Wylie couldn’t concentrate. It wasn’t Fox’s fault, although he was doing his damnedest to be distracting as fuck as they sat at a table in the lounge.

The space was huge. There was a flat screen on one wall with an assortment of gaming systems and DVDs to entertain, computers set up by the long wall of windows for anyone who wanted to use them in their free time, and tables, chairs, and couches placed throughout the area in comforting clumps. Posters and pictures lined the long wall that connected to all the dorm rooms, clearly put up by the patients. The subject matter ranged from popular bands to photos of animals Wylie was starting to think might be of the shifters who attended the Academy throughout the years.

His problem was Dorian, who was currently sitting in a chair across the room and reading. Wylie wasn’t sure what he was reading, just that it must be really fascinating to have his attention even though he kept glancing his way every other minute. Dorian’s gaze felt like a hot touch and Wylie and his dragon were hyper aware of his every movement. He was crazy hot and Wylie couldn’t stop looking.

“Wait, how did you get here?” Wylie asked. He forced his attention from Dorian’s curled up form to the fox shifter babbling in his ear. “You were hit by a car?”

“It’s those cats, man. Those fucking sassy, snobby, taunting cats.” Fox growled in exasperation. “The thing was just taunting the fuck out of me, climbing the neighbor’s fence, jumping to a tree and hissing all angry like. It was, like, begging me to chase it. So I did, but the damn thing booked it into the street. Then bam! Like out of nowhere!” Fox smacked his hand down on the table loudly. “I didn’t feel a thing, just went tumbling sideways, rolling on the asphalt. This guy comes running out, bitching about stupid, crazy dogs. I ain’t no dog, man.”

He gave Wylie a sober look and leaned forward. “When I told him that, he fucking freaked. Cuz I wasn’t a dog; I was a scrawny-ass kid bleeding in the middle of the road!” Fox roared in laughter and slammed his hands on the table again. “Oh my god, the fucking reaming that guy got when my mama got there! I actually felt sorry for him. When she gets going, there is no mercy.”

Wylie found himself laughing despite the mental image of Fox being hit by a car. He seemed fine enough unless his extreme behavior was like some weird latent brain damage or some shit. Fox was alright. Loud as a rave and ready to talk his ear off, but a nice guy and all fun. “So your parents sent you here after that? So you wouldn’t chase cats?”

“Nah, they don’t care about the cats. They care more about the fact that I got so caught up I shifted in the middle of the neighborhood in broad daylight and booked it right into a busy intersection.” He snickered. “It’s tough. There is just so much going on in the world, man. Hard to remember not to be a fox. I like being a fox. The damn smells alone are awesome.”

Wylie paused at that. His smile dropped as he again caught a glance of Dorian peeking at him from across the room. He hunched forward and leaned sideways until he was in Fox’s ear. “What’s the sorcerers’ deal around here?”

Fox blinked and glanced to where Wylie had been looking. “What, like Dorian’s?”

He shrugged casually but then gave a quick nod. “Why don’t they ever talk to the shifters? He’s the only one I’ve kinda met, but I know there are more.” Wylie didn’t mention that his dragon had picked Dorian as some fucking life-mate after one minute of half introductions.

“Uh, for real?” Fox ducked even closer and whispered so no one else could hear. “Sorcerers are kind of fucked in the head. Totally. Most of them think shifters are lower than actual animals. Like we’re trash or some shit. Back in the day, shifters were hunted down by magic users to be taken apart for spells. You really don’t want to fuck with that kind of shit, being a dragon and all. Rare types are used for dark magic.”

Wylie straightened and stared blankly at the table before eventually meeting Fox’s gaze. “You’re fucking with me, right?”

Fox shook his head, his orange eyes wide with sincerity. “Lost my grandpa to some sorcerer psycho. Not for magic, just cuz the freak thought he was better than my abuelo and killed him over some stupid shit like he wasn’t a person. I mean, they don’t do that shit now. Well, they’re not supposed to. And I’m pretty sure no one here has ever done anything like that… But a few of them make you fucking wonder,” he added with narrowed eyes as Vincent came into the room.

“Has he ever seemed like the type too…?” Wylie nodded towards Dorian. His gaze met greenish-gold eyes again and caught when he looked his way.

“Nah, he just keeps to himself cuz he needs peace and quiet. Pretty sure he’d blow up the place after five minutes if he was rooming with me. Dorian’s like the only one to get along with Leo, so that says a lot about him. If a guy can get along with an asshole alpha type, he’s either an ass too or really fucking patient.”

