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Carl watched his mate stop and turn.
What did he say now? Should they go to his room? Or Tristan’s? or to one of the main rooms so they were more public? Would Tristan think he was being too forward to ask to speak in one of their rooms? Or would he think he wasn’t interested if he asked to speak in a main room? Goddess, he was the Elder of his clan, he represented his clan at various events during any given year, he spoke to beings of all species.
Why was it so hard to think of what to say and do with the being the fates thought was perfect for him?
“Um, should we…maybe…go somewhere…more private?” Carl was sure he could feel his face heating up, but he ignored it and hoped no one else—especially the male standing in front of him with a sexy smirk on his lips—noticed.
Tristan cocked his head to the side and seemed to study Carl. Whatever he was looking for he apparently found as he nodded and indicated for Carl to follow him.
Carl couldn’t help letting his gaze slide down to appreciate the rounded ass as his mate walked ahead of him. If things went well he would be biting into said ass as soon as—
“Keep your eyes up and look where you’re going.”
Carl snapped his head up in time to not walk straight into Tristan’s back. He ignored Tristan’s chuckle and finally took notice of where they were.
Tristan had led him to one of the few secluded gardens within the den compound. There were night blooming kaislys and a love seat was tucked under a weeping willow tree.
Carl slid a hand to Tristan’s back, relishing the slight hitch he heard in his mate’s breathing, and led him over to the love seat. Once they were both seated he took a breathe to speak.
However, Tristan beat him to it. “Is this where you tell me that you’re an elder and you either already have a mate or you can’t mate with a man because you need to have an heir to pass the eldership onto?”
Carl frowned. Why did his mate sound so defensive? Why would he automatically think Carl was going to deny their mating? What had been said to this male to lead his thoughts in that direction?”
“What if I wanted to get you alone so I could slam you up against the nearest surface and claim you so hard everyone would know who you belonged with?” he leaned over as he spoke and let his breath tickle Tristan’s ear.
Tristan jerked away from the contact and Carl felt his heart lurch. What if Tristan didn’t want him? What if his comment had been his way of telling Carl why he didn’t want to mate him? What if…
“If you think that’s funny then you are going to find out why people go out of their way to avoid angry mages.”
Carl had had enough. He was a plain-spoken male as a rule and obviously, seduction wasn’t working for him.
“I haven’t tried to be funny. I was trying to seduce you. I have looked for my mate for a long time. If you don’t want me then say so. Quit trying to put words and thoughts on me without asking me what I want or think. Maybe you should think about what you want and get back to me. It’s getting near to dawn and old I may be, but I am still not immune to sunlight.”
Rising Carl kept his head high as he headed back inside at a deliberate walk. Once he was inside and sure he was out of sight of his mate did he pick up speed and not stop until he was safe inside his suite. Only then did he allow himself to crumple to the floor. Even at his advanced age, he had had dreams of the day he met his fated mate. He had thought their eyes would meet across a crowded room, or on the street in the moonlight, and they would smile and move closer. Maybe they would talk and get to know each other. Or maybe they would get to the good stuff first and then talk after while cuddled up together in his massive bed in his clan house.
Carl pushed himself to his feet and shook off the sadness. He was an adult and an elder. He knew not all matings worked out. He would just have to deal with it and keep his dealings with Tristan professional. Maybe he could speak to Simon and get him to run interference? No, that would involve Kitryn and that cat would love the opportunity to get information he could use to tease Carl.
He’d poured himself a glass of whiskey and was about to take a sip when someone started banging on his door.
Before he could move a voice joined the banging. “I know you’re in there. Open this door or I swear I will blast it off its hinges. You do not get to say all that and then walk away.
Oh, his mate sounded pissed…
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