Chiz banged on the door.
“I swear to God, Earl, I’m gonna beat your—“ The door opened and Dare appeared, his face red and pinched with anger. “Ass…uh. Um? Wait, I didn’t mean you’re an ass. I didn’t—I--“
Chiz would have been charmed by Dare’s befuddlement had he not been in such a foul mood. “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Let me in.” He nudged past Dare without waiting for him to move. “I’m going stir-crazy at my place.” He heard the door close. Chiz looked around the small living room and kitchen. They were both rundown but clean, cleaner, in fact, than Chiz’s home had ever been. “You’re a neat-nick.”
Dare cleared his throat. “Er, I don’t like messes.”
Chiz turned to him and arched an eyebrow. “Really? Because you were good with messy sex, and I think we’re in a fucking mess now. Not the fun kind, but a mess, yeah.” Now that he’d said it, things began to click into place for Chiz.
Dare flapped a hand toward the kitchen. “You want a drink? I have water or beer.”
“Earl been bothering you?” Chiz asked instead of answering. He was working through things with one half his brain and listening to Dare with the other half.
“My family bothers me, period,” Dare muttered. “Have a seat. I’m sorry it’s not a nicer couch, but—“
“Sit down so I can sit with you.” Chiz wanted contact and comfort, and he was only going to get it if he demanded it. Dare was too nervous to see what Chiz needed.
“With me?” Dare gulped. “But Bowen will get mad, won’t he?”
Chiz grabbed Dare’s right hand and tugged him over to the lumpy brown recliner. He pushed Dare down, then plopped on his lap.
Dare squeaked. Chiz smirked.
“No, Bowen won’t get jealous, if that’s what you’re thinking,” Chiz replied. “We aren’t together, and we had a shitty fight after you left the ranch, anyway.”
“Because of me?” Dare whispered.
“Because of him, because of me, but not because of what we all did.” Chiz wasn’t lying. It hadn’t been the sex that had been the problem. He knew that. “He’s afraid he’ll hurt you, and me. Maybe I should be afraid I’ll hurt you.” Which he supposed was possible, except his wolf sure didn’t feel all bitey and bloodthirsty like Bowen’s must have.
“Hurt us?” Dare rested his hands on Chiz’s hips. “He bit you. You were bleeding.”
Chiz nodded. “Yup, and I’d beg him to bite me like that again. Hurts, but in a way that makes me come so hard, I pass out.”
“Er, that’s a good thing? Because you scared the shit out of me,” Dare said.
“It’s a fanfuckingtabulous thing,” Chiz clarified. “Why would I not want to come like that? So good that my body overloads from ecstasy? I mean, come on! That’s amazing.”
“I guess so. Hey.” Dare frowned. “How did you know where I live?”
“Because I can use Google,” Chiz replied dryly.
Dare shook his head. “Yeah, but I rent this place, and I don’t have a listed phone number.”
Was he really so naïve? Yes, Dare was, and he was adorable. Precious, but in a sexy, not weird way. There was an innocence to Dare that Chiz hadn’t encountered in a long, long time.
Chiz silently vowed to help protect him from himself and anyone else, meaning, for the most part, Dare’s family. “I still found you online. I have mad stalking skills.”
Dare blinked rapidly. “Is that a bad thing?”
“Not in your case.” And Chiz couldn’t help it, he had to kiss Dare. He moved slowly, giving Dare time to protest, turn his head, show any sign he didn’t want a kiss.
But Dare’s eyes closed and he licked his lips, then left them parted. His hands clenched on Chiz’s hips.
And Chiz pressed his mouth to Dare’s, moaned, leaned closer, needing to feel as much of Dare as he could. Their chests met, and Chiz licked his way into Dare, tongue flicking and pushing. He suckled Dare’s tongue when he could, and ran his hands up and down Dare’s muscular arms.
Chiz’s cock was hard and aching. He felt the heat coming from Dare’s groin, smelled his need, heard it, tasted it—
The thin, worn fabric of Chiz’s sweats provided little barrier between his dick and Dare’s jeans—and the bulge pushing against the denim. Chiz hadn’t bothered with underwear; a part of him had been hoping to do more than talk.
But Dare turned his head just a little, enough to break the kiss, and Chiz leaned back to look at him. “What’s wrong?”
Dare sighed. “Did you just come here for sex? I’m just wondering, cuz that didn’t end so well last time.” He took a stuttering breath, then exhaled steadily. “I didn’t even see Bowen after.”
Chiz crawled off Dare’s lap and sat on the edge of the coffee table instead. He braced his elbows on his knees, then rested his forehead in his palms. “I don’t know why I came over, exactly. There were lots of reasons, I mean, but not…not this, not for sex specifically. I’m just…” A mess, and my wolf is not happy with me at all, but I can’t tell you that. The only person he could discuss being a shifter with was Bowen, and Bowen had made it clear he didn’t want Chiz around.
Because he was afraid he’d hurt me and Dare. Not because he didn’t want me. Us. Now, if Chiz could just get around his own pride, he might be able to approach Bowen calmly.
“You’re just what?”
Chiz shook his head. “Huh?” Then he remembered what he’d said. “Oh. I’m a mess, for one thing.” Then he smiled and winked at Dare. “I like you, for another. And I like Bowen too.”
Dare blushed but looked pleased. “Oh. Okay.”
“Do you like me, or us, too?” Chiz startled himself by laughing. “Oh God, I sound like a kid back in elementary school! Maybe I should write a note and have you check yes or no.”
Dare’s shy grin was a sight to behold. “I never got one of those before.”
Chiz’s pressing need for answers or…or whatever it was that was pricking at his conscience could wait a little bit. He stood up. “Well, I can fix that for you.”
Dare opened his mouth, and Chiz dipped in for a quick kiss.
“I don’t need a paper with checkboxes,” Dare whispered against his lips. “Answer is yes to both.”
Chiz smiled so big, his cheeks hurt. “All right then. What’re we going to do about getting Bowen to mark yes, too?”