Valentino's Cowboy [Brac Village 10]

By: Lynn Hagen

Valentino could tell that Abe wanted to kiss him. He could feel the desire sparking between them, but his mate’s lips were stiff. Abe opened, jabbing his tongue into Valentino’s mouth and nearly choking him. He placed his hand on the fey’s neck, stilling him. “Either no one has taught you the proper way to kiss”—Valentino pressed his fingers playfully against Abe’s neck—“or I am your first. Which is it?”

Abe gazed up at Valentino from under his blond lashes, a very seductive grin on his face. “Or maybe I want to play hard to get, let you chase me.” He took a step back, turning and smacking his backside. “I guess you’ll just have to find out.”

The little imp walked away!

He chuckled to himself as he watched his mate go. The man had fire in him. He liked that. Valentino pressed the palm of his hand into his cock as he bit his bottom lip. Oh, how he wanted that man.

It was going to be fun catching him.

In the meantime he needed to talk to Malcolm and make sure there was nothing else the bear needed before Valentino took off.

* * * *

Abe stepped into the house and pressed his back into the wall, taking in a deep and wobbly breath. He had to steady his frazzled nerves. Although he had issued the challenge to his mate, Abe was a wreck. There were many times when he had flirted with the men on this ranch, but Abe had never meant anything by it and there was no stake in him being rejected.

He had been passing the time, having a bit of fun, and just plain old lonely when he flirted with the Lakeland men. Now the stakes were high and the flirting actually meant something. It was amazing how he had gone from an outspoken man to a guy hiding in the house in the blink of an eye.

And his mate had basically called him a bad kisser. Abe was mortified. He had joked and teased with Bryce, leading the bear to believe that Abe was worldly. That had been a tall tale that was coming back to bite him on the ass because Abe didn’t know diddly-squat about being with another man.

Abe groaned when the twins strode into the living room. He normally loved their antics and hanging out with them, but he didn’t want to be teased. Chauncey and Chance were harmless, but Abe needed to figure out what he was going to do.

He didn’t want Valentino to call him a bad kisser again. He wanted to be everything the cougar shifter wanted in a mate. Abe just had to figure out what Valentino wanted, besides a cowboy.

That was something Abe had never been. He was a Wood elf who helped the Lakelands out and they took him in. He spent half his time running from the animals. If only he had a gift with the creatures like Sterling had. The human had a way with the animals that Abe envied right now.

“So, we hear you finally found a man you can flirt with who won’t chase you off,” Chance said as he dropped down onto the sofa. “Then again he might, but this one is all yours.”

Abe turned to head out of the door when he spotted his mate walking toward his car. He stood at the screen door as he finally had a chance to look at the man unencumbered. Valentino had dark-brown hair that seemed to stand up in all directions, eyes the color of greyish-brown, and a goatee that turned Abe on. Valentino was strong and manly, sexy as sin, and Abe felt as if he was going to fall short when compared.

“Skerd?” Chauncey teased as he stepped up behind Abe.

“In your dreams,” Abe replied, holding his own with Chauncey. “Have I ever come off as someone who was afraid of men?”

The bear leaned his arm against the door frame, staring down at Abe with a wicked grin. “Then what are you doing in here?”

“He’s scared,” Chance needled. “He talked all that shit and flirted his ass off with everyone on the ranch. But now when it’s time to put his money where his mouth is, little Abe is trembling.”

“Chicken shit,” Chauncey whispered with a smile. “I know you would prefer to have a bear as a mate”—Chauncey ran his hand down his chest in an overt gesture—“but I’m taken. You’ll have to make due with a cat.”

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Abe replied. “You are so last week.”

“Then prove you’re not scared and go talk to your mate,” Chauncey challenged. “Go flirt with the man.”

“He has work to do,” Abe supplied the feeble excuse. “Something you would know nothing about.”

“You got me there,” Chauncey said. “But at least I’m not afraid to talk to my mate.”

Without thought, Abe slammed his hand into the screen door and headed outside. He walked down the front steps and made a beeline straight for Valentino. He would show that annoying bear that he wasn’t afraid to flirt with his very own mate!

But when Valentino turned and stared at Abe with those taupe-colored eyes, Abe’s confidence packed its bags and left town. He stood there feeling like a big goober as he gazed at the handsome man.

“Did you come to give me that kiss?” Valentino asked as he crossed his arms over his broad chest and leaned against the car. “My lips are primed and ready, my little cowboy.”

Abe swallowed hard, his mouth growing bone-dry as he rubbed the palms of his hands on his jeans. He could literally feel the twins’ eyes boring into his back.