Following his family’s advice, Grayson goes off to college to expand his horizons beyond his small hometown. Years later, Grayson is ready to head back home after accomplishing his goals, both socially and academically. The holidays are the perfect time to return home with a mission in mind. Grayson is ready to start the next stage of his life, a new business and the man he’s been lusting at from afar for years, the sexy as hell Chance Knight.
Chance is a mechanic who owns Knights Auto Repair by day and the drummer for his local band Scott and the Crimson Knights by night. He enjoys his life in Vale Valley, and he has a thriving business and friends, the only thing missing in his life is a lover. With the holidays right around the corner, Chance envies the couples he sees around Vale Valley. It’s been a while since he’s had a warm body to cuddle with on the cold winter nights. A night playing with his band ends with a surprise, a sexy little thing he can't get out of his mind.
When Grayson makes a proposition to Chance for them to become lovers, does he say yes? Or does he walk away from the man that could be his heartbeat?
The Drummer's Heartbeat is the eleventh book in a shared world series about Vale Valley, a small town that is open to all who are searching for sweet love and their own happy ever after.
Chance Knight pulled his head from under the hood of the Chevy. He stepped back and pulled the rag from his back pocket, wiping the grease off his fingers.
“How bad is it?” Peter Torrent asked.
“Do you want me to tell you the truth or lie to you and take your money, knowing you’ll bring her back to me in a month with the same problem?”
“You need a new transmission. It didn’t help matters that you didn’t come in for your last oil change, or the new brakes I ordered for you to go with the new tires sitting in the corner.”
“Shit is right. You treat your baby like it’s nothing when it needs to be cared for and loved,” Chance scowled.
“Come on, Chance. Man, why do you have to be so hard on me? Can’t you cut me some slack?”
Chance looked at Peter and shook his head. The man might be his friend, but he was also an idiot. “No, I won’t cut you some slack’. It’s going to cost you a little over four thousand to get everything fixed.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “Dollars?”
“No, peanuts,” Chance snapped. “Of course, dollars.” He knew he was in a shitty mood but when he heard Peter’s clunker pulling up in his garage just as he was about to shut switch on the closed sign only added to his shitty mood.
“Come on, man, you have to give me a deal. I don’t have that kind of cash.”
Chance shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly, he wasn’t going to bend easily to Peter, no matter how much he begged. Chance closed the hood of Peter’s car and looked at its owner, shaking his head. He could give Peter a good deal, but he’d told the man on more than one occasion he needed to take care of his car. In Chance’s point of view, this was his way of punishing his friend.
“Come on, Chance, I need my car, man.”
“Then take it to another mechanic,” Chance told him as he switched on the closed sign.
“Dammit, Chance, you’re the only mechanic in town,” Peter yelled after him. “And besides you are the only one that I trust.”
“If you trust me, you should have brought the car in a month ago.”
“Are you going to keep bringing that up?”
Chance ignored Peter as he took the stairs two at a time stopping in front of the door that led to his apartment. He reached over to the case that held the extra keys to the loners he kept on hand. He grabbed the first key then turned and threw it to Peter who caught it with one hand.
“Take the fucking blue bug,” he instructed. Peter smiled thinking he’d gotten off easy. “You’re going to pay me every red cent it’s going to cost to fix your piece of junk. And don’t think I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for Erica, who I know depends you to get her around.”
“You got it,” Peter said happily.
“If the bug gets even a scratch, you’re paying to have it fixed after I kick your ass.”
Peter nodded and walked over to the loner. Chance wasn’t sure why he was being nice all of a sudden, he deserved to let Peter suffer, but he had Erica and the kids to think about in the whole situation. Fuck, Chance mentally cursed.
“You won’t regret this, I promise.”
“I already do,” Chance grumbled.
“Fuck, you’re a grumpy old bastard,” Peter said opening the door to the bug. “Maybe you need to get laid.”
“Get the hell out of my shop,” he snapped.
Wanting to punch his friend in the face, he took a deep breath scenting the change in the weather. It was a couple of weeks before Halloween, and it was getting colder a lot quicker than usual. The summer had gone by in a blink of an eye where Chance had spent most of the summer working and playing with his band which he enjoyed. They would only do a few lesser gigs after the holidays.
