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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 10. Chapter 10: Shimmering Stars

Gods. This man can kiss! Vincent felt the soft lips of Mason collide with his. Could have done without the deafening howl though. That was way too loud...but, man was it sexy. The mage felt Mason's tongue demanding entrance and opened his mouth. Their tongues danced as they explored more of each other.

Mason pulled away from his embrace and stared at his mate with his gold eyes. "Gods, Vinnie. The things you do to me."

"Right back at ya, big guy. As cute as this is, can you let me down?" The wolf gently let his mate to the ground as he fished out his keys and unlocked his front door. They walked in the door and both made their way through the hallway. Mason opened his bedroom door, but turned to see Vincent walking further down. Is he going to the guest bathroom? That won't do.

"Vin? Where do you think you're going?"

Vincent turned in confusion. "Um. The shower?"

Mason grinned and flashed his eyes. "I think you're going to the wrong one, hot stuff."

A shiver went down Vincent's spine, and the thought of the two together in a shower rushed blood to his groin. "Oh. I think I am too." The mage changed direction and followed Mason into the bedroom. He stopped when he saw the larger man take off his shirt, allowing Vincent to get a good look at the impressive back muscles. He's built like a freakin' tank!

Mason turned around, knowing through his instincts his little mate was watching. He smirked and started for the attached bathroom. Love the fact he thinks I'm hot. Opening the glass shower door, he reached to turn the knobs, tuning the incoming water to the perfectly warm temperature. Not scorching, but enough to make the room steam. "You coming in, pup? Water's just fine." The wolf heard the carpeted steps coming to the room, and licked his lips when a shirtless Vincent entered. Gods, he's such a turn on!

Even though the mage already had an experience with Mason in bed, he still felt shy about letting the bigger man see him. The lights are on this time. I'm pretty confident with my body, but I just don't know if he will like it. With his hands shaking, he started to unbutton his jeans.

Mason noticed how his mate became very nervous. Is he self-conscious about his body? That's silly. We are destined for one another. "Vinnie." The little man flashed his head up to him. "If you are worried about me not liking what I will see, you have nothing to worry about. I already find you completely irresistible. And I saw all of you last night. It may have been darker for you, but I see pretty well in darkness."

The wolf stepped forward and fingered a belt loop, pulling the two together. "You are perfect for me. And I want to see you. Every inch of you."

Vincent's breath caught as Mason planted a light but steamy kiss. He's right. We're mates and we're made for each other. And if I'm to complete our bonding, I'm gonna see him naked plenty of times. The mage stopped shaking and began undoing his jeans. He never looked away from the big man, even when Mason dropped his eyes to gaze upon his prize.

Faster, pup. I want to see you. Mason placed his hands on the rim of the pants and pushed them down, along with his briefs. The wolf's eyes burned amber gold as his lust flew throughout his body. Gods, it's taking everything to stop myself from pinning him to a wall! His eyes drew to his own jeans as Vincent unzipped them. Oh, that's fuckin' hot! The mage expertly finished getting the pants down and Mason lifted his legs one at a time to get them off his ankles. Both men stood before themselves in their glory.

"Well, I need this shower, so excuse me, big guy!" Vincent scooted past his mate and opened the glass door to get in the shower. Mason ignored the rudeness as he glared at Vincent's plump backside. No, no. Excuse me. He followed his mate into the shower, letting Vincent get first dibs at rinsing himself off.

He watched in the large shower as his mate let water run through his hair and across his naked skin. Mason stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Vincent, pulling the man's back to his hairy chest. Moving his head closer to Vincent's, he nuzzled his nose next to the little man's ear, trailing down to the right side of the neck. This, right here. This will be where I lay my mark.

Vincent loved the feeling of Mason behind him. He really loved the feeling of a certain something prodding his butt. It's so big! The mage relaxed his body, allowing Mason to be his wall. He felt one of the wolf's hands leave his side, but returned a moment later with a bar of soap and began lathering Vincent's body for him. What a gentleman. Mason took a step back and started scrubbing Vincent's back and shoulder blades.

The wolf peered his eyes further down, preparing himself. He ran the bar over those supple cheeks with one hand and grabbed his scrubbing puff ball that dangled from its suction cup on the wall. Running it through the soap for a moment, he ran the scrub over his mate's ass. Leaning into Vincent's ear, he whispered, "I know we're taking our time with this, but know that this, right here…" He swiped the scrub across Vincent's crack. "...this is mine. And one day, I will take it. I will take it and make you mine."

With eyes rolling to the back of his head, Vincent moaned as the sexy man talked so sultry in his ear. "Gods, Mace. You make me want it." He turned to face the Alpha, looking into his amber gold eyes. "Those eyes are such a turn on, you know that?" As the words passed his ears, Mason's eyes flashed brighter for a half second. "Mmm. Let me wash you, big guy." The wolf handed the bar and scrub to his mate.

