Authors: Amber Kell
Tags: #M/M Paranormal Romance, #Shifters
A Total-E-Bound Publication
A Prideful Mate
©Copyright Amber Kell 2011
Cover Art by Natalie Winters ©Copyright February 2011
Edited by Andrea Grimm
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2011 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
This book contains sexually explicit content, which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has been rated
A PRIDEFUL MATE
Thanks to my fans who give me all those supportive notes and emails.
You don’t know how much encouragement means to a writer.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmark mentioned in this work of fiction:
iPhone: Apple Inc.
A PRIDEFUL MATE
Kevin looked out the window at the pride of lions sunning on the porch, and released the sigh building in his chest. Leaning against the window frame he thought over his life. As much as he loved the ladies, the addition of Adrian, the alpha’s mate, brought back feelings he’d long suppressed. The craving for the touch of another man burned through him each time he saw Talon stroke Adrian’s skin.
Kevin didn’t want Adrian for himself—he wasn’t suicidal—but the looks exchanged between the mated pair reminded Kevin how good it could be with another man.
As much as he loved the lush feel of a woman’s body, he’d always known it was the hard form of a man he preferred. Now that he had two cubs of his own, it was time to find his mate.
“Thinking about leaving us?” Tia, the mother of his little boys, wrapped her arms around his waist, settling her chin on his shoulder.
Kevin knew she was asking, more for curiosity, than that she cared if he left the pride.
Tia was more than capable of raising their boys, but she was his friend and cared for him in her own offhand lion way.
Kevin sighed again. “Not really.” He nodded towards the couch where Adrian was curled up beside Talon. For a lone wolf, the smaller man was a cuddler. “Just wishing for a mate of my own, I want what they have.”
Tia tilted her head. “Extremely loud sex?”
Kevin threw back his head, laughing. “No. Well, I wouldn’t object to that either, but I meant a relationship with a guy.”
“Pickings are a little lean on the mountain, big guy,” Tia said, releasing him and giving him an affectionate pat on his back. “Maybe you should ask Adrian if he knows anyone.” Shaking his head, Kevin looked at the pair. “I don’t think I could go for a wolf. Don’t get me wrong,” he held up his hands to ward off a blow, “there’s nothing wrong with Adrian. I just have a feeling my mate will be feline.” He took a careful step away from Tia in A PRIDEFUL MATE
case she decided to attack anyway. The females were psychotically attached to Adrian, mostly because he made them chocolate treats. They all purred whenever he stepped foot into the kitchen. Kevin suspected Adrian laced his brownies with catnip, but he’d yet been able to catch the wolf at it.
Tia frowned. “There aren’t any other prides nearby. Oh!” Her face lit up. “What about that new dating service.”
Kevin let his expression show his opinion of that idea. “I’m not signing up with Werekin Wanted. I don’t care if they guarantee a match or your money back.”
“Hah!” Tia pointed an accusatory finger at him. “You looked into them.” Kevin blushed. He hated to admit it. He had considered the site. Shit, he was getting desperate, but as Tia said there weren’t a lot of choices up on the mountain.
“I might have looked at the site, but I don’t think I can go through with it. I mean how pathetic is a guy who finds someone through an online dating service?”
“About as pathetic as a guy who’s afraid to try because he might fail,” Tia said. She nudged him with her shoulder. “The boys are old enough that you don’t need to be here all the time. They aren’t babies.”
“I know.” How could he explain that he had an unnatural affection for his children?
Most lions would’ve moved on after his babies were born, but Kevin adored his five and seven-year-old and couldn’t bear to leave them.
“I’m not saying you have to go,” Tia said, as if reading his mind. “We all love having you here, we just want you to be happy.”
“I know, darlin’.” He gave the female lion an affectionate smile. “You’re sweet on me.” Tia gave a snort. “You may be great in bed, darlin’,” she said, mimicking his accent,
“but we both know it isn’t a love connection.” Kevin smiled back. “But we’ve had some fun.”
“Yes, we have.” Tia grabbed his wrist. “Now come with me.”
“Hey, Adrian, can I borrow one of your computers?” Tia called across the room.
Adrian lifted his head from Talan’s lap. “No problem. Use the laptop with the green case.”
