Marlin, Selkie prince and fourth alpha-born son of King Solomon, and, not to mention, complete utter fool, stood staring up at the little cabin in the woods.
He closed his eyes for a moment and inhaled the aroma of the forest surrounding him. That didn’t slow the runaway train that was his heartbeat.
Nor did it help his cock that flexed in his pants at the anticipation of doing something so wrong, but also so... desired.
It wasn’t necessarily wrong for a Selkie to find pleasure with a human... as long as that human was willing. But what made this feel iniquitous was that the man who lived in that little cabin in the woods was the former lover of his oldest brother, Kai.
His heartbeat went from racing to thumping loudly in his ears as the front screen door opened and the subject of his recent inappropriate dreams stood staring back at him while leaning against the door frame.
Dominic. Nic for short.
He was long and lean, his body built like a normal human. His shoulders were broad, his hips narrow. Even from where Marlin stood, he could see Nic’s dark hair appeared to be a ruffled mess, which made him even more attractive.
Maybe Marlin had disturbed the man’s afternoon nap.
“You just going to stand there? Like a stalker?”
His voice was deep, smooth, and all that delicious goodness swirled around Marlin, pulling him forward like he was a marlin being reeled in on a fisherman’s line. He wanted to fight it, but he couldn’t.
He couldn’t because he was exhausted from doing just that... resisting his desires. There was something about Nic...
Maybe it was his expressive brown eyes, and his attitude. Strong-willed, sometimes crass, but definitely sensual at other times.
Like that little bit of time Marlin spent with him the last time he was here. When his brother Zale was searching for his omega, when Nic had hid Finn in his home. While Zale was sneaking around inside the cabin searching for his mate, Marlin had kept the human occupied.
And it was then that he knew he was doomed. Knew he’d eventually show back up on the man’s doorstep no matter how many times he told himself it was wrong.
Plenty of other humans or betas were willing to take care of Marlin’s needs. But he didn’t want any of them.
He wanted Nic.
Even if it was just once. Just a simple taste. Maybe them spending a night together would exorcise the man from his system.
For the last few weeks, he couldn’t sleep through the night. No, he’d wake up in a sweat after dreaming about taking Nic, pleasuring him, making him come, then giving the human his knot.
Which never should happen.
Human males weren’t physically built to take Selkie knots. Not like an omega.
So, giving Nic his knot would only ever remain a fantasy. One that—when Marlin would wake up with a raging erection—would fuel his own release so he could go back to sleep.
But now it was happening every night. And, even worse, during the daylight hours thoughts of Nic would drift through his mind.
These thoughts of the male, the one standing on his porch and watching him intently, were interrupting his life and Marlin needed to get them to stop. Out of his brothers, he was the next prince in line to find his omega. His fated mate. Though he was in no rush, he knew the Presentation Ceremonies might begin at any time. Or at least as soon as the Selkie Seekers could find six appropriate omegas to present to him. So, he needed to concentrate on doing his duty and finding the right mate to produce pups, he should not give in to his base desires.
While Nic could never be Marlin’s mate, nor become pregnant with his heirs, he could be simply a temporary detour.
And the man did seem to show some interest the last time they were face to face.
“Marlin,” Nic called from the porch. “Why are you here? Is something wrong? Did you royals lose another omega?”
His last question shook Marlin free from his paralyzing thoughts. And before he could stop himself, convince himself that this was a bad idea, he was moving. As his feet took him forward, he glanced over his shoulder at the limo in which his beta, Kenn, had driven him there in.
Kenn wore a scowl and his brows were deeply furrowed. That was enough to make Marlin stop his forward motion and turn to face the car.
The beta quickly stepped away from the driver’s door and headed in his direction. When they were almost toe to toe, Kenn pleaded, “My prince, are you sure you should be here?”
Marlin studied his faithful servant and sucked in a deep breath before answering, “No. No, I’m not sure.” He glanced back toward the porch where Nic now stood wearing a grin and not only had his arms, but his ankles crossed as if he didn’t have a care in the world. Marlin turned his attention back to his beta. “It’ll be okay. I won’t be long.”
Kenn gave him a doubtful look.
“I will text you if I get tied up.”
Kenn hissed, “If you get tied up, I’m not carrying a knife to cut you free.”
Marlin sighed and rolled his eyes. “I will be fine.”
“I will be fine,” Marlin repeated more firmly. “Now, if I think I’m going to be awhile, I’ll let you know so you can head back to the compound. Then I’ll text you when you can return to pick me up.”
Kenn made a noise.
Marlin frowned. “I think you’ve forgotten yourself, Kenn. You’re my beta. You may be like family, but you’re still my servant. You don’t make decisions for me.” He gritted his teeth and grimaced. “I hate having to remind you of that. Why do you make me do it?”
“Because I’m worried.” Kenn’s gaze bounced from Marlin to Nic, still watching them from the porch, back to Marlin.
“If you’re simply looking for a human male to rut with, then, please, let me find someone else for you.”
Marlin sucked a sharp breath in through his nose. “This conversation is over.”
They stared at each other for a long moment, then Kenn finally dipped his head in deference. “Understood, Your Highness.”
Marlin’s jaw clenched tight. Kenn only called him that when he was irritated or angry.
Well, the beta would just have to get over it.
Marlin sighed once more, making sure Kenn heard it, spun on his heels and strode quickly toward the cabin.