Vincent roamed the soap over the hairy chest slowly, appreciating every detail of his stud. When he had enough soap on Mason's body, he scrubbed the wolf's pecs in a circular motion, then his abdominal muscles. Good Gods, he's ripped! Comfortable with how clean the man was, he ran the scrub to Mason's left arm. Once the arm was lathered, Vincent couldn't himself and ran his fingers along the large bicep.

"You like my muscles, Vinnie?" His little mate nodded as fingers turned to the whole hand rubbing the muscle. Mason smirked and slowly flexed his left bicep, showing how big his arm can get. He saw Vincent catching his breath. Does someone have a thing for muscles? Oh, that is cute. Mason took one step back and flexed his left and right arms.

The mage's mouth dropped as his boyfriend showcased his guns. Oh, he's such a freakin' showoff! Vincent followed Mason and gingerly ran his fingers on the flexed muscles. "They're nice, big guy." He shot his eyes up to meet Mason's. "But I think I've seen enough. I just want to feel."

One of Mason's eyebrows raised in confusion. "What are you-" He watched as Vincent stretched his hand backwards and under the running hot water. What is he doing?

Vincent pushed cold air through his palm, aiming directly at the hot water pouring down. Steamy fog began filling the large shower and it became difficult for Mason to see. A smokescreen! You clever little man. "Vin? What are you do...oh! Oh, Gods!" Under the field of fog, Vincent crept his way up to his mate, and knelt down to bring Mason into his mouth. He closed his eyes as Vincent focused on pleasuring his man.

Oh, my Gods. He is too good to me. Mason's eyes burned bright gold as he looked down to see a thin silhouette of where Vincent should be. He stared as the shadow moved in coordination with the hot and moist sensations. If he keeps this up, I won't last much longer.

Vincent looked up and saw the yellow blurs that came from Mason's eyes. Can he still see me? That's hot. He didn't conjure any wards, but let his own eyes turn bright lavender in hopes of letting Mason know that he was looking back.

Mason noticed the faint pinkish color coming from the silhouette. Oh, Gods, yes! He ran his hands through the wet hair of his mate as his head movements continued. "Vin. Vinnie, I'm getting close. Oh, swallow me, pup. Swallow every drop of me. Don't stop!"

No intention, hot stuff. Vincent sped up his movement, wanting his prize. He felt Mason getting larger in his mouth, giving the sign for the big finale. The mage looped a finger around the hanging spheres and looked up again to the Alpha's burning gaze.

"Gods, Vinnie. I...I'm gonna blow!" Mason gripped a handful of Vincent's long hair as his legs trembled. Oh, Gods, here it comes! He roared as he released himself in the warmth of his mate.

Vincent took every spurt greedily. He moaned as he swallowed Mason. Looking up, those yellow eyes were still gazing. "Vin." The voice sounded scruff and haggard as Vincent shivered at his name being called. "Come up here." The mage stood up, but was dragged close to the warm and hairy body. "You're too good to me. That was the best I've ever had. And it will remain the best." He landed his lips on Vincent's, wanting to be as close to the human as physically possible.

Mason broke the kiss and brought themselves under the rushing water to rinse off. Once cleaned from the lathered soap, he turned off the water and opened the door to let the fog out. "Now, I want you. I want to see you as I take you in my mouth." He grabbed two towels from the rack nearby and handed one to his mate. They proceeded to dry off, although taking a little longer as the two continued to eye each other as the fog began to clear.

Once dry, Mason took his towel and began assisting Vincent. "You're sexy. You know that, pup? I want you, your body, your voice, your everything. Nothing will change that. My wolf and I have eyes for you, and you alone." When his mate was dry, he took both towels and tossed them to hang over the glass door. He grabbed Vincent's hand and led him out of the bathroom and to the bed. Mason took both hands and placed them on Vincent's hips as he set his mate down on the edge of the bed.

Vincent watched as he was placed in front of the large and sexy stud. His eyes haven't gone back to normal. "Mace. Why do your eyes do that?"

Mason's head cocked to the side. "What do you mean?"

"They sometimes turn gold or orange."

He chuckled as slowly stepped toward his naked mate. "An Alpha is closer to his wolf, or animal spirit. My eyes shine those colors when I or my wolf shows strong emotion. Alphas can also partially shift different body parts like fingers to claws, eyes to wolves eyes, you get the idea."

Vincent raised an eyebrow. The wolf got the insinuation. "Doesn't work like that, pup."

"And that's another thing. Pup?"

