I stood wide eyed and gobsmacked as I watched my mate flee. My father will pay for the way he treated my mate. My mate. My fated mate at that. No one disrespects him – ever. Elder Easton will answer for his dismissive but aggressive comments to my mate. Father or not, mated or not, there will be consequences. My body trembling with anger I let out an almighty roar garnering the attention of everyone in attendance. When I turned to rip into my father, he was no longer with us. The coward had absconded like a coward.
One of the royal guards appeared by my side baring his neck to me.
“Alpha, would you like me to bring you the escapee?” he asked with confidence.
I needed a breath to think about how to handle the situation. Closing my eyes for a slight pause, the guard silently waited for an answer. I considered my response; the crown has not yet been shifted, but I find myself in a situation that needs to be dealt with respectfully and swiftly. Alpha Mate West was almost to my side when I opened my eyes.
“Please accept my apologies, Alpha Mate.” I bared my neck as a sign of respect.
Her brow furrowed in concern. “Is everything alright, Alpha Easton?” she asked clutching at a pendant around her neck. If I didn’t know any better I’d say it was a gift from her late husband that helped give her the strength to continue on without him.
“No, I’m afraid. It seems my father has disrespected your son upsetting him without provocation. May I impose upon you to utilize a few warriors to bring your son home, and two royal guards to watch my father?” I looked her right in the eyes. I wouldn’t cower or come across weak in my dealings. For two reasons, I was to be King and had promised myself to deal with any situation carefully, fair, and with a great deal of backbone. Second, but most important. Her son, Tanner, is my fated mate. He will always be the most important person in my life from now on.
“What happened? What did Tanner do? Is that why he left in flurry?” She rubbed her fingers on the pendant anxiously. “Oh dear, of course, of course you may utilize any resources of the Pride. This will all be yours in a matter of time, Alpha Rush.” She reached out and put her hand on my forearm gently. “It’s not like Tanner to misbehave or be rude.” She said worriedly more to herself than anyone else.
“I assure you; Tanner is the one who has been wronged in this situation. He was nothing but sweet, caring, and kind.” I assured her. “If you’ll allow me, I’d like to be there when you handle the situation with my father. Again, my apologies, Alpha Mate.”
“Of course, of course,” she waved a hand, “please go ahead.”
Not having slept a wink in three days, I wearily sat slumping in the chair looking out the window watching the young cubs chase after butterflies. I’d give anything to be that young and carefree again. Not that my childhood really was ever that easy.
After Elder Easton disrespected my mate at the welcome dinner he scurried off like a cockroach. Unfortunately, not too far and they were able to take him into custody. At the moment he’s on house arrest under the watchful eye of the Royal Guard in his room until he can be dealt with.
My mate, however, shifted and fled the premises into the woods. A warrior that had been ordered to find my mate told me they had sighted him with three lions from our Pride, one happened to be my brother. Beckett has assured me that my mate is fine physically but is not ready to see me. I want to kill Elder Easton right now. Thankfully, the Alpha Mate has prolonged her confrontation with the elder until she has spoken with her son. A saving grace for the elder if there ever was one.
Now that I’ve scented my mate, my body and lion are frustrated and want to rut. Somehow, I am expected to keep everything under control but the damn cat inside me is clawing his way to the surface. He knows his mate is here and is giving me hell trying to force me to seek him out. But I can’t do that. I have to respect my mate’s wishes. I’ll do it, even if it kills me. He’s my mate. My everything. Now that we’ve met and scented each other there will never be another that will hold a candle to my sandy haired, clover eyed munchkin.
Every minute that ticks by feels like an hour sitting in this office that Alpha Mate West had told me would be mine in a few short weeks. I am welcome to use it at any time. It seems impossible to accomplish anything; all I can do is think about my upset mate. I should have stepped in sooner, but I was in shock that my father had so blatantly went after the young lion. Sure, he didn’t know he was my mate at the time but that shouldn’t make any difference.
The elder’s behaviour has been escalating in just the few days we’ve been here in Sentinel Oaks. I need to find a way to contain him and the damage he seems intending on dealing out. This job is too big, too much responsibility for me alone. I don’t think I can do it, not without people I can trust and the only person right now is Beckett. It would be detrimental to Beckett and his plans to drag him into this. I gave him my word that he could live the life he’d always wanted. However, I do need someone I can trust to have my back.
