As A Mule
Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Catherine Lievens
Word Count :39422
Publication Date :2022-04-22
Series : Seven Brothers#6
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3577-6
Even someone who’s stubborn as a mule can meet their match.
Jack is prickly on his best days and an asshole on the worst ones. He loves that his brothers are finding their mates and have happy lives, but that’s not for him. Who could stand to spend more than a few minutes with him apart from his family? Besides, he doesn’t need anyone. He’s not like his brothers, and he’s fine on his own. Nothing and no one will change his mind about that.
Blair has a successful life, except for one thing—his love life. He’s used to people taking advantage of him for gifts, money, or connections, and he doesn’t expect anything different.
Until he meets his mate.
Jack and Blair are too different, and Jack knows it. He doesn’t understand why Blair can’t see it, no matter how hard he pushes Blair away. He also has trouble staying away, and when Blair invites him to a fundraising party, he can’t say no.
Can two such very different people work together? Or, as Jack fears, are they destined to grow apart if they attempt to have a relationship?
“Come on, we’re going to be late,” Andy yelled through Jack’s door.
Jack grabbed his t-shirt from the bed and pulled it on as he opened the door. “I’m coming.”
“About time,” Andy muttered.
Jack rolled his eyes. “What’s going to happen if we’re late? It’s not like Mom won’t feed us.”
“It doesn’t mean we have to be rude.”
Jack was tempted to roll his eyes again, but instead, he followed his brother to the front door of the apartment they shared. Andy had always been a stickler for being on time, while Jack believed that as long as he was only half an hour late, he was on time. It had always created some friction between them, but Jack wouldn’t change his relationship with his brother for anything.
He couldn’t say the same about his other brothers.
“Will Richie be there?” he asked as they took the elevator down. He patted his pockets to ensure he had everything he needed, thankful that Andy would be driving tonight. Considering most of the brothers would be there for the family dinner, Jack would need alcohol.
“I think so. Mom said something about Gilbert coming, and you know that where one of them goes, so does the other.”
Jack huffed and followed Andy out of the elevator, then out of the building. “Why are they all finding their mates? It doesn’t make sense that it’s happening like this.”
Andy looked amused. He’d listened to Jack rant about meeting—or rather, not wanting to meet—his mate many times since it had first happened to their brother Curtis. Only Jack and Andy were still single, and Jack knew Andy better than he knew any of his other brothers. Andy wanted to meet his mate, even though he wasn’t saying it out loud.
“You can’t tell me you’re not happy Richie found his mate and that it’s Gilbert.”
“It could have been worse, I guess.”
Andy laughed and unlocked the car. “Worse? Gilbert was part of our family even before he met Richie. This was the best outcome. Honestly, I’m not surprised he ended up being one of our mates.”
Jack walked around the car and climbed in, glancing at Andy as he put on his seatbelt. “Did you want Gilbert to be your mate?”
Andy’s cheeks flushed and kept his gaze firmly on the road, a sure sign Jack was right, at least in part. “Of course not. I already knew Gilbert wasn’t my mate. I’ve known him longer than Richie, remember?”
“You had a crush on him at one point.”
Andy groaned. “Can we not talk about that? I don’t want to make things awkward for Gilbert and Richie, especially considering everything.”
Jack tightened his hands into fists without even noticing it. He had to make a conscious effort to loosen them, but every time he thought about Richie and what had happened to him, he wanted to hit something.
He had to remember that Richie was safe. He’d left his ex behind, had met Gilbert, and had moved back. Gilbert and Richie shared a home now, and they were blissfully happy.
Jack still wanted to strangle Richie’s ex with his bare hands.
“You’re making that face again,” Andy said.
“What face? This is the face I was born with.”
“I’m pretty sure if you had been, Mom and Dad would have abandoned you at the hospital. You’re looking quite murderous. I can’t imagine how that would look on a baby.”
Jack snorted. “Mom and Dad know me. They won’t be surprised that I look murderous.”
Andy was silent for a moment before gently asking, “Were you thinking about Richie?”
“What do you think I was thinking about? I should have killed the guy.”
“But if you had, you’d be behind bars. It’s good that you didn’t, and besides, Richie is fine now. He’s happy, and that’s all that matters.”
Jack agreed, just like he agreed that Richie looked happy.
Even though he was one of the youngest brothers, coming in after Hugh and Sean, Curtis, and Richie, and just before Andy and Laurie, he’d always felt protective of all his brothers. Curtis and Sean had never needed it. Hugh had always been awkward, but he was ten years older, and his twin had been there to protect him. On the other hand, Richie was only a few years older than Jack, so they’d been close, although not as much as Jack and Andy. Jack had felt the loss when Richie had moved away, but he’d thought his brother was happy.
Then he’d found out Richie had ended up with an abusive boyfriend.
Jack had a problem with anger. He got angry quickly, and once he had, it was hard not to hit something. Even thinking about what Richie had gone through made him want to hit something, possibly Richie’s ex.
But the man was out of Richie’s life. Richie had met his mate in Gilbert, and they were happy. They probably didn’t even think about Richie’s ex anymore, so why should Jack? The man was never coming back. He knew that if he tried anything, he’d have to deal with Richie’s six brothers, plus a bunch of mates.
It would take a brave man to face all of them.