Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Silent Secrets - Preternatural Rescue Centre by Ellen Cross

Silent Secrets - Preternatural Rescue Centre book 6.
How did Dante find himself in this mess? First Grant creates a portal that no living being can pass through—leaving Dante as the only one able to cross it—but when Dante does, he finds his mate on the other side, chained to the ground of a building that is seconds from collapsing on top of them both.
Dante only has two choices. Either he leaves his mate, or he takes him back through the portal. Both will result in his mate's death. Before he can decide, his inner vampire takes over, and helpless to stop it, his beast bleeds his mate's life away...
Sonny has been a servant his whole life, mute through circumstances of his birth. With no ability to voice what he knows, and never having learned to write, it goes unnoticed that he overhears more than he should.
Left for dead when Sonny's master flees, death comes calling with glowing red eyes and a deadly set of fangs. Funny thing though, as death swoops in to take his life, Sonny could almost swear that he smells his mate...

eXtasy Books link: http://www.extasybooks.com/Silent-Secrets/
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Secrets-Preternatural-Rescue-Centre-ebook/dp/B00M0Y5DGU%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAJBDF5XQBATGDX4VQ%26tag%3Dspea06-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB00M0Y5DGU
Strange light filled the corner Sonny had just been in. Swirling black mist accompanied it, but the dark crimson light began from the centre of the mist, flickering and capturing his attention as it grew and took shape. Within a few of Sonny's ragged breaths, a funnel of the constantly churning radiance had taken over the corner of the room, large enough that three men could walk into it side by side. From the centre of the light, a dark spot formed, becoming larger as it took shape, until Sonny could see it was in fact a figure, running through a long tunnel and getting closer with each beat of his heart.

Sonny's feet refused to move, more shattering pops sounded throughout the building, several large cement blocks ripping from above the doorway and toppling to the ground not far from Sonny. More crashes and groans echoed throughout the building as the structure gave way and slowly crumpled. Throughout it all, Sonny's eyes remained on that figure, so close now he could see its eyes, and the sight terrified him. The creature—now a man, he could see—stepped from the light, sweeping the room with those eyes. Brilliantly glowing like two blood-red stars, they scanned the room before settling on him. Hell, was this man a demon? Was that what the mark of death was? Surely he must be, to have eyes like those. He was definitely male, the predatory vibration filling the air from him, was heavily laden with male strength and determination. Just Sonny's luck that he was the only one left, the only possible outlet of this demon's ire. He could feel it, the pure anger vibrating through the air with its presence.
Another crash from just outside the room sent Sonny sprawling to the floor, as the whole entryway wall collapsed and the lights went out. He took only a second to get to his knees, before hurrying to the only corner left available to him, now that the swirling light and being took up one, the bed another, and the remaining two little more than rubble. Magic filled the air, making it so thick, it prickled at his skin and sweat beaded along his forehead and top lip, despite the chill to the room.

The demon spoke. "What is happening?"
Sonny wouldn't have answered, even if he could.

More booms, and the floor cracked down the middle, the side closest to the door tilted wildly. Sonny flattened himself to the wall. There was nowhere for him to run, not with half the room about to go and the creature against the other half of his side of the room. Sonny was trapped, and unfortunately for him, the bolt that fastened to his chain sat directly under that strange light. In fact, the demon, straddled the chain as he stood over it.
The demon took a step toward Sonny. Between the dust filling the air, the darkness of the mist, and zero lighting, all Sonny could see were those eyes. There was no way he was going to let that creature near him. He braced himself against the corner, leaning his backside against it and spreading his legs for stability. The dagger was still in his hand, thankfully, and he lifted it to his chest, pressing the tip directly over his heart and bunched his muscles for the thrust, he needed.
The creature growled, its eyes flaring even brighter and illuminating the room in that unearthly glow.
"No!" It screamed, before vanishing into a dark blur. The breath was knocked out of Sonny, as he was pushed, spinning on his soft-soled boots as a pair of arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him back against a warm wall of muscle, and shoving the dagger down and away from his chest.
"You will not die at your own hand!"

