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Love in the Shadows - 3. Chapter 3: Close Call

Rustling his legs between the cool sheets and warm comforter, Vincent lazily woke from his deep sleep. Five more minutes. He rolled over his full size mattress and grabbed his phone from the cardboard box he used as a nightstand. One o’clock in the afternoon. So much for five more minutes. A groan escaped his throat.

Time to get up.

Vincent sighed and sat up on the bed. He began blinking his eyes in an effort to wake up faster. Coffee! The mage pushed himself on his feet and made a bee-line for the kitchen. He opened the pantry cabinet and grabbed a single use coffee pod. After placing it in his coffee maker, Vincent grabbed a mug, filled it with water, and poured it in. He pressed a few buttons and let the machine whir to life.

While his breakfast was brewing, he pulled out his phone to check for messages. None. Wonder what Mason is doing. He tapped a message to his new boyfriend.

‘hey, just woke up, whatchu doin?’

Coffee is almost done. Just enough time to get dressed. He made his way back to his room and opened his closet. Vincent grabbed his pair of nice navy blue jeans and a slim fit white button down shirt. The smell of coffee hit his nose as he put his pants on. Slipping on his shirt, one arm at a time, the mage ventured back in the kitchen and grabbed his hot mug. Sipping lightly, Vincent felt the hot dark roast flow down his throat.

It was not long until the mug was empty and warmth filled Vincent. He sat up in his folding chair that sat in the empty dining room. Looking around his scarce apartment caused a sigh of sadness. Vincent never owned much. He was always on the move, so he usually kept a small bag of clothes. Furniture was never needed, and he kept enough money to buy a few things, like a coffee machine, a mattress, and food. Every place he rented, it always stayed blank.

Nothing that can be helped. Why decorate when I could be going at any moment? Despair filled the mage’s mind. This is why I need to get cracking at the books. I must learn more about how to use my magic. I need to get stronger!

A ding came from Vincent’s phone. He pinched the phone from his tight jean pocket and unlocked it.

‘hey cutie sorry. was out in the barn. no signal there. Cant wait for the date. i’ll be by at 6’

Vincent grinned hard. Perfect timing. Could really use a pick-me-up. His fingers flew across his flat touchscreen. ‘its all good. Can you pick me up at the library? I want to check out a book ive been meaning to read’

Just as Vincent set the phone in his lap, Mason responded. ‘Of course. anything you want hot stuff. Need a ride there?’

‘no, thanks for offering tho. It’s just a couple blocks away.’

‘anytime, hope you read plenty of important stuff. I’ll see you later ;)’

Vincent smiled as a familiar warmth flowed through his mind and body. Even through a text, I feel him. He grabbed his wallet, keys, and knapsack. Time to go to the library!


The walk to the library was always peaceful. Trees lined the sidewalk almost perfectly, providing shade across the street. Benches were placed every half-block, facing the traffic so people could watch cars go by. This town really is something. I think I’m really starting to like this place. It’s almost magical.

Vincent stepped off the sidewalk to enter the parking lot of the county library. He admired the three story architectural masterpiece. The stonework consisted of copied European themes, with a hint of Gothic and mid-Renaissance mixed in the decorative additions. A true work of art. Just don’t know how it got put in the middle of Kentucky.

And the interior suited the exterior. Lush burgundy carpeting met the warm lighting, the wooden bookcases and tables, and large stained glass windows across the second story. Sliding ladders lined the cases, and many colored book spines filled the shelves. Even coming nearly every day, there were sections of the library Vincent has yet to visit. But for now, the mage had one section in mind:

Mythical creatures. I think it’s high time I learn more about shifters. The fact I don’t know anything about the culture and history of wolven shifters bothers me. I’m uncertain of specific mannerisms that wolves share, so I need to be aware of things that may upset or irritate Mason. Or things that will put a smile on his face.

The thought put a smile on the mage’s face. He began heading towards the furthest corner of the library. It was almost a universal system across the international library system: most of the boring stuff gets stuffed in the back. And Vincent was fine with that. No one ever goes to the back, which means peace and quiet.

After searching for a few minutes in the right section, Vincent came across some series on creatures, specifically mentioning humanoid mythicals. He ran his fingers along the collection of book spines, skimming through the long titles. Elf. Jinn. Nymph. Satyr.

