Jesse blocked a punch and swept Scott’s legs from beneath him. Scott landed on his back with a grunt and Jesse straddled him, the kill shot ready.
Jesse Salvatore had to smile at the look of awe on Scott Delange’s face. He used to have a crush on the guy he was presently straddling; now he only had eyes for Noah King.
He’d known Scott for a few years. Being a bouncer at two Seattle clubs ensured he saw the guy almost every weekend. Well, weekends he wasn’t working for the Navy. Jesse stood and offered a hand to Scott, who took it and jumped up with a smile on his face.
For almost a year, Jesse had been training with different shifters. Just because he wasn’t a SEAL anymore didn’t mean he could slack off. Besides, once a SEAL, always a SEAL. He really didn’t have to work. He and his brothers had inherited a sizeable amount of money when their parents died, but sitting on their asses was not the Salvatore style.
Jesse rubbed his sore muscles and cracked his neck from side to side.
He missed Noah.
“I swear I know exactly when Noah’s in your thoughts,” Scott chuckled.
“Oh?” Jesse grinned sideways at him.
“You get this far off look in your eyes.” Scott clutched his heart and sighed dramatically.
“Oh, you mean like the one you get when you think about Tristan?”
Jesse walked to the water cooler and poured a cup of water for himself and one for Scott. Caden Fournier’s office building was in the heart of Seattle; it served as an interrogation facility and a housing complex for displaced shifters. The building was fifteen stories. He and Scott were on the tenth floor in the new workout facility.
Scott leaned against the wall. “God, I hated Tristan when I met him.”
“Sure ya did,” Jesse winked.
Scott glared at Jesse. “I really did…at first. God he was so, so…”
“Sexy?” Jesse provided.
“Annoying!” Scott laughed. “He drove me bat-shit crazy.”
Jesse had been present for the love story belonging to Scott and Tristan. They were alpha males mated by the fates and gods. The power struggle between them had been downright hilarious to watch.
“That man loves you.” Jesse shoulder-bumped Scott.
Scott sighed. “He really does. When I was dying — or dead, whatever — from the rogue poisoning I heard him crying.” Scott peered through his lashes to see if Jesse was going to make fun of him, but the other man’s face was stoic. “I couldn’t believe he loved me that much, to want to die with me.”
“I hear the mate bond is mighty strong.” Jesse leaned against the wall and closed his eyes. “I wish I knew why the werewolf gene skipped me. It would be so much easier for me and Noah to be together.” Jesse’s brothers, Jaxon and Justice, were werewolves. But he was human. And they wanted him to stay that way, so no hanky-panky and possible bites from a werewolf boyfriend.
“Dude.” Scott hip-bumped Jesse. “Noah King is so far gone for you.”
“Yeah?” Jesse ducked his head, but he knew he had a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Oh, yeah. I see him sneaking around just trying to catch a glimpse of you whenever we’re all out together.”
“He kissed me,” Jesse admitted.
“Yeah? What was that like?”
Jesse had to laugh; Scott’s eyes were huge.
“It was explosive.”
“I bet.” Scott waggled his eyebrows.
“No, I mean it really was. All the lights in the alley blew out the minute his lips touched mine.”
Scott’s brows furrowed. “That sounds supernatural to me.”
“See? That’s what I thought, but then nothing.” Jesse threw his hands up in the air. “I just want to be with him.”
“What is with Justice, anyway? Why’s he against this?”
Jesse sat down on the floor and sipped his water. “For starts, our dad always said that if the gene skipped me, then there was a reason for it and I shouldn’t be changed into a werewolf.”
“I guess that makes sense,” Scott mused.
“Justice also feels extra protective of the humans he loves. He fell for a girl back in Arizona. I mean, we were all young, ya know? But Justice really had a thing for the beta’s daughter.”
“Wait, the beta’s daughter?”
“Yeah, our father was the alpha.”
Scott’s choked on his water. “What?!”
Jesse narrowed his eyes. “You mean you don’t know this?”
“No, why would I?”
Jesse shrugged. “I thought it was common knowledge. Anyway, one night we’re all sleeping peacefully and then, bam! An explosion rocks the house. My dad yelled for Justice to take us and run. We heard the screams…” Jesse closed his eyes. “It was a rogue attack.”
A warm hand caressed his and he opened his eyes to see Scott’s sad look.
“I’m so sorry, Jesse.”
Jesse nodded. “Me, too. We lost so much that night, but Justice lost even more. The rogues slaughtered the beta and his family. They burned all the houses to the ground. Justice got stuck raising his two brothers.” Jesse rubbed his face with his hands. “Justice had been forbidden to date Annabelle Richards, the beta’s daughter, for fear he’d lose control and bite her. She was human. As a female, being bitten would have virtually guaranteed that she’d become feral. He loved her, though. I mean, as much as you can love someone when you’re eighteen. But he had to keep running with us and do nothing to help her as she died.”
