three of you.”

“Tell me why Alex left.”

“Not here.”  Greg grabbed him by the jacket, plastering on a smile as he dragged him to the door.  “Jaska, hit the cameras.”

“Already got it.  Greg… have fun.” Jaska didn’t mean have fun.  He meant be careful, watch your back, stay alive.  Henry was that stupid.  He understood how dangerous the situation was now and he regretted every word from his big fat mouth.

His confusion spiked as Lizzy, trying to hide her shock, came walking back through the gate and a green, checkered cab pulled up to the curb.  “Come on,” Greg said, hustling them out the door, not even giving Lizzy the time of day.

“Where are we going?”  Henry clutched Rascal to him.  His feet felt heavy.  His fear burst out of him like a foggy breath on a cold winter’s day.

“To lunch and then home.”  Greg sucked in air through his nose.  Henry had never seen Greg look so angry in his entire stay at the shelter.

“Have fun, Greg,” one of the Guards called from behind them. 

Greg picked up the pace, throwing up a hand instead of replying. “Keep walking.  When you see Alex I want you to act like you’ve never met him and shake his hand.  Got it?”

“Uh huh.”  Henry panted, practically jogging to keep up with Greg’s long strides.  “Are we being watched?”

“Duh.  The cameras were out long enough for Alex to leave unseen.  The Guards tapping into our security feed will be seeing Alex for the first time when he gets out of the cab.  Got it?”

“Yeah.  Greg, I’m sorry.  I didn’t think.”

“You never do, Henry.  I thought we were past this.  I told you to trust me when I said I’d help you.  I’d do anything to let you stay, but now you can’t go back.  Do you understand?  Once you’ve been exposed to the enemy, because they’re watching us now, you’re a target.  All of us, every night we leave here, we’re targets now.  You can’t stay at the shelter anymore.  You lost that right because you aren’t able to protect yourself when you leave here.  You aren’t a vamp yet.  Now you’re my responsibility, more so than before, and you’ll listen to everything I tell you to do because it’s life and death.  You and Rascal aren’t safe anymore.”

Henry hugged Rascal.  “I’m so sorry, buddy,” he whispered.  “I’ll protect you. I didn’t mean it.”

“Welcome to reality, Henry.  Life is fucked up and we have to trust each other to survive.  Once you do wrong by me, you have to earn my respect again.  I’ll protect you, but you and I aren’t friends anymore.  Got it?”


Greg stopped on the curb. He turned to Henry, putting both hands on his shoulders.  “Alex is my mate.  My mate, Henry, and I will do whatever it takes to protect him.  If that’s harsh to you then I’m sorry.  You did this to yourself.  You had somewhere to go.  You had every chance to better your life and the one chance I get to better mine you go and fuck with me.  Be glad I’m not leaving you on the street and that you have a cute kid in your arms or I so would.  Now smile for the cameras.”

Henry’s eyes filled with tears.  He smiled as Alex got out of the cab and stuck out his hand.  Alex frowned but shook it.  “It’s nice to meet you, sir.  Thanks for taking us out with you.  We don’t get out much.”  A tear slid down Henry’s cheek.

“It’s nice to meet you too?”  Alex looked at Greg and nodded slowly.  “Why don’t we get in?  I’m sure you’re all hungry.”  He allowed Henry to slide in with Rascal first before he leaned in and kissed Greg.

Henry let the tears fall the second he was in the cab.  The blond cabbie turned around with a dazzling smile.  “Hi, I’m Fletcher.  And who might you be?  Cute kid!”  The driver tapped the glass like he was at the zoo trying to coax an animal to do tricks.  Rascal stuck his tongue out and buried his face in Henry’s shoulder.  “Well, that was uncalled for.”

“Story of my day,” Greg said as he shut the door.  “Take us to lunch, Fletch.  Anywhere.”

“Wow, this does not look like a date.  Bunch of party poopers.”  Fletcher shrugged.  “Oh well, party of one coming up.”  He cranked the music and pulled away from the curb.


The current leader of the Haitians, Pierre, swiped everything off his desk.  He slapped his palms to the surface, growling at the dealer in front of him.  “Why do you come to me with this?  I do not care of some cab! I want that Hunter to pay for what he did to my father!  Where is information on him, you fool?”

The dealer sniveled.  He backed away, taking some of his disgusting scent with him.  “But the cab has been there more than once, sir.  Courtenay got in with another man.”

“Cabs?  They are all over the city.  They pick up patrons every fucking day.  We know Courtenay enjoys men. What I don’t understand is why I would care about this?”  Pierre rounded his desk.  His dark eyes glowed red.  His hand wrapped around the dealer’s throat, picking him up off the ground.  He enjoyed the kick of the dealer’s feet to his knees.

Pierre smiled.  “Why do I care?”