On the outside Chance pretended that he hated the holidays and was given the title of the town’s Grinch and tried to hide away in his apartment as much as he could. Part of the problem was that he tended to spend the holiday alone, which was why he didn’t want to admit that Peter’s statement hit a nerve. He watched as Peter peeled out of his garage and he winced when he heard the scrape of the car on the road.
He knew Peter was a lousy driver and was regretting giving the man one of his spares. He’d met the man six years ago when Peter and his family found their way into Vale Valley. Pressing the button, he stood at the top of the landing and watched to make sure the doors shut down completely.
Chance had no way how to explain the small town of Vale Valley that held five thousand people. It was a mythical place that seemed to accept the abnormal or in the mayor’s case, the normal. Chance had to admit Vale Valley wasn’t like any other town he’d lived in. No other town he knew kept the secret of shifters and every paranormal and supernatural being that lived only in dreams and nightmares.
To Chance and anyone who asked Vale Valley, wasn’t like any other small town in America. Who would believe him if he told them his best friend was a werewolf, and the mayor was well over one hundred years old but looked like she was in her sixties? According to Mayor Rosemary Vale, the magic surrounding Vale Valley only let it become visible to those in who were in need of a place to belong.
Turning the lights off, he opened the door leading to his apartment that took over the entire top floor. When he’d driven by the Welcome to Vale Valley sign twenty-two years ago, he wasn’t expecting to set down roots. Or start a business. He had only planned on spending two days and then move onto another until he could figure something out.
But each time he tried to leave, something held him back. It didn’t help he’d quickly became friends with the mayor who kept telling him that her small town needed a mechanic. The nearest one was three hours away, and she needed some who knew what they were doing.
When he told her, he had no money or capital, or any other excuses he could think of, she handed him and a loan contract and told him to pay it off in installments. She even had the place picked out for him. His first response was to ask her if she was crazy, but secretly he felt it was what he wanted and needed. Six months later he opened Knight’s Auto Repair, and he hadn’t regretted his decision since.
Before settling down in Vale Valley Chance was positive only human beings existed in the world until he saw a wolf turned into a man. At the time when he saw it happened, he’d had a couple of beers and thought he was drunk, but when the man spoke, he knew he was sober.
He walked into his bedroom stripping out of his work clothes, ready to wash the day away. He stood in front of the mirror waiting for the water to get as hot as he loved it. He wasn’t bad looking as a forty-five-year-old mechanic and part-time drummer. He kept his salt and pepper hair long in the middle and short on the sides. He rubbed his slightly hairy chest, flexing his tattooed muscular arms. Chance was kind of a health freak always watching what he ate along with working out every morning. He was sexy and hell, and he knew it.
So why the hell am I single?
Steam started to cloud his vision, and he knew it was time to get in the shower. Chance knew he was single because he had a type. He wasn’t a shifter but knew he had an alpha type personality. The only men Chance seemed to be attracted to were young, thin, and shorter than his six-foot-two height. And if they were fucking pretty, it was a plus to him. According to Scott his band mate who was a vampire and werewolf mix, Chance was looking for was an omega mate. Someone made for him and understood him better than anyone else.
Mate. He scoffed at the idea. I’ll leave all that supernatural shit, to Scott. It’s not a thing not a human thing. Hell, maybe I’m too old to even fall in love.
Dunking his head under the hot water he groaned as the soothing water hit him. He did not understand why he was suddenly thinking about the past or how he ended up in Vale Valley. He’d become a staple in the community and everyone knew each other.
Maybe it was the prospect of getting older and realizing he’d never had a steady lover. In a little under five months, he’ll turn forty-six. He didn’t need to worry about anyone forgetting his birthday, Mayor Rosemary always hand delivered a birthday card to his shop.
Chance had to admit that Mayor Rosemary was right about one thing regarding Vale Valley it was if the town was expecting him. He’d just graduated from college with no direction in life. He and his parents had a falling out because his father wanted him to go to law school like his brothers and sisters did then before working for their family law firm.
Chance had always seen himself as the black sheep of the family and went in a different direction. Only getting his Associate's degree, he gave a big ‘fuck you’ to his parents and law school and set out for parts unknown. There was one thing Chance knew how to do and that was fix cars.