Too late, Sonny thought. I'm going to die anyway. He relaxed in the demon's arms a brief moment, just long enough that the grip it had on him loosened a little. The second it did, Sonny twisted the hand he held the dagger in, out of the demon's fist, and swung it up, hard, aiming straight for his own heart. Funny, in this last moment of his life, he almost swore he could smell his mate.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Damaged - Planet Alpha by Erin M. Leaf

Damaged - Planet Alpha — by Erin M. Leaf now available!

Erotic Romance, Menage (MMF), Sci-Fi, Suspense, Futuristic
Word Count: 34,400
Heat Level 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing
ISBN: 9781771309219
pages: 107

Cori knows her Xyran captivity has damaged her ability to trust, but when she meets Reiyn, desire flares despite her fear. He's clearly hiding something, but when a distress call sends them into space together, passion takes over.
Cori enflames Reiyn like no other female ever has. She threatens his control over his hidden Xyran heritage, but he can't fight his instincts. When his true nature is exposed during the daring rescue of a dying Xyran captain, will Cori forgive him, or will he continue his life's work alone?
Captain Kyuk welcomes death when his ship is destroyed. He doesn't expect to survive, but when Cori and Reiyn find him, instinct pushes him to live. He's spent years smuggling slaves to freedom—can he now give up his own liberty to bond with Cori and Reiyn? Or is he too damaged to build that kind of emotional connection? 
Be Warned: menage sex (MMF), rimming, anal sex, m/m interaction
 buy links: Evernight - Amazon - ARe - BookStrand - Smashwords

Story Excerpt:
Kyuk twisted around. She stood in the doorway wearing nothing but a thin shift. It shimmered as she moved, flowing over the curves of her body as she walked towards them. He could just make out her nipples pebbling beneath the cloth.
Reiyn sucked in a breath, and Kyuk felt his blood-kin’s cock press into his hip.
“You are not resting,” Kyuk said, stating the obvious. Arousal scrambled his wits. He opened his mouth instinctively, scenting his mates with his tongue. He hadn’t done that earlier, likely because the cryo-sleep had still been wearing off.
“I couldn’t sleep,” she said, stopping just shy of them. The uncertainty on her face as she looked at them cut him to the quick.
“Come closer,” he said, reaching a hand out to her. “Surely you must know we would not harm you. We have been trapped in this ship for hours upon hours—time enough for you to learn who we are.”
She hesitated, looking at Reiyn.
Kyuk’s blood-kin spoke. “You are part of us, now, undeniably.” He touched his neck, a suggestion of where they’d bitten her. “Come here.”
Hesitantly, she walked forward, the last step brushing her breasts against his arm.
Kyuk’s control finally snapped. He grabbed her and yanked her up against his body. “Say yes,” he hissed, bending to kiss her.
She trembled in his arms. “You frighten me.”
He froze, lips against her mouth. “I will never hurt you.”
She sucked in a breath and glanced at Reiyn.
His earrings glinted in the low light as he nodded solemnly. “He does not lie. There can be only truth among us.”
She ran a hand up Kyuk’s arm, then cupped his jaw. “Yes,” she whispered against his cheek.
The moment she said yes, Kyuk kissed her like a man starving. No, not a man, she thought brokenly. A Xyran. And I’ve waited long enough to let him touch me. I don’t want to wait anymore.
“I want to taste you,” he growled, nipping down her jaw. “I want to see all of you.”
She shuddered, arousal flaring through her so fast she felt dizzy. “Yes. A thousand times, yes,” she murmured, drunk with recklessness. She didn’t normally talk like that, but these males overwhelmed her. Their energy swirled through her like warm taffy, strong and reassuring. When Kyuk kissed her again, his fangs nipped her lip. Blood welled up. The warmth of his energy flared into a blazing heat, and she cried out, knees going weak.
Reiyn swept her up into his arms. “The bridge is no place for sex.”
“Is that what we’re going to do? Have sex?” she asked, a little put out. What she was feeling was so much more than lust it wasn’t even funny.
“No,” Kyuk said, trailing a hand through her hair. “Not just sex.” He started taking off his clothes and dropping them as they walked: leather shirt, boots, pants. By the time they reached the sleeping quarters, he was nude.
Cori stared at Kyuk as Reiyn lowered her to the mattress. Kyuk’s body looked like something out of a vid. His muscles flexed as he went to his knees, and her mouth went dry. Reiyn stepped back and began undressing, completely unselfconscious in front of her. Both of them were a lot bigger than she was, and much stronger.
They could break me in half, if they wanted to, she thought, fear sparking through her, but then Kyuk touched her ankle and the energy of the bond seeped further into her bones. His cock bobbed as he maneuvered next to her. Suddenly, more than anything, she wanted to touch him. She reached out a hand and wrapped her fingers around his thick length.
Kyuk moaned. “Cori, blood-kin—” He broke off when she began to explore. He rested his forehead on her shoulder, then gently drew her arm away. “Wait.”
She wrinkled her nose at him, but then Reiyn was back, as naked as Kyuk. She reached out and trailed her fingertips over the diamonds embedded into their skin. “I know this must have been painful.”
“Yes, but you like them anyway, do you not?” Reiyn asked, smiling.
Cori flushed. “Yeah. They’re sexy.”
He laughed, and she stared. She’d never seen a Xyran laugh with joy before. Always, during her captivity, they’d barked orders. Sometimes they laughed, but usually with cruelty.
“I would go through the pain all over again to put that look on your face, Cori,” he said.
She shook her head. “I don’t want your pain. Never that.”
He cupped her face. “You can have whatever you want from me.”
“I want you to make love to me,” she whispered, not sure if he’d understand what she was asking.
She needn’t have worried. He kissed her, pressing her into the mattress. His weight felt good against her skin. When Kyuk moved in, nibbling down her throat, she writhed. It was almost too much. But only almost, she thought, grabbing their hair. Thick, black strands slid through her fingers like silk.

