Jess Buffett was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia. She is married to a wonderful and supportive husband and they live on the Central Coast with their two children. Jess is a hopeless romantic who loves stories about true love that sizzle with a happy ending. She is a huge fan of M/M and M/F romance—anything with hunky men in all their glory, whether they be Shifters, Vampires, Cowboys, or the boy next door. Jess believes in soul mates, happily ever afters, and in love at first sight, but that sometimes people need a second or a third for the brain to catch up.
Riley McLeod has never gotten over the loss of his family to murderous
Vampires, and often hides behind his sarcasm and carefree attitude. So imagine his shock when he discovers he is not only mated to one, but his mate is the Prince of the Vaucluse Coven.
When Caleb Vaucluse arrived at the Hunter Clan, he never expected to meet his mate. His joy soon turns to devastation when he learns that Riley fears him. Caleb struggles to get passed Riley’s defenses and prove that they are meant to be. Unfortunately just as they come together, pride and old wounds prove hard to overcome for the pair, and threaten to tear them apart for good.
As an enemy is revealed and more questions are raised, Caleb and Riley have choice to make. Do they keep their pride and stand alone, or stand together and embrace the love fate gave to them?
Rolling his head sideways to glance at his brother, Riley was always surprised at how different identical twins could look. It was like they were both the same blank canvas and had decided to go in completely different directions. Sawyer was a classic, with its smooth lines and refined features, and he was an...abstract. Sawyer’s conservative appearance, compared to Riley’s more flamboyant one, never failed to turn heads when they were together. Even at that moment Riley’s jeans had the usual rainbow glitter down the sides, and he wore a too-tight Kesha top stating “Get Sleazy” in big, sparkling letters. He also loved his makeup, never leaving his room without at least some eyeliner and lip gloss on. “Contemplating my existence in the universe. You?”
“Nothing quite so deep,” Sawyer drawled, taking up a position next to Riley, slouched on the wall. “You know, while you’re there, you might want to contemplate what you’re going to do with your mate.”
Riley winced. Yeah, his brother just had to go there, didn’t he?
“I think I stand more chance with the first one,” he grimaced, running a hand roughly through his perfectly styled platinum locks.
It was so true. He was at a total loss as to what to do there. Riley could admit that Caleb was charming and sexy as sin. Oh, who was he kidding, the man was sex on a stick, no doubt about it. Riley had to stop himself every time the man walked into a room from running up and licking him like candy and begging him to use his push-pop. But the man was a Vampire. A fraking Vampire. And after one witnesses their entire family, save their twin, being slaughtered by Vampires, it tends to leave a mark or seven. Fate was seriously a cruel bitch. Riley just knew there was a reason women did nothing for him.
“You have to at least try, Riley.” Sawyer sounded exasperated, which granted, wasn’t an unusual state when he spoke to Riley.
Hell, Riley was amazed at the amount of patience his brother had for him. He knew he could be a bit much at time, whether it was his lack of filter or inability to stay focused, but he didn’t always mean to be so annoying.
That wasn’t to say he didn’t do it on purpose sometimes, just not all the time.
Either way, the topic was making him feel extremely uncomfortable, so Riley chose to handle it like he did anything else. With sarcasm. “Not like it would work anyway. He is so clearly a top, and we both know I am too, dear brother.”
Another sigh came from his brother, and Riley had thought he’d hit the mark. Unfortunately for him though, Sawyer seemed to be on a real mission tonight and was able to ignore his efforts.
“One, you’re being bitchy. Two, you don’t know if he is a top,” Sawyer stated, blushing at what he had just said. Riley hid his snicker. His brother was so easy. “And three, are you telling me you can’t give up control every so often for your own mate.”
“I’m not the one who would have trouble with it,” he snarked. There was no way Riley could see mister caveman giving up the reins. There would be no equal partnership, not with a man like that.
“Are you sure about that? Besides, we both know this has nothing to do with who is on top,” Sawyer whispered, concern and sympathy in his forest-green eyes.
No. No it didn’t. Riley had enough issues and baggage to write an album worth of “you broke my heart, stole my car and shot my dog” songs. And the world already had a Billy Ray.
“It’s kind of a moot point, anyhow. The man hasn’t looked sideways at me for the past couple of weeks.” He frowned, trying to not show how much that hurt.
As far as the other man was concerned Riley may as well of not existed. The strange thing was, Riley had been so sure that’s what he had wanted, but now that he had it... God, he was a bitch. A scared, lonely bitch, who was too afraid to be anywhere near his own mate.
“Maybe he is just trying to give you space. Let you come around in your own time,” Sawyer suggested, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder.
That hand gesture meant more than his brother could ever know. It reminded him that he wasn’t alone.
“What if I can’t, Sawyer,” he whispered, voicing his true fears. “What if I fall for him but can’t get over my fears. Losing him after having him, even for just a little time in my life, would be so much worse.”
“I think maybe that is a conversation you need to have with him. Tell him everything, Riley. And then let your mate help you,” Sawyer said, wrapping Riley in his arms tightly. Riley sank into the embrace, accepting the comfort his twin always gave him. “Remember, I nearly lost Jake because we weren’t honest. Don’t make that mistake too.”
Letting out a deep sigh, he nodded. “You’re right. I’ll talk to him, but that is all I can promise.”
“It’s better than nothing,” came from the other side of him. The hairs on the back of his neck raised at the sound of the voice that featured in most of his fantasies. Riley slowly turned to face Caleb. “If all you can offer me right now is talking, then I’ll gladly take it.”
Staring into his mate’s eyes, Riley nearly lost himself. The man was simply gorgeous, and those honey-golden eyes always trapped him. Oh, frak-a-doodle-do, he was in trouble. “How long have you been there?”
“Long enough to know we have a lot to talk about.” The man seemed rather unrepentant that he was eavesdropping.
“Well, on that note, I’ll leave you guys to it,” Sawyer said, chuckling nervously before hightailing it quicker than he had ever seen his brother move. Shoot, he didn’t even know the boy could run that fast.