Other’s called him a mechanic, but he saw himself as a doctor who specialized in engines. Chance loved what he did, there was nothing like pulling apart an engine finding the problem and fix it then putting it back together simply to hear that baby purr like a baby kitten.
Chance wouldn’t admit it out loud, but he had a serious hard-on for vintage cars. Guys back then knew how to make sophisticated model vehicles for the time and people of status. Not like today where they were putting every fucking gadget, they could think of, wanting it to be pretty and expensive, rather than making it feasible and safe.
Maybe I am a car snob?
He was the drummer for the band he created six years he started with Scott who was their lead singer. They were Scott and his Crimson Knights, who enjoyed writing their own music. And just liked his cars, he liked vintage music that brought out feelings and emotions. They had two local fans but to him and played for every major event that happened in Vale Valley.
For him Scott and the rest of the guys in the band, playing was a loved hobby; it had nothing to do with wanting to be famous or making money. He did enough of that with his shop and rebuilding custom cars on the side. He will never hurt for money. At forty-five years old Chance was set up for life.
Chance’s life was full but not complete. He needed someone compatible to share it with. A lover to come home to, in the traditional and non-traditional sense. He was a kinky fucker and wanted to be the one to take care of his lover’s every need. He saw himself as a Dominant and wanted the perfect boy. Either case Chance wanted a boy to care for. Maybe Scott was right and what he was looking for was an omega, but there was no chance of him finding one that would be in the kinky shit he was in.
The few submissives he’d met at the BDSM clubs he visited over the years all the seemed same and performed as if the same dominant trained them. Chance wanted someone he could train and mold simply for him. He didn’t want predictability from his submissive, after all, when a boy misbehaves, the fun is doling out their sweet punishment. Chance shook the thoughts out of his head and concentrated on finishing his shower. Maybe beating the hell out of the drums and drowning the loneliness he felt to some loud ass music sounded good to Chance after the way he’d been feeling lately.
Grayson put the last of his boxes on the floor and looked around his empty bedroom. After six years he was finally going home.
“Are you all set?”
He turned and looked at Anita, his roommate, leaning against the door frame with a sad puppy dog look on her face. They’d met when he’d started university and simply hit it off. According to her, he had ‘fresh meat lost in a big city’ written on his forehead. She’d been a great friend to him and he hoped he was the same to her.
“I can’t believe this is the last time we might see each other for a while,” she said to him. Why are you rushing home so quickly?” she whined.
Grayson chuckled. “It’s time for me to go home sweet’s I’ve been here long enough.”
“Can’t you at least stay until after your birthday? That’s what in a couple of weeks, right? I’ll make you an apple pie from scratch.”
“You’re really pulling out all the stops, aren’t you?”
“Hey, I’m just to try to keep my bestie with me for as long as possible.” She walked over to him and pulled him into a tight hug. “I’m going to miss you, small town,” she said using the nickname she gave him from the day they met.
“You can always come with me,” he told her, wrapping his around her slender waist.
“I can’t,” she blurted out. “I just got a new job, remember? And I’m trying to knock out my last classes. Plus, I’m Professor Carter’s teacher assistant this semester.”
“You sound busy,” Grayson commented.
“I’m just trying to be like you.”
“You’re the one was crazy and took more classes than they needed so they could graduate with two Master’s degrees. I’m not sure how you were able to complete your internship with all you had going on.” She pulled out of his arms then walked over to his twin size bed and sat down.
“It wasn’t easy, I sacrificed a lot of my fun time, remember?”
“That’s why you should stay a bit longer.”
“Hey, I stayed a couple months longer than I wanted.”
He was crazy for finishing his studies quicker than most. Taking classes both online and in class, not going home for summer or winter holidays. Getting his degree in sports therapy as well in holistic oriental medicine. The only time he took one was for spring break.
Everyone needs to have fun sometimes.
The only time he’d gone back home was for his great-aunt Ermaline’s funeral which fostered his drive to finish school as quickly as possible. Grayson was the same way in high school, being one of the five students to graduate with not only his diploma but an Associate’s degree as well.
“It was hard going home for Erma’s funeral even if it was for one day. Gods, it was hard getting on that plane to come back here.”
Anita sighed. “Never knew someone who loved any kind of small town living like you.”