The dealer slapped at Pierre’s hand, choking for air.  “Pic—picture.”

“Of what?”  He throttled the dealer.


“Show me.”  Pierre threw the dealer to the floor.  “Now!”

The dealer sucked in air on all fours.  His shaking hand went to his pocket to extract his phone.  He hit a few buttons and thrust the phone towards Pierre.  The Haitian yanked the phone away and stared at the screen for a few minutes.  He hummed then went to his desk where he opened the drawer to grab half of a Polaroid picture.  Found in Jackson’s wallet after his death, the picture showed a smiling brunet with bright green eyes.  It showed a liar, another spy in their midst.

The picture had been scanned and carefully circulated to their contacts throughout the city, which led Pierre to the SCS Complex, courtesy of a homeless man who had exchanged coats in SoHo with Trey.  Now that he put the phone and picture side-by-side, he saw through the shiny, designer exterior of the man kissing Greg Courtenay on the phone.  It was the same man, Jackson’s Hunter accomplice who had killed Pierre’s father.  It was Trey.

The queen didn’t think her enemy knew of her secret hit men who scoured the world looking for the enemy.  She didn’t think they’d notice her specialized Hunters undercover in the city either.  But Pierre had found them.  Three of them.  Two were already dead under his order.  Now he had one last loose end to tie up before he sent the queen a real message.

He snarled.  “I want everything we have on Greg Courtenay.  This little lovefest is about to end.”

He threw the phone back at the dealer.  “Kill anyone who gets in your way.  Go!”

The dealer scrambled for the door, slamming it shut behind him.  With his hands behind his back, Pierre went to the window overlooking the street.  He grinned, watching Flynn Courtenay and his mate getting into a luxury car, leaving their private residence for a day out.  After Pierre had what he wanted from Gregory, the father was next.  He would paint the streets with blood.


Greg hadn’t been this exhausted in a long time.  He hadn’t had to worry about the life of his mate, and especially not the lives of two kids.  One had a lippy mouth, a selfish streak a mile wide, but a heart that bled and tears that turned on at the drop of a hat.  One didn’t talk but threw fits when touched by anyone other than Henry and made a mess out of French fries and chicken nuggets that should not have been possible.

Rascal was dead to the world, crusty ketchup all over his chubby cheeks and squished pieces of potato still clinging to his fingers.  His little mouth was open and his eyes shut tight as he slept in Henry’s arms.  With the finger paint mess, the drool and everything else, Rascal was a hot mess.  Greg didn’t have the strength to worry about bathing him.  The kid would hiss like a cat and start doing moves that would put Bruce Lee to shame.

Instead of caring, he pushed up the elevator door to his home and stepped aside for Trey and Henry.  “Everyone in.  We’re not sleeping in a box.”

They filed in.  He went to the open plan kitchen immediately to grab Quin’s cigarette stash from the junk drawer.  Greg wasn’t a regular smoker, but the need for blood and his exhaustion were getting to him.  He needed something to take the edge off.  And the kids tagging along dashed his hopes of getting anything from Trey. As he lit up the clove cigarette, he leaned on the counter and watched his new tenants study their home for the time being.

Trey ran his hands over the exposed brick walls and columns lined with old world maps and framed records.  His mate looked up to the scalloped concrete beams running across the ceiling, where tiny square windows of light punctuated the shadows, and then down at the floor where the concrete had been distressed and shined for an industrial allure.  Chocolate leather chairs sat low on the ground, contrasting the large red throw pillows and slick white coffee table stacked with books, an ashtray, and some more records.

Henry placed Rascal on the out-of-place sleek white couch and covered him with hand knitted blanket.  He followed Trey’s lead, moving around the top floor to discover its trove of wonders.  A gothic black grandfather clock sat next to a corner full of stacked books and a table full of antique globes Greg had collected from various shops around the city.  He ran his fingers over a painting of Shakespeare propped against the wall on the floor before moving over to the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf stuffed with more books.  Greg’s laptop on his desk piqued his interest.  Greg snarled and Henry back away from it, brows raised.

To break up the silence, Greg grabbed the stereo remote from the kitchen counter and hit play.  Soft music filtered through glass encased speakers in the living room, low enough not to wake Rascal.  He set down the remote and pulled out two tumbler glasses and a soda from the fridge.  He poured some vodka into the glasses and motioned Trey over.

“Not the date I had planned, but at least we can end it on a good note.”  He snorted.  “Henry. Soda.”

Henry shook his head and sat next to Rascal on the sofa.  “No thank you.”

“Oh, now you have manners?  Lovely.”  Greg took a sip of vodka, welcoming the sharp bite on the back on his tongue.  He regarded Trey.  “What?”

Trey sat at the vinyl barstool, out of hearing distance of Henry, and shrugged.  “You’re being kind of mean to him.  He’s just a kid, Greg.”