“God, that’s fucked up.” Scott shook his head sadly. “So that’s why he wants Noah far, far away from you. He’s worried about you being bitten and the rogues trying to get you for revenge.”
Jesse nodded. “He and Jaxon and Noah and the others have killed so many rogues. It’s why they reached out to Wayne once they realized he actually was a created one. They knew his extra power would protect us. Growing up, no one believed that story of created ones; it was used to make little pups go to bed,” Jesse laughed. “Go to sleep or the created ones will come.”
Scott laughed loudly. Wayne Maccon had the final word on pack actions. “You do realize how ridiculous that is? If you’d seen Wayne with Gage and Ethan in the beginning you would have died laughing. He was so patient with them. And now with Kane, Matty and Maggie? God, he’s such a pushover with those kids!”
Jesse grinned. “Well, I know that now. But before?” Jesse shivered. “It was weird meeting Wayne back then, knowing what he was and being scared to death of him. Then you actually talk with him. He’s a really good man.”
Scott nodded. “He really is. He cares for all of us like we’re his own children.”
“That’s because he’s so old,” Jesse cracked up. Werewolf lineage essentially meant immortality, barring the few ways werewolves could be killed. Wayne had stopped counting birthdays after 100.
Scott looked at the time. “So, lunch break?”
Jesse stood up and checked his cell phone for the thousandth time. He knew Noah couldn’t call all the time, but sometimes he wished he heard from him more often. Scott elbowed him.
“I’m sure he’s fine.”
Jesse sighed. “I hope so.”
Jesse’s phone chimed and he almost dropped it in surprise. Noah King was calling. He answered with what he knew was a huge smile on his face, even though he knew Noah couldn’t see him.
“Hi,” he said, trying not to sound like a giddy teenager.
“Hey, are you busy tonight”
“Um, no. Why?”
“I thought I’d take you out.”
“Really? What about—”
“Can you meet me by the piers?”
“I’ll text you the info.”
“I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.” Jesse hung up and glanced over at Scott, who was waggling his eyebrows. “Oh shut up.”
“A secret rendezvous?”
Jesse walked through the sand to the pier where Noah had indicated they would meet. As he got closer, he saw a blanket with candles on each corner. Noah stood in the sand wearing a smile and holding white roses. Jesse knew his face was heating; just seeing Noah made his pulse race.
“Hey.” He came to a stop right in front of Noah.
“Hi.” Noah leaned in and touched Jesse’s cheek before brushing their lips together softly. That electricity from their first kiss passed through him again and the candles flickered as a breeze floated around them. Noah pulled back slowly, searching Jesse’s eyes. “Was that okay?”
“More would be better,” Jesse grinned. He surveyed the blanket and candles. Champagne was on ice and a basket anchored one end of the blanket. “What’s all this?”
“I’m wooing you,” Noah smiled, indicating that Jesse should sit. Noah handed Jesse the flowers. “I hope you like white roses.”
“I actually do.” Jesse smiled at the roses. Noah seemed a bit nervous and Jesse laughed. “You know I’m going to put out. You have to know how much I want you.”
Noah cupped Jesse’s face in his hands. “I’ve never done this before. I want you to know how much I care.”
Jesse swallowed hard and met Noah’s eyes. “It’s really beautiful, Noah. Thank you so much.”
“Yeah? I did good?” Noah beamed.
Jesse opened the basket and grinned. “This is excellent. Where did you get the food?”
“I stopped by your favorite restaurant and got it to go.”
“They don’t do ‘to go’.” Jesse narrowed his eyes.
“They did for me.” Noah caressed Jesse’s cheek with the backs of his fingers. “You look so beautiful.”
Jesse ducked his head. “Thank you.”
Noah gently lifted Jesse’s face. “You look like your mother, don’t you?”
“What gave it away?”
“The eyes and hair. I know your father had the dark hair your brothers have.”
Jesse nodded. “Yes, and blue eyes. Justice and Jaxon got the combination, blue-green-gray and I got Mom’s green.”
“Well, I think you’re by far the pick of the litter. Heh.” Noah smiled and leaned in to kiss Jesse again. Their lips met and Noah almost groaned when Jesse parted his lips, allowing him in to taste. Jesse’s tongue moved tentatively at first, brushing Noah’s almost inquisitively, then became bolder, wrapping around Noah’s and dipping further into his mouth.
Hands went to his hair and Noah wrapped his arms around Jesse, pulling him in closer as they investigated each other’s mouths. This was their first real kiss and Noah intended to savor it. He lowered Jesse onto his back and threaded a hand through his thick blond hair. The kiss deepened, became more sensual and languid. Noah was hard as a rock and pulling air in through his nostrils at a rapid rate. They broke from the kiss and Noah righted himself. Jesse’s face was flushed with arousal. If anything, he looked even sexier than before.
“Wow,” Jesse breathed. “If I had any doubts before, now I don’t.”