He watched as the gorgeous sorcerer combed fingers through his perfect hair as he read. Wylie leaned towards patient. “He smart?”

“Brilliant. Can do just about anything. Even helped me with a spell once. I really shouldn’t be unsupervised with magic. Just saying.” Fox grinned widely and leaned forward and forced Wylie to meet his gaze. “Why? You getting a craving for one of the resident magic men?”

Wylie snorted and glared back at the tanned shifter. “Just trying to figure out what the whole sorcerer thing is all about.”

“Sure, sure. No one ever falls for the totally aloof, untouchable, hot as fuck sorcerers.” Fox barked in laughter. “Hey, and the crazy thing they do, that’s a total turn off too, right? No one ever likes crazy and hot. Don’t know what I was thinking.”

Wylie smiled crookedly. He ducked his head and risked a glance at Dorian again. He had shifted positions, his feet folded beneath him and somehow managed to look even more delicious with his head carelessly resting on his hand. Wylie waited and wondered if he was imagining things. Hazel eyes flashed his way again. Dorian quickly looked at his book when he found him staring back.

His dragon was damn sure Dorian was teasing the fuck out of him. It wanted to go over and kiss him until he very loudly admitted he was hot for him. And then keep kissing him, and then some other stuff he was pretty sure would get him sparking damn crazy.

“Hey, he ever spark around you?” Wylie asked Fox curiously.

“Spark? What does that even mean? Like electrical sparks?” Fox shook his head. “Not something I’ve seen anyone do…” he trailed off, his eyebrows raised when someone approached their table. “Err… Hey, Vince.”

“Vincent,” the sorcerer said curtly. He spared Fox a condescending glance before he fixed his sights on Wylie and graced him with a perfect smile. “You’re the new shifter.”

Wylie found his view of Dorian blocked. He turned his gaze to the new arrival. From his accent, he was pretty sure Vincent was German. “Yeah, that’s me. Wylie Doe.” He reached for his hand in greeting, then caught Fox’s expression. Fox shook his head and mouthed ‘crazy as fuck’ to him. Wylie bit back a smirk and lowered his hands to the table. “What can I do for you, Vincent?”

Vincent leaned forward with an enticing smile, his hands placed on the table far too close to Wylie’s. He was still blocking his view. It was something his dragon was getting annoyed with even as Vincent gave him a coy look. “Just wanted to say hello. I was new only a few months back. It can be tough getting to know people around here.”

“Or you could just annoy the fuck out of them like Vince does,” Fox added brightly, his smile wicked.

“I’m not talking to you, vermin.” Vincent huffed. He glared at Fox while he threw his long, shiny black hair over his shoulder. “If I was, I’d be talking very slowly just to make sure you could understand.”

“Aw, that’s nice of you, Vince, really sweet.” Fox kept stressing the nickname and smirked when Vincent’s glare only grew. “It must be tough being so smart all the time. Learning English in a month and then being so great as to try and teach me. You’re an amazing guy.”

“You’re mocking me.” Vincent was clearly annoyed at being waylaid from talking to Wylie. “I did learn English in a month and I still speak it more fluently than you do, you four-legged mongrel. Do you shifters even know how to speak beyond growls and barks, or am I confusing that for your native language?”

Wylie raised his eyebrows. He had to bite his tongue when Fox laughed in Vincent’s face and the sorcerer started talking some crazy, racist shit about shifters, Mexicans and for some reason, television. Well, fuck. Sorcerers apparently had their own world of fucked-up compared to shifters, and tree smelling was not on the list.

Fox, though, did not seem to mind too much. He grinned brilliantly the entire time Vincent ranted at him. “You crazy-ass, stuck up, guapo as fuck, wannabe gringo. Stop waving your culo apretado in my face and get lost.” He went to smack the sorcerer on his tight ass, but Vincent held his hand up and Fox stuck mid-motion.

“You did not just say that to me, you boorish fleabag,” Vincent said in disbelief. His gray eyes were narrowed challengingly.

“What, you take the time to start learning my language, Vince?” Fox flashed his fangs, not intimidated in the slightest even though he couldn’t move his arms. “Thought it was ‘beneath you?’”

“It is, Zorro,” Vincent snapped. He glared when Fox howled in laughter. “Stop interrupting me. I’m here to say hello to the new shifter, not listen to your incessant monkey chattering.”