He didn’t come out all this way for nothing. He inhaled another deep breath to bolster himself and jogged up the three steps to the wide porch, and then stepped up to Nic, who hadn’t moved an inch from the doorway.
The male looked good. Too good and Nic clearly knew it.
Marlin swallowed down whatever was caught in his throat. “I know I’m not Kai...”
Nic arched a dark brow, then took his time letting his gaze slide down Marlin from head to toe. That leisurely inspection didn’t help the little problem in Marlin’s pants, especially when Nic paused there and his lips curled slightly at the corners.
“No, you’re definitely not Kai,” Nic finally murmured when he was through.
“Hopefully that’s a good thing.”
Nic lifted his gaze and met Marlin’s directly. “It could be.”
“I’m also hoping that you’d be so kind and allow me inside... So we can talk.”
“Talk,” Nic repeated, then snorted. “You’re here to talk?”
“What would a Selkie prince like yourself have to discuss with a simple man like me?”
“My prince!” Kenn yelled from the driveway. “If he’s going to be rude and not let you in—”
Marlin swatted a hand blindly in Kenn’s direction.
But Nic’s attention was now drawn to the beta. “Your beta slave?”
Marlin’s nostrils flared. “Servant.”
Nic pushed off the doorway and straightened. “Right.”
Kenn was correct. Marlin should find someone else. Approaching Kai’s former lover was completely inappropriate. “I apologize. I must have mistaken your interest. I’ll see myself off.”
As Marlin turned to leave, Nic snagged his arm and held him in place. “You didn’t. Does Kai know you’re here? Sniffing after his discarded leftovers?”
Marlin raised his gaze from where Nic’s hand clutched his arm. “No. And thank you for reminding me why I should leave and why I never should’ve come here in the first place. I must be daft.”
“I told you!” Kenn shouted.
“For Poseidon’s sake,” Marlin muttered and closed his eyes while he tamped down his annoyance at his outspoken beta.
His eyes popped open when Nic suggested much louder than necessary, “Maybe you should come inside.”
Nic yelled back at Kenn, “He’s going to be awhile. You can skedaddle back to the colony. He’ll let you know when I’m done with him.”
“Your Highness!” Kenn called again, his pitch much higher this time.
Marlin studied Nic’s handsome face, his high cheekbones, his brown eyes that held a mischievous look and the wicked smile that he wore.
It was that smile that made Marlin’s cock flex in his pants.
If he stepped through that doorway, he may be in a lot of trouble.
Without breaking Nic’s gaze, Marlin said loudly, “You may go. I’ll let you know when...” he dropped his voice to a whisper, “when Nic is done with me.” Louder he said, “When I’m ready to return home.”
After a long minute, Marlin heard a grumble, a car door slam and the limo tires spin in the dirt as it raced out of the driveway.
“Protective little slave, isn’t he?”
“He’s my servant,” Marlin corrected him once again.
“Semantics. Now you have no way to get back to your colony. You’re stuck here.”
“I have a phone.”
Nic tilted his head and smiled. “I prefer the fantasy of you being mine for the night. To do with what I will.”
Marlin preferred that one, too. But he was an alpha and even though Nic was a human, alphas did not submit to any other males, human or otherwise.
“You never answered my question about why you’re here, but it’s pretty obvious,” he said, dropping his gaze once more to Marlin’s erection, which was hard to miss in his thin black dress pants.
Marlin had been hard and uncomfortable from the moment the front tires of the limo hit Nic’s driveaway. Anticipation was certainly a heady aphrodisiac. “Like I mentioned, I was hoping we could talk.”
“That word doesn’t mean what you think it does.” Nic stepped back, unblocking the doorway. “But okay, we can talk.”
Nic closed the door behind the prince and leaned back against it as he watched the tall, very handsome Selkie male step deeper into his home.
Marlin reminded him a lot of Kai, but younger, maybe by five or six years. He had the same dark hair as his former lover and had blue eyes similar to all of King Solomon’s sons, but his seemed to be a different shade of blue than Kai’s. He’d have to take a closer look to be sure.
“Hook a right,” Nic said.
Without looking back, Marlin did as he was told and disappeared into the living room. The prince taking orders from him was a good sign. But the Selkie was clearly nervous.
In the small amount of time that they’d spent in each other’s company, Marlin had drawn his attention. At first, he thought it was because the younger prince reminded him of Kai, then he realized it was something else.
Yes, there was something about this particular royal, the fourth youngest alpha son of the king who ruled the nearby Northern Colony, that drew him. Though, he couldn’t quite put his finger on what attracted Nic, besides the fact that he was an alpha male.
Even so, he’d felt a strange pull toward this alpha when they had spoken the last time. And he was pretty sure Marlin felt it, too.
Otherwise, why would he just show up at his doorstep uninvited?
Oh, that’s right... to talk.
Still, the princes were known to take human lovers. Well, all except for Prince Adrian. No, that pompous ass always thought he was too good for humans. Not that it mattered. He was now bonded with his fated mate and was stuck with one lover for the rest of his life.
As was Kai.
Nic sighed and pushed off the door, heading in the direction Marlin disappeared. He found the prince standing in front of the empty fireplace, his arms crossed behind his back as he stared at it.
“I suck as a host since I don’t get guests too often. But I can get you a drink if you’d like.”
“Thank you, but I don’t want a drink,” the prince told the hearth.
“Then what would you like?”
Marlin turned and pinned his gaze on Nic. “You.”