“I’ve clearly arrived just in time.” In fact, he’d arrived fifteen minutes ago to spy, half-tracing so Caspion couldn’t detect his presence or scent. The big demon had been pacing with his hands in fists. That muscle in his clenched jaw had ticked.

Mirceo hadn’t been the only one counting down the seconds. As he’d watched, Caspion had drawn back a fist, slamming it into the wall.

Voice hoarse, the demon said, “Why have you come back?”

To get claimed. Mirceo had prepared his body for Caspion, and he had a vial of lubricating oil in his pocket. “Tonight is the hunter’s moon—incidentally, my mate and I are hunters—and I have a date with him.” He’d decided to bond with his male over more than just pleasure. Mirceo would delight all of his demon’s senses with food, spirits, and spectacle.

They would drink and be merry, celebrating the beginning of their lives together. After Caspion claimed him, Mirceo’s anxiety wouldn’t arise. Obviously.

Just don’t look at his neck. Ignore your throbbing fangs. If he fed from Caspion right now, they’d both come, which wouldn’t do. To drag the demon over the finish line tonight, Mirceo needed to keep him on the edge.

“This isn’t a fucking game! I could kill you for this. Do you doubt my resolve?”

“No. Nor do I doubt mine. One more time: I don’t want anyone but you.” Even in their very first meeting, Caspion had revealed hints of vulnerability. After experiencing his mate’s past, Mirceo knew why. The demon did lack faith in himself, would think himself unworthy of a prince. I’ll convince him otherwise tonight. “I could have gone out for the last few nights and bedded others, but I had zero interest.” Keep things light. “Though I do admit to masturbating like a fiend.” He held up his palms. “I’m surprised I don’t have blisters.”

A low growl left the demon’s lips as he clearly called up the mental image. Inhaling for calm, he released Mirceo.

“Admit it: you’re relieved I came back.” He’s falling for me. Mirceo had known it. Who could resist him when he turned on the charm?

“Part of me. The rest is too busy reading the writing on the wall.”

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Mirceo refused to get dragged into an argument. “Speaking of which . . . I believe you’ve added to your collection of holes. Since this place is now half mine, lay off.” He tapped his chin. “But I do think we should reside in our clifftop villa most of the time.”

Caspion seemed to be grinding his molars. “You’re going to see my memories sooner or later. Until you do, you won’t know me well enough to make this commitment. Something you witness could change your mind. I won’t have you use that as an excuse in a few centuries to take some kind of break.”

“You assume I haven’t already dreamed of your past?” Whenever he’d managed to doze for a few moments, Mirceo had experienced even more memories, including the one of Caspion’s match against Trehan.

Mirceo had relived every horror. The fractured bones . . . the iron spike breaking off in the back of his head, lodging into his brain . . . Caspion’s own people cheering for a male he despised more than anything. . . .

Trehan had disgraced him in front of an entire society. How could the demon ever set aside his revenge? Even Mirceo had awakened from that dream with the need to rip out his uncle’s throat.

Cross that bridge when we come to it. “Maybe I know you inside and out, Caspion. And here I stand.”

The demon’s expression was difficult to read, but Mirceo got the sense that he’d just passed some kind of test. “I’m giving you one last chance to leave my presence.” Caspion sidled closer, looking at him . . . differently.

Was the demon sizing Mirceo up sexually? For the love of gods, let him be sizing me up sexually! “Leave? Why would I do that? We’re heading out on a date. I have a surprise destination for you.”

Menace in his bearing, Caspion circled him. “You’re pushing me too far, vampire.”

Mirceo pivoted to keep him in sight. “As you asked of me, I considered all the ramifications of this relationship. Now you will do as I ask.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Tonight you’ll treat me like your mate, holding nothing back. Anytime an impulse arises, you must surrender to it. Now, go get dressed. I’m taking you out to celebrate in advance.”

The demon’s blond brows drew together. “Celebrate what?”

Mirceo laughed. “Didn’t you hear? I’m getting marked tonight.”

_______

Cas fumbled to lace his pants, his nerves shot.

Taking on a legion of Wendigos? A walk in the park. But this . . .

He would soon claim his mate. Forever.

Cas had stopped trying to resist the irresistible, to deny the undeniable. At last, he would lose his demon seal, and he’d be experiencing that turning point—with his best friend.

After he’d changed into his fine leather breeches and an embroidered tunic—demon formalwear—he returned to the deck. Mirceo was gazing out at the sea, his heartbreaking face lit by the full hunter’s moon.

Emotions rocked Cas, that tenderness returning a thousandfold. Mine.

Mirceo turned to him with his devil-may-care grin, lean and sexy in his thin leather trench and pants that molded to his every muscle. No shirt, naturally.

But Mirceo’s grin faded. “Gods almighty. I’m going to burst with pride to be on your arm tonight.”