“Oh, I fucking know why you’re over here.” With a determined look, Fox twisted his arms. A wave of magic flickered around his form and released him from the spell. “Get in line, Vince. My dance card is full for the week.”

“You arrogant, lowly, flea-ridden…”

Wylie sat back. He wasn’t sure when the strange display was going to end, but he was pretty certain Fox was heading for a black eye. Given his wicked grin, he was looking forward to it. Cats were apparently not the only thing Fox chased into oncoming traffic.

Dorian was ready to hex Vincent into a different time zone. Someone confirmed that Wylie was a dragon shifter and Vincent was currently trying to flirt his way into his jeans. Dorian wasn’t sure if Vincent wanted to fuck Wylie or take him apart for spare parts. What he did know was he was blocking his view, and was ruining their very intense game of eye contact.

Dorian wasn’t feeling quite himself. He was aware of it but wasn’t really willing to do much about it just yet. Vincent was an ass and he was feeling childishly jealous and he didn’t fucking care. He saw Wylie first… Well, fine. He knocked into him first; he was pretty sure about that. He was definitely the only one to be hissed at.

Dorian had spent the last three hours in the reflection room getting himself into some sort of balance. Except it felt decidedly difficult today. His mind ever strayed to Wylie and his wild eyes and strangely sexy behavior. He needed sex. He couldn’t have sex—not without fear of losing control of his magic and taking the damn Academy with him—but he was at least fairly certain that was his problem.

Since he couldn’t have sex, couldn’t let himself talk to the hot new shifter, and he couldn’t beat the fuck out of Vincent—the damn shameless slut—Dorian settled on a cigarette. He snapped his book shut and stood from his favorite chair nestled in the corner of the lounge. He reached for his cigarette case and headed for the door. The table Wylie was sitting at obstructed his path to freedom. Dorian’s eyes narrowed in on Vincent and his stupid super-shiny blue-black hair and skintight jeans. He was considering discreetly cursing a tear into his seams just out of spite when he heard a growingly familiar hiss. His gaze snapped to Wylie, who was staring at him.

“Whoa there.” Fox jumped up when Wylie’s arms gave a shudder and scales exploded up over his flesh. “Shit, shit. Vince, don’t fucking go near him,” he warned and shouldered him away when Vincent looked about to touch Wylie’s nearest arm. Dorian was disappointed; Vincent would have lost a few fingers if he managed to make contact.

“Sorry.” Wylie tried and failed to turn his gaze from Dorian’s. “Seriously, sorry.”

“Are you guys like fighting or some shit?” Fox asked when Wylie broke out into another hiss. “Should I get someone?”

“No, it’s fine.” Wylie took a slow, deep breath. His eyes were locked with Dorian, who had still chosen not to leave. “My dragon is just a little, um, difficult to understand, is all. It’s not angry. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, I swear.”

Fox looked unconvinced and placed himself between Wylie and Vincent. “For real, man, you sound scary as fuck. Could you, like, put the deadly arms away?”

Wylie shook his head; he was struggling internally. “I’m trying. The dragon really doesn’t want to be put away right now. I’ll just, uh, leave until I get it under control.”

“I was leaving anyways,” Dorian finally spoke. He flicked his cigarette case open. Wylie’s gaze peered down to what he was holding and a look of pure desire moved across his features. Dorian raised a brow and held a cigarette up in offering. He inwardly smirked when Wylie looked ready to lunge across the table. He started walking and Wylie fell into step behind him.

“Wait! I really think you should call one of the masters,” Fox yelled after, but both ignored him.

Dorian wasn’t exactly sure what the hell he was doing. His pulse thrummed in his ears as he felt Wylie follow. It was a bit like being stalked. He wet his lips as he reached the outside door. A tremor ran down his spine and heat flooded him from the simple weight of eyes on his back. Yeah, definitely like being stalked.

They stepped out into the growing evening. Fresh air filled Dorian’s senses but did nothing to cool the heat rising in him. When he stopped under the shadowed awning and stared out by the edge of the pillar, Wylie walked a little past him. He was silent as he stared at Dorian.

“Thanks.” Wylie took the offered cigarette gingerly. His clawed hand held the delicate stick with practiced grace as he placed it to his lips. He paused, eyes narrowed on Dorian’s fingers when one began to glow. A small, controlled flame sparked to life at the tip. Wylie stood absolutely still when Dorian brought his hand close to his face. His unblinking eyes fixed on his.