"It's a term of endearment. You should get used to it." Mason stepped forward and got into Vincent's personal space. "But enough about that." The wolf leaned in and nibbled on his mate's earlobe. "I'm going to make you turn into a puddle, Vinnie. I will have you begging for more, begging for me." He moved his face further down the mage's neck to where Mason intends to leave his mark. Running his tongue across the area, he felt the vibrations of Vincent's whimper escape the lungs.

Gods, that whimper. So good. He latched onto his spot with his lips and sucked. I want him. My wolf wants his blood. Gods, it's so hard not to take him! His mate's hands roamed his chest and sides. Before he did something he would regret, Mason moved his mouth away from Vincent's neck and went further down. Think I'd be safer with this.

Vincent watched as the wolf lowered himself and found his next target. The warm mouth planted onto his right nipple, and Vincent let his head fall back. Such a tease! He felt Mason's tongue circle from inside his attached mouth. Vincent returned his head up to see Mason looking at him again with those orange and lust-filled irises. "Oh, Gods, Mace. I love it when you look at me like that."

Mason let a growl loose as his mate spoke. He never left his sight on Vincent as he lowered himself down his mate's body. And there is my real prize. Orange changed to gold yellow as he eyed Vincent as he took a swipe with his tongue. The whimper that the wolf has come to enjoy filled his ears once more as he downed his mate in one go.

"Mace!" Gods, him calling for me is like a drug! Need him, and need him fast. Can go slow later. Mason used every trick in his playbook to make his mate's release come faster. As much as he wanted to give his mate a long and pleasing time, the wolf wanted the reward more. He sped his movements and gave tighter suction. "M-Mace...I...I'm gonna. I'm...oh, Mace!"

His prize filled his mouth, and Mason savored every drop as it went down his throat. So good. So sweet. Mason let his mate out of his mouth with a pop and curled up to spoon Vincent, wrapping his arms around the smaller man's body. "Did ya like that, Vinnie?"

Vincent put as much of his body against Mason's as possible. "Mhmm. You're the best, Mace. No one has ever made me feel like that." He craned his neck back to get a glimpse of his big man. "Mace. Can I put an idea in your head? Possibly in your agenda?"

Mason rose his upper body, resting on his elbow. "What's on your mind?"

"So, about completing our bond. Can we wait until a day or two after the meeting? I'm probably going to need it after my dance."

A serious look appeared on the wolf's face. "Wait, what do you mean? Is this dance going to hurt you?"

"Not physically hurt, but it will definitely be exhaustive. I'll be using a lot of energy and magic. This bracelet is going to get a work-out."

I still don't like the sound of that. "Is it necessary to put yourself through that?"

"Absolutely!" Vincent turned his body to face Mason. "A mage's dance is an embodiment of what the group the mage is entering means to them. The stronger the attachment to the group, the more spectacular the performance has to be. Holding anything back would be a stain on the mage's reputation."

I understand. It's an honor thing. He wants to prove himself to my pack and show what he will bring to it when he joins. That's very admirable and noble. Mason looked deep into Vincent's hazel eyes. "Thank you for helping me understand, Vinnie. I now get why this is a big deal to you. How can I help you?"

Vincent sighed. "Unless you can show me where the meeting will be held, all I really need is training with Elaine and time to store my energy into the bracelet."

Mason bobbed his head side to side. Not supposed to. But… "Well, how about in a couple hours I take you to the camp that's outside of town. It's nice and peaceful. It's one of my favorite places to go when I need some alone time."

A perky smile appeared on Vincent's face. "That sounds cool! I'd love to go."

"Good. Until then, would you like some food? I'm starving, and I can imagine you are too after training with Mom."

Oh, Gods. I could eat one of Mace's huge omelettes. "Oh, yeah. Food needs to happen."

"Then let's get dressed." Mason gave his mate a light pat on the ass and rolled over to the side of the bed. "What sounds good? Mexican? Burgers? Hibachi?"

The options reeled through Vincent's mind as he sat up on the bed. I keep forgetting that this small town has so many food options. "A burger sounds great, actually."

"Alright. Sounds good to me." Mason grabbed a linen dress shirt and khaki jeans from the closet while Vincent went for his backpack in the living room. The two got dressed and checked their phones for missed messages. "Hang on, got a call to make." Punching numbers into his phone, Mason multitasked by grabbing some underwear and socks from his dresser.

"Hey, Mr. Richards! Sorry about that, I was out and about this afternoon. Oh, that's great to hear. I'll be by in the morning to pay the bill. Thank you so much, sir! Have a good night." That old man always surprises me! "Hey, babe! I'll be grabbing my truck in the morning!"

Vincent had just put his underwear on. What? That truck was covered in ice! How did it get defrosted in such a short time? "Okay? Do you have a miracle mechanic or something?"

A hearty laugh came from the bedroom. "You have no idea. Old Man Richards knows his way around a vehicle."

