Magnus glanced over at Alec, hand reaching out to take thread their fingers together, a soft, consoling smile on his face.
“I can still turn around and take you home, if you’d rather, my darling?” he offered quietly, concerned eyes flickering between the road and his downcast lover. Alec shook his head, sitting up a bit more in his seat and squeezing Magnus’s hand.
“No, don’t be silly. I want to go, I really do. I just...” he trailed off with a sigh.
Magnus understood and sympathised. He would have rather stayed on the ranch, helping with the horses and watching Alec work his magic on the animals that came into his care. But Cat had called, informing him in that sweetly dangerous tone of hers that he had a book launch and the obligatory signing to attend. He had talked to Alec, told him that he would never dream of tearing him away from the ranch, though he longed to show off his super sexy lover to just about everyone, that he would go alone. Alec had made a noise like a wounded animal, wrapped Magnus tight in his strong arms and told him, in no uncertain terms, that they were not going to be apart again.
It had taken a few hours but Alec had arranged for Luke to take care of the horses for a few days, had re-arranged the clients he had been expecting and generally shifted his life around so that he could go with Magnus back to Brooklyn. It made the author’s heart swell, made him love Alec even more than he already did. And, after those first ‘I love you’s, it was easy to say it again and again.
“I love you for doing this, even though I know you hate leaving,” Magnus told his beloved, lifting his hand to press a kiss to Alec’s knuckles, eyes staying on the road. “I hate leaving too.”
“And I love you for that,” Alec replied with a smile. “Besides, Izzy is right, though I’d sooner chew off my own arm than admit that to her. A few days away from the ranch will make me appreciate it more when we get home again.”
Magnus nodded, his admiration for Alec’s sister growing every time he witnessed them interact. When Alec had called her in a panic, trying to think who to ask to look after his precious horses while he was away with the man he had come to love so much in such a short space of time, Izzy had listened to him for a few seconds, sensed his distress and instantly taken charge. She told him to calm down to use his brain, he knew who to ask, who would be best. Alec, grateful and much calmer, had promised to take her anywhere and buy (almost) anything she wanted.
"Besides, I want to be able to tell everyone that the incredibly sexy, talented, brilliant Magnus Bane is my boyfriend," Alec grinned, tightening his grip around the long, talented fingers.
"I'm looking forward to that myself, love," the author smiled back. "I never really liked the possessiveness of belonging to someone. But, with you, my Alexander, I find I am perfectly happy to belong to you alone."
Alec flushed happily, heart swelling as he gazed at Magnus. To think, only a short time again they had been strangers and now... Alec couldn't imagine his life without Magnus in it, could barely remember what it had been like before he had arrived. Words rose in the rancher's throat but he choked them down. It was much, much too soon for that. "I love you," he said instead, the words coming so easily now, so natural.
"I love you, Alexander."
Magnus sighed contentedly as he cuddled closer to Alec. The large room was thrumming with conversations, people laughing and enjoying themselves, discussing the book, admiring the author and speculating about the tall, gorgeous man he was practically superglued to. Cat, bless her, was doing the rounds, giving Magnus a well-deserved break from talking about his book, his disappearance from Brooklyn and the endless questions about Alec.
"Are they always like this?" the aforementioned asked softly, hazel eyes sweeping the room.
"Always like what, love?" Magnus asked curiously, his own caramel chocolate eyes roaming the crowd. He frowned when he saw Cat hurrying across the room, her expression so fierce that the crowd melted in front of her.
"So... Invasive," Alec replied. "People kept asking about me rather than the book, which is rude because the book is amazing. They wanted to know who I was, where we met, what our relationship is, rather than focusing on your work."
Magnus tilted his head back, smiling up into Alec's scowling face.
"You, my love are a rare and exotic bloom to this cynical crowd. They can't believe that someone as gorgeous as you, has been hidden away from their covetous eyes."
"Don't wax poetic at me," Alec chuckled, bending slightly to hide his reddened face in Magnus' hair. "You're the only one that sees me like that."
Magnus turned to his lover with a soft, if slightly exasperated, look.
"Alexander, you have the face and body of a male model. These people are as entranced by your beauty as I am. In fact, I find myself getting rather jealous when they stare at you like cartoon wolves, all lolling tongues and bulging eyes. If I hear one more lustful 'that ass' that is not coming from me, there may be a riot."
Alec chuckled as he pulled Magnus back in, kissing him softly, soothing his riled lover.