Shapeshifter! Here we go! Vincent grabbed the grey book and weighed it in his hand. It's sort of heavy. He opened it to the last couple pages. 620 or so pages. Yeah, this is a double nighter. I can get started on a couple parts now and check it out for the night. The mage flipped to the table of contents and skimmed to see if there were any sections worth skipping ahead to.

Let's see. Variety of Shifters. Standard traits. Moon Cycle. Transformation. Pack and Class Organization. Courtship and Reproduction. World Geographical Relevance.

Vincent stopped, and backtracked to the previous chapter title. Courtship. That might be interesting, considering I'm dating an Alpha. Thoughts of their makeout session flew into his mind and Vincent's legs began to wobble from his memory. Fuck, that was hot!

He grabbed the book and moved to his favorite table, sitting in the far corner. Moving to the middle of the tome, he sat down in the padded wood chair.

I think I'm going to start with 'Pack and Class Organization. May give me some insight on dating an Alpha. Vincent began his literary adventure.

In regards to most shifter varieties, groups of shifters are referred to as 'packs' or 'tribes.' Most packs and tribes are led by a strong shifter, an Alpha. They are followed by other class members, such as Betas, Deltas, and Omegas. Alphas are regarded as the strongest in their group, and are to be respected in the highest regard. Beta members are considered advisors, and act as Alpha Pro-Temp. Deltas, or commonly referred to as Enforcers, are tasked in maintaining order and protecting the Alpha, their family, and members of the pack. Most remaining members of packs and tribes are considered Omega members. These shifters, though stronger than most humanoids, have no desire to be in power. They provide support to the group in a variety of ways, just as humans provide in their society.

Vincent continued until the end of the section. He read some underlying details about how to show signs of respect towards Alphas. Bears respond to a dip of the head, wolves by showing your neck, and most others with a bow. Good to know. The mage checked his phone for the time. He still had several hours before Mason was due to arrive. Time for a bathroom break.

He got up, leaving his book and bag on the table, and made his way to the lobby. On the way, Vincent passed the reception desk, and saw that Elaine was typing away at her computer. She looked up just as Vincent laid eyes on her and grew a thin smile.

"Why, hello Vincent! I didn't see you come in. How long have you been here?"

"Good afternoon, Miss Elaine. I've been here about an hour or so. Just reading in the back corner again." Vincent walked up closer to the desk. Elaine was the head librarian, and she was the sweetest lady on the planet, at least in Vincent's opinion. For a middle-aged fifty year-old, Elaine was a looker, and could probably pass as someone twenty years younger. Well-maintained shoulder length brown hair, slender figure, and a personality that had all of the high-school boys ogling. She wasn't afraid to crack the whip at troublemakers, and she was a walking encyclopedia. Especially in the supernatural regards.

When Vincent first walked in the library a month ago, Elaine could smell the magic emanating from the younger man. Over the following week, they got to know a little about each other. They were both versed in frost affinity, and shared some of their knowledge.

Elaine sighed and let a light chuckle out. "I should have known. What are we researching today?"

"Doing a little reading on mythical creatures. Something came up in the frost histories tome I checked out the other day, and needed a reference." A small fib, but pretty harmless.

"Anyway, it was good to see you, Miss Elaine, but I really need to use the restroom. I'll check with you before I leave."

"Oh dear, go on ahead! I didn't mean to hold you up." She shot an endearing smile toward the younger mage. Vincent waved and paced toward the restroom. Elaine felt a slight wind from the younger man's leave, and couldn't help but inhale and smell his pleasant cologne.

But there was another scent hiding under it. It feels slightly familiar. Elaine's thin eyes flickered in recognition. Well, well. Isn't that just interesting.


A yawn escaped his lips. Jeez, this book has all sorts of stuff in it! Vincent read a few more of the chapters, and it was nearly time for Mason to swing by. Miss Elaine came by an hour ago to say goodbye before her shift ended. Vincent could always tell when she was nearby. She must be a master frost mage. Her presence makes the area go cold!

His back felt molded to the chair, but Vincent felt the need to read one more chapter. He sighed, and made his decision on the next chapter. Courtship and Reproduction. Vincent stretched his arms and leaned forward into his book.

Shifters, unlike humans, may commit to courtship with another humanoid being through two viable ways. They may court through a standard relationship, just as humans have performed for all of existence. But shifters are able to commit to courtship in a process that remains exclusive to their culture. It is believed that the God of Destiny, Aliz, places…

'Bzzt!' Vincent snapped out of his reading dreamlike state when his phone vibrated noisily on the table. It's probably Mason. He looked to see that it was, and how he was waiting outside. Vincent got excited, grabbed his new book, and made his way to the check-out kiosk.

