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The slide of a familiar callused hand down his skin pulled Friln from his sleep. He inhaled deeply, taking the scent of his mate into his lungs, the familiar smell easing him into wakefulness. After ten years, the allure of the man beside him still hardened Frilnâ€™s cock with the mere brush of Nelrinâ€™s sheet-warmed skin.
He rolled over then scooted closer to Nelrinâ€”or Rin, as he called his mateâ€”absorbing more warmth. Thresls poured out heat, like personal furnaces for their cooler human partners. Friln hummed his approval. The bright sun streaming through the window, and mental visions of the endless hours of work waiting in his near future, had him squeezing his eyes tighter. Maybe heâ€™d laze about in bed a bit longer. Maybe heâ€™d stay there. Someone might find their happy corpses in a year or two.
Keeping his eyes closed, Friln didnâ€™t move as he waited for his loverâ€™s next step. This game replayed itself every single morning. It never got old. He bit his lip to hold back a laugh, then relaxed his body and pretended to go back to sleep.
Rin traced Frilnâ€™s ear, his light touch raising a round of bumps down Frilnâ€™s spine.
"Iâ€™m not buying it, sweetheart. Time to wake up," Rinâ€™s deep voice rumbled in his ear. Friln slid his thigh up until his knee bumped Rinâ€™s erection. The quickly sucked-in breath and rumble of laughter rewarded his behaviour. "Donâ€™t think you can change my mind. You know we have guard duty today."
"Hmm." He refused to be drawn into a conversation. He had several finer ideas of what they could do with the morning.
Rin continued the trek of his fingers down Frilnâ€™s neck. Shivers chased Rinâ€™s touch, raising bumps across Frilnâ€™s skin. Anticipation quickened in his gut, spinning and twistingâ€”a combination of lust and love.
"Friln, babe, you need to get up. If you hurry we have time for a quickie before work."
Now how could he resist that sort of invitation? He slid up and propped his chin on Rinâ€™s chest. "Morning."
For the first time that day, he opened his eyes, anticipating the vision he knew heâ€™d find.
Damn, Iâ€™m a lucky man.
Rinâ€™s dark, sleep-mussed hair stuck out on all sidesâ€”a prickly forest monster in the makingâ€”and more adorable than any man had the right to be. It didnâ€™t hurt that the gold eyes watching Friln glowed with adoration. Through their mental connection, Rin poured out his emotions, sharing his love for his mate. Friln never doubted Rinâ€™s devotion to himâ€”not since the day when they were eighteen and bonded without parental approval or knowledge. Of course, bonding didnâ€™t come with a guarantee of happiness, and they didnâ€™t always get along, but far more good days than bad decorated their past.
Friln stayed there a moment, soaking in their connection, wallowing in his mateâ€™s attention. If he could relive and pick any time of his life he considered perfect, this would be it. Waking up in the morning and seeing Rin made even sucky mornings worthwhile.
"You all right, love?" Rinâ€™s adoring glance had changed to concerned.
"Mmm hmm. Iâ€™m just enjoying you."
He lay there lost in the beauty of his mate until Rin poked him in the side.
"Hey! No poking. At least not with your fingers." Other poking was not only allowed but greatly anticipated.
Rin laughedâ€”a soft, joyful sound. "Baby, you need to get up. The king specifically requested us to watch over him while he and Kreslan met with the delegates today. Remember, humans from Kresâ€™ old division are going to be here."
"Pfft, you know I havenâ€™t forgotten. I have a perfect memory. The king just wants us to babysit Kres and make sure he doesnâ€™t kill anyone. I set up the recorder last night." Friln always set up a camera to track meetings with off-worlders because they tended to be a sneaky bunch.
"Just because you help out Duke Hellbur doesnâ€™t make your memory perfect." Rin rolled his eyes.
Friln sat up and glared at his mate for ruining their nice accord. "The duke appreciates my memory when Iâ€™m cracking codes for him."