Three years after the first innocent soul was saved and we were still kicking and rescuing. We now had over fifty Heaven hounds working with angels to retrieve them one day a week, and the rest of the week, we got them acclimated. Well, I didn’t. I was horrible with people. I moved stuff, did as I was told, and helped when I could but—I wasn’t good with people so it was limited.
Which normally left me being the errand boy for whatever was needed. I was okay with that. It gave me lots of time alone to think about things and some peace and quiet away from the very, very loud school.
“They hired another five counselors since this new group is so young and doesn’t understand,” my eldest brother, Boris told me. “For some reason I thought it would be easier as we moved down the list, but it’s not. We’re retrieving less every Monday because of all the issues and how young they are.”
“And we will figure it out as we have every other issue that arises.” I gestured around the school’s cafeteria and to the outside patio. “We’re celebrating today, brother. Leave it be for one day. Tomorrow you can go back to worrying.”
“One of us has to, Feodor. You take nothing seriously.”
So much for trying to be the reasonable one. “I take all of this seriously. I have worked just as hard as you and with nowhere near as much thanks. I pick up people from airports and coordinate movers and run to purchase gallons of ice cream because someone didn’t order enough. I am the school’s bitch and I’m fine with it. They need the help and I cannot coach football as you do after all your duties because I scare the children.”
“It’s called soccer here, remember?”
“Yes, I remember but I also remember I am Russian and it’s been football for hundreds of years to me,” I snapped, wondering how this conversation turned into picking on me. “We have saved a decade and a half of deals that demon made in three years, Boris. Take a moment and let that sink in. We’re doing good. Can we do better? Of course and tomorrow we will figure out how, but today, we need this.” I gestured around the room again to all the people laughing and having fun. “They need this. Let them have it and worry tomorrow.”
He slowly turned to me and stared until I started to get uncomfortable. “You’re really not as bad as you make yourself out to be. You understand people better than you let on.”
“I’m not blind to my surroundings. That’s not the same as understanding people or knowing how to help.” Then I sighed, hating when Boris and I exchanged unpleasant words. I patted him on the back as I met his eyes. “You help those children with your coaching, giving them a healthy outlet for their stress and teaching them we are a team. I agree with the counselor I heard say that. Your players are doing great. Take pride in that, brother, and for fuck’s sake, take a day off and be proud of yourself.
I turned to walk away but he caught my arm. “And everyone here knows your sacrifice too, Feodor. We run out of whatever the children might need and, no matter the hour, you are up and getting it for them. The doctor on staff has said more than once he’s caught you checking the medical supplies and adding to your duties by purchasing more. You care too. You are not just an errand bitch.”
“I know, but thank you for saying that.” I smiled at him and headed out to the grills. I definitely needed a drink and something to eat. All the noise made me anxious.
“Hand over the beers,” Jurek snarled at two teenagers as I walked by. “I saw you grab them from the cooler. You are not of age and could get hurt drinking.”
I shook my head and kept going. That was why I stayed off to the side and helped with the solitary tasks. I didn’t have a shred of patience. If I had caught them, I would already retrieved the alcohol and not been as nice about it.
Once I had my food and drink, I found a quiet bench on the outskirts of the party, glad to sit by myself. I glanced around at all the fun, glad everyone was enjoying themselves and taking the day off. It was the relaxing fun we needed.
A while later Boris blew his whistle to remind everyone the football scrimmage was going to start soon, and the crowd thinned a bit, heading over to the field. We were going to have to expand soon and plans were already in the works, but for now, we were doing just fine, the owner of the land more than accommodating for whatever was needed.
I hoped if the situation were reversed, I could ever be so understanding, but then again, I knew myself better than that.
There were only a few hundred people left eating after the game started and it was then I saw him. I didn’t know his name, but I did tend to look for him at gatherings. While all the hounds had made promises not to get involved with anyone at the school that wasn’t our mate, the man tempted me in ways I had trouble keeping in control.
I wanted him. I’d wanted him since I first saw him over a year ago. He was a teacher, one of the first souls retrieved, and now, at twenty-four, was one of the instructors for the high school level children. He was a man but still to keep the peace of the school, I stayed away from him, watching from a distance only. One day I might find my mate, and we all lived here, so having ex-lovers around would make both parties uncomfortable, and since there was no way to leave because of safety concerns, we all lived the life of monks.
