Hello!! I'm excited to say that the release date for MINK OMEGA IN HIDING
is in THREE DAYS! I've been sharing excerpts from the first chapter this week, and today is the last one. If you missed the first three, you can find them here
, and here
Chapter One continued...
I waved, but he looked away, hiding his head in his arms. “Um, it’s good to see you again.” Not wanting to spook him, I unlocked the door then held it open. “Would you like to come in?”
Was that a smart thing to ask? I hadn’t seen him in years, didn’t know what he’d been involved in, why he’d disappeared without even a simple goodbye. My heart was beyond happy to see him, but my mind had so many doubts. And I couldn’t trust my bear at all. It recognized its mate and only wanted one thing.
Roan whimpered then nodded, slowly standing. Though taller than I remembered, he was still shorter than me and quite lean, wet clothes clinging to his slender frame. He needed to eat more and come to the gym with me to build some muscle. Whoa! I needed to slow down. I still had no idea why he was here, what he wanted, how long he’d be in my life before he disappeared again. Best to find out that information before making plans for our future.
“Come in, then.” Once he made it to the foyer, I rushed to my room to grab a towel and a change of clothes. Mine would be too big on him, but they were dry, which I hoped he’d appreciate. “Here. I’ll be in the other room for a few minutes so you can change. Then we’ll talk.”
He nodded. “Thank you.”
Goose bumps covered my body. I paused in my retreat to catch my breath. His angelic voice still had the same effect on me. How was I going to survive him being at my house? I was physically stronger than I had been the last time we’d seen each other. But mentally, I was weak. Especially when it came to Roan. I didn’t know how long I could resist the need to claim my mate. Regardless, now wasn’t the time. I continued on my way to my office to drop off paperwork I’d brought home to do on my day off.
When I returned to the living room, Roan was still standing in the foyer, pulling at the cuff of one of the sleeves of my hoodie and chewing on his bottom lip. Utterly irresistible. How had I not tried for more with him when he was my roommate all those years ago?
“Come in, come in.” I moved a couple of fitness magazines off my leather chair so he could sit there if he didn’t want to take the couch. “Take a seat. Make yourself comfortable.” I headed to the kitchen and grabbed two of the meals I had prepared the previous weekend. “I’ve got shells, cheese, and trees for dinner. I mean, avocado-mac-and-cheese with broccoli. You hungry?”
Twisting his hands in each other, Roan stared at the floor, not yet seated. “I...I don’t want to impose. I didn’t know where else to go.”
The urge to take him in my arms, hold him tight, and tell him everything would be okay was so strong. But, clenching my fists, I stayed where I was. It was far too soon. I still had so many unanswered questions. And the last thing I wanted to do was spook him. “I’ll warm up these meals for us and toss your clothes in the washing machine. Then we can sit and chat while we eat. Okay?”
He nodded, eyes brimming with tears then finally slumped into the chair. My mate had finally returned to me, though I had the horrible feeling he wouldn’t be here for long.
“So, where have you been living since you left college?” I asked as I set a plate in front of him.
“Gitown.” He took a small mouthful of food then closed his eyes with a delighted sigh, as if it were the best thing he’d ever eaten.
Though I doubted that, since his parents had been very wealthy when I’d met him. Maybe circumstances had changed. Gitown wasn’t exactly known for catering to the rich. Any wealth there was distributed among the multiple gangs known to rule the city. “Oh, I…. All this time?”
Shoveling in more food, he nodded. “Except the first little bit when I lived in Torago with my parents.”
I wanted to ask why he’d left so suddenly and moved far away. Find out his reasons for not calling me, for forgetting me and what we’d shared, our connection that kept me from ever wanting to have feelings for another. Yet, he couldn’t have totally forgotten me, since he was here. “Are you in trouble, Roan?”
He tensed, and his breathing became heavy. “I….” Pushing his plate away, he seemed about to bolt.
I shuffled closer and rested my hand on his knee. The connection was a shock to the senses, but I couldn’t think about it then. With a deep breath, I cleared my mind and focused on Roan. “I want to help you. You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. But I need to be sure you mean me no harm. I know about the gangs in Gitown and hope you won’t be bringing that trouble here.”
Tears streamed down his cheeks. “I left the Tanks.” He sniffled. “They don’t know I’m here. Probably don’t know I left yet.”
I nodded, handing him the box of tissues. “Okay. Well, you’re here now.” Moving in front of him, I cupped his cheeks and used my thumbs to wipe his tears. “No need to cry. You’re safe.”
But he wouldn’t look at me. Was he hiding something or ashamed of being in a gang? Maybe both. Yet, I didn’t want to push him. He’d come around in time. At least I hoped so. I took a couple of tissues and dabbed his face until he took them from me and finished cleaning himself.
I didn’t press anymore, hoping he would become more comfortable and talk on his own. Yet, after I returned from taking our dishes to the kitchen and cleaning up from dinner, I found Roan curled in the chair, sound asleep. As adorable as the sight was, I could only imagine how cramped he’d be when he woke. I scooped him into my arms and moved him onto the couch. Then I found a blanket and draped it over him. In the morning, I’d try for more answers. Until then, I hoped he’d stick around.