Well, alrighty then. Vincent kept pulling clothes out of his bag. He picked out a bright yellow polo and navy jeans. Once happy with his decision, Vincent pulled the clothes on and went back to the bedroom. Peering around the corner into the room, he saw his man in a light gray dress shirt and black denim pants. Even in clothes, he's sexy as hell.

"You about ready, big guy?"

Mason turned his head and admired his mate. He is cute in bright colors. "Yeah. Let's go." He finished buttoning his sleeve and leaned in to kiss Vincent on the lips. They held each other's hands as they made their way to the truck.

***

Caleb opened his door and hung the keys on the decorative plaque labeled 'Going Somewhere?' that Tasha got when they moved to Kentucky. He was happy with the small two bedroom house. The lion was grateful with what he was given when he pleaded for sanctuary to Alpha Wilson.

"Hey! There's my pussy cat. How was work?" Caleb looked up to see his beautiful mate, Tasha. Gods, she is as beautiful as the day I laid eyes on her. Tasha is a small five foot tall stick of mocha-skinned dynamite. The most loving person one could meet, but a stick of dynamite no less.

The lion stepped forward to wrap an arm around Tasha and give her an endearing kiss. "Well. Today has been most certainly...interesting."

"Uh-oh. You get all regal and elegant when you 'bout to tell me something that's gonna make me start talkin' crazy."

She knows me too well. Letting a chuckle out to settle his mate, he held on tight. "I could sum it all up by saying I now have a better job with better pay."

Tasha leaned back in her husband's arms and playfully slapped him on the chest. "Boy, start with the important stuff first. You had me ready to get all mad for no reason. Sweetie, that's great news!"

The couple kissed once more with an invigorating feeling that their family is getting somewhere. "Yeah, and you can thank Alpha Wilson. He gave me the job."

"Oh, snap! You working on his parents' farm now?"

He gave her another peck. "Guess again. Think a little bigger."

That earned a side-eye from his sassy mate. "Okay. What dude did you sleep with to get this fancy pants job?"

I get drunk one night and start telling old college stories one time...and she holds it over my head for the rest of my days. "You're funny, my love. Let's just say we need to be at this weekend's pack meeting when Alpha Wilson inducts his new Pack Enforcer."

A few seconds after thinking, Tasha's eyes popped. "Ca...Caleb. You ain't serious? Oh Gods, Caleb." Tears formed in her eyes. "You're the new...Enforcer? Baby, I'm so proud of you! Oh, bless Yir, he looks out for us."

"It's gonna be alright, my mate. Our little family is going to make it here. We have been accepted with open arms, so it's time to give back to the ones who gave us a place to call home." He held Tasha in his arms, knowing that his mate approves of his new role. "How is Lowe?"

Tasha chuffed through her happy tears. "Little guy finally tuckered out and took a nap. He should be up in an hour. Hopefully."

Caleb smiled, sharing his mate's wishes for a longer nap for their little monster. "Something smells fantastic. What's cooking?"

Tasha turned and made her way back to the kitchen with Caleb right behind. "Well, the gremlin demanded mac and cheese, so there's that. Also got tamales, and fresh veggies being steamed. Got a couple hot dogs on standby if Lowe doesn't like the tamales."

He nodded. "Good call. Hope you made a little extra, Mason had me running around this morning, testing me for the job."

Earning another side-eye, Tasha got curious. "Oh, and what did he do to you?"

Caleb leaned against the refrigerator. "Oh, you know, he had me tail someone."

"Oooh! You get the bad guy, pussy cat?"

"Yes and no. But I gotta say…" Caleb moved to hold his mate's hips. "...Mason's mate is a slippery and conniving little devil."

Tasha turned slowly and elegantly like an old ballerina music box, but with a deep sense of confusion. She held a slotted spoon in her hand with a mysterious intent. Uh oh. Here she goes.

"Mason, that sly dog. Since when did he find his mate? Boy, I'm gonna tear him a new one for not letting me know!"

It took everything in his power to not break out in laughter. "Tash, Tash. It's a new development. He only found him a couple of days ago."

"I knew it! I knew his one would be a dude."

Caleb took a breath to keep himself from laughing so hard to wake up his kid. "Darling, let me finish? Mason's test was for me to catch his mate. I just wasn't told who he was or what his intentions are. My Gods, Tasha, the kid is a sight to see."

Stirring her vegetables, Tasha chuckled. "What? He cute or somethin'?"

"No, no. He's a mage. And a powerful one, too."

"Oh, teach me something. What's his magic?"

Caleb took a stool at their small kitchen bar. "He's got three affinities!" Tasha put the lid back on the pot and did an about face to her mate. "You heard me, sweetie. He is a clairvoyant and frost mage. And you might want to hold onto something for the last one. It's the reason I couldn't catch him."