My oldest and dearest friend. Listen to me, I’m turning into an eighty-year-old woman. I would love to have Nash by my side while I navigate this new life and responsibility. If there is anyone – other than Beckett – I trust to have my back it’s Nash. I wonder if he’d be interested in moving here to Sentinal Oaks. Join this pride with us. Maybe if I present it in a way that he won’t have to give up his family or his loyalty to our old Pride he’ll give it some thought. That’s it!
Pulling my phone from my pocket I scrolled for Nash’s contact and pressed to dial before I could change my mind. He picked before it even rang.
“Good evening Your Highness. How may I be of service?” I could hear the amusement in his put-on stuffy tone.
“You can kiss my ass, how about we start there?” I said with a chuckle.
“Left or right cheek, Your Highness. I’m partial to the saggy left side.” He belted out a laugh. “I’ll just grab the sanitising gel. Wouldn’t want that royal butt of yours to get any germs now.”
“You’re an ass, and my ass is not saggy,” I told him, “and I’m not the King yet. Ten days, twenty hours, and fifteen minutes before I lose everything to my lineage.” God, anyone would kill to be in my position and I’m whining like a pre-teen cub.
Nash’s tone changed completely from joking to serious. “That bad, huh?”
Sighing, I rubbed my fingers along the wood grain on my desk. “No, I guess not. It’s… an adjustment is all. The West family have been amazing the way they’ve welcomed me.” I paused and was quiet to sort out my thoughts. “Um… but… I was wondering–”
“How are you handling your father? I’m assuming he’s been insufferable.”
I snorted in response. “You have no idea. We’ve only been here five days and the man is already on lockdown with the royal guard.”
Nash let out a rich hardy laugh. “Holy shit, that’s priceless. And not at all unexpected. What did the asshole do?”
Without any thought to my words I blurted out my answer in a gruff angry tone. “He disrespected my mate.”
“YOUR WHAT?” Nash yelled so loud I had to pull the phone away from my ear.
“Oh, yeah,” I said putting the phone back to my ear ruefully, “I’ve met my mate. It’s complicated.”
The heavy breathing on the other end of the line told me Nash was none too happy this was the first he was hearing about it. I also imagine he was pissed on my behalf that my father had disrespected my mate.
A low rumbly growl came through the other end of the line ending in a roar. “I’ll fucking gut him, Rush. I mean it. I’m coming to you.” I heard him grunt and a chair scraping over the phone.
Sighing again, resigned, I leaned my forehead down to the desk with the phone still to my ear.
“Well, that’s where it gets a little more complicated. My mate is Tanner West. King Alpha West’s omega son.”
“Really?” Nash asked his voice high and incredulous. “That’s… um… that’s something.” This time his tone flat and even.
“Yep,” I answered.
I heard the office door creak open and the scent of my mate floated over to me calming me down in some ways but heightening my anxiety in others.
“I have to go,” I said without looking up. “I’ll send you the itinerary for your travel. Pack enough to stay until the ceremony for the Shifting of the Crown. I need you here, Nash. Talk later.” I quickly hung up and took a breath before sitting up to see my mate standing in front of my desk, arms crossed over his chest, nostrils flaring and his eyes wild… his skin red and splotchy. Before I apologise… and ask why he looked… he…
“Who is Nash?” my mate asked in an angry tone, his lips tight and white, even his adorable little hands now balled into fists at his sides, with eyes full of fire.
Huh? Nash? Oh. The temptation was too much. My mate is absolutely stunning in his anger, the red splotchy marks – which I assume is from poison oak – made him all that more adorable. The man before me, splotchiness aside, is everything and more than I could hope for.
Tanner is about four inches short of six foot. I like that I am going to have to bend down to kiss him. Or if I’m lucky he’ll let me pick him up to bring his lips closer to mine. When we kiss or mate I’m not sure I’ll be able to close my eyes when I can look into his green eyes, so green, almost the same shade clover. The man is going to be like my own good luck four leaf clover. They were big, wise, intelligent eyes; assessing eyes; but full of love, kindness, and warmth. When he smiled his beautiful smile, it reached his eyes turning them into bright green slits. Apparently, they do it when he is annoyed too, the exact way he’s looking at me right now.