Author Details:
Erin M. Leaf is a romance novel devotee, the steamier the better, with a specialty in edgy erotic tension. She also writes romance as Marie E. Blossom.
Twitter: @erinmleaf

The Drowning by A.C. Katt

Seriously ill, in pain with no money for medication or food, Dennis sets out to North Beach to drown but ends up being saved more ways than he can imagine.

Walking along the beach one evening, Luca Ferone encounters a body floating in the water. Being told to kiss off after rescuing the man isn't what he expected.

Dennis O'Shea was ready to end it all. Being saved wasn't in his plans.One look in Dennis' eyes is all Luca needs to be lost. He won't let anything get in the way until Dennis is his. Dennis doesn't go easily but realizes that Luca is a man used to getting his own way. Can the two find their way together?


Chapter One
Dennis Michael O'Shea could no longer walk by the sea. He used to put on a full body wet suit and chase the waves up and down the Jersey Shore from March through November. A year ago he was diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease with lupus and a plethora of other medical issues that came along with it. Now, he couldn't make it past the boards without stopping to rest. Dennis Michael wasn't sixty-five or even a poorly preserved forty. Dennis had celebrated his twenty-fifth birthday the day before. The date always marked the official start of his personal surfing season. This year he intended it to mark the day of his death.
The walk to the water was difficult. He'd had to stop several times to catch his breath. The trip from his small apartment on Sunset had already consumed most of his limited store of energy, but just a few feet and Dennis Michael could relax and meet his maker. He sat in a small eddy, the sand already wet. The tide was on its way in to the shore. The mist hung heavy over the water like a gray blanket silencing the roar of the angry sea. March was the cruelest month. The ocean could be angry or placid, temperature cold or temperate. Tonight, March showed Jack Frost's face. The light cotton rugby shirt he wore did little to keep the chill from Dennis' fair skin. It was a favorite and kept only for special occasions. The red, yellow and navy interweaving striped pattern shirt came from Abercrombie and Fitch. It had been a Christmas gift from his former lover, lost, as everything else had been, in the riptide of the previous year.
Grandma O'Shea had always instructed Dennis to wear clean underwear just in case there was an accident and he went to the emergency room. He smiled as he thought about his Grams. It was in her honor that he wore his only good shirt and pants, beige Dockers, to his own death. There was no clean underwear, Dennis went commando so Grams would remain unashamed; all his remaining briefs were holey, like the socks he tossed, just stuffing his feet into a pair of Nikes.
The small number of personal items he wished to leave his sisters were secreted in the trunk of his Honda. He left his art and paper making frames, supplies, glues and dyes and the few canvases of his work completed before he was struck down sat in the back seat. His work sold well at his first show after college. These were to go in the second show that never came. He left two of his canvasses with a note to the management company that took care of the apartment complex. His former agent would be able to find a buyer and the two canvases would pay his debt. They were his last assets. It didn't matter, he no longer needed assets. Dennis had only two passions in life the first was his art, the second, Matt. The disease had cost him both.
His medium was paper. His agile fingers sculpted and shaped his hand-made papers into fantastical dimensions. He had his first showing just out of college at twenty-three. He used rags and linen and special fibers to create papers which he shaped with paste, dyes and glazes into visions of heroic fantasy. His art was very popular with the New Age crowd, but he had taken a new, more mature direction in preparation for his second show. His pieces had become more realistic, portraits of the mind. The gallery wanted at least forty pieces for a show, so he taught art at a local high school to cover his daily expenses and buy supplies. He worked feverishly at night putting his visions in three dimensions on canvas.
Matty had always been there. They'd grown up together in the Irish bastion of Belmar, just to the south. It was a working class life. Da owned a shot and beer joint on Main Street; Ma cooked in the kitchen and his older sisters had waited on tables. Matt and he knew pretty much from the age of ten that they were "different" from