I'm sorry, do what now? Tasha held her hand on the counter. "You couldn't catch this dude? Pussy cat. My Cay-Cay? Couldn't catch him?"

The lion crossed his arms and grinned. "Well, shadow mages tend to be very slippery."

"Timeout. Our Alpha's mate...is a shadow mage?"

"Yep. But before you start thinking, Vincent is a good guy. He's-"

"Hold up! Vincent?" She watched as Caleb's head turned sideways. "Vincent. From the grocery store? Scrawny, dirty blonde haired boy? Boy who looks like he needs about twenty proper meals and then some?"

Caleb blinked several times in realization. Oh, right! I never realized that we've passed him several times when we went grocery shopping! Holy hell, I've walked past my best childhood friend all this time? "Yeah, that's him."

Tasha smiled and giggled, bobbing her head side to side as she turned back to her dinner prep. "Called it. Knew that boy swung that way. Always seemed a little fruity when I needed help findin' something."

Her mate sat straighter on his stool. "Tash! That's now the Alpha's mate. And my job is to protect him."

Oh, shit. I did just say all that, didn't I? "Whoops, sorry baby. Gotta get used to that. I know I was talkin' crazy, but I'm glad our Alpha found his mate."

"Yeah. Also goes to mention that they're destined at that."

"Cay, you make me do one more turn with some important information like that, you gonna have broccoli on your face." Tasha turned once more. "They destined? Like...destined destined? Gods be praised." Just as she was about to turn, she looked at her mate. "You got any more up your sleeves?"

"Well. Turns out, I've known Vincent since we were in Cub Scouts back in Maryland."

Tasha dipped her head diagonally, giving Caleb the sassiest stare she's ever given. "So, when you gonna tell me you're pulling my leg?" She saw that her mate gave a serious head nod. "Oh, Gods. You have got to be joking me."

I admit, to a fresh set of ears, this all does sound pretty insane. "I swear to the Seven Gods, Tash. Vincent and I grew up together. But he moved away when…" Caleb trailed off, but after swallowing, he continued. "...when his parents died."

Oh, Hell. That poor, poor boy. I knew I felt a sad feeling about the kid when I saw him at the store. "Hon, if you see Vincent before I do, you give him one of my hugs. And invite those two for dinner sometime soon."

"I will in the morning when I head to the former Alpha's house for Vincent's frost training. Lady Wilson is offering training to me as well to get used to fighting mages."

The sadness was wiped away as she learned her mate will be getting trained by Lady Elaine. "Okay. Now you're pulling my leg."

"Guess again. Not my idea, her's. She challenged me to a little fun sparring, and she mopped the floor with me." He leaned on the bar with his elbows. "She wrapped me around a tree with ice."

Some small singular laughs turned into cackles as Tasha imagined her big mate tied up with cartoonish ice ropes. "Oh, would I give up anything to see that! Sweetie, you need to go to that training. Tell the Lady I send my best wishes."

Caleb folded his arms once more as his mate laughed at his humiliation. "Will do, sweetie. Need any help with dinner?"

"Nah, but thanks for finally askin'. Can you get Lowe's sippy cup ready for dinner, and get the little guy up? Dinner's almost done here."

Her mate nodded and grabbed one of the many kid-proof cups in the cabinets. Opening the pantry, he grabbed an opened jug of Juicy-Juice and poured. Once filed, he closed both containers and went to retrieve the second love of his life.

***

Dinner with Mason was magical as always. He was taken to a steakhouse outside Owensville in the nearby larger town. Never been out this way before. This city is pretty big enough for neighboring towns and counties to go to if they have a specific need. Plenty of restaurants, a shopping mall, and several chain stores that are placed in populated areas.

Mason only went to the city when he had to, but the only place to get a good burger in Owensville was JD's, and the two had seen enough of the joint over the past week. My mate will always deserve a special drive to the city. Dinner was great. The company was better. And I think it will always be that way. That's perfect for me.

When they got back to the house, the two men were still stuffed from their dinner. The only thing on their minds was to lay down and moan about their food-induced pregnancies. Mason was the first to collapse on his recliner, followed by Vincent on the nearby couch. "Mace. How did you put away two of those burgers?"

An arm was draped over the wolf's face as he responded. "I don't know. My wolf said eat it. Gonna be the last time he gets a word at the dinner table." Mason lifted his arm and turned his head to check on his mate. "You good over there?"

"Uh huh." Vincent sat up slowly as not to disturb his digesting food. "Need to get up. I don't want to fall asleep just yet."

Mason laughed. "Well, we got some time. Did you want to go on a walk with me? Out in the woods? I'll make sure you don't get lost."