“Don’t be jealous, my mate. Nash is my oldest friend; we grew up together. You are my mate.” I stepped out from behind the desk moving closer to my precious mate. He backed up a step, I moved closer. “Please tell me you are not jealous, my mate?” I asked while running a finger over the red marks on the right side of his face while he took another step back toward the wall. Of course, I followed him all the way until his back hit it with the tiniest gasp from his kissable lips. I leaned in pinning him in place. “So, beautiful. You are mine,” I stated an octave lower than my normal tone. My hand running through his stylish wavy sandy blond hair just so I could touch him. Oh, this man does things to me. To show him how excited he gets me I pushed my hard erection into his lower belly.
Looking up into my eyes with an almost sorrowful expression, my mate slid his hand between us and my pulse raced with anticipation. It slid from my waist up to my pecs where he pinched and twisted my nipple so freaking hard forcing me to back out of his personal space. Probably shouldn’t have done it with a grin on my face though. In retrospect that was stupid.
“Don’t grope me like some cheap omega,” he reprimanded me. “I am your mate,” he said sternly. Tanner leaned back against the wall resting his elbow on a bust of his father sitting on a pedestal next to him. From his weight it tilted before tipping. I managed to catch him with one arm while catching the bust with my free hand all the while the pedestal fell to the floor. He twisted in my arms looking up at me sheepishly. “Um… thank you?” I put him back on his feet, picked up the pedestal sitting it up right and setting the bust on it. “You can kiss me now,” Tanner said just above a whisper.
He’s so adorable I can’t stand it. Shuffling forward I pinned him to the wall, grabbing one ass cheek in each hand hefting him so we were eye to eye, his legs automatically wrapping around me. Tanner let out the cutest moan when our lips touched, his hips jutted forward when our tongues met. The next groan was mine, his flavor so sweet, coconut and vanilla just like his scent. The entire world fell away leaving me and my mate with the intoxicating aroma of his omega slick mixed with his sweet scent. My mate deepened the kiss while I rubbed my hard on against him searching for something. Releasing our lips, I kissed and nipped down the side of his jaw until I reached the spot where my mating mark would be.
“I need more, want more, want you,” Tanner panted his hands fisting my hair holding me to the crook of his neck. “Need you, Alpha.”
Fuck, I almost come in my pants when he called me Alpha.
“Not here, not like this, my mate,” I huffed into his skin. His scent so intoxicating I couldn’t concentrate.
“Down,” he demanded pushing me back with his hands. I obeyed letting him slide down the front of my body. My knees almost gave way when every inch of the front side of his body slid across my aching cock.
He grabbed my shirt looking over his shoulder at me with a smirk on his face as he led me to the bookcase behind the desk. Pulling forward on a brass bookend the shelves opened to a passageway. When we entered, small dim lights glowed leading the way to a small library surrounded in over filled bookshelves on two sides. The third wall entertained a small fireplace, the fourth a window wall letting in natural light. A bear skin rug lay in front of the fireplace, a wing back chair sat alone with a side table next to the window. A pile of books with various bookmarks holding the readers place sat atop of the small table. The natural light shone through the window with small dust particles bouncing on the beams.
“Woah! What is this place?” I asked my eyes not pausing for a moment distracting me from my mate. He put down a remote as the blinds closed over the windows and the fireplace ignited lighting the room with a warm glow.
“Later,” he said climbing my body like a tree, attacking my face with his mouth.
Regardless of our intermission with a location change he still had me hard as a nail. Life is going to be interesting until I learn to control my urges around him. But… not right now. Right now, I need to claim my mate. Carefully I went down on my knees lowering Tanner onto the rug as gently as possible. Hovering over my mate I kissed him like it would be my last act as a shifter on this earth. His hands gripped my hips pulling and tugging until I gave in laying over the top of him.
He ripped his head back abruptly breaking the kiss. “Claim me Alpha, mark me.”