Dorian hadn’t expected Wylie to be afraid of him, but there was definitely a wariness in his ice-blue eyes as he lit his cigarette. “You know a lot of sorcerers?”

“No. Never met magic users or shifters before this place.” Wylie took a deep drag. His eyes closed and shoulders slumped. “Hell, that’s good.”

Dorian lit his own cigarette. He glanced at Wylie occasionally while he leaned against the pillar. It was much quieter outside. The light was dim enough Wylie had removed his sunglasses half an hour ago. Dorian couldn’t help but stare and take in the muscular scaled arms and fierce features that came along with them. He’d never seen a partial transformation like Wylie’s. It was an odd balance of human form and soft skin mixed with deadly rainbow-coated black scales. He liked it. A lot.

Dorian wanted a taste. Just a little one. He was certain once he got Wylie out of his system he wouldn’t feel so crazy. He was curious; Wylie was new, different, and impossibly hot. If he could find a way to nip it in the bud now, he could prevent it from growing into the dangerous thing it was threatening. If Wylie was even into it.

Dorian was pretty sure he was. He found Wylie again staring at him when he glanced his way. It was pure attraction, raw and very difficult to ignore. He should—he really probably should—but Dorian was having trouble caring about consequences when caught in such an intense gaze.

“Another?” He reached for his case when Wylie finished his cigarette.

“Why aren’t you afraid of me?” Wylie stepped closer, clawed hands kept deliberately at his side. “I scare the hell out of me, and I’ve been dealing with this strangeness since I was eight.”

Dorian held the cigarette up and Wylie leaned the last inch to grasp it with his lips. He lit it with a magical flame. His hand lingered too long before withdrawing. “Eight? That’s young for a shifter.”

“No clue. I’ve been alone for a long time. No parents, no shifters… no pretty mages.” Wylie took another step closer. His nostrils flared as he breathed in Dorian’s scent.

“You ever hurt yourself with your own claws?” Dorian did his best to keep his heart from racing as Wylie edged ever nearer.

“Only on purpose. They move whenever they come in contact with my skin. Soften. Some sort of innate protection.” Wylie tapped the side of his face with a long talon. The tip of his claw smoothed to a blunt point. “I tried to do it with other people but not so lucky.”

“But you can heal them, right? Your saliva?”

“Yeah. Only found that out the other day. Usually people just get hurt around me. Course, most of them I wanted to hurt at the time, don’t get me wrong. That’s why the arms come out to begin with.”

Dorian’s gaze move down as Wylie took another step. He was so close now he could feel the heat coming off his body. “Is that why they’re out now?”

“I don’t want to hurt you. It… The dragon would never hurt you,” Wylie said hesitantly. He looked away when Dorian tried to read his expression. “It’s just a little weird. I’m trying to understand the creature, it just… It communicates differently from most things. Hisses when it…” he trailed off. He turned back and the softest of hisses escaped from his lips. Dorian shivered and then flushed.

“Why does it hiss?” His fingers itched to pull the nearly spent cigarette from Wylie’s mouth and touch his lips.

“Because it doesn’t know better,” Wylie muttered under his breath.

“Yeah, but why?” The slight blush to Wylie’s cheeks was damn enticing. Energy tingled through Dorian the more aware he became of just how close he was. No more than five inches, maybe less if he could edge his shoulder over a bit. “Why does your dragon keep hissing at me?”

Wylie ducked his head and let the cigarette drop from his lips, then stepped on the glowing ember. With an exaggerated posture of calm, he leaned against the pillar Dorian was on. Their shoulders nearly brushed. “He thinks you smell nice.”

It took him a moment. A smile quirked Dorian’s lips as more fire moved through him. Shifters and scents were different than people and scents. Liking someone’s scent was the same as admitting to being attracted to them. More, it was an attraction that didn’t fade the same way a passing crush did.

Dorian stilled and held his breath when Wylie dipped closer and breathed his scent in more boldly. “You’re confusing,” Wylie murmured. The bridge of his nose brushed lightly against Dorian’s jaw. “You look so calm, so cool and collected, but your scent says so many different things.”

“Does it?” Dorian asked breathlessly. His lashes were downcast while he fought to keep his energy in check. He definitely had it bad. He could normally handle some touch, definitely simple closeness with other people. Everything about Wylie made him feel crazy. He was damn sure he was going to lose it even after his hours of meditation. “What do I smell like?”