After checking out, he walked out of the lobby and saw that the giant black truck was pulled up at the entrance with Mason in the driver's seat. Vincent looked up to meet his boyfriend's gaze. Warmth began filling him as he opened the door and began his climbing session into his seat.

"Hey, Mace!" Vincent admired his boyfriend. The wolf was wearing a deep blood-red button up dress shirt and black denim jeans. Mmm, what a stud.

"What's up, hot stuff? Learn anything important?"

"Yeah!" Vincent held up his library book to show. "Got a book on shifters. Learned a lot on how packs and tribes are organized, differences between the kinds of members, and a whole bunch of other stuff." A shot jolted through Vincent's mind. Oh, shit! I forgot that he's an Alpha. I should have bared my neck to him! He turned his head away from Mason to show him respect.

Mason's eyes shifted bright gold and grabbed his mate's knee with intensity. A yip came from the smaller man's throat as the lycan fought to mark Vincent's neck right then and there. A growl from the deepest pit of his throat filled the vehicle.


The mage struggled with the immense pressure being put on his leg, and focused on his feet. Fuck, what did I do? He called me by name, so I know I did something wrong.

"I don't know how far you got in that book. But, for now, do not bear your neck to me. You are human, and you are not a member of my pack." Mason blinked his eyes hard to suppress his wolf's desires. Opening his eyelids to look at his mate, he took his hand from the boy's knee and lifted his face to meet the Alpha's. "We are dating. You do not submit to me." Well, not yet anyway.

"But since, you are dating an Alpha, my pack, as well as other lycan shifters will bear their necks to you. I know there is a lot to learn about our culture, but I'll be happy to help you with it."

Vincent let a mental sigh out as he smiled towards his boyfriend. Okay. So no neck bearing or dipping for me with him around. Also, showing of the neck means submission. Gotcha. "Sorry. The book has a lot of detail, but I guess it needs more references. I haven't got to the courtship chapter yet, so that probably has more notes in it."

Courtship? Oh, fuck. He's a bright kid, so he'll probably put two and two together and figure out that he's my mate. I'll probably have to tell him during the date. That'll definitely go over well.

"Courtship, huh? I can definitely help with that." Mason let a subtle growl as he leaned in and gave his mate an electrifying kiss. He knew that would take Vincent's mind off his little book. The wolf kept the kiss going as he pressed his tongue against his mate's lips, demanding entrance. Vincent happily replied with a whimper and allowed it. Mason moved his hand to the back of Vincent's head, running it down to his neck, and along the jawline.

The kiss didn't last long enough as the Alpha pulled away, never taking his gaze off the mage's. Mason smiled as he put his truck in gear to leave the parking lot, then placed his hand back on Vincent's knee.

"So, I know I said I would make dinner for tonight, but I had a better idea. How does Biacci's sound?"

Vincent gasped with excitement. "I love Biacci's! Their carbonara is amazing! Are we really going there?" Oh please, say yes. Say yes!

"Of course, we're going! I already booked the reservation." Mason turned off of Main Street and drove a couple of blocks before pulling into a side lot. "And there's a special surprise waiting for you inside."

The mage began thinking of what the surprise could be as both men got out of the truck. Mason walked around to his mate and grabbed his hand. He wanted everyone to know that Vincent was his. He guided the smaller man up the sidewalk toward the front of the upscale Italian restaurant.

Going inside, they were greeted by the host, who confirmed 'Mr. Wilson's' reservation for two. In the Sun Room. Vincent's jaw dropped. The...the Sun Room? You are fucking with me, right? His eyes went to Mason immediately, and they were met by that sly smile and narrowed piercing stare. You, Mr. Alpha, are out to impress. And it's working. I know for a fact, that you got to have connections, or a fat wallet, to book the Sun Room. “If you could follow me, please.” Two menu placards appeared in the host’s hands, and began walking down the main hallway through the restaurant. A thin staircase came into view in the back, and the three began their ascent.

The thin and pale host brought the men to a set of large and ornately carved doors. Vincent admired the doors for the first time: artistic carvings, displaying a large sun setting over a field of workers. Obviously hand carved, possibly a century old. Truly beautiful.