It's getting dark, but a walk would be nice. "Sure, big guy." Both men got up and Mason led the two through a side door from the kitchen. Vincent looked around the garage for the first time. Wow. It's pretty clean for a garage! The sound of cloth moving took Vincent by surprise as he turned to see his mate shirtless. "Um. Mace? You going shirtless for the walk, bud?"

A smirk ran Mason's mouth. "Well, I won't be clothed, if that's what you're going at. My wolf wants to be with you. It hasn't had much time to get to know its mate."

Oh. Walking with a wolf. That's a thing, I guess. Vincent wasn't nervous about being around Mason's wolf, but a feeling of apprehension still lingered. "Okay, that sounds cool."

Mason felt his mate be unsure of the idea. "You okay, babe?" He stopped unfastening his pants and walked over to comfort Vincent. "Does my wolf scare you?"

"I mean...yeah, a little. I've seen it twice now, and they weren't under the greatest of circumstances."

The shifter moved his forehead onto Vincent's. "There is no need to be nervous, Vinnie. My wolf already wants to protect you. Just as long as you don't run from him, he will not harm you."

Vincent felt the trust in Mason's words, and looked up to him. "I trust you, big guy. I'd love to see your wolf and walk with him."

Mason smiled and gave his mate a smoldering kiss as he continued taking off his clothes. As he stood naked, he placed his folded clothes on the deep freezer and closed his eyes. He began his shift and several seconds later, a large silver furred wolf stood before Vincent.

The mage stood in amazement. So. That's how...they shift. More bones popping than I thought would happen. The fur growing was pretty cool. But I don't think I can look at Mace's ass again without imagining a tail sticking out. Vincent took a few steps forward to the large wolf to get a closer look. When he was within an arm's reach, the wolf opened its mouth and let his tongue roll out. Yep. That's my man, alright.

Mason moved to close the gap between the two and licked his mate's hand. He was met with both hands rubbing his head. Gods, yes! Love me some head rubs. Can't believe after all this time he gets to pet my wolf. The wolf began circling Vincent, smelling and rubbing his body fur over the mage, making the man's scent with his. When he was satisfied with Vincent's intertwined scent, he gave a small woof and trekked toward the side door leading to the backyard.

"Need me to open the door, bud? You should probably install some giant doggy doors for yourself." He was given a small stare from the wolf, as if to say, 'Yeah, right.' Vincent turned the handle and opened the door, only to be caught in a giggle fit as he watched his mate bolt out onto the grass and run in circles. "Hey, come back here! I still can't move very fast with all this food in me."

Right. I can burn off my energy by shifting and running. He's stuck walking. The wolf slowed his pace and cantered back to the human with the intention of never leaving his side. In response to returning to his mate, Mason was rewarded with more rubs and strokes of his fur.

"Gods, Mace. Your wolf is gorgeous. I've never been so close to anything like this." Kneeling down to get a closer look at Mason's face and muzzle, Vincent appreciated the slightly darker gray furs around the nose, mouth, and under the eyes. This is so freaking cool! I'm actually petting a wolf! Mason took a swipe across his mate's face with his tongue when the human got too close. "Oh, jeez! Um, Mace. Do they make wolf-friendly Tic-Tacs, because your breath is definitely something else."

A small whine came from Mason as his wolf took the joking insult. I'm a wolf, what do you expect? "Hey, bud. I didn't mean it like that. It was a joke." Vincent gave the wolf some more playful pets to the head leading to the middle of the wolf's back. "Let's go, big guy. I'll let you lead the way."

Mason woofed as he paced toward the nearby treeline, making sure he stayed within a couple of inches of his mate. He stayed on the walking trail that his family created many years ago to keep Vincent's nerves at bay. It is getting dark pretty fast. May need to keep this walk short.

***

Vincent enjoyed the walk with Mason. With the wolf at his side, he felt safer than he thought he would be. When the sun finally began its final stretches on the horizon, Mason motioned that they were heading back, and Vincent wholesomely agreed. These woods seem pretty sinister at night. Not saying something bad would happen to us, but I'd rather be safer than sorry.

Arriving back at the garage, Mason howled as loud as his lungs would carry sound, terrifying the mage to no end. "Jeez, Mace. Warn a dude before you do all that." His response came in the form of a panting and happy wolf. "Let's get back inside. Were you still wanting to take me to those campgrounds tonight?" Mason exhaled sharply out of his muzzle while bobbing his head in an affirmative motion. "I'll take that as a yes. Alright, big guy. Get shifted and let's get you dressed."

Mason entered the garage as Vincent opened the door for the four-legged beast. The mage stared as the wolf began its shifting process back into human. Don't think I'm gonna get used to that. Seconds later and Mason was breathing steadily and pounced over to his mate. "Vinnie! That was so much fun to walk with you! My wolf loved every second of it, and he wants to do it again as soon as possible."