Don’t have to ask me twice. I tore his clothes from his body, kissing every inch of his skin running my hands all over him. It wasn’t enough, it would never be enough. The man lay before me, beautiful in his glow. His red splotchy glow.
“Poison Oak?” I asked stopping myself from going further. “We need to get you into a bath.”
He lifted his head looking down at his marred body then waving his hand determinedly.
“After we are mated, Alpha. Stop poncing about and take me,” he demanded while scratching his arm.
“This is going to be quick. I want to stop, get you medic–”
He grabbed my face bringing it within an inch of his. “If you don’t claim me in the next ten seconds, I swear to the fates I am going to mate with your brother.”
I roared as my lion raged, trying to surface at the thought of anyone other than me touching my mate.
“That’s what I thought. Now get that tally whacker in me, Alpha,” he grunted indignantly lifting his knees practically to his shoulders presenting his hole to me. The ineffable moan coming all the way from my gut as his slick dripped from him. The need to taste him overwhelming, I lurched forward my tongue lapping as much of him as I could get. He wriggled and squirmed, the little noises he made fuelling my arousal.
There was no way I could lose my clothes fast enough. I ripped the suckers off my body tossing the shreds of material to the side before taking my place once again ready to claim my mate once and for all. Holding my cock I ran it through his slick, when it slid over his delectable hole he whimpered. I did another pass over just to tease him. But my mate is smart. Anticipating I would torture him a little when the head of my dick reached his hole, his legs moving at the speed of light wrapped around my hips forcing me to enter him. He let out a long moan as I slid inside in one slow glide. My… fuck… so warm, slick, heaven. Pure heaven.
“Arghhh!” I heard myself moan leaning over him, I placed a small slow kiss to his lips then whispering, “Are you okay?”
He swallowed hard, “Mm, um, yeah. Just, it’s a lot. Can you wait…”
“Do you want me to pull out?” I asked concerned about the look of pain on his face. It’s so hard not to just rut into him, my natural urges and instincts trying to break me, tempt me, to take him whether he was ready or not. I bit into my lip so hard I could taste blood. Fark!
Tanner nodded slightly with a whimper, “Move. Alpha. Slow.” His words broken and thready.
As I slid my cock slowly back, his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he roared.
“Oh, fu…eck. Do that again.” His hand hitting my shoulder in quick succession. “Again.”
Changing direction, I slowly pushed back into him making sure to rub along the bundle of nerves again. His legs tightened around me while he whimpered, “again,” over and over, eventually lifting his ass just a little to meet my slow thrusts his chant merging into “harder, faster.” After a few good thrusts the feel of my orgasm started to tingle at the bottom of my spine, my balls lifting, my knot forming inside him.
“Gonna come, Munchkin, are you ready?” I asked holding right on the edge.
“Yes,” he hissed, grabbing his cock tugging in rhythm with my movements, tilting his neck to the side giving me full access to lay my claiming mark. “Alpha.”
On his groan of Alpha and the sight of his release I fell screaming over the edge, my teeth elongating right before they sank into the luscious soft skin at the base of his neck. The way his entire body quivered and shook with his release overwhelming me. The taste of my mate had me shooting a second time while I lapped at the mark I’d left showing the world he belonged to me.
“So beautiful,” I panted leaving little kisses on his mark as I rolled sideways bringing his beautiful languid body with me so we could be comfortable waiting for my knot to release leaving us connected for now. No complaints from me, if I had my way, I’d carry him around all day so I could have him near me, so I could touch him whenever I wanted.
As our breathing returned to normal, I noticed a few changes I had not been expecting. First, our heartbeats had aligned, somewhere deep down I could feel his inside me separate from my own. Not because we were touching but simply we had become two halves of one. The second, I can feel his happiness, giddiness, and joy, with an underlying fear smothered in insecurity. What do I do with that? The fact we are attuned to each other’s emotions is daunting. A lot of responsibility. Also, I had never heard of anything like it before.
“What’s wrong?” Tanner asked over his shoulder his brow furrowed.
“I can feel you. I feel you all the way inside me. Everything. Your heartbeat, your emotions, it feels…” I trailed off not able to finish, there just are no words.