A smile tugged on his lips. “If you ever visited Vale Valley, you’d understand.”
“You’ve been telling me that since I met you.”
“It’s the truth,” he beamed.
Grayson loved Vale Valley, his grandmother had to talk him into leaving.
“You need experience before you settle down,” she told him. “Trust me, you will understand when the time comes.”
His parents simply nodded and agreed with her. Few people could disagree or argue with Rosemary Vale. She’d been the town’s mayor since forever.
“I bet your parents are happy that you’re finally coming home.”
“Nope, they have no idea I’m coming home. My mom keeps asking if I’m coming home next summer and I keep changing the subject. But I have a feeling she suspects something’s up, since I haven’t given her my graduation date.”
“Goddess you have that sappy look on your face again. Are you sure it’s the town you’re ready to go home to and not some farm boy you left behind?”
He walked over to the door, picking up his bag and suitcase. “He’s not a boy, and as far as I know he’s never worked on a farm.” He smirked. “But I doubt he knows I’m alive. So, for now, I’m just a boy missing his family and small-town living. He shrugged his shoulders. “I did what my parents and Nana wanted by going to college and getting my degrees, now it’s time to go home and full fill my dreams.”
“And what’s that again?”
“Shit, woman, how many times do I need to repeat my plans?”
“As many times as,” she snapped, and Grayson was a bit taken back.
What the hell is going on with her?
“I want for you to make me understand why you need to do it in a small town and not here.”
“Because Vale needs me,” he said for the hundredth time since he told her his plans. They’ve disagreed about him opening his own health and aromatherapy center.
“Come on, small town, you worked hard on your degrees and could make a killing working for any national sports team.” She narrowed her eyes at him. “You keep telling me that your hometown needs you when I think you’re the one that needs it.”
Of course, I need it. I need to feel and see the towns magic to feel whole again, he mentally yelled. Anita didn’t know about the secrets of Vale or that she had been living with a shifter all these years. But instead, he said. “I know I can. But not everything is about money.”
“Fine, it’s not about money, again why not open your health center here?”
“Seriously, there’s a freaking gym practically on every corner in this state. I came here with a plan in mind and now that I’ve accomplished that, it’s time for me to go.”
“That’s what I don’t get,” Anita said getting up from the bed.
“What do you mean?”
“You talk as if your family is loaded, but I’ve seen the way you eat. At one point I thought I saw ramen noodles coming out of your nose.”
The truth was his family was quite well off. But Grayson was never one to splurge. Other than paying for his tuition and books, he didn’t see the need to spend loads of money just because he had it in the bank. Besides, he was sinking everything he had into building his health center. He grinned thinking of his family and friends that he couldn’t wait to see. His parents didn’t like the fact that he never came home on his breaks, but they respected his drive to go after what he wanted. Grayson walked back over to her and pulled her in his arms. He pulled back and kissed her on the side of her head.
“Call me if you need me.”
She nodded. He was about to walk away but she stopped him by grabbing on to his arm. Grayson looked at her and had the feeling something else was bothering her. It wasn’t about him leaving, she’d known that he was going to leave for months.
“What’s up?” She stared at him for a few seconds and he got a bit worried. “Are you all right?”
“Yeah,” she told him, but he had the feeling she wasn’t telling him the truth. “I’ll make sure that the movers don’t break anything when they pack your stuff.” She pointed to the boxes behind him. “Go on, get out of here or you’ll be stuck in traffic.”
He stared at her for a few seconds, getting the feeling that she wasn’t being completely honest with him. Something told him that he should stay and talk things out with her and have her tell him what’s really bothering her.
“You know you can tell me if anything is bothering you.”
Anita rolled her eyes. “Goodness, you’re a mother hen. I’m fine.”
Sighing, he realized that she wasn’t going to tell him anything. He leaned and kissed her again on her forehead then walked out of his apartment, and this time she didn’t stop him. Grayson and Anita had shared the apartment for five years. They’d stayed in the dorms their freshman year but decided to get an apartment in their sophomore year. He took the steps down and stood in front of his little car that his dad had gifted to him on his eighteenth birthday. It had kept up with his busy schedule the entire time he was in school and it would take him back home. He would miss Chamberlin City, but not enough to live there for the rest of his life.
