When the woman you’ve been waiting for all your life turns out to be a man, will you be brave enough to open your heart for the possibility of love?
Viggo Cavanaugh leads an easy life. The European wildcat shifter loves his work as a climbing coach and travel guide, and he’s looking forward to meeting his mate and raising a passel of kittens with her. His life spins out of control when he returns home from a business trip to find his mate already waiting for him. His male mate.
Jaxon’s life has been in upheaval since he’s defied his alpha and risked his life to rescue a shifter held captive by his herd. Luckily, the deer shifter has found shelter with a pride of cats. Jaxon is overjoyed when he scents his mate in beta Alan’s home, even if his mate’s gender takes him by surprise.
Too bad Jaxon’s past soon catches up with him. His ex-alpha kidnaps Xander, the Wildcat Hills Pride’s leader, in order to get his hands on Jaxon.
Between rescue missions, new friends, a dubious ambassador for the shifter Council, and Viggo’s erratic behavior, Jaxon wonders if he and Viggo will ever have a chance at a relationship.
“Come in!” Jaxon sniffed, curious as to who would visit him in his borrowed home. In the short time he’d been there, he hadn’t made many friends, aside from Kei, Alan, and Thony.
He groaned when the first whiff of something utterly tasty hit his nose. His body stiffened—especially a certain part located under his belt.
It wasn’t a pleasant feeling at all, given that he was wearing a pair of tight jeans and still had Asa’s feet in his lap.
He sucked in another deep breath, but it didn’t do him any good, because now his skin tingled as well.
“Jaxon?” Thony called out to him. The heavy steps of two people sounded in the hallway and drew closer.
“Why did you knock? This is my house. And why is he in my home anyway?”
Although the stranger’s deep voice sounded annoyed, it sent a pleasant shiver through Jaxon’s body until it coiled in the pit of his stomach. Oh, God. Jaxon alternated between happiness and the urge to throw up.
The second man could only be Viggo. Never before had another’s voice had such an effect on Jaxon. He felt light-headed. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and he started panting for breath.
Jaxon didn’t want his mate to find him on the sofa with another man, so he untangled himself from Asa and jumped up.
When Viggo rounded the corner and stepped into the living room, all the air left Jax’s lungs, as though he’d been punched in the gut.
Thony, aside from telling Jaxon about his family, had shown him pictures. None of them had prepared him for seeing Viggo in the flesh for the first time.
Where Thony was your stereotypical Irish boy, the older brother had clearly inherited the facial features of his Russian ancestors. His nose was long and a bit flat. Topped by a set of thick brown eyebrows, Viggo’s eyes were a delicious cappuccino color. Jaxon could stare into them all day long.
Viggo’s deep tan, result of an outdoorsy job, rivaled Jaxon’s. Just as Jaxon did, he stood six three, but Jaxon already knew that because he’d borrowed the wildcat’s clothes. However, Viggo was broader around the chest, his shoulders wider, and his arms heavily muscled, while Jaxon had inherited the lean built of his Native American ancestors.
Viggo’s hair was longer than in the pictures, falling in light chestnut brown waves to the collar of his shirt. The heavy five o’clock shadow was just the icing on the cake.
When their gazes connected, Viggo sucked in a harsh breath. Next his pretty eyes darkened, and his rosy lips curled into a snarl. “Oh shit. No. No way in hell.” Viggo let out an angry kitty hiss that elicited an amused smile from Jaxon. Probably the wrong thing to do, because Viggo’s expression darkened even more.
Jaxon watched, a bit helpless, as Viggo fisted his hands on his hips and whirled to face his younger brother. “Guess you just forgot to mention my mate while we’ve been talking the last, say, dozen times over the past six weeks.” Next he switched into another language—most likely Russian—while he kept yelling at Thony. Thony argued back in the same language.
It sounded harsh, rough, and Jaxon realized with some amusement that he liked hearing his mate’s deep voice drawling in this foreign language.
Eventually, Jax took a brave step forward. “Don’t be mad at your brother. I asked him not—” He snapped his mouth closed when Viggo shot him a look that looked both angry and like a warning not to finish that sentence. Jaxon retreated and raised his hands in a non-threatening gesture.
Although not as strong as an alpha or beta, Jaxon knew he could hold his position as enforcer. Until now, no alpha had given him the chance to prove his strength. He knew Viggo held no official rank in the pride, so usually Jax wouldn’t feel the need to submit to the other shifter. Viggo was his mate, though, and that made all the difference.
Jax winced as Viggo stabbed his index finger at his chest.
“I’ll deal with you in a second, fawn,” Viggo said through clenched teeth.
Jaxon sputtered. He liked neither his mate talking to him in such a dismissive manner, nor the pet name. Fawn was a common endearment between deer shifters—for kids or delicate women. Jaxon didn’t fit either category. He grabbed Viggo’s upper arm, ignoring the resulting angry hiss and snapping teeth.
Viggo had cute little fangs, and Jax briefly wondered if they’d be sensitive when he touched them with his tongue during a kiss. He shoved the thought away for now. Viggo didn’t look as though he’d appreciate a glad you’re home kiss.
“Stop lecturing your brother. I asked him not to tell you about me. I wanted to tell you myself. Face to face. Also, Thony hinted you might refuse to come home if you knew your mate was a guy.”
Viggo huffed and twisted his arm out of Jax’s grip. “Ya think?” He sounded disgruntled. “How did you find out about our connection, anyway?”
Jaxon turned and snatched the rumpled shirt from the sofa. When he showed it to his mate, Viggo’s eyebrows almost climbed into his hairline.
“You’ve sniffed my stuff? You know that’s creepy as hell, right? Wait.” He took a step back and looked Jaxon up and down for the first time. Then he swished his hand through the air. “You’re wearing my clothes! Who the fuck do you think you are? Living in my house and wearing my…shit.” Viggo paled a bit and scrubbed one hand down his face. “I don’t like people invading my privacy and messing with my belongings.”
My, isn’t my mate a stickler?