Joy leapt in Vincent's heart knowing that his mate had a good time just walking with him. "Glad you two had a good time. It was fun, but I think I'd rather do it again in more sunlight."

Pulling both pant legs on, Mason nodded. "Agreed. I didn't think about the time when we left the house, but we wouldn't have any trouble. Only deer live in these woods. And any pack members need special permission to roam my woods."

That makes me feel a little better about those woods. "I gotcha."

Mason finished putting his clothes on and grabbed his mate for another quick kiss. "Ready to go to the campground?"

"Yep." Vincent had his hand taken by Mason and was led to the truck. As always, Mason opened the passenger door for Vincent. He's such a gentleman. Lei and Elaine must have taught him to be one. Once he was strapped in, Mason got in his side and started the truck.

***

Wow! Not too far from Mason's place. Vincent kept looking out the windows as Mason told him they were close. The headlights spotlighted the 'Tipper Lake Camp' yellow and tan sign as Mason pulled down a long and winding road. Trees filled both sides of the path, and as the truck drove by, they moved like a blur.

Vincent figured that they had been driving on this road for ten minutes, passing numerous smaller paths that probably led to small campsites. When Mason took a left turn down an old dirt road, the mage started getting a little nervous. This is starting to look like a horror movie scene. All we need now is a masked guy with a hatchet!

A few minutes on the road and a gravel parking lot appeared. Where did this come from? This lot looks like it could fill nearly a hundred cars! Mason pulled into a spot close to a wooden barricade-like gate. He turned off the truck and turned to face Vincent. "We're here, Vinnie. Let me show you around."

Both men got out of the truck and, as always, Mason was quick to hold Vincent's hand and led the way. Pulling out his phone and pressing a few buttons, his flashlight turned on and brightened the area. Following suit, Vincent turned his on as well and waved it around to see the surrounding area. It's...it's an outdoor amphitheater!

As the mage shined his light, he took in the details. Many wooden benches built into cascading steps leading downward to a platform stage with a gorgeous view of the moonlit lake. Something is in the middle down there. Vincent took the stairs that were in between the benches leading down to the stage, being careful not to fall flat on his face. "Careful, Vin! Those last couple steps are steeper." Noted. Thanks, big guy.

Taking those last steps, Vincent walked on the grass leading to the stage. Gods, it's huge! And there's this huge pit in the middle! It has to be for bonfires. The mage spun around with his light and admired the view of the lake. Holy...this place is…

"Mace. This place is magical."

Mason came from behind his mate and held him by the hips. "This place is very important. To me. My family. And the pack. I wanted to share this place with you." The wolf kissed the back of Vincent's head. "Come on. I want to show you the lakefront." Holding on to the smaller hand, he led Vincent around the stage and walked several yards to where the land met the water.

The view of the lake was perfect, and with a cloudless night, the crescent moon and stars filled the sky and illuminated the water. Vincent stared at the night sky with wonder. Stars. They look like crystals shining in the sky. And with the moon so bright, I would say they look like diamonds.

Crystals! That's it! Vincent frantically looked between the sky and Mason. "Mace! I just had an idea for my dance! Oh, my Gods, it's perfect!"

The Alpha caught the pure joy from his mate and latched on to him. "That's wonderful, Vinnie. But you know what else is wonderful?"

"What's that?" The mage practically jumped in carried excitement from his idea.

Mason closed the distance and got his mate to calm himself down. "This is it. This is where we hold our meetings, Vinnie." He watched as his mate's eyes blinked wildly. "This...is where you will be doing your dance on Saturday."

My...my dance. Here? Vincent looked around the lake and back toward the amphitheater. "Mace, you're kidding me! This is where...where the pack meets?"

"Mhmm. We always have a big fire on stage. Really brightens the place up. But yeah, this is it. I wanted to show you when I asked how I could help with your dance."

"Oh, Mace. This helps out! I can get some serious ideas about my movement plans, and how big I can make my magic without causing issues." Vincent looked into the eyes of his mate. "Thank you. So much."

"Any time. Just two things, though."

"Sure, what's up?"

Mason combed Vincent's hair out of his mate's face with his fingers. "Don't let anyone know I brought you here before the meeting. I'd get a finger wagged in my face by the pack elders."

Vincent giggled. "I got you. And the other thing?"

The wolf held his mate tighter. "I would love to see your little idea in action. You seemed pretty gung-ho about it when you were staring at the lake."

"Well. I'm not supposed to, since a mage's dance routine is a strict secret until the big day." Mason got a bit of a frown hearing the news. I figured as much. Don't want to ruin the big event and all.

"But!" The wolf brought his eager attention back to his mate. "You did show me your top secret pack meeting location. I guess I can give you this little show." Vincent leaned up and gave a kiss to his handsome man.