“He’s a pain in my side.  I tried to help him.  I thought we had something good between us, an understanding, but he fucked me over.”

“Did he really?”  Trey took a sip from his glass.  “He’s a teenager who looks up to you.  That much is obvious and I don’t even know him.  I did talk to him before I got blindsided with this whole lunch date, though.  He thought you were the one who betrayed him, something about you just abandoning him to the streets.  That he was just trash to you.”

“I didn’t—”

Trey put his hand over Greg’s.  “Listen to me.  Did you ever stop to think that maybe he doesn’t just want to stay at the shelter because that’s where he feels comfortable?  Maybe it’s you that makes him comfortable.  Maybe he wanted to stay with you, not the girl he’s crushing on and her parents.  Awkward.  I wouldn’t do that either.  Maybe he looks up to you because he considers you family.  And when you started to let me out, a guy you barely knew over him, he got upset and jealous because he thought you didn’t care anymore.”

“Yeah. Right.  That kid and me go together like pins and needles.  I’ve got enough on my plate without his teenage breakdown drama.”

Trey pulled his hand back. “Seriously?  Why is he even here then?  If you hate him that much, why did you bring him with us?  You could have dropped him somewhere else.”

“Safety precaution.” Greg took another drink.

“Bullshit.  You care about him.  You’re just being selfish because you’re pissed off we aren’t alone right now.  Admit it.”  Trey took the cigarette from Greg’s lips and took a hit.  He looked over his shoulder where Henry had put his face in his hands, bent over his knees.  “That kid has suffered and he doesn’t know how to handle it, Greg.  He has nowhere else to turn and he’s scared to trust in the happy life with his girlfriend because he doesn’t think he deserves it.  He trusts in you because you’re real with him.  Real he can deal with, but jerk he can’t.  Get it?”

“This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen.”  Greg poured more vodka.  He took a hearty swallow.  “I didn’t sign on for two kids.”

“I didn’t sign on to be a vampire, but I’m glad it happened.”  Trey looked at his glass.  His face struggled for composure as if he wasn’t sure he’d just said that.  “Shit happens for a reason Greg.  I don’t like that I’m being hunted down or that I’ve put you in danger.  I don’t like that the kid over there is terrified and now a target because of me.  I don’t like this side of you, whatever is going on your head right now causing you to be an asshole to him.  But I like having you here with me because it makes me feel safe and so does he.  Stop for a second and just appreciate what you have.  It’s all we can do right now to keep from going insane.”

Greg sighed.  The vodka in his mouth tasted rotten like the words coming out of Trey’s mouth.  He was being an asshole.  He was being selfish because he wanted his mate all to himself, in his bed, wrapped up in his arms.  But what was stopping him from that?  Nothing but his own ego.  Trey was right.  Henry did look up to him. 

The teen didn’t go to anyone else with his problems.  He always went straight to Greg, no matter how much they fought.  Greg had been the first one to welcome Henry to the shelter.  He’d been the one to hold the kid’s hand while the Detectives from the Guard Bureau interviewed him about his parents.  He’d been the one to sit next to Henry’s bed the first night to make sure he got some sleep.

Henry was jealous and angry.  From a teenager’s perspective what had gone down earlier would have been confusing, surfacing bitter immaturity on Henry’s part.  Greg closed his eyes and opened them.  He nodded to Trey before going into the living room.  Henry wiped away tears as he approached.  Trey carefully picked up Rascal, who was still in a toddler coma, and held out his hand to Henry.

“Come on.  I’ll take you to your room.”

“My room?”

“I said you couldn’t go back there, Henry.  I wasn’t trying to be cruel.  Just the truth.  You don’t want to stay with Ari and her parents?  That’s fine.  But you can’t stay on your own.  It’s not safe and you’re not ready.  I told the board that myself.”

“Why would you do that?”  Henry slapped Greg’s hand away.  “That wasn’t your choice to make.”

“It was my choice, Henry, because technically, I’m your legal guardian.  This is the only option you have left.  You want to know what’s going on with me?  You want to stay with me, so they don’t separate us through paperwork?  Then I’m it, kid.  I’m all you got and it’s already legal.  Sound good to you?”

Henry looked away, rubbing a hand over his eyes.  “You don’t want us here because we’ll mess up your little sex pad.”

“Hey.  I’m not that kind of guy.  I want you here or I wouldn’t have brought you here. And don’t say sex pad.  Sounds disgusting.”

“What about Rascal, huh?  You can’t handle me, much less a baby.”  Henry put his hands on his hips.

“Stop trying to make me mad because you don’t know what to make of this and you’re scared.”  Greg rolled his eyes, hoisting Rascal up his body.  “I’ll file the paperwork for Rascal in the morning.  One big happy freaking family.  I repeat, does that sound good?”