A PRIDEFUL MATE
Adrian was weird about his computers, but since they contained his livelihood, Kevin didn’t hold it against him.
Kevin didn’t speak while Tia dragged him into Adrian’s new office. The wolf’s digs were amazing. There was a wall of glass that looked out across their forested property with a special coating that darkened when it was bright outside. The furniture was comfortable leather, and his work desk, covered with a multitude of computers, spread along an entire wall.
Interspersed throughout the room were display cabinets encasing limited edition paraphernalia from video games Adrian had worked on, including a full reproduction of an ogre axe with a real blade.
Shaking his head at the wolf’s outlandish collection, Kevin watched Tia grab the green laptop and open the case.
“Come sit here,” she said, pointing to the chair beside her.
Sighing, Kevin plopped down onto the spot indicated. He knew better than to argue.
It only took her a moment to get to the site. The dating home page showed a bunch of people gazing with disgusting adoration into each other’s eyes.
“I bet they used actors,” Kevin grumbled. Even as he said it, he doubted they did. The pairs had the same expression in their eyes Adrian and Talan did when they looked at each other.
“Stop it.” Tia nudged Kevin in the shoulder. “Let’s do a little shopping shall we?”
“Don’t we have to sign up for this?”
“Nope, see.” She pointed to the note in the corner of the screen. It stated viewing was free. He would only have to sign up if he wanted to communicate with one of their members.
“Fair enough, but once we’re done looking over these losers I’m going to have a big lunch and a nap. If you’re good, I’ll let you fix it for me.”
“And if I’m bad?” Tia asked with a smile.
“Then you can fix me dinner too.”
The lioness laughed. “Lucky me.”
They sat in companionable silence as they clicked through the pictures.
“He’s cute,” Tia said about a gold-haired man with brown eyes.
A PRIDEFUL MATE
“It says here he likes guys.”
Kevin shrugged. “Maybe he’s confused.”
Tia laughed. “What about that one?”
“Too short. I like them taller.”
“Adrian is prettier.”
Tia clicked through several screens. They laughed over the goofier pictures and sighed at the romantic ones, but neither of them showed any interest in a particular member. Tia sped through the next three.
“What? Did you see something?”
Tia clicked back a couple of times before Kevin had her stop again.
“Yeah.” Kevin set his chin on his hand and gazed longingly at the screen.
Kevin nodded. “He’s the one.”
“Yeah, my mate.”
“How can you tell from a photo?”
“Talan could tell from Adrian’s photo,” Kevin pointed out.
They both stared at the screen for a moment.
“Want to sign up and send him a note?”
“No, I want to hunt ‘im down, strip ‘im and lick ‘im like a lollipop.”
“Eww,” Tia laughed. “That’s way more information than I need.” Kevin shrugged. “I’ll settle for an email.”
“How generous of you.”
A few screens later Kevin was signed up and ready to send his first email to his mate.
* * * *
A PRIDEFUL MATE
Payce arrived at his apartment bruised and tired. He was going to find a new job any day now. If he had to take any more crap from that foreman he was going to rip the man’s arm off and beat him with it. Bastard wasn’t looking earlier and nailed Payce in the head with a two by four. If he weren’t a werejaguar, he’d probably be dead.
As it was, the jaguar inside him was restless. It was getting close to his mating time. By age twenty-five his mother was already pregnant with her second litter. Payce didn’t long for children of his own. He had no interest in knocking some woman up, but he wouldn’t say no to sharing his life with a man.
The right man.
Payce wasn’t even particularly picky. The guy didn’t have to be gorgeous or rich, or any of those things normally coveted. Payce was looking for a nice guy, a man who wouldn’t scream, or yell or punch him in the face if he didn’t offer his ass to his friends when he brought them over.
Luckily, Fred and his friends were too drunk to remember what really went on. The jaguar had completely come out and scared the hell out of everyone. Payce quickly packed his crap and left.
The story of his life.
To this day Fred still didn’t understand why Payce left him, nor did he touch another drop of alcohol. Apparently when he was drunk he had hallucinations.
The truth was, Payce had poor control over his jaguar half. He always had. Whenever he was stressed or surprised, he shifted into his jaguar form. The pissy kitty half always got him into trouble and probably would continue to if he lived to enter his thirties.