He glanced at me from three tables away, his cheeks heating as he quickly focused on his food. The next moment he stood with his plate and walked back into the cafeteria.
Our usual encounter. He avoided me after giving me every indication he was interested too. As I watched him go, I thought again about how much I would love a man like that to be my mate. Smart enough to teach, pleasant enough to always have people around him, and sexy enough that my hands itched to touch him.
Yes, he was that good looking. Bright brown eyes, maybe six-one and lean body with clean-cut blond hair. And an ass that made every pair of jeans in the world look like the best brand. Unfortunately there was one problem.
“He is not yours,” I muttered to myself, my constant mantra when I saw him. I would have known if he was my mate by his voice. It was during the next bite of my burger that something hit me. Something big that I hadn’t thought of before because of all the distractions and everything that had to be done.
It wasn’t like we got many days off after all.
I stood slowly, wracking my brain to replay every time I’d seen that man. But I was right. I was a first-class idiot but I was also right.
I’d never heard him speak. He always darted away or left the room. It wasn’t that I’d learned his name, met him, and forgot, which was what I’d assumed—I’d never spoken to the man. And I hadn’t ever been close enough to hear him speak.
In a flash, my food and drink were in the trash as I raced after the man. He wasn’t in the cafeteria, so I headed to the main hallway of the school, checking left and right.
But then I heard someone walking up the staircase. I ran in that direction, finding him on the way to the third floor where the teachers and faculty all lived. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until I was on him, pinning him to the wall.
“Why do you always leave when you see me?” I demanded as my hands clenched on his shoulders. He opened his mouth but nothing came out. Instead, he shrugged as his face turned bright red all the way up to his ears. “Say something!”
“Like what?” he whispered as he tried to pull away.
The recognition hit me hard and rage filled me. “You’ve been right in front of me this whole time and I was too stupid to realize it.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re mine,” I growled before mashing my mouth down his. He whimpered as I attacked his mouth, exploring every inch of it with my tongue, biting his lower lip when he didn’t submit right away. But when he did, it was miraculous, everything I’d ever heard being with a hound’s mate could be and more.
I quickly undid my belt and unzipped my jeans as I kissed him with everything I had, putting my centuries of experience to good work. Then I pushed down the front of my boxers as I pulled back.
“I want my mate to please me. Get on your knees.” He blinked at me, probably shocked by the request, but I was too far gone to care. I guided him down, holding his head as I fed him my cock, smiling when he accepted me. He was new to the sexual experience, that was blatantly apparent.
But still he did it and tried his best. I ran my hand over his soft blond hair, messing up its perfect placement as I gently thrust in and out of his mouth. It didn’t take me long and then I was grunting out my pleasure as he swallowed down everything I gave him.
“Good, very good,” I panted when I was spent, staring down at him as I pulled out of his mouth. “Your first time?”
“Yes,” he whispered, shaking under my hand.
“You did very well, my mate. It will get easier and you will learn.” I quickly closed up my jeans and pulled him to his feet. Then before he could speak, I threw him over my shoulder. “Now I will teach you more.”
I heard him mumble something but it wasn’t audible. I figured if it was important, he’d repeat himself.
Minutes later we were in my room, door locked, as I stripped him down on my bed, not willing to waste a second longer after we’d missed what we could have had over the past three years. I might only have noticed him a year or so ago but he’d been here since almost the beginning.
And if I had looked harder, paid better attention, I wouldn’t have had to spend all this time alone. It infuriated me, the mistake I’d made not having him speak around me. And I had no one to blame but myself.
Several more minutes and I’d stretched him as best as I could for me. I mounted my gorgeous mate from behind, a thrill rushing me as he cried out. My cock stretched him so wide that I knew no one would ever please him as I could.
“Hurts,” he whimpered, pulling away from me.
“I know, but that will pass,” I soothed as I slowly worked more of myself into him. “God made you just for me and we were meant to fit. My cock and your hole are a match made in Heaven. I will take good care of you, all of your needs, and protect you no matter what. You are mine now.”