Wylie tilted his head and slipped even closer. His clawed hand touched lightly on the pillar opposite Dorian and blocked the sorcerer in. “Lots of things; emotions, thoughts. You like coffee… with cream. And chocolate.”

“I love chocolate,” Dorian agreed quietly. He fought a shiver when hot breath moved over his neck.

“What else do you like? Besides nicotine, caffeine and chocolate fixes,” Wylie teased.

“Oh, the usual.” Dorian dared a glance only to get caught in Wylie’s nearly white eyes. His chest felt tight, and sweat trickled down the nape of his neck. He wasn’t sure if it was Wylie alone or the fact that he was actually talking about himself, but Dorian felt really flustered. “I try to indulge in the things I can. I really don’t have a lot I can enjoy.”

Wylie breathed in again and a low hiss escaped on his exhale. “You’re really interesting. You have this wild, overpowering energy radiating from you. But underneath it all, there are these swirling tendrils… Very varied… ever changing…” He leaned closer and moved his mouth to Dorian’s.

“Wait.” Dorian turned his head to the side. His heart pounded in his ears. “I can’t… I can’t be touched.”

Wylie exhaled heavily. He went to pull away. Fingers curled around the collar of his shirt and held him still.

“I didn’t say go,” Dorian amended. “I just can’t handle too much without losing control.”

“The sparking?” Dorian nodded and eyed him intently. He raised his hand in offering and Wylie hissed before he ducked down and smelled his wrist. “I’m sorry if I scare you,” Wylie muttered. “I know I’m weird… Really, really weird. My dragon thinks you smell yummy and won’t let me put him away.”

Dorian blinked rapidly at being described as ‘yummy.’ He suppressed a hot shiver as lips brushed his flesh. “I… I don’t think you’re weird. I’ve been around here for a while and you’re just another shifter.” He tried to feel as impassive as his words suggested. Wylie was not just another shifter. He fucked him up in ways no one had before. Even if he was perfectly normal in every other regard, Dorian was never going to think of him as just a shifter.

“Don’t stress over it,” he added distractedly when Wylie flashed his teeth, fangs close to the skin of his wrist. Would they hurt? Would it be worth being cut just so Wylie would heal him after with that tongue of his? If he would lick him, like, everywhere…

Dorian was pretty sure he was in trouble, sparking or not. He pulled his train of thought back to what he’d been saying. “We’re all fucked-up in our own special way, that’s why we’re here. Some of the guys might give you shit, but they’re just as messed up with their own problems. You’re not weird and I’m not scared of you.”

Wylie shook his head slowly and breathed Dorian in with another low hiss. “I’m pretty sure I’m weird. Especially when it comes to you.” He met Dorian’s hazel eyes, unable to smile it off as a joke. “If you even knew some of the things my dragon was thinking about… Well, you’d be freaked. I’m fucking sure.” Another hiss escaped him and before he could stop, Wylie licked his tongue out and tasted Dorian’s skin.

“Fuck,” Dorian gasped. His entire body jerked from the hot touch of tongue, and a spark flickered wildly off his fingers.

Wylie stilled when he saw the burst of energy. He ran his tongue over his teeth. “Probably shouldn’t have done that.”

“No, I… I’m in control,” Dorian insisted quietly even as he tried to get his magic to agree.

“Heh, actually meant I shouldn’t have done that for a different reason.” Wylie forced his head back and away from Dorian’s hand. “You, uh, well, taste good. That is, my dragon thinks you… Hell, like I said, it’s really weird.” He couldn’t stop staring. He took in Dorian’s strong shoulders and narrow hips.

Dorian dropped his arm after a moment. He kept his eyes downcast as with trembling fingers he pulled another cigarette out. “I’m sure for a dragon he’s normal. I see a lot of weird shit around here and it’s just common at this point. You ever watch a really confusing looking pack of animals hunt down a deer and just start eating it? Well, how about seeing those animals turn into guys your own age and insist on eating the thing raw while it’s still warm?”

It was difficult to tell, but Wylie thought maybe he was blushing. “That doesn’t freak you out?” He leaned his head on the pillar and watched him intently. Dorian had the lightest of red over his cheeks, just a flush tinting his neck, too. Damn, he really wanted to lick him again. The dragon was hissing in his ear and it was difficult to ignore.

Dorian glanced over and shrugged nonchalantly. “Not really allowed to get freaked out.”