The host gave a light cough, snapping Vincent back to reality. A blank stare from the employee was shared between Vincent and Mason, but the thin man turned away and pulled open both doors. “The Sun Room, gentlemen. Please, be seated. A waitress will be with you shortly.” He walked out of the couple’s way, allowing Vincent to get his first glimpse of the illustrious dining room. A mere gasp couldn’t begin to describe the mage’s astonishment.

A large pane glass window took up the wall facing the door, overlooking a few single-story rooftops, and beyond that, the forest that edges the southern side of the city. As if the timing for dinner was perfect, the sun began to set over the forest's horizon. In front of the view, a small circular table, ordained with a single red rose in a slim glass vase. Silverware placed in specific uniformity, with fabric napkins stylishly rolled in each of the water glasses. White lily petals were scattered across the center of the table atop the rose colored tablecloth.

Vincent was in pure awe. He slowly turned his head to meet Mason’s subtle gaze. The wolf grinned, knowing that his mate’s mind was blown away. I may have gone overboard, but he deserves the best. And first impressions are the most important. “So, what do you think, Vinnie?”

“I’m, well.” Vincent was trying to stay composed, but he really felt touched. He did all of this for me. It’s the most romantic thing I could ever think of. He gave Mason’s hand a firm squeeze. “I think it’s perfect.” Mason’s eyes gleamed as he heard the words. The wolf led Vincent to the table, and pulled out a chair for the smaller man to sit. Vincent blushed and accepted the gesture, as Mason walked over to the opposite chair to seat himself.

Menus were placed in front of each man, and the host walked away, as a waitress came with a pitcher of water. Vincent and Mason removed the napkin from their glasses, and the middle-aged lady poured her ice water into Mason’s glass. She looked up to Mason, then quickly bearing her neck. Vincent’s eyes opened wide in shock. She’s a wolf shifter? I can’t even tell from looking at her! The waitress turned to pour water into the mage’s glass and turned her head to reveal her neck to him as well, then left through the doors.

Mason chuckled and flipped through his menu. “Yeah, that takes getting some used to. Vinnie, what sounds good?”

“I already have my heart set on the chicken carbonara. Biacci’s makes it like no one else.” The waitress came back in with a basket of buttered breadsticks. Vincent caught sight of Mason licking his bottom lip at the baked goods. Once they were set on the table, two of them were immediately snatched by the Alpha. A giggle came from the mage. “And what sounds good to you?”

Mason twiddled his breadstick between fingers and shot a lustful look at his mate. “You look pretty delicious.”

The statement went to Vincent’s groin and caused blood to rush to his cheeks. “Oh, Gods. I meant for dinner!”

A hearty laugh bellowed in Mason’s throat. “I think I’m going with the lasagna.” He took another bite of his warm breadstick. “Or maybe the beef brasato. Hell, I may order both. I’m pretty freaking hungry!”

Vincent withheld a giggle as he saw that the waitress came to take their orders. He ordered the carbonara dish with a side salad, and Mason ended up choosing both entrees and a side stracciatella soup. Once written down, the waitress left once more, leaving Vincent and Mason alone again.

The mage leaned back in his chair. "So is this one of the perks of being an Alpha? Booking this swanky dining room and getting first class service?"

Mason sipped from his glass and sat it down gently. "Among other things. The owner and I are good friends." He leaned forward on the table. "But I think being a mage would have pretty nice perks too."

"Yeah. It definitely comes in handy. So what all has Dave told you about me?"

"Well, pretty much everything. How you're damn handy with clairvoyancy and frost magic. And how you are one of the rare shadow mages." He saw that his mate was surprised to be addressed as that, and let out a small laugh. "He told me how you scared the shit out of him with that move you did in the bathroom in JD's. Oh man, I wish I was there to see his face!"

Vincent covered his mouth with a laugh. "He told you that? That was really funny. When he made an angry face, I about lost it."

The wolf howled in laughter, but subtly changed to a more serious face. "He also told me about this Stefan guy."

A depressed frown washed over Vincent. Yeah, almost forgot about him. Mace has been keeping me preoccupied. I need to get back to finding him.

"Vincent." He looked up to see a serious scowl on his boyfriend. "You and I just started dating, but you have gone through a terrible ordeal that I can not ignore."

Anger began filling through Mason, but he pushed it aside. "You live in my territory, and I will not stand idly by as someone's way of life is threatened under my watch. As long as Stefan is breathing, and you are living in Owensville, my pack and I will assist you in any way we can."