Grayson got in his car and started it up, pulling out into traffic. It would take him three days to get home and he couldn’t wait. He wasn’t lying when he told Anita that Vale Valley was special. There was something about his hometown that a big city couldn’t satisfy him. The people didn’t connect or try to get to know each other. Everyone was always pushing and rushing to get somewhere. No one had time to slow down and see what was right in front of them. He missed the slow pace of Vale Valley.
His hometown was as mysterious as it was beautiful, a town that welcomed the natural and the unnatural with open arms. He smirked thinking about his family. His mother was a mermaid, and his father was part werewolf, thanks to his grandmother Rosemary. But his family was a mix of every supernatural under the sun and moon. Witches, vampires, werewolves, mermaids, selkies, and the occasional human who had superhuman strength thanks to their bloodline. His grandmother was also one of the longest living female alpha werewolf and saw her five hundred pack members as her family.
Grayson was sure that people would call him crazy and put in an asylum if he told anyone even Anita that most men living in Vale Valley could get pregnant or that he had cauldron brewing, spell casting witches in his neighborhood. He was sure that no one would believe him that vampires and werewolves existed would they believe him.
One of his friends growing up was a reindeer who’d kick their ass if asked if he’d ever pulled Santa’s sleigh. Grayson was stupid to think that Vale Valley was the only place supernaturals existed but, but it was the only place where they could be themselves.
With the mixture in his lineage, Grayson would be able to get pregnant because he was also an omega. That’s why he was careful on spring break outings, he was young and healthy and loved sex. But he wasn’t crazy. He got strange looks when he told his bed partner to double up on condoms. But it didn’t stop him from having great sex.
From a young age Grayson knew he was an omega, and a bit kinky in bed. The guys he tended to go for were taller, broader in the shoulders, hard muscles, and much older than him. He was twenty-four years old and preferred his men on the mature side and liked to be called daddy in bed.
It turned him on to say and he saw how much it turned on his bed partner to hear it. He loved it all, getting spanked, being tied up, being completely dominated in and out of bed. He wanted a career sure, but behind closed doors he wanted to give his partner complete control.
Anita once commented that he had daddy issues which was why he went for older men. He sweetly told her she was wrong. The way he saw it, he wasn’t starved for attention from his father. He and his dad got along great and butted head sometimes, but he supported Grayson with both words and actions. What he wanted was a leather daddy.
He’d been to a few BDSM clubs when he gave himself time to have fun. The only contracts he signed were for that night. But now he was looking for something permanent. The question was, would he find what he was looking for in Vale Valley? One good thing about going away for college was no one knew or cared that his father was the sheriff or that his grandmother was the mayor. He wasn’t seen as an untouchable and had happily lost his virginity his freshman year.
So, why the hell am I going back home?
It wasn’t as if he had a terrible upbringing. His grandmother and parents pampered him and his sister Monique. Anita was right, he could work at any Fortune 500 company, but he wouldn’t be happy. And he knew he would be that good at his job. Grayson knew that his heart belonged home in Vale Valley even if he didn’t find the man of his dreams. He wouldn’t regret his choices to return to his small-town life.
Grayson switched off his mind and focused on the long drive home. He hadn’t told his parents that he was coming home early or that he was practically graduated. He still had one class to finish but that one he was doing online. It would take him at least three days to get home. He couldn’t wait to see and hold his family.
He’d spoken to them practically every day or when his schedule had allowed and saw them whenever his family came to visit. But it’d been a few months since he last saw them. Doing it over Skype was nothing like having one his mom’s hugs, or hearing his sister’s chuckle, his dad’s booming voice, and his grandmother butting into everyone’s business. Nothing stayed a secret where she was concerned. She was the town’s busy-body and felt it was her duty to take care of everyone in town.
Grayson really missed her. He bit his lips trying to hold in his excitement. Grayson had a feeling the minute she saw him she would be meddling in his life and he’d allow it for a little while. He just hoped she didn’t meddle too far. His family might be unconventional to human standards, but he didn’t think they would understand his need to be spanked, or tied up, while he was being fucked.
Nope, that will be my little secret. No one needs to know what I enjoy in bed.
It was a little after six when Grayson pulled up to his home a few days after leaving school. He drove mostly in the day and spent his nights in hotels when he started getting tired, so he wasn’t as exhausted as he could have been after the long trip.