their schoolmates at the local Catholic elementary school. The sisters encouraged them more than the others to be priests. They had gone on to public high school at their own insistence. It was there they found out about labels, prejudice and what evil hate could produce. It solidified their relationship and moved it from friends to lovers. Dennis had never looked back. He and Matty attended the same college, roomed together, graduated and moved to the gay community in Asbury Park where they were just free to be. For three years, it was the stuff of Dennis' dreams.
By his twenty-third birthday, his parents had sold the bar and moved on to a senior living trailer park in Florida. His sisters, who always seemed to act as a pair, married the Polanski brothers, who he always believed were dumb as posts. They moved out of state. He missed his sisters, but the removal of the Polanski brothers from his intimate circle was the silver lining of that cloud. They were macho assholes whose supply of "faggot" jokes was minuscule, yet repeated in endless cycles at every family gathering. Dennis longed to whack them up the side of the head with a two by four. He and Matt laughed at their solution to the Polanski problem. Matt said, "Hell, Den, it could only raise their IQ, it couldn't get any lower." This would result in laughter, kisses and hard loving. He missed the loving.
The water was up to his ankles and he was numb from the cold. Once, the cold bothered him. He used a fully-lined wet suit to ride the sporadic East Atlantic waves. Dennis traveled to the West Coast but the beaches of Malibu and Carmel did not appeal to him in the same way as the greenish gray of the Atlantic. It was this water that called to him when he was lying in a ball on the floor of the apartment he once shared with Matt, screaming in pain. The cold was nothing in comparison. To Dennis, pain had color and texture. Moderate pain was a deep orange band pulling tight, taking the breath from his lungs and tightening his joints into a vise-like grip. Orange could be managed by medication. Severe was blood orange spikes hammered into flesh, unrelenting in their assault. Blood orange watched the second hand of the clock waiting for the next dose of painkillers. It could cause you to beg and scream, if you let it.
Unbearable was red, the red of fire, brimstone and hell. Red consumed you with thousands of needles each precisely tuned to a nerve ending. Red knew each ending with intimacy. Red took your mind and left you on the floor in a ball, screaming. Dennis had done a lot of the ball thing.
He wasn't a coward. The pain hadn't sent him to the beach. It was the dreams-dreams destroyed, ripped out of his heart and flung into oblivion. After he became sick, it only took two months for Matt to leave.
Dennis spent four weeks in the hospital, and four in rehab. He was about to come home, and despite his weakened condition, he looked forward to being in Matt's arms. With Matty at his side, he could conquer anything. Then his cell rang. It was Mary Katherine. She was on her way in from Pennsylvania to bring him home. Matt had called her. "He got a promotion and packed up and moved to Cleveland, Ohio this morning. He said you knew, he thought he'd be able to pick you up but he caught an earlier plane."
Dennis sat at the edge of his bed, stunned. He'd spoken to Matty last evening, telling him what time to pick him up. Matt didn't even have the courage to tell him on the telephone, much less in person. He was in a semi-catatonic state. He didn't respond to the staff in the rehab center and they were ready to call the doctor and have him committed to a psych ward for what they thought was a catatonic state but Mary Katherine and Nora arrived in time. Both sisters gathered him in their arms, and got him into the car. They stopped off and picked up some of the things from his ravaged apartment. He couldn't even make the stairs. Nora stayed in the car while Mary Katherine, the elder by a year, went to pack.
They thought he was asleep on the trip back to Westchester. Nora drove while Mary Katherine described
what she saw. According to his sister, Matt took most of everything they had. He didn't even leave the mattress; he took it and the frame plus both antique maple dressers. The little bistro table with its two chairs was gone from the kitchen as were all of the small appliances, dishes, pots, glasses and silverware. Mary Katherine knew who had paid for everything; she and Nora had shopped with Dennis because Matty had no interest in "domestic" issues. He took almost all the towels and the linens, leaving only one set of sheets and a few of the threadbare towels from college. The bastard left only one folding chair in the living room. Mary Katherine ended her recital with "The devil at least had the decency to leave the boy's art and his supplies. If he hadn't I'd have sent Stanley to get it all back."
