Safe for work. More of Dean and Roland. End might seem a bit abrupt but I’m not sure where it goes.
Dean didn’t know if it was a small gathering or a large one. There were about a dozen of them, all of them shifters. That’s what Roland called them shifters. Nothing about the blood drinking, so not vampires. Dean didn’t know if the blood thing was necessary or just, gulp, fun and he hadn’t gathered the courage to ask yet. Roland was clearly the leader, or the most powerful, at least to Dean’s eyes, which actually weren’t very knowledgeable so he could be wrong. He was definitely biased. Roland was certainly the best looking and the best dressed. Nine males — not including Dean — and three females, which did include Haley. Dean and Haley made up what Dean considered Roland’s entourage. A hulking, hairy bruiser named Dan had his own two people, a bored-looking lumberjack of a guy — without the beard — named Jack had his two, and a guy in a suit who looked like a lawyer who went by Norris — unknown if that was first of last name — had his two. The last was an old guy named Kern, who everyone deferred to like a crotchety grandfather.
Haley had placed Dean on a cushion at the foot of one of five throne-like carvings into the stone. That, together with the tiny shorts he’d been given to wear — just those — he quickly realized that he was eye candy. Roland’s pet. When he’d dressed — so to speak — his master had embraced him and assured him he was safest in that role. No one would challenge or question him. They might not even pay him any mind. It was better this way. Now that he saw the strange and powerful company, Dean was perfectly happy to be a pet. He wasn’t the only one. Norris and Dan both had scantily clad women in a similar position, both very pretty and worth being called candy. Jack didn’t have a pet, rather two guards.
The scary men discussed the politics of their world. Dean didn’t recognize any of the names of the people outside of the room, but the number of them scared him. Apparently, there were shifters all around but no one knew about them. Which was kind of insane. Sure, Dean had seen the movies about werewolves and read a few stories, but they were just stories. But, of course they weren’t just stories. Well, okay, the twinkly vampires were a bit much, but the heart of the story was true. There was more out there than most people realized. The shifters managed to stay hidden because they didn’t bother with humans. For the most part. And the people who found out either disappeared or became a shifter, like Dean had. Or would. Or would eventually mature into. Or some shit like that.
The talk was boring. Oh so boring. He sat on his cushion and leaned against Roland’s leg, finally resting his cheek on his master’s thigh. Roland stroked his hair and the soothing gesture urged Dean’s eyes closed. He must have dozed off.
“No,” he heard when he woke up. A sharp tug on his hair had done it, startling him to sit up. “He’s not accustomed to our ways,” Roland finished.
Blinking, Dean glanced around the room to see nearly every eye on him. He shrank against Roland’s leg.
Jack sat forward, elbows braced on his beefy thighs as dark eyes examined Dean. “He’s a pretty thing.”
“Yes,” Roland agreed, hand now resting atop Dean’s head.
Dean realized he was staring at Jack and quickly lowered his gaze.
“Brand new,” Jack laughed.
Others in the room echoed the laugh.
“Yes.” Roland combed fingers through his hair.
“I might be willing to trade.”
Dean stilled, staring wide eyed at his bare knees. Trade? Wait, what?
There was probably some reason he shouldn’t, but fear and surprise made him look up at Roland. No no no no. But Roland’s gaze was on Jack, not on Dean, and his hand had stopped petting. He seemed to be open to the offer.
“Interest in Rave?” Jack mused. Dean glanced through his hair to see Jack stroking his beard, eyes still on Dean. Rave was a club, a very popular and lucrative one that even Dean knew about.
“Controlling?” Roland countered.
Jack laughed. “Not hardly. Not for an untrained pet.”
“But he is delectable.” Roland squeezed Dean’s shoulder. “Stand up, pet. Let them see you.”
He locked eyes with Roland. What was this? What happened to all that mine shit? He put the question in his gaze, but Roland’s violet gave him nothing in return.
Except a shade of anger. “I gave you an order,” he said mildly.
Shit. Dean stood, using the “arm” of Roland’s “chair” for balance. He kept his eyes down and faced his master, his profile to most of the room, his back to Norris and his people. Roland spanned the side of his hip with one hand then pushed him to turn, to face everyone.
“Nice,” Jack murmured. “Come here, boy.”
Dean started to glance back at Roland, but the hand at his hip pushed him forward, making him stumble a step in Jack’s direction. What. The. Hell?
Hesitantly, he took the necessary steps to the front of Jack’s seat. The guy was bigger than he’d thought when he’d judged his size by Dan. Jack was bigger than Roland, broader. The forearms that were bared by his rolled up sleeves were thick and covered in hair. A massive hand wrapped about Dean’s side to pull him closer. He smelled of pine tar, tobacco and musk, not bad but overpowering. Dean felt lightheaded this close to him, but not like he did with Roland. With Roland, his skin tingled and his cock went instantly hard. With Jack, he felt hot and hunted and his cock only twitched. Big and meaty had never been his type.
“Very pretty,” Jack mused, his calloused fingers trailing up Dean’s side as dark eyes took in every inch of him.
A loud sigh sounded from behind. Norris. “I take it we’re done with serious business now that we’ve begun to discuss trading pets?”
Jack chuckled, turning the hand he’d lifted so he could brush the back of one finger over Dean’s nipple. It reacted. Okay, even if the big man wasn’t his type, the attention was flattering, if scary. “Sorry you didn’t ask first, Norris?”
“Please. Boys are not my thing.” Dean heard people moving behind him but didn’t dare turn. He kept his gaze fixed on the floor at his feet, not wanting to encourage the man before him.
“Not me either,” boomed Dan’s voice. “We’ll leave the ass fuckers to it then, shall we?”
While others made leaving noises, Jack brought his hand up to cup Dean’s chin, forcing him to raise his face. “Scared of me, boy?”
Why lie? He nodded.
Jack chuckled and kept his voice low. “Don’t think I can take care of you like your master?”
Oh no, Dean wasn’t stupid enough to answer that. He kept his gaze down even though the hand at his chin didn’t allow him to tilt his head.
“I don’t think your pet likes me,” Jack mused, sliding his hand around the side of Dean’s neck to pull him closer.
A panicked whimper escaped Dean and he couldn’t help darting his gaze to the side even though Roland was behind him.
Jack dragged him close, bypassing his lips to whisper in his ear. “Don’t worry, I’m going to return you to your master. Play along until the others leave.”
Dean blinked. Swallowed. Then he chose to believe this man, allowing him to bring their lips together for a close-mouthed kiss. it was nice but it didn’t melt him like Roland.
Jack hummed, then released him, sitting back in his seat. From his vantage, Dean could see that the master shifter had enjoyed the kiss more than he, an impressive bulge filling the front of his jeans. Dean averted his eyes and remained where he was, suffering through more laughter from Jack. “Go back to your master.”
He didn’t need to be told twice. Dean turned and hurried back to Roland’s side, gladly taking his master’s hand then curling into his lap.
“I’m sorry to scare you, pup,” Roland murmured into his ear, causing gooseflesh all over his exposed skin. “This was the best way to get rid of the others.”
“Although,” said Jack, who must have followed Dean closer because he was now standing just a few feet away, “I’m happy to take the offer.”
Dean was happy to feel Roland’s arm tighten about his shoulder. “No.”
“I didn’t think so.”
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