He turned off the car then leaned against the steering wheel staring at his childhood home — a two-story that his parents turned into a four-bedroom house with three and a half bathrooms. His mom and dad had built it when they had found out they were pregnant with twins. He was happy to see that it was still standing.
Grayson couldn’t wait for the next holiday. He hated missing the holidays over the years and planned on making it up to his family. Especially Christmas, which seemed to be a month-long celebration in Vale Valley starting right after or in some cases before Thanksgiving. Lights and decorations, ice skating that followed right after the big Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the town square, hot chocolate, secret Santa’s, and the scent of fresh pine and cinnamon that seemed to be everywhere he went.
On Christmas Eve his parents would hold a Christmas party where it looked like the entire town was in their home. Also, on that night if everyone listened closely the guests could hear some of the members from each pack joining together for the annual Christmas Eve pack run. Christmas day would be reserved for family, where everyone stayed in their pajama’s all day, opened presents, and watched almost every Christmas movie that was ever made.
Yeah, it’s good to be home.
He looked down the block and then at his house. His town was filled with people who were all holiday nuts and didn’t care who knew about it. His mom was one of those nuts and liked to have the house decorated and shining like the brightest star, brighter than any of the other houses on the block. His mom, Katarina, had a system that she followed every year without fail.
It was a big deal, well in their home it was. First, she focused some of her energy on the outside, then the Christmas tree, and spent days baking dozens of different cookies where she donated them to the local church and business. And that was in between her teaching at the elementary school.
Now I know where I get my work ethics from. Just thinking about everything she does makes me exhausted.
He grabbed his car keys then reached for his suitcase that was sitting in the passenger seat. He opened the door and got out still looking up at the house, as he inhaled the fresh scent of the changing season and excitement bubbled inside of him. The lights were on downstairs, and just like clockwork, he knew that his parents were having dinner. He smirked and practically ran up to the front door. He stood there for a few seconds trying to calm himself before opening the door.
“Hey, anybody home,” he said not loud enough for his family to hear as he stepped inside and set his case down.
He heard chatter coming from the dining room. Closing the door quietly, he walked down the hall. The scent of his mom’s cooking greeted him with a happy grin. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes. The closer he got to the living room he was able to distinguish the voices. He stopped and listened, eavesdropping on the conversation that his family was engaged in. He should feel guilty, but he didn’t.
“Your brother is going to be so happy when we call him later,” Katarina said.
“He’s going to be so surprised, something I’ve never been able to do, ever,” Monique said.
“I’m going to be a great-grandmother,” his nana gushed. “Now we just need your brother to find his mate and get pregnant.”
He gasped then stepped into the room. “You’re pregnant?”
All their heads turned, and eyes widened. He braced himself for the loud screams he knew was going to come from his grandmother, sister, and mom.
“Grayson, you’re home.” Monique jumped out of her chair and ran over to him, throwing herself in arms. He was shorter than her at five foot ten, but he caught her easily.
“Honey, why didn’t you tell us you were coming home?” Katarina asked.
He gently set his sister down and pulled his mom into his arms. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“You and your sister and your surprises. First, she finds her mate and they elope telling us later, and you coming home early. Either way, they are wonderful surprises.” she said as she leaned back and cupped his cheeks with her hands. “Wait, what about the rest of your studies? We were all so excited to see you get your degree.”
“I sort of finished early. You know I hate all that pomp and circumstances. And besides, I missed you guys. I missed being home.”
Before he could say anything, his dad wrapped his arms around them, crushing them in a tighter hug. “It’s good to have you home, son,” he said when they separated.
“It’s really good to be home.”
“Come on, sit down,” his mom said guiding him over to the table. “Are you hungry?”
“For your home cooking, always.”
“Oh gods, mom, don’t treat him like a baby now that he’s home.”
“Hush you,” Katrina chastised Monique.
He sat down in the empty seat next to Monique’s husband who he hadn’t formally met. Cordell was an alpha werewolf.
“It’s nice to finally meet the man that stole my little sister’s heart.”
Cordell beamed and wrapped his free arm around Monique. His sister hadn’t removed the smile from her lips.
It’s good to see her happy.
“Thanks,” Cordell said. “And please call me Cord, we’re family.”