“That’s not an answer. Are you saying you’re afraid of me, but just won’t show it because of your condition? Seriously, I can back off. I’ll get a collar or something if that’s the case.”

He exhaled a stream of smoke and grinned at the ground. “You’re fine, for real. I might have been freaked when I first got here. I grew up with magic but hadn’t known any shifters.” He hesitated. He tilted his head as he considered if he really wanted to share the next bit of information. “It’s… It’s difficult to feel sorry for the deer when my bloodlust makes me want to join in even when I don’t have claws or fangs.”

Wylie inhaled sharply. He tried and failed to suppress an image of an olive-skinned Dorian crouched and licking blood from his fingers. Just standing next to him had him hard. For some reason when he thought of Dorian with blood he became hazy with lust. He wasn’t sure just when the hell he got like this, but it was more strange on top of everything else when it came to the dragon.

“I didn’t know sorcerers could get bloodlust.”

Dorian looked out at the yard again. His cigarette hung from his lower lip. “Most don’t. Some sorcerers in the past acquired their magic through, well, not human means. I can’t shift or anything but the masters don’t think I’m fully human. Not sure what, but it fucks me up around blood.”

“Do you like it?” Wylie leaned in to breathe the scent of his hair. He knew some shifters got angry around blood, tried to kill things. He really hoped Dorian wasn’t one of those types.

Dorian pretended not to notice just how close Wylie was standing. “It gets me really horny, like, beyond my control.” He glanced sideways when his fingers twitched with sparks he fought back. “I have to avoid blood. It really fucks me up… Sex really fucks me up.”

It was a warning if Wylie had ever heard one, and he wanted to dismiss it. He wanted Dorian. Fuck, his dragon wanted him too. And although he would probably be happy to get to know everything he could about the gorgeous sorcerer and his quirky sparks, and stand too close and try to get everything he could from sight and smell alone, he really wanted to touch him, kiss him, make Dorian feel so good he would never want to be anywhere but with him.

“Is it touch?” Wylie wasn’t willing to give up. He might have just met Dorian Black but from his dragon’s reaction, he knew he was special. Definitely worth a few magical burns. “Does touch alone mess you up, or is it when you get off? Could you get off safely next to someone?”

With Wylie’s breath warm on his ear, Dorian shuddered from the words and what they implied. His shirt was smoking, he realized dully. Dorian looked down to find that fighting the sparks had not been fully successful. “Could you, uh, step back a little?” He waved his hand over his shirt to spell it from flaming.

Wylie pulled away reluctantly. He moved so he stood beside Dorian instead of practically on top of him. He didn’t want the guy to… What? Burst into flames? He really wasn’t sure what Dorian would do if he actually lost it. The dragon didn’t seem to care. It wasn’t afraid of him losing control even though Theodore had been clear just how dangerous Dorian could be.

“It depends.” Dorian had finally gotten himself under control. He turned so he was facing away from Wylie even though his eyes kept straying back. “My magic is so powerful, I can’t always contain it in my body. I could probably meditate my entire life away but I’m never going to have enough will to keep my magic locked down when my body is stressed out. And sex… Well, it’s a lot of stress going on in the body.” He shrugged and toed a rock on the ground.

“Sometimes I can get off, but only if I’m completely controlled. It has to be slow, planned out, and well, really fucking calm.” He didn’t mention that it had only been through masturbation and even then, it was so dangerous he never felt it worth the risk.

“Well, at least you’re not crawling up the walls, hard up,” Wylie muttered as his mind whirled. Dorian couldn’t even stand next to him without sparking. It would be damn difficult to have a relationship. Hell, just talking about sex, not even having it, singed his clothing.

The dragon didn’t want to hear it. The beast was completely fixated. When he considered the things it kept insisting Wylie do—right away, at that—to make sure everyone knew Dorian Black was his and only his, sex was going to be important. “Listen, Dorian, this probably sounds really presumptuous and weird. Is there a way to make it so you won’t lose control of your magic around me?”

Dorian peered over his shoulder, hazel eyes dark in the late afternoon light. He didn’t answer for a long moment. “You afraid I’m going to hurt you?”

“Fuck no.” It didn’t really matter how powerful Dorian was; he lived with demon arms his entire life. Sparks just didn’t compare. “I want to hang out with you. You know, get to know you and stuff.”

“Hang out?” Dorian repeated. His lush lips twitched in a smirk. “Is that your dragon’s sentiment?”