"And," Nora joined in, "Chet would have been right beside him or not bother coming home."
Dennis was almost amused at the idea of his homophobic brothers-in-law riding to his defense like the white knights of old. He was a man; the sisters could coddle him a bit, but then he would go home and pick up the pieces.
As days passed there were fewer and fewer pieces to pick up. Nora and Mary Katherine were patient, taking turns driving him into Jersey to see his doctors. They would prescribe and test. With each new test and prescription Nora and Mary Katherine would hope, and hope would be dashed. It didn't look as if Dennis was regaining his strength. Living with the Polanski problem full time hadn't helped. He shuffled off between sisters, his brothers-in-law tormenting him with his helplessness as soon as his sisters weren't looking. Dennis realized staying with the girls wasn't a real option. He asked to go home.
All totaled up he spent six months with the girls, six wasted months. He arrived back home just after Christmas. He intended to begin teaching in January. Dennis was out of work but paid a good portion of his salary under the teacher's union disability insurance. But his sick leave was used up in March, he needed to get his life back. He missed Matty; his leaving had burned a hole in Dennis' soul. They talked, and Matt confessed he had found someone on an out of town trip just around the time of Dennis' first lupus flare. He had stayed as long as he was able. Dennis was bitter. He needed no pity from Matt. A clean break in the beginning would have been best for both of them. Matt never had the balls to meet anything head on; Dennis just let him skulk away, not even cashing the "guilt" check he sent in replacement for looting their apartment. At least he had left Dennis' checking account alone.
Dennis was numb enough to lie down on the sand. The water ran up the Dockers and splashed up over his arms and the sides of his shirt. The waves were higher and breaking closer to his feet. His emerald eyes were shut against the mist. He no longer shivered. The numbness of hypothermia had begun. Soon he would sleep. He took his last two Percocet as he struggled from the car to the sand. He'd parked on a little trafficked street in front of Asbury Towers, a senior residence about twenty plus stories high. Originally intended as luxury apartments, it fell to a charity. The small street at its rear faced the ocean at North Beach. The Towers sat next to the Sewage Plant which occasionally gave off sulfurous odors. But North Beach was home to those free spirits who didn't have the funds or the temperament for the "cabana" or "beach pass" crowd. The beach hosted lovers under blankets and surfers riding the waves without life guards or park rangers asking questions. After a pickup at one of the local gay clubs, a trip to the beach would ensue when the lovers didn't have the price of a motel. It was at North Beach that Matt first penetrated Dennis. Dennis thought it was the appropriate place to end his life.
He was angry. Although Matt didn't touch his checking, he'd wiped out their savings. He sold fifteen of the paintings Dennis prepared for his second art show and took the money. Dennis had no proof of Matt's larceny. Matty had all of his PIN numbers, access to all of his accounts. Matt was his accountant as well as his lover.
Matt was the one who found him his agent. When he contacted her, she produced signed statements from Dennis giving Matty permission to sell his art for "medical expenses." Dennis denied giving Matt permission but the paintings were already sold and he would have to prosecute Matty to get the money.
Dennis tried to work. The school administration sent him to a physician. The school doctor said that Dennis was no longer physically able to continue working. He recommended Social Security Disability and Medicare. Dennis didn't have tenure, nor did he have the money or pull to fight. He applied. The amount he received was ridiculously small and Medicare took six months to kick in. His school insurance would pay for his prescriptions, but the co-pays for the drugs he took accounted for one-third of his check. His rent was high and he no longer had Matt to share the expense. His small car was paid in full, but gas was expensive and if he drove, he didn't eat. He only used it to get to the doctor and it was March. Medicare wouldn't begin until June.
It took a mere three months for Dennis to be down to his last few dollars. Pills or food? Neither. Instead he chose bliss, the water, his beach and silence. The next wave came up over his waist. The undertow was treacherous here. It began the slow pull into the sea. The salt water from Dennis' eyes met the salt water of the sea and became one. He floated a bit, mindless, numb-then sank.

