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Authors: Amber Kell

Tags: #M/M Paranormal Romance, #Shifters

A Prideless Man (6 page)

BOOK: A Prideless Man
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Amber Kell

37

thought you’d never be ready which is why I’ve always given you medication. Your memory lapses are from when I tweaked your medication and you partially shifted. Your mother made you and then abandoned you when you weren’t perfect.” The bitterness in his father’s voice made a lot of things clear.

“That’s why you hate shifters?”

His father nodded. “I want them to take responsibility for their actions. People Against Werekin was established to make the werekin aware of their issues. Werekin like to pretend finding a mate and settling down can solve everything, but when problems arise they dump their kids and move on. You can’t do that to children.”

“Well, if you are trying to alert them to issues, someone in your group is taking it further. The pride is talking about an agency called PAW that is trapping and killing shifters.

Could you come back to the lion pride with me? I want you to talk to some people.”

“We’ll have to wait for Melinda to come back. She’s got my car.”

“No, we don’t.” James dialled the sheriff’s number. “Hey, handsome, can Dad and I get a ride?”

“Where are you going?” Lou asked.

“To the pride house. I think we need to sit down and talk with the lions.”

“I’ll be there in a few.”

When he hung up he found his father staring at him. “What?”

“Is that the guy from the restaurant?”

“Yeah, he’s the town sheriff.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“Not yet. He says he’s my mate.”

His father paled. “That’s what your mother always said about me.”

“Then why did she leave? The lions keep telling me you never leave your mate.”

“I always thought it was because she didn’t want us anymore.” James squeezed his father’s shoulder. “Maybe we should do a little investigation of our own.”

“Yeah, maybe we should. I don’t know how I feel about you having a shifter as a mate but I’ll try to get to know him.”

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Amber Kell

38

“Thanks. You might want to talk to Kevin, one of the pride lions. He’s established a bunch of houses to take in homeless shifter kids. Maybe the two of you can work on something together.”

He got the first genuine smile he’d seen on his father’s face in a long while. “I’d like to talk to him.”

* * * *

Lou didn’t know what to expect when he drove back to the motel, his heart jumping around in his chest like a landed salmon. Slamming the truck into park he leapt out and ran up the outside staircase. He stopped in front of the motel room door taking a moment to collect himself. Before he could knock, the door swung open.

Coming face to face with his mate had his heart fluttering again. If he didn’t claim this beautiful man soon he was going to have a heart attack.

“Hi.” He knew he sounded lame but every other thought vanished from his mind when those gold-ringed brown eyes met his.

“Hi.” James’ smile was brilliant. Lou frantically scanned the other man for signs of injury.

“You okay?”

“Of course he’s fine. What did you think I was going to do to him?” James’ father glared at him over his mate’s shoulder.

Lou shrugged. “Something I’d have to kill you for.” Andrew gave a rusty laugh, like a man who was out of the habit. “As you can see, he’s fine, but we’d like to go talk to the lions. James told me some disturbing things about my organisation. It was never founded to capture and torture shifters. I want to hear what the lions have to say.”

A PRIDELESS MAN

Amber Kell

39

Chapter Four

“So you’re telling me you aren’t responsible for my sister’s kidnapping?” Dennis asked.

Lou, James, his father and most of the lion pride stood in their enormous living room.

“That’s what I’m saying.”

Dennis threw himself into an overstuffed chair. “Then she’s gone. I don’t know how to find her.”

Lou cleared his throat. “I can loan you KC.”

“KC?” Dennis looked up at him. Lou could see the despair in the other man’s eyes.

“My tech guy. He can find anything or anyone.” The more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. Besides, KC could use something else to focus on besides Lou’s love life.

“Let me call him and see if he has the time. It would be best if he does his work from the office—he has the software there.” He looked over at his mate. “I can ask him to find your mother if you’d like.”

James shrugged. “I’m not sure yet.”

“I’d like it if you don’t mind asking,” Andrew spoke up. The older man’s eyes pleaded with him to help.

“Okay.” Lou thought it would be good for both of them to find out what had happened to the white lion. Why she abandoned her young.