He saw Vincent's eyes tearing up and Mason reached out his hand to grab his mate's. "Hey, hey. Did I say something wrong?"

The mage couldn't help but swim in his emotions. I...I've never been offered help like this before. This big wolf guy shows up randomly, and is ready to just hand me the fucking world. I haven't done anything for him. And yet, there he is, giving me everything he's got.

"Mace...Mason. I...I just don't know what to say, or do, or, well...anything. Between you and Dave, you guys…" He bit his lip, catching himself from letting the dams under his eyes from bursting. "You guys have given and offered so much to me. And I don't know why!

"I haven't done anything productive toward you, or your pack, or anyone in this town.” Vincent couldn’t hold back any longer. Tears began flowing, but he didn’t care. He had been living alone for so long. Compassion from others felt like a mystery. Looking up to Mason, Vincent needed to know. “Why are you being so nice to me?”

A thin smile appeared as Mason let out a long sigh through his nose. Here we go. He’s all worked up, tears rushing down his face, and I’m about to tell him that he’s the destined love of my life. Not that it would sound crazy to him or anything. “Vin, I’m being nice because I care for you. I know we literally just met, but I feel something special with you. My wolf wanted to be near you ever since I laid eyes on you.” Mason squeezed Vincent’s hand a touch tighter. “You have been hurt. And that hurts me. I won’t stop until the pain in your life is gone.” He released a heavy sigh. Here goes nothing. “Vincent, I think you…”

A waft of air crossed Mason’s nose. Food’s coming. Can’t have members of my pack think I made my mate cry. He closed his eyes, wishing he had more time to talk to Vincent about their relationship. Another time, then.

“I think you shouldn’t let these thoughts cloud your judgement. I’m here to be your boyfriend. And as the pack Alpha, I can’t allow the possibility of this...murderer running in my territory.” Mason dug his eyes into Vincent’s, which have now had time to dry. “You have friends here. You just haven’t met them yet.”

The wolf lifted Vincent’s hand to kiss the forefingers. “Now, let’s worry about this later. The food is about to come through those doors. Can’t have everyone think I’m treating you wrong.”

Vincent sat and blinked, comprehending his boyfriend’s logic. I do have friends here, I was just too blind to see them. Dave was always my boss, but we go to breakfast and talk a lot. Miss Elaine helps me with my studies, bringing new books that might interest me. And now Mason. This big guy feels attracted to me in some way. I can tell he’s holding something back, but I’m not one to judge, what with me keeping my shadow magic in the proverbial dark. He wiped his eyes with his sleeve and took a deep breath.

“You’re right, Mace. We can talk more about it later. And I have a feeling that you, and your...wolf...would never treat me wrong.” A golden flash of Mason’s irises made the mage smile. The doors opened with the waitress carrying a serving platter, and the sizzling meat seared the air with its scent. She placed the plates in front of the men.

“Dinner is served, gentlemen.”


Damn. That was amazing! The two men nearly forgot everything that was said once they ate the first bite of their dinner. Vincent’s eyes rolled back into his skull for every nibble of his carbonara. He reluctantly let Mason have a piece after catching him sneaking looks. The wolf was so upset that he didn’t order it, he attempted to bribe Vincent with the brasato. When that didn’t work, the lasagna was next in the bidding. Sorry, bud. You ain’t getting your paws on my pasta. I treat this stuff like gold!

The conversations between the two were very inquisitive. Vincent revealed that he was originally from a small town in Maryland, but abandoned it once he began his adventures. He goes back once a year to visit around the town’s annual festival: grab some deep fried chocolate cookie dough, maybe have a beer. And see his parents. It was always the last thing Vincent did in town before leaving. The cemetery was gloomy, and centered around a willow tree. The mage wasn’t of age to decide how his parent’s should have been buried at the time of their deaths, and none of the relatives could stomach to make a decision. So the state gave them the standard small headstones.

They couldn’t even put them together on the same headstone. Vincent knew they were together under the earth, but it was a small detail that he wished he could change. Maybe one day, I can give them what they deserve.

Mason didn’t have much to add from their previous date about himself. Instead, he talked more about his pack dynamics. The pack covered half of the county, Owensville included. Vincent was astonished to learn who was under the Alpha’s influence. This is bonkers! The police, an aide at City Hall, and in different governmental offices throughout the county. And several owners of the best restaurants in town. Maybe there’ll be more dates in the future.