“Is this a joke?”


“You really want us here, for good?”  Henry took a step closer, unsure to the core.

“Yeah, kid.  I got you.  I got you both.  You gonna stick around or what?”  Greg put his hand out.

Henry slowly put his hand in Greg’s.  He nodded.  He didn’t even know what to say.

“Cool.”  Greg walked with Henry down the hall, Trey in tow.  The long hallway had four doors—one to Greg’s room, one to a bathroom for guests, another to a set of stairs, and finally to the second bedroom at the end of the hall.   “It’s not set up for the both of you, just the one bed, but it’ll be fine until we can figure something out.”

He let Henry open the door.  One wall was floor to ceiling windows looking over the roof of the next building.  A simple queen sized bed sat against one wall and a bathroom door was ajar on the other wall.  “It’s good.”  Henry shrugged, sniffling.

“We’ll, uh, get you some posters or something.  It’s kind of bare in here.  I don’t ever use it.  Maybe a bean bag would be good.”

“I’m not four, okay?  It’s fine.  I don’t need a bean bag.”  Henry went to the bed and plopped down.

Trey put Henry’s soda can on the floor by the door like a peace offering.  He eased into the room, nudging Greg.  “Put him on the bed before he wakes up and freaks out again.” 

Greg put Rascal down on the bed, watching him roll over and wiggle until he’d sufficiently burrowed into the bedding, butt up in the air.  “Henry. give him a bath when he wakes up.  Should be towels in there.”

“Sure.” Henry continued to stare at the ground.

“Phone’s in the kitchen if you want to call Ari.  Just don’t tell her where you are.  Got it?”

“Yes.”  Henry shifted away from them.  “We’re good.”

Trey pinched Greg. He lifted his chin at Henry.  Greg rolled his eyes, but went over anyway. “Hey.”

“What?”  No bite to Henry’s voice this time, the question was softer.

Greg leaned down and surprised Henry with an awkward hug.  “Sleep it off.  We’ll start over later.”

Henry’s hand found Greg’s back.  He nodded silently.  Greg pulled away and walked out of the room without another word.  He yanked Trey after him, made sure all the doors and windows were locked with Trey still in his grip, and then went to his bedroom.  He closed the door and threw Trey against it, covering his body.

“What the hell am I going to do?”

Trey panted, tracing Greg’s jaw with his fingers.  “Keep breathing.”

Greg’s fangs punctured his gums, sliding down.  “Just keep reminding me of that.”

“Whatever you need,” Trey whispered before his hair was pulled.  Greg’s mouth found his neck.  “Take it.  Please.  I want to forget, just for a minute.  Be with you….”

Greg could taste the blood before he even came in contact with it.  Eyes swirling, he inhaled the sweet metallic scent and bit down.  He held Trey against the door, hoisting his long legs onto his hips and took a long pull of his mate’s blood. A starving man, he ground his cock against Trey’s, drawing blood from his neck.  Fingers twined in his hair, holding on for dear life.  A ragged moan from Trey’s lips lit him up inside and Greg lost the need to be careful.  His beast took over. 

His was thirst too great to be denied this carnal pleasure.  Trey’s thoughts came to him at first like a bundle of whispers and then a deafening roar.  Greg slid them to the floor before he started ripping at Trey’s clothes.

To be continued…


  1. That chapter was awesome! I felt kinda bad for Henry, not completely bad because he was an asswipe for real but he is teenager,so cut him some slack. Glad Trey was there to calm Greg down. Looking forward to more. :)

  2. "A carousel of the same horses that had trampled Trey’s soul lived in Greg’s stare."
    Hauntingly beautiful, a never ending stampede... Sad, but beautiful...

    - Faolin

  3. excellent. the 2 week waits are awful but worth it. keep it coming! :)

  4. I have always loved your ability to create a world of color and feeling but i must agree with Faolin. Your level of emotion and imagery in this story is both heart breaking and breath taking. I am so glad that i have the privilege and the honor to witness this level of talent and skill. Thank you

  5. Shit! Here I was hoping you'd take pity on usand give us some hot sexy vamp in this chap. But stopping where this chapter did, gave my mind blue balls! I was all excited and ready...End of chapter. If I love you and your fabulous mind so much, I be mad at yah. So I get to stay anxious till ch. 5 is up.

    Please continue this scene, or a different love scene in the chapter. Out of evety author I have read, you write the best sex scenes. Hot, sexy, explicit, and beautiful. I hope the publisher you have Cade with doesn't make. You tame down the sex. That would be a travesty!

    Lol! I'm being extra dorky today apparently. Thanks for finally following me on twitter. Can't wait for ch. 5.


  6. In the paragraph that starts: "Henry was jealous and angry" you have Trey picking up Rascal and it should say that Greg picked him up.

    other than that all I can say is WOW cant wait for more