A quick phone call to the fox shifter had him sending the coyote shifter, Dennis, on his way.

KC loved research. Finding Dennis’ sister would make his day.

“After hearing what you’ve said about PAW I’m going to disband the group, or at least my participation in it. I can’t stay with a group who wants to destroy shifters. I have issues with your kind but I didn’t plan to become a leader of kidnappers and killers.” Andrew’s face was troubled.

“What about James’ medication? Dr Henrickson thinks we need to wean slowly from it or it could kill him.”

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40

Andrew nodded. “He’s been on it most of his life. It would be too great a shock to stop his intake completely. I’d be willing to work with your doctor and give him the proper medications. If James can fully shift he shouldn’t be on it any longer.” Lou didn’t quite trust his mate’s father yet. James suffered his entire life because of this man, good intentions or not. He wasn’t as ready as his mate to forgive and forget.

Before he could say anything else, James’ eyes rolled to the back of his head and he fell to the floor.

“Shit!” James’ father rushed to his son’s side. From his jacket pocket he pulled a small injector and quickly plunged it into his son’s arm.

Lou ran to James, falling to his knees beside his mate’s father. He growled at Andrew.

“What did you give him?”

“A concentrated dosage of medicine.”

“That’s what sent him to the hospital last time.” Andrew shook his head. “I doubt it. I’ll have to run some tests to see how his body has changed since his first shift, but my medication is made to stop this exact thing.”

“Well, your medication is wrong.”

Fury rushed through Lou. James’ father refused to see the danger to his own son. He would’ve argued further but James calmed, his breathing evened out and his entire body relaxed. The scent of panic vanished along with his symptoms.

Andrew gave him a smug look but refrained from stating the obvious.

“Last time he took a shot he ended up in the hospital.”

“Do you still have the syringe?”

“Dr Henrickson might.”

“Call him. I want to examine the vial.”

Lou called the hospital. Because of his job he had them on speed dial. A brief conversation with the doctor concluded he still had the vial on hand.

“Doc Henrickson saved it for study.”

“Excellent. If I can get someone to take me over there.”

“You can borrow one of the pack cars until you get yours back,” Talan graciously offered.

“Yeah, we’ve got tons of tanks.” Adrian smirked.

A PRIDELESS MAN

Amber Kell

41

“Maybe if you drove a tank yours wouldn’t be in the shop so much.” Talan teased, taking a careful step back from his mate.

Lou shook his head at their antics. He would’ve offered to take the other man but he needed to speak to his mate.

After making sure his son was feeling better, Andrew made a quick farewell and left.

“That was unexpected,” Talan said to the room at large. “I was expecting to hate him.”

“Me too,” James said in a wondering tone.

Lou wrapped an arm around his mate, snuggling with him on the couch where they set him after his attack. “I’d like to take you home with me. We’ve got a lot to discuss.” James gave him a nervous smile. “Okay.”

* * * *

The drive over to the sheriff’s place was made in silence. James didn’t know what to say and Lou appeared to be holding back. The quiet broke when they pulled up in front of a large farmhouse with a wrap-around porch.

“Here it is. Not super fancy but all mine.”

The house was painted white with red trim and screamed it was someone’s home.

James liked it immediately.

“It’s nice.”

The sheriff gave him a wide smile. “Thanks, I’ve been working on it whenever I have free time.”

“Maybe when I’m feeling better I can help,” James offered without thinking. Hell, he was already making plans with a man he barely knew. This mate stuff was bullshit. How could he fight a compulsion to settle down with the bear of his dreams when every fibre of his being yearned towards claiming the other man as his?

“I’d like that.”

James’ heart skipped a beat beneath the bear shifter’s gaze.

“Come inside, we need to talk.”

James sighed. Never in his life had any pleasant conversation began with that phrase.

Sighing, he left the shelter of the truck and headed for the front porch. By the time he got there Lou was already unlocking the front door. The medicine his father gave him made A PRIDELESS MAN

Amber Kell

42

his reactions sluggish but watching Lou’s ass ahead of him perked him up in more ways than one.