The wolf mentioned that nothing crazy happens in his territory. It is a relatively peaceful area: plenty of retirees, many of the townsfolk act like they appeared from ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ and had the lowest crime rate in the state of Kentucky. Mason described how he and Dave worked closely with the police chief to weed out the lingering drug problem the town had when Mason became the Alpha just a couple years ago. There were some meth heads operating outside town, but they are close to snuffing them out.

Mason also explained that he hosts bi-weekly pack meetings, where they go over important business, have a grill-out occasionally, and run in the woods. A confused look came across his mate's face.

"By run, I mean a four-legged run."

"Oh! That's neat! I would love to see a bunch of wolves all together!"

A grimace appeared on the bigger man's face. "I'm afraid that's not possible, Vinnie. You have to be pack to come to the meetings." Not that he wouldn't become pack soon, though.

He was certain that it wasn't intentional, but his mate made a pouty face, and it brought a smile to Mason. "Sorry, hot stuff. That's just the rules. But, if you're down for it, I'll let you meet my wolf."

Vincent looked up. Is...is he serious? "Your wolf? Like, your wolf wolf?" Mason nodded. "Umm, wouldn't that be, like...isn't that a little crazy? Me meeting a wolf?" He never felt more like an insane person. Meeting...a wolf. Is the wolf a person? Does he have a different personality? Is it like a dog? Does it play fetch and chew on sofas?

Mason couldn't help but laugh at his mate struggling with the concept. "No, no. It's not crazy. My wolf is just me. Just a little furrier and more animalistic. Not gonna lie, he's been dying to meet you." He saw Vincent's face turn pale. "Don't worry, I won't bite you. As long as you don't run or throw daggers, you can't be in any danger."

Color returned to Vincent, but still felt apprehensive. It seems really important to Mace for me to meet his wolf. And it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close without getting shredded to bits by one. "That sounds nice. When would be a good time?"

Mason could feel his wolf's heart soar knowing that he would be near his mate. "Well, how about tonight? I planned on inviting you back to my place for a movie night." And maybe a little more than a makeout session.

Vincent smiled. He was still shaking in his shoes, but excitement took over half of the nervousness. "Sounds like a plan."

"Then, what do you say we get out of here?" Mason got out of his seat and walked over to his mate. He took Vincent's hand and escorted him out of the chair.

They took two steps towards the door before Vincent pulled on Mason's hand. "Wait! Aren't we gonna pay?" The waitress never brought us a bill.

"Didn't I say that the owner and I were good friends?"

"You did."

"Did I say that he owed me a favor for shoveling out his driveway last winter?"

Vincent's mouth opened in astonishment. "We just got this dinner for free?" All Mason could do was grin as he pulled his mate out the double doors and down the staircase. Vincent giggled as he let his arm get dragged through the restaurant, and Mason had no intention of letting go.

The men reached Mason's truck, and the wolf guided the smaller man to the passenger door. Just as Vincent thought his boyfriend was going to open his door for him, Mason spun him around and pinned him against the door. The larger man put his body against Vincent's smaller frame.

Letting a moan escape his lips, Vincent pulled Mason closer. Need more of this. His body feels so good. He looked up to see the Alpha's shifted golden eyes, and felt his body turn to water. Mason dipped his head down and locked lips with his mate. A growl rumbled through the wolf's throat, excited that he was claiming his mate's mouth.

Mason let go of Vincent's lips and changed his target to his mate's neck. Once latched on, ecstasy swam through the Alpha's mind. He sucked on Vincent, pulling blood to the underside of the skin. Need to mark him, make it known he's mine. He felt his mate latch on to his back tight, struggling to stay quiet as Mason's tongue began tormenting the tender skin. Feeling the man under him squirm made his wolf go nuts. Mason's bulge became unbearable and he started grinding against his mate.

"Oh, Gods. Mace! You feel so good. Don't stop." Mason growled from the deepest pit of his throat as he heard his mate beg for more. Fuck, he can beg! If he keeps this up, might blow my load here and now. Need to stop!

When Mason felt that the marking met his standards, he released his mate and began catching his breath. He glanced down to his Vinnie. Heh, he's out of breath, too. Damn, he is too fucking cute! Mason narrowed his eyes, giving his mate a devilish look. I need you in my bed. Now!

"How 'bout we take this back to my place? You know...for a movie."

