Travelling to Dnara to find the exiled Vihaans sounded like a great idea. Except…Dnara is nothing like home. Homesick, bored, and confused by the way Jude’s eyes keep drifting over him, being in Dnara brings only chaos and uncertainty into Gale’s life.
With Jude doing everything but climbing into his lap to make his attraction clear, yet putting on the brakes at the strangest times, it’s up to Gale to make the first move and claim his mate. Men might never have been on his radar before, but Gale isn’t about to ignore the true mate bond he thought he would never find.
Jude can fight all he wants, but no one denies the bond. Not when his words bark ‘back off’ and his eyes scream ‘claim me’. Besides, Gale never was any good at doing what he was told.
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Bitten by the Bond
Elaine White © 2023
All Rights Reserved
“What fucked up weather is this?” Gale frowned, extending a hand past the shelter of the front door. The raindrops hit like tiny ice needles.
Drew handed him an umbrella. “Rain.”
It didn’t look like any rain Gale had ever experienced. This was his first trip to Dnara and he didn’t like what he’d seen so far or how it made him feel.
Rolling his eyes, Drew opened the umbrella and walked out in a three-layered top, tight jeans, and ankle boots to stand under the contraption.
Gale adjusted the weird coat that crinkled with every movement. “I’ll wear the damned coat but I’m not using an umbrella.” He stepped outside to the side of the front door onto the path extending in a slope on the left.
Jude didn’t look any happier as he emerged in his jacket and pulled up the hood. Behind, Isaac hugged his stomach and slipped under Drew’s umbrella.
Janet walked out in little more than a tank top and tight jeans. “This isn’t rain,” she complained with a sniff. “It’s a good piss.”
Jude snorted, following Drew along the path from the fraternity house, wide enough for two to walk side by side, the surrounding ground a mushy swamp where the grass gave way to mud.
Gale hated the poor way Dnarans cared for the earth, the weather, and the multitude of devices they couldn’t live without, like the mobile gadgets that controlled every detail of their lives. Give him an armchair by the fire, a warm bed and solitude during the rain seasons, freedom to walk outside on the first day of sunlight to a refreshed land, and good company over a home-brewed beer.
When Keon had asked for volunteers to travel to Dnara and recover those Vihaans exiled from their packs, Gale thought it would be easy. He didn’t expect it to take weeks.
Eliseo had done his best to prepare them, letting the fraternity brothers handle the electronic tasks, leaving them to do the leg work. But Gale missed home, the simplicity and ease of the pack, of knowing every member, their history, and their story, as well as he knew his own. Here, everyone was a stranger. The fraternity brothers acted, behaved, and functioned as a pack, but they weren’t m’weko.
They weren’t home.
Gale nudged Jude and raised an eyebrow at his new roommate. “You got a smoke?”
Patting the jacket pockets, Jude pulled out a packet and handed over two long rolls of Vihaan fottai, a special herbal mixture.
“Fuck!” Gale grabbed him by the neck to kiss his temple. “You’re my new favourite person.”
Jude shook his head in exasperation and tucked the packet into his jacket, making sure to zip the pocket. Extracting a lighter from his jeans, he lit Gale’s smoke then took the other and inhaled deeply.
He closed his eyes at the mix of herbs, the sense of home. The smell was unequivocally Vihaan. The pine of the trees from E’Boolou’s largest forest, the shaved wood of working with timber, the juniper of his favourite beer, a salty aroma from cooked rosson over a spit. Home.
He sighed in approval. “I owe you.”
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Jude cautioned, eyes glazed with the same reminiscence.
Gale didn’t argue. For this, no price was too high. There was nothing like having a piece of home when he was far from it. He’d take what he could get in case he was unlucky enough not to make it back. At least he still had Jude, his roommate, the guy he’d spent countless missions with. The man he’d spent weeks alone with, in a tiny boundary hut, taking their turn to protect the pack borders. The kinship and family bond bred by serving together, in isolation, didn’t compare to what he felt now.
There was nothing brotherly about what shot through his head every time he felt Jude’s eyes on him. Gale had never known a connection like this.
Janet and Marlan were home too but in a different way. A way that didn’t leave his nerves buzzing and heart thumping.
Whatever Dnara had done started something he had no idea how to finish.
“Here we are,” Drew called, distracting his attention from the fottai between his lips.
“What is this?” Janet asked, disgust dripping from every word.
Their guide frowned at the window that showcased a mass of humans standing at various counters. “A bar,” Drew replied in confusion. “You know, a place to drink? With friends.” He glanced between them for a sign of recognition.
Eyeing the building, Gale took another puff. “Why do you need a building to meet friends for a drink?” He didn’t understand Dnara. The rules, the insistence of creating special events or places or inventions when nature already provided what they needed. If they didn’t want to get wet, they should stay out of the rain. If they wanted to meet for a beer, what was wrong with their homes or the forest?
Laughing, Drew opened the door and stood within its shelter to lower the umbrella. “I’ll explain later. The guy is, according to his Facebook page, a bartender. He lives in the city, so this is the best time and place to find him,” he reasoned though half those words didn’t make sense to Gale.
He’d learned what those white signs with red lines meant though. It’s place on the bar door made Gale plant his feet. “No.” He smiled when Drew frowned and took another drag. “I’m not stomping out a fottai because there’s a sign on a fucking door. You can’t get fottai outside of Vihaan.” He held out the smoke for Drew to see.
Drew spoke under his breath. “God help me.” When he looked Gale in the eye, he nodded. “Fine. You stay with Jude to enjoy your smoke. Janet and Isaac will come with me to help this non-Vihaan recognise a native Vihaan.” He held the door open for the others. “I wish I could say I had a better way to spend my time, but this is for Keon,” he mumbled as he stepped inside.
Meet the Author
Elaine White is the author of multi-genre MM romance, celebrating ‘love is love’ and offering diversity in both genre and character within her stories.
Growing up in a small town and fighting cancer in her early teens taught her that life is short and dreams should be pursued. She lives vicariously through her independent, and often hellion characters, exploring all possibilities within the romantic universe.
The Winner of two Watty Awards – Collector’s Dream (An Unpredictable Life) and Hidden Gem (Faithfully) – and an Honourable Mention in 2016’s Rainbow Awards (A Royal Craving) Elaine is a self-professed geek, reading addict, and a romantic at heart.
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