He muttered something, and I meant to ask what, but then I bottomed out inside him, my world complete and perfect. After a few moments of letting him adjust to my size, I slowly took him, my lust growing at the sexy noises he made.
It was the first-time sex he would never forget and everyone dreamed of. I was sure of that from the noticeable pleasure he was experiencing. I’d done my job as his mate well. His first orgasm came soon after we started, but I kept going, knowing my mate deserved my best and everything sex could be.
When I couldn’t hold out any longer and he was about to finish again, I sliced my wrist open with my teeth and held it to his mouth. “Drink. Drink my blood, my sun, my joy.” The moment I felt him obey I bit the side of his neck, doing my part to bind us together forever. I pumped my very essence deep into him, smiling as he came all over the sheets below us.
The second it was over and I checked that his scent had changed to a mated human, I pulled away my wrist as I let my teeth return to their normal size. Then I slowly licked his neck, closing the bite. I felt his exhaustion set in from the way his body gave out, but I caught him in time, removing my cock from his hole and laying him on the clean part of the bed.
He stared up at me with wide eyes, gasping for air and making the most beautiful picture of sexual euphoria.
“Once is not enough,” I warned him as I moved between his spread thighs. “I need more. Will you give me more, my sun, my joy?”
“Joel,” he whispered as he looked down at my large cock pushing at his hole. “Joel Sweet is my name.”
I stopped and stared at him, chastising myself for not having asked that. “My Joel. Yes, it fits you perfectly. I need more, Joel. I need more of you.”
“What’s your name?” He looked away and tried to close his legs, but I wasn’t having any of that.
“Feodor Markova and I’m your mate. You are mine forever now.”
“Forever?” he rasped, his eyes closing as I sat back on my feet.
“Yes, forever, my sun,” I whispered as I let him close his legs, moving up to lie next to him. He was tired, I could see that now. It had been his first time. I could give my mate a rest before taking him again. He deserved that from me. I yanked him up against me as I pulled the bedding over us. “Mine forever.”
My mate was wonderful. His students loved him, everyone spoke highly of him and he was mine. Passionate in bed, giving, loving, and I was the luckiest man on the planet. I treasured my mate, wanting to be at his side always and not just because of the constant fear that gripped me because I knew Hell wanted his soul. No, I couldn’t get enough of him and I hated to leave him.
Days after our mating, we started to fall into a routine. I would walk him to the school in the morning, careful to make sure there was no danger to him, and then go about my duties. I would meet him for lunch before going back to work, and after his classes were over, I escorted him back to my room where he worked on his lesson plans, read papers, and graded tests for hours as I read or busied myself.
He was so dedicated to his students and I had so much respect for that, his intelligence and ability to teach, I found I wasn’t even jealous of that amount of time that it kept him from focusing on me. But he was also very quiet, very shy. He hadn’t moved into the comfortable part of our mating where he instigated any contact, but he would. One day he would.
He had been a virgin after all. For now I would gladly take the lead and give him the passion he needed, deserved. Joel was worth every ounce of my attention, my consideration, and I was always willing to give it to him.
“When do we get to really meet your mate?” Boris asked again a week after I’d met Joel. “Seriously, you keep him locked up in your room. Let the poor boy breathe and get a break from your cock.”
“He’s not a boy,” I snarled at him, seeing when he immediately backed off and deciding to let it go. “He is very busy with his teachings and that doesn’t leave us much time. I just want to be selfish and keep him to myself a little longer. My room is safe.”
“You’re worried about the demons who want him,” he said, not needing to ask the question.
“Wouldn’t you be? Wouldn’t you freak out all the time about him being taken from you and dragged to Hell?”
“Every fucking waking moment of my life,” Boris answered, patting me on the shoulder. “He is safe here though, brother.”
“I hope so,” I whispered, my eyes watering at the idea of Joel being taken from me. “I love him. I know this is love. I just have to keep him safe. Let me cocoon him a bit longer until I’m used to this. Then maybe I can relax a bit.”
“Whatever you need.”
I smiled at my eldest brother, grateful he understood how hard this was on me. Joel was already so important to me and his safety was up to me. I had to protect my mate. Love him, of course, that wasn’t hard, but protecting him was the most important thing to me.
As he was.