Vincent felt like putty in the man's hand. "Uh-huh. Oh, yeah." The mage would go along with anything his hot boyfriend wanted if it meant more contact. Mason opened the door for his little mate, and walked around to get in his own door. Putting the key in the ignition, both men finally noticed it was dark. Damn, night snuck up fast…

Mason grabbed his mate's hand, and pulled out of the side lot. "So, I live slightly outside of town. Just gotta hit Main and ride out Old State Road 47 for a couple miles. I think you'll like it!"

"Well, you're the driver. So what movie did you have in mind?"

"Not sure. I got a big collection, and I have all of the streaming services. What kind of movies do you like, hot stuff?"

"I like a good comedy, or action flick. But I swear, I do not do horror!"

Mason laughed as he turned the truck off Main Street and onto the Old State Road. He always disliked the road, since it didn't receive funding from city or county street departments for lighting. Just a couple traffic lights, his truck headlights, and the moon were the only source of illumination. The wolf didn't have to worry much, as he can see well in the dark, but many cars have been run off the road over the years.

"Horror movies aren't that bad! Besides, you'll have me to hold onto if you get too scared."

"I mean, that's a definite bonus, but I still don't do horror." Vincent kept his eyes on the pitch black road, noticing the passing green-lit traffic light. "I may have to hold you real tight."

A rumble came from Mason's throat. "I'll hold you and I won't let go." The wolf tossed a side-eye glance to his mate, just as Vincent looked up. His smile is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Tonight's already been great, and Gods know how much better it can get! Mason looked deep in those little hazel eyes, while trying to keep an eye on the road.

Vincent's smile faded, and a pale yellow light glowed in his right iris. "Mace. Mason!" The wolf shot his head to the left. Time seemed to slow down as Mason's instincts began to kick in. Thoughts filtered in too fast. Oncoming car. Intersection. Too late to stop! Brace!

A deep and loud grunt from Vincent commanded his attention, as the mage tipped his head back with his muscles trembling. Mason saw his hands were glowing a faded blue and slammed onto the dashboard. Thick sheets of ice shot outward along the dash, toward the driver side door at near lightning speed.

Just as the Alpha understood what his mate's goal was, the vehicles collided. Mason's head whip-lashed against the passenger headrest. The truck spun across the intersection, broken glass spreading across the asphalt.

Car alarms filled the quiet country air.

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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At the least, I think a strung out (is that the correct term?) meth head may have been driving that other car? At worst, maybe Stefan just made his first move?

Alpha Shifter / Mate relationships are always so VERY intense. I love it. I want it. Like their dinner date, that would be way perfect! WAY perfect!

Thanks Aaron. Can't believe you're a nube. Doing exceedingly well me thinks. Can't wait for the next chapter!

Edited by Buz
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4 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Suspect that this accident is no accident.  And it had been such a nice evening up until that point.  I do think that Mason needs to be honest and very upfront with Vincent.  Because of his past, he is not going to handle secrets well at all; even if they are for his benefit or good ones.  

Well written and the pacing is just excellent in this chapter.

Thank you for your comments! They are very insightful, and I always appreciate the compliments!

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Wow awesome chapter, a really great date  I too suspect there is more to this cliffhanger than meets the eye

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Completely enjoying this story!  I love shifter (wolf) stories and this one is right up there with the best!  Great job!!!

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6 minutes ago, Patch1 said:

Completely enjoying this story!  I love shifter (wolf) stories and this one is right up there with the best!  Great job!!!

This comment just made my day! Thank ya kindly!

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And just as things are going so well between our guys we have a car wreck? Aaaagghhhh! And now we wait for the next chapter. I love all the speculation by the other readers! Besides the good writing and pacing, you have some great dialogue! And best of all, these two wonderful characters! Thanks. 

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On 9/13/2020 at 4:06 AM, JeffreyL said:

And just as things are going so well between our guys we have a car wreck? Aaaagghhhh! And now we wait for the next chapter. I love all the speculation by the other readers! Besides the good writing and pacing, you have some great dialogue! And best of all, these two wonderful characters! Thanks. 

I am enjoying the reader speculation so much! But I can't help but leave a gallon of Kentucky sweet tea for y'all to sip on, because no one seems to mind what Miss Elaine thought was interesting about Vincent...1k words in so far on Chapter 4. Stay tuned!!!

Edited by astone2292
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The weaving of the storyline and more specifically the building relationship of our newly discovered couple is wonderfully done. The budding and never before experienced emotions of the characters are telegraphed to the readers In such fashion so as to evoke the shared experience.