"This ass is only for you," the black haired man whispered, loving the way the author shivered deliciously in his arms.
"I'm glad to hear tha..."
"Magnus Bane," a smooth, dark, poisonous female voice interrupted them. Magnus' head snapped around, eyes going huge and panicked. Feeling his lover go tense in his arms, Alec tightened his grip, pulling the author even closer as his sharp eyes shot to the woman. She had long, dark hair, almond shaped, dark eyes and lips so red they looked as if they were bleeding. Her smouldering eyes swept scathingly over Alec, lips curling into a dismissive sneer.
"And who is this...person?"
The distaste was clear in her voice, dripping from every syllable, as she turned her focus back to the author. Magnus gripped Alec's hand tightly, almost painfully, as he moved back in front of his lover, facing the woman down.
"What are you doing here, Camille? I can guarantee that you weren't invited," Magnus snapped, trying to shield Alec from the woman. His heart thumped sickeningly in his chest as he looked at the woman he had once thought he loved. He would have given her anything, done anything she asked, for just one affectionate look. But then Cat had come to him, face solemn, presenting Magnus with the evidence she had found about Camille's other lovers, the other poor fools completely under her spell. He had refused to believe it at first, adamantly denied that Camille could love any of them when she loved him. He had dragged Cat to confront Camille, to demand his lover tell his friend that she was completely faithful. But Camille had only laughed, that warm, cynical laugh of hers, and asked if Magnus was truly so naive as to believe she loved anyone other than herself.
"You are useful," she had shrugged. "Being with you as your fame raises propels me into more... Famous company."
Magnus' heart had broken in that moment, shattered so loud that he thought he would pass out. Cat had been shouting, calling Camille every name she could think of, in several languages, as she held Magnus. Then she had rushed him out of there, taken him back to her apartment for the next year or so and helped him heal.
That had been almost 5 years ago and Magnus had not seen Camille since. The shock of seeing her now had knocked him off balance but he wouldn't let her ruin this, refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing him discomforted by her presence.
"Well, I have been following your progress since we parted ways, beloved. You have become quite the star. Get rid of the boy and we can pick up where we left off."
Magnus could only gape at her, at the sheer nerve of her! Rage, pure burning anger, at her assumption and her dismissal of Alec, made Magnus take a step forward to put her in her place when he felt a soft tug on his arm. Looking back at his Alexander, taking in the hard, almost dangerous look on the handsome face, he subsided slightly.
"Lady," Alec ground out, pulling Magnus back into his side and curling a possessive arm around him. "I don' know, or care, who you are but I'm not going anywhere. I'm guessing you dated Magnus in the past, the distant past if your crow's feet are anything to go by. As you were stupid enough to let Magnus go, something I cannot even begin to comprehend because he is amazing and talent and a wildcat in bed, I suggest you accept that he doesn't want you here and he has no intention of being with you again."
Alec stepped forward, looming over Camille, eyes hard as he glared at her.
"Magnus is mine now and I will never, NEVER, make the mistake of letting him go. You are not welcome here and you are not welcome near Magnus ever again. Get. Out."
Camille tried to draw herself up, tried to stare Alec down but she quailed in the face of his stony, burning expression. With a huff and a toss of her glossy hair, the woman turned on her heel and stalked away.
Alec turned his back, hiding Magnus from the rest of the room, cupping his face gently.
"I'm sorry, that was wrong of me but she riled me up, acting like she could just take you back like a lost earring! If I overstepped I'm really sor..."
Magnus lunged forward, slamming his lips to Alec's and kissing him completely breathless. When he drew back, those wonderful melting eyes were dark and hungry, coral pink lips darkening from the kiss.
"I've told you about her, though I never told you her name. She was the woman that only wanted me for my fame..."
"Bitch," Alec snarled, shooting a glare over his shoulder and smirking when he saw Cat escorting Camille out with an arm twisted behind her back.
"You were perfect, Alexander. You didn't have to jump in but I'm glad that you did. I love you so much."
Alec blushed, drawing Magnus back in to kiss him again, feeling oddly protective and possessive of this wonderful man in his arms.
"I love you right back," he murmured against the sinful mouth. Just as he went to kiss Magnus, the author grinned, eyes flashing.
"I'm going to take you out on the balcony and blow you. Then we are going to go back to the hotel, get naked and stay that way until it is time to go home. I intend to worship you like all these people wish they could and I know you will enjoy it, love."
Alec blushed hotly, instantly hard at the tone of Magnus' voice.