A hiss tore through the air and Wylie was suddenly inches from his face, his hands on either side of the pillar Dorian was leaning on. “No. Definitely not,” Wylie said roughly as he kept himself from crossing the small distance. “The beast is a total weirdo. Already told you that.”

“You told me it was weird. You didn’t actually tell me what it wanted,” Dorian pointed out quietly. He held himself still, any movement destined to draw them closer. “Should I be worried?”

Wylie breathed in deeply and shook his head. “Nah. We won’t hurt you. But it could be really difficult to be around you if you’re sparking.” He glanced down at his mouth, unable to tear his eyes from the way Dorian’s lips were parted. “You smell insanely good. It’s driving me crazy.”

“I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m really not.” Dorian reached forward with a contemplative expression. His fingers brushed Wylie’s flesh as he slipped a silver chain free from beneath the shifter’s shirt and tugged on the metal. “What happens if you go crazy, Wylie? What would your dragon do to me?”

Wylie groaned. He went to pull away but Dorian’s light grip on his necklace was enough to keep him in place. “You really don’t want to ask me that. The dragon is fucked-up.”

“It’s an animal just like all the rest of the shifters’ beasts. Simple. Uncomplicated.” With a flick of his fingers, he disappeared the butt of his cigarette in a puff of smoke. “And maybe… maybe I’m a little curious about what a dragon would think is a fun time if I didn’t always spark,” he added with another small smirk.

Dorian really didn’t understand what he was doing to him. Wylie barely understood what the hell the dragon wanted, just that it was hot and sweaty. “It likes to hold onto things,” he finally answered. He closed his eyes while he tried to figure out the jumble of emotions and thoughts the dragon was muddling through. “Beautiful things… Powerful. They need to be kept close. Protected. Valued.”

Dorian couldn’t help his snort. He bit his lower lip and glanced away before he met Wylie’s intense gaze again. “What, like he wants to put me on top of his treasure pile?”

Wylie wished he could laugh, but the dragon seemed determined. “Next to it, maybe. Next to him. You’re too important to let out of his sight for long. He wants to protect you. Keep you safe.” He left out the part about how the dragon wanted to love him, touch him and fuck him until Dorian was too sated to ever want to leave. He stayed quiet about how he wanted to lick every inch of him, and heal him so deep he’d never get that wistful, faraway look in his eyes when he talked about not being able to be touched.

Yeah, there was no way he could say that. His dragon was messed up.

“Oh.” Dorian tugged again at Wylie’s chain. His fingers tangled in the smooth metal. “What if I wanted to, I dunno, go the fuck out or something? Would he follow me around everywhere?”

Wylie winced as his dragon made a resounding yes in his head. “He’d like to. But if he couldn’t, he’d want to mark you so others would know you were his.” Wylie’s eyes fell down to his lips, and he quickly snapped his gaze back up. “Probably every day, really. As many times as it took. Just to be safe.”

“Safe?” Dorian was beyond breathless when Wylie ducked his head closer and revealed pointed fangs.

“Yeah. So no one would dare touch you without knowing they had to go through me first.” He breathed deep and sighed as his scent filled him again. Everything was growing hazy, and Dorian was giving off a delicious tang of sex. “I’d make sure you like it.”

Dorian was thinking it was time to go back to the reflection room. He was beyond hot from Wylie’s sexy tone. Sweat dripped down his back. His pants were too tight and his muscles were tensed in want. They were all very strong warnings to back off he really didn’t want to listen to. “What would I like?” he asked hoarsely. He wrapped his hand tighter in the long chain and pulled Wylie close until their breath mingled.

“The way I’d mark you with my scent. So you’d never want to leave.”

Losing it. He was definitely losing it over this guy. Dorian tilted his face up. “Your scent would make me want to stay?”

Wylie smirked. “No, how I get my scent on you. How I touch you. It takes touch—Fuck, I really want to touch you.”

“Your dragon wants to,” Dorian specified breathlessly. God, he wanted Wylie to touch him. He was hard, dizzy, and he would give anything in that moment to be able to feel Wylie’s lips on his flesh.

Wylie hissed and glanced down. “You’re smoking again.”

“Ignore it.” Dorian released the necklace so he could mend his shirt. “You were saying? About scenting me?”

“I really shouldn’t.” Wylie took a step back but froze the moment Dorian’s hand touched his face. “Hell.”