The first steps toward bonding and becoming one seems to have taken a giant leap as our young mage has instinctively extended his protective bubble to include his “date,” Mace. Likewise, it seemed to somewhat imply that while rapidly gathering his power to protect them, young Vincent may have tapped into more native powers and abilities; that could indeed indicate a bonding could indeed yield a powerful couple, the likes of which tales of legends tell.

Wonderful story, easy to be drawn to follow this exciting adventure.

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Sorry for the double comment. Just had to re-read this chapter before I read the new one. 

The other two things I thought were that Mace maybe owns Biacci's? Also, the story seems to intimate that Vinnie may react negatively to a Mated relationship?

Anyway, on to the new l-o-n-g chapter. Excited!

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What a heartwarming and thrilling chapter.  What a Cliffie in the end but don’t we all love those? Haha

Looking forward to how this couple will face the world. 

So happy I found this story. 

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2 hours ago, gabz2000 said:


What a heartwarming and thrilling chapter.  What a Cliffie in the end but don’t we all love those? Haha

Looking forward to how this couple will face the world. 

So happy I found this story. 

And I'm happy right withcha! And oof, if ya like this cliffie, gotta keep reading! Looking forward to more comments, and thanks for reading!

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Oh shit! Wasn't expecting that kind of cliffhanger! I am agreeing with the others that the wreck  was no accident. Someone planned that! Hope they are both alright!

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4 hours ago, Story Reader said:

Oh shit! Wasn't expecting that kind of cliffhanger! I am agreeing with the others that the wreck  was no accident. Someone planned that! Hope they are both alright!

Glad you are liking the story so far! Can't wait for future comments! :)

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I think I spoke too soon he has a pack I think most wold stories I read the wolves all live in close together anyway loving this one as thanks 

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This was a terrible ending for a delightful meal. I hope the other driver has extensive coverage on himself, he may need it for non-accidental injuries.

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Really good chapter. I like the concept in your world that you can learn about any of this stuff in the library. The dinner was beautifully done and nice job on the detail. Also a good job on cliffhanger. :) Thankfully with the story completed, I don't have to wait to see what happens.

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3 hours ago, WolfM said:

Really good chapter. I like the concept in your world that you can learn about any of this stuff in the library. The dinner was beautifully done and nice job on the detail. Also a good job on cliffhanger. :) Thankfully with the story completed, I don't have to wait to see what happens.

Thanks for commenting, WolfM! The supernatural is still a secret to the general human population, but you can always find information at your local library.

Well, this story is complete. I'm still working on Rising in the Shadows, then I'll get started on Death in the Shadows. Then... It'll be done. 

Anywho, glad you are liking the story!

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One woild expect the characterization to be good in a story by you, Astone, but in this chapter you exceeded your normal abilities in the pacing. Starting out with the relaxed pace of the rising and the research in the library, an increased tension with the date at the restaurant, and the shock in the final scene, the pacing matched the level of tension from low to great as the day progressed.

In the car crash, did the mention of changes in the color imply that Vincent created a bubble of protection about the two if them to keep from either getting hurt in the collision? I got that impression from some of the wording. If that is true, then his powers have taken a leap up a notch because of the emergency. Because I am reading this story after it is published, I do not have the long wait that many of your current readers have so I do not mind a 'cliffie' as much as many do. But it certainly ends the chapter with a bang!

Mr Will

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57 minutes ago, Will Hawkins said:

One woild expect the characterization to be good in a story by you, Astone, but in this chapter you exceeded your normal abilities in the pacing. Starting out with the relaxed pace of the rising and the research in the library, an increased tension with the date at the restaurant, and the shock in the final scene, the pacing matched the level of tension from low to great as the day progressed.

In the car crash, did the mention of changes in the color imply that Vincent created a bubble of protection about the two if them to keep from either getting hurt in the collision? I got that impression from some of the wording. If that is true, then his powers have taken a leap up a notch because of the emergency. Because I am reading this story after it is published, I do not have the long wait that many of your current readers have so I do not mind a 'cliffie' as much as many do. But it certainly ends the chapter with a bang!

Mr Will

Thank you for this wonderful compliment! With this being my first adventure in writing, I wanted a more "natural" pace, both on a daily timetable and over the course of the adventure. 

It's not well explained, but one can assume when in a life-threatening situation, an untapped power could have risen to the occasion. 

I'm happy to see your enjoyment of the chapter and how it's written!


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