Mary Lynn Hansel
Writing as AC Katt

Author of:
From MLR Press: Shattered Glass, A Matter of Trust

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Virgin by Jessica Freely

Did you know that when you order books directly from a publisher's website, the author retains a larger portion of the purchase price? It's true! Fewer intermediaries means more profit and right now, you can save big and shower your favorite author's with love. 
In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Loose Id is running sales on select titles and this week, Virgin is marked down to just $2.69! This was my first release with Loose and it's still one of my favorites. Grab yours now, and keep an eye on that daily deals page all month long because there are more great deals on the way!

Blurb for Virgin: When Joam, a shape-shifter with otherworldly sexual powers, makes love with hustler Blake, neither realizes they are foiling the plans of a cabal of sorcerers.  Now, Blake has robbed them of their virgin sacrifice and they want retribution in blood. 

Excerpt; With food in his stomach, Joam’s head had cleared and he could think a little bit beyond the ever-present arousal he felt in Blake’s presence. Blake, not Jasper. This was some guy from the big city, not his fantasy boy come to life. He had to keep reminding himself of that.

They reached the Oldsmobile Delta 88 and Joam gave the engine compartment a quick perusal. “Your timing belt broke,” he said, shutting the hood again.

“Oh,” said Blake. “Can you fix it?”

Obviously this guy couldn’t wait to put Beulah behind him. Who could blame him? Joam shook his head, ashamed at the pleasure the answer gave him. “Not tonight. We’ll have to get the part from Greenville and the earliest that can happen is tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Blake looked around himself as if lost. “I’ll need a place to stay. I didn’t see a motel in town. I…uh, I don’t have much money.”

“There’s one on the other side of town,” said Joam. “The Easy Rest. It’s cheap. I can take you there after we get your car to the garage.” And stay, his mind continued, though he didn’t speak the thought. I can stay and we can make love all night long. His erection was back. Had Blake noticed? Was he even gay? He looked gay but appearances could be deceiving.

He struggled with the issue all the way back to Beulah. Even if Blake was gay, he probably wouldn’t want him; and if he was a hustler, as Joam suspected, there was no money to pay for sex. Fresh anger at Higgs shot through him. He was going to miss out on probably his one and only opportunity to have sex with a real live man and it was all because of that asshole.

But wait…Blake had said he didn’t have much money. That meant he didn’t have much money for the car repairs either… Maybe they could work something out…

If Joam ever got up the nerve to say something. They were almost in town already. Come on, he thought. A second ago you were ready to go a week without food for the sake of getting it on with this guy, what’s the hold up? Afraid he’ll say no? What’s another humiliation in the greater scheme of things? And he’s a stranger -- he’ll be gone soon, taking your secret with him. There’ll never be a better chance. “Why are you dressed like that?” he blurted.

All this time Blake had been silent, looking out the window, seemingly at