“I want to know. Is touch enough?” He let his fingers brush lightly and was careful to pull away when his heart raced too fast.

Lashes downcast, Wylie pressed his lips to Dorian’s fingertips. “He wants to cover you.”

“With scent?” Dorian couldn’t look away from the strange white-blue orbs that burned into him.

Wylie hissed against his fingers. “With cum.”

Dorian shuddered and released a low moan. He pulled away with a gasp and kept his eyes closed to block the sight of Wylie as his body threatened to combust. “Oh fuck.” His fingers started sparking as heat rushed over his skin in a hot wave.

Wylie stepped back reluctantly with a frustrated growl. “Sorry. I told you he was fucked-up.”

Dorian shook his head. He turned and grasped the pillar tightly. Scorch marks charred where his fingers touched the stone. He eventually got his sparking under control. Fuck. Usually he hated all that alpha shit, or at least when Leo said it to him. How the hell was Wylie fucking him up so bad?

God, but cover him? Cover him with cum… He was beyond hard and if he didn’t get to a null-collar or a fucking cold shower, he was going to be in trouble.

“How many people has your dragon done that to?” Dorian didn’t dare look at Wylie just yet.

“What, cover with cum?” He huffed and fought a blush. “Like I’m seriously going to let the beast do that? This is the first time I’m hearing about it, and I’m hoping the last.”

Dorian licked his lips. Just him. God, let it just be him. It was dumb. It was so fucking selfish; he could never truly be with Wylie. But he wanted the shifter to only want him that way. Crazy and consuming and fuck, really fucking dirty.

“I should go.” Dorian took another controlled breath in. It was right back to the stupid reflection room for him but, fuck, it was worth it.

Wylie growled and gave a curt nod when Dorian turned to face him again. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I fuck you up. I just… I just…”

“You like me.” Dorian watched as Wylie flushed and ducked his head.

Wylie raised his gaze back up and met his eyes boldly. “I do. I wasn’t joking. I want to get to know you. I get that it’s going to be difficult but I don’t care. I want to know everything about you.”

Dorian wasn’t sure how the hell he could feel hotter but Wylie did it to him. He spent a lot of time shutting himself off from others. He didn’t want to drag anyone into his fucked-up problems. He didn’t want to drag Wylie into his shit either. He was someone he could fall for. Fuck, he was already halfway there. It was too dangerous and it was time to stop playing make-believe.


Dorian held his hand up and raised two fingers. “I’m going to be straight with you, Doe.” Wylie’s eyes widen when the spell hit. He swayed moments before his legs collapsed and his knees hit the ground hard. “You fuck me up, bad. Really bad.”

His eyes moved over Wylie’s broad shoulders and strong, scaled arms currently limp at his sides. Dorian pulled a final cigarette free. He lit it with a flash of flame and took a slow hit. His expression was serious as he crouched down and carefully placed the lit stick between Wylie’s lips and lingered inches away.

“It’s not good to fuck me up. I can’t be around anything that makes me feel… Well, just feel.” Dorian sighed and glanced at Wylie’s lips again. “I’m sorry you like me. I’m sorry… Damn. I’m just sorry.” He straightened and looked anywhere but at the kneeling shifter.

“The spell will fade in a few minutes.”

He couldn’t bring himself to leave. He had to, he knew he had to. He said everything worth saying and now he needed to go find a quiet place and not speak again unless it was about class or spells or stupid, pointless shit. But he couldn’t make his feet move.

Dorian glanced again at Wylie. He was strangely still and wasn’t even struggling in the spell. No, he was staring. Those ice-blue eyes moved over him and burned into his flesh.

He couldn’t remember wanting during the last three years. Just so long as he never repeated the monumental fuck up that landed him at the Academy, nothing else mattered. He promised to never feel, to never let his heart open if only to protect everyone else. To protect himself from having to lose again.

He would lose. He would. His will was no match for the magic inside him and he fucking knew it.

“Damn it. It’s impossible.” Dorian tore his eyes away from Wylie. He turned abruptly and headed for the Academy door. He brought this on himself. He played with something beyond his control and it was his own fucking fault. Selfish. Always, his heart was selfish.

Hopefully Wylie wouldn’t be there long. Maybe he would hook up with Vincent and he’d be able to hate the both of them. That would be best. It would be much safer to hate Wylie, than the stupid feeling his heart was choking him with now. Wanting to feel was selfish. He should never have allowed himself a single spark.

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