“You got it.”
Grayson and Monique were twins, and while he went off to college like the good little boy he was, his sister had bucked the system and had taken a year off from college to travel around Europe. His parents weren’t happy, but Monique had always played to her own tune. It was during one of her trips when she met Cordell. Grayson was looking forward to getting to know his brother-in-law.
“So, what’s been going on since I’ve been gone?” he asked and nodded, thanking his mom for the plate she just handed to him. He took his first bite and moaned. He sincerely missed his mom’s cooking.
“Where do we begin,” his grandmother started.
Grayson continued listening to his grandmother and dad update him on what’s been going on with their little town that seemed to have grown since the last time he’d come home. More supernaturals were finding their sweet little town. He’d missed the light atmosphere and was soaking up the love he was feeling.
There’s nothing like being home
He ran out of fear, but was found because of love. . .
As the last of his kind, Blayze McKnight was never taught the way of the dragon. And the moment he joined the Pryde Pack, he knew it was only a matter of time before everyone found out he wasn’t what he claimed to be. After shifting into his true form to save the man he wants, but can never claim as his, he runs.
Terrified of rejection, Blayze turns his back on the friends and the pack he once called home—and gives up on ever finding his Draco Corde. His dragon heart.
The day Ryland Burnett met Blayze, he knew the man belonged to him—that they were mates for life. And he’s never been wrong before, especially when he follows his gut. After being injured in a fight, he wakes up in the hospital expecting to see his mate by his side, only to learn Blayze is gone. Ryland wastes no time going in search of his soul mate.
But finding Blayze is the easy part. What they face next could tear them apart. Will their love be strong enough to withstand the test?
Disclaimer: This is not a standalone. This book starts directly after the first book in the Pryde Shifter Series. This book also contains Mpreg but is not the focus of the story. This book contains explicit language and is intended for adult readers over the age of 18+
“Son, we’re home.” Came a gruff voice from another part of the house just as the sound of a door closed.
Blayze’s eyes widened. “Shit, I need you to leave,” he said trying to push Ryland towards the front door.
“Why don’t you want me to meet your parents?” Ryland asked stopping his movement.
“Because I don’t want you giving my mother any crazy ideas,” he snapped. “Bad enough they know more about supernaturals than they should.”“So they know you’re a dracomen?” Ryland asked. Blayze didn’t get a chance to answer because his mother walked into the room.
“There you are, son your father and I brought back some of the fried chicken and potato salad you love so much from Clark’s Diner.” His mother stopped talking when she walked into the living room and stopped when she saw them. “Blayze, I didn’t know you had company?” She asked looking at Ryland. “Janet McKnight.”
“Ryland Burnett, ma’am, I’m your son’s…”
“Friend,” Blayze added before Ryland could finish his introduction. “He’s a friend of mine.”
“Uh huh,” she said not sounding convinced. “Well do you plan on staying for dinner?” she asked Ryland, then looked at Blayze. “Your Pop is so happy that you’re home he’s in the mood to barbecue.”
Blayze licked his lips, he could still feel the lingering warmth of Ryland’s finger’s still on them. He wanted to look back to see if Ryland was staring at his ass and purposely put an extra sway in his walk.
“Keep walking like that and I’ll think twice about being a gentleman and not molest you with your parents in the house,” Ryland deep voiced whispered causing Blayze to stumble just a bit he grabbed onto the wall to stop from falling.
Fuck, Blayze mentally cursed, that was new. He watched as Ryland walked passed him into the kitchen. It took Blayze a second to get himself together before joining his mother and Ryland in the kitchen. His mother was asking Ryland to reach a bowl that sat on the far right of the top cupboard. Blayze couldn’t keep his eyes off Ryland’s muscled arms and the memory of being in the man’s arms pressed against his chest made him feel safe and secure. His beast preened as if it was a peacock showing it’s pretty feathers trying to attract a mate.
He closed his eyes blocking out his thoughts. He wasn’t going to entertain the thought. Ryland wasn’t his and he didn’t have a right to feel that way when the man belonged to someone else. It still didn’t stop him from feeling jealous at the thought. He turned his attention from Ryland and looked at the bags of groceries sitting on the counter. It was more than enough food for an impromptu barbecue of three even if they did have a surprised guess.
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