Oh man! Whatever he has up his sleeve, I'm sure I'll love it. Mason brought his attention as he felt his mate breathing deeply. What is he doing?

Vincent closed his eyes and focused on his breathing and mental creation. Crystals. Crystals. Many of them. Hundreds. I'll make more Saturday, but for now, just a couple hundred will do. Remember what Elaine said. If you think it, you can make it. He took in one final breath, inhaling slowly but filling his lungs to the brim.

Now!

Vincent pointed his head upward and released his air as slowly as he did when he collected it. Mason stood in awe as he watched the tiniest of ice crystals were being blown out of his mate's mouth and floated throughout the air around them.

Harder, and more farther up! The mage focused his breath into a most forced funnel aiming upward. More and more crystals appeared, falling like slow snowflakes around the duo. Mason let go of Vincent as he looked to the sky. They...they're stars. Little tiny falling stars. Surrounding us. They must be being sent up ten, fifteen feet in the air.

"Vincent, this is beyond beautiful! I didn't know frost magic could be used like this." The remains of Vincent's breath were being blown, and the two couldn't be prouder of the small performance. "This was astounding. I can only imagine what you will bring to the table on Saturday."

The mage dug his head into the chest of Mason as he saw his work. Looking to the sky, the stars look like they're moving. And falling down upon us. Yes. This is going in the routine. "Thank you, Mace. If you hadn't brought me here, I wouldn't have had this idea. On Saturday, it's going to be on a much bigger scale." The two men leaned into each other as their lips collided and the icy stars continued to fall from the sky.

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

6 hours ago, Howzat said:

Aaron - WOW, just WOW!

What a superb chapter - I can't wait to read about Vinnie's mage dance, it's going to be spectacular.

I loved the shower scene - I could envisage it all in my mind and loved Mase's comment about being able to wolf shift different parts of his body, but not that one Vinnie!! Though if he could do that I think Vinnie would probably faint.

Keep up the fantastic work and roll on the next chapter.

Thanks so much, Howzat! Always happy to see when everyone loves a chapter. 

 

4 hours ago, mikedup said:

Awesome chapter, so the training has started, intense training but also very useful, so he is going to surprise the lack at the meeting, I can't wait for the next chapter

The training has started, but the question is:  How much can Vincent learn in just a few days?

 

4 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

A delightful chapter full of fun, wit, and joy.  Well written and the pacing was good.  Is Tasha a were and if so what type?  Can't wait to see Vincent's dance, have a feeling it will be spectacular.  

Always happy to see your comments, sir! Tasha is a shifter...and we may find out within the next couple chapters...

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3 hours ago, Buz said:

The word for today Children, is 'Conflicted'.

"Was really hoping this next chapter was going to be about the Meeting and Mage Dance. Was so SO looking forward to it"

VS

"Yes! The Meeting and Mage Dance are still a chapter away. That's what I like, an Author who embraces the long term. More story for us to read"

Now imagine a really ugly Happy Dance in your head.

The Pack Meeting Place sounds stunning. It has water, fire, views, seats (comfort), the moon, beautiful sky, a lakefront, a dance floor (well. A stage), a moonlight lake, etc. Just perfect. What a stage for Vin's dance. Them beads is gonna get a workout. This is all so exciting.

Caleb, Tasha and Lowe seem like a good Family/awesome people. I can't wait to get to know them. I am assuming Tasha is a Shifter too? If so, what type? Is Lowe a Cub, or?

Thanks again for another awesome chapter...:thankyou:

p.s. I like the sound of Lady Elaine Wilson. It seems charming and confidently apropos.

Sorry Buz! The dance will happen soon, that can be promised (Think one or two more chapters).

I wanted the location to be spot on. Outdoors, large enough for the pack, and somewhere secluded. Always happy to publish a great chapter. 

P.S. to your P.S.: Lady Elaine is an Alpha's mate. I figured she deserved a fitting title, and the name rang loud in my head. 

2 hours ago, Patch1 said:

Another chapter, another perfect addition to their story!  The build up to the Mage Dance is spot on!  Loved the "spot light" on Caleb and his family!  Again I want more!!!  👍:D:worship::heart:

It's always good to see your comments, Patch1! I wanted to bring in the Gage family, since Caleb is going to be an integral part of the story. More is on the way. 

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I wish there could be a vid of the dance for all of us to see, but we all know that the great author will describe it so n detail that we will think we are there watching it!

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The woodland amphitheater reminds me (minus the lake) of the amphitheater in Berea Kentucky.  I've been there many times to attend the artisan festival held there.

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What happened with Caleb for him to need refuge? I hope we get to hear the backstory. He's a long way from Maryland if he was still living there.

Ice crystals. Vincent is going to put on a spectacular show.

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