“Me either,” Noah chuckled softly. “You’re an awesome kisser.”
“Our lips fit perfectly. You know there’s always that awkward part in the beginning where each of you is trying to figure the other’s moves? But not us.”
“No, not us.” Noah leaned in again and feathered a kiss across Jesse’s lips. He pulled back and smiled as he opened the basket. Jesse peered inside and removed one of the boxes. He opened it and gasped.
“This is salmon with garlic and rosemary.” He removed another box and opened it. “Garlic shrimp, calamari and roasted asparagus?”
Noah grinned. “Your favorites, right?”
Jesse put the box down on the blanket and leaned in to kiss Noah. “How did you know?”
“I am a special forces guy.”
“You asked Jaxon,” Jesse accused with a laugh.
“I asked Jaxon,” Noah admitted.
“Do you know what that means to me?” Jesse motioned to the blanket. “What all of this means? You took the time to ask my brother what I like, you arranged this little dinner on the beach — which by the way, the sun setting and the candles are perfect.”
Noah took Jesse’s hand. “I want you to know how much you mean to me. This isn’t just some fling for me, Jesse.” Noah eyed the boxes. “Although, to be practical we should eat before it gets cold.”
Jesse placed a kiss on Noah’s nose. “Let’s dig in.”
They watched the sun dip behind the city as they ate. Jesse talked about work, and Noah did the same. Jesse couldn’t remember a time when he’d ever been this attracted to anyone or wanted him as badly as he wanted Noah. He wiped his mouth and contained a burp. He raised his glass of champagne and Noah raised his as well.
“To us.” Jesse clinked his glass against Noah’s. Jesse closed his eyes as the bubbly, liquid gold fizzed down his throat. Noah took the glass from him and leaned in for another kiss.
“To us,” Noah whispered across Jesse’s lips.
The next kiss almost knocked him on his ass. Noah was gasping for breath as Jesse devoured him. He found himself on his back, legs spread, with Jesse on top of him lifting his shirt. His head swam with the champagne and the scent of Jesse’s arousal. Warm lips drifted down his abdomen and a teasing tongue slid under the waistband of his jeans.
“Jesse,” Noah managed to moan.
“I want you so much,” Jesse gasped, popping the button on Noah’s jeans open and lowering the zipper.
He spread the denim and licked his lips at the large erection tenting cotton briefs. Jesse leaned over Noah and kissed him again as he slid his hand inside Noah’s jeans. Hot, hard, velvet length slid under his palm and Jesse groaned as precome wet his hand.
Noah’s hips arched, allowing Jesse’s hand to slide lower into his jeans. His fingers brushed Noah’s balls and slid back up his dick. Noah’s moans and gasps prompted Jesse to start a nice slow stroke on the now-slick dick. They writhed together on the blanket as Jesse kept their mouths fused. He rutted against Noah, trying to get some friction on his own angry cock.
Jesse wanted more; he wanted Noah naked on all fours screaming his name out in total pleasure. He growled and bit Noah’s bottom lip.
“Fuck, I want to fuck you! Or you fuck me1 I don’t even care who fucks who!”
“I want you, too, but not here. Not like this.”
Jesse slowly lifted his head and sat up, staring down at Noah. “Why?”
“I don’t want us to be a secret, Jesse. I want us to be together out in the open. I can’t be with you if I feel like we’re sneaking around.”
Jesse stood up and glared at Noah. “I thought you wanted me!”
Noah sprang up off the blanket, stumbling a little as he zipped his jeans. “I do! God you have no idea how much!” His phone chimed and he cursed as he grabbed it from his back pocket. He kept eye contact with Jesse as he answered it.
“Get your ass to the airport,” James ordered.
“On my way.” Noah hung up and took Jesse’s hand. “I have to go.”
“Of course you do,” Jesse snapped.
“Please try to understand, Jesse. I do want you; I have since the first day I saw you. I’m not going to have sex with you on a public beach, though. You deserve better than that.”
Jesse crossed his arms and continued to glare.
“Jesse, please.” Noah placed his hand on Jesse’s arms, pulling him in. He wrapped his arms around him and inhaled his scent. “I do want you. Please don’t ever think I don’t.”
“You need to go.” Jesse nuzzled Noah’s neck. “I know what it’s like to be called in, so go ahead.”
“Not until you look me in the eye and kiss me.”
Jesse pulled away and met Noah’s eyes; there was sadness in them. Jesse kissed Noah tenderly and wrapped his arms around him. “Watch your ass,” he whispered.
“I will. I have someone to come home to.”
They pulled away and Noah looked at the blanket and trash. “I’ll grab this and head out. I’ll call you as soon as I’m on my way back.”
“No, I’ll get this. Just go.”
“It’s okay, Noah. Go.”
Jesse picked up the blanket as Noah left. He sat down and chugged the rest of the champagne from the bottle. God, for once could he just have a normal life?