Lou flashed him a shy smile over his shoulder as he held the screen to let James in before him.

He was glad he’d retrieved his cane from the pride house. It was difficult enough to walk with the drugs in his system, the erection made the trek all the more challenging. As he stepped past the other man, he heard Lou inhale deeply and tried not to let it freak him out.

He wondered what he smelt like.

“You smell amazing.”

It was like Lou read his mind.

Trying not to show his nerves, he entered the farmhouse and stopped short at the entrance.

“Wow.”

A cavernous great room with exposed wooden beams flowed to an open gourmet kitchen complete with granite countertop and stainless steel double ovens.

“Do you like to cook?”

Lou smiled. “I like to eat. That usually leads to me cooking.”

“Huh. I can’t cook at all.”

“Then you obviously need someone to take care of you.” The bear looked ridiculously pleased at the notion as if he were excited to be the one to take care of James.

“I was sort of hoping I would become strong enough I could take care of myself for a change.”

Lou shook his head. “I don’t think you understand the mate concept yet. We are supposed to take care of each other.”

James thought it over. “I like that idea.” He didn’t mind someone taking care of him as long as it was reciprocal. The thought of taking care of the big sexy shifter appealed to him.

Lou closed the door, locking it behind him. “Come sit over on the couch, we have some things to straighten out.”

Hobbling over to the furniture, James plunked down less than gracefully onto the surface. His cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

“Don’t worry, love. Before you know it you’ll be as graceful as a cat.” A PRIDELESS MAN

Amber Kell

43

“Hopefully not only when I’m in cat form.” James frowned, the hand on his cane shaking slightly. “You really think I’ll be able to control my shift without the drugs.” Lou shrugged. “I don’t know. I do think if you can kick the drugs you’ll be better off.

It sounds like your dad had the best intentions and more than likely saved your life.

However, now that you’ve proven you can shift, we need to see if you can do it as easily as a full shifter.”

“Hopefully it won’t take too long. If shifting can cure my problems, my constant pain will be a thing of the past.” He didn’t dare yet dream of being completely pain-free. He’d carried the burden of constant agony his entire life. Even the idea of reduced pain was too much to hope for, like chasing a rainbow and finding the pot of gold.

Lou placed a gentle hand on his shoulder. “We will get through this. Whether your pain disappears or not, we’re meant to be together. Once you’ve understood that fact everything else will be easy.”

James laughed. “Will it? Is that how things work in your big bear brain?”

“Yep. Oh, and this.” Before James could say anything else, Lou’s mouth came down, kissing James with a fierce intensity, sending pinpricks of need across his skin and sensitising his flesh to Lou’s every touch. He moaned against the other man’s lips. Dreaming of a lover was nothing like the reality. Lou’s warm body heated him inside, his rough hands brought tingles to his skin and the bear’s low growls made James harder than granite. To know he had this kind of effect on another man, on this man, was the greatest aphrodisiac of all.

His cock hardened in his pants, pushing against the zipper.

“I’ll take care of you, babe.” Lou’s deep voice went growly with lust.

“Good.” He didn’t mind someone taking sexual care of him. He’d dreamed of this moment. Hot, wet dreams that ended with sweat and jism all over his skin.

“We should probably talk more but I’m going to die if I don’t have you.”

“I wouldn’t want that to happen,” James said with a smile. “I’m growing rather fond of you.” It was an understatement. He quickly wondered how his life would be without the bear shifter and didn’t like the answer. Lonely. Without the big, caring man beside him he would be lonely. For the first time he felt the lion growling inside him. His inner beast didn’t like the idea of not having the bear around.

He promptly forgot to think when Lou kissed everything out of his head.

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Amber Kell

44

Feeling took over thought as passion evaporated caution. He needed. A tearing sound filled the air. James’ eyes snapped open to see Lou’s uniform shirt torn in half with a piece in each of his hands.

“Oops. Sorry.”

Lou laughed. “Don’t worry. I buy them by the dozen. I’ve had more than one shifting accident.”

BOOK: A Prideless Man
13.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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