His head flopped back down on to my shoulder facing away from me again. “Weird. It feels weird. I can feel you too. Maybe we can talk to Elder Meridene, she’s been around a long time, probably would be able to tell us something.”
“Are you okay, Munchkin?” I asked because his tone was almost morose.
He answered after a few moments, “Yes, it’s a lot is all. I can’t believe you aren’t mad at me for what I did to your father.”
That got a snort of amusement out of me, at the same time my knot had deflated enough sliding out of my mate with a squelch. Tanner giggled uncontrollably turning to face me. “Okay, that’s embarrashing.”
I smirked. “Embarrashing, huh?”
His head lilted until his forehead met my chest hiding his face. “Oh, my gawd. You must think I’m a total dork, after that and turning your father’s face into a hankie. How can you stand to be around me?”
I grabbed my mate by the ass cheeks hauling his body to lay on top of mine. He fidgeted trying to get comfortable which only served to wake up my yawny satisfied lion and cock. Tanner caught onto this, his smile becoming mischievous while his hand slid between us.
“Ah.” I smacked his ass lightly, “No! First we talk.”
“But…” he whimpered lifting himself a little to look between us down to our cocks laying side by side.
“No,” I said with a chuckle.
“He looks so happy to see me,” he pointed down to our dicks.
“Oh, trust me he’s tickled pink.”
“Tickled pink,” Tanner murmured to himself with an adorably dorky chuckle.
“Precious, focus. I want you to hear me.”
“Ugh, precious,” he groused. “I prefer when you call me munchkin, not that I like that either but it’s better than the other.”
“Fine,” I sighed resignedly. I can see I’m going to get nowhere right now.
“Sorry,” he smiled sweetly wiggling his bum which caused a little friction down below making me moan in pleasure. “Go ahead, I’m listening.” Said with all the innocence in the world. The little shit.
“Tanner, sweetie? Is that you?” Alpha Mate Wests voice echoed down the passageway right before entering the room. Gasping, she quickly turned around and went to leave but then stopped and waited and tried to leave again.
On his mother’s gasp, Tanner squeaked and fell off me onto the floor with a thud. I grabbed the edge of the bear skin wrapping it over us in case she turned back around. I hope she doesn’t because it’s taking everything within me to remember this is his mother and not a threat with my mate vulnerable the way we were.
Alpha Mate cleared her throat. “I’m sorry, Alpha Rush,” she said still facing the doorway away from us. “But, is that Tanner with you?”
“Yes,” I growled unhappily.
“Hmm, okay. Sweetie, are you okay?”
My lion paced inside me angrily at the intrusion.
“Yes,” he squeaked.
“Thank the fates you’re okay. Um… will you come see me later?”
“Yes mother,” he answered timidly prompting his mother to scurry off.
I can feel his emotions rolling around inside me. The shame he feels doesn’t sit well with me. We have nothing to be ashamed of, we are fated mates. Fated mates that are now bonded and marked. Joined for all of eternity. Once Alpha Mate West had departed, I dragged my mate back to lay over the top of me where he belongs. Both of us whimpering when our crotches slid across each other. Tanner wriggled again to get comfortable and I grabbed his ass cheeks to hold him still. He hissed in pain ever so quietly; my lion roaring at me because we’d physically hurt our mate.
“I’m sorry munchkin, did I hurt you?” I asked feeling wretched.
“I’m okay,” he said lazily wiggling his hips slightly like he was trying to assess the amount of pain. “I think Tab A is too big for Slot B because my bum is a tad miserable.” He smiled warmly at me from my chest with a slight grimace.
“Let’s get you into a nice soothing bath, mate. We’re a mess and need your poison oak seen to." It only just dawned on me when he tried to scratch his belly without falling off me again that he must have been in discomfort. It was the first time he’d scratched since before we mated. Those mating pheromones are powerful blockers under the right circumstances.
Bath, then we get to deal with my father - joy.
Hi all, hope you enjoyed the next chapter of A Lion's Pride. Wes and I hope you are enjoying reading as much as we are delighted to write it. Leave a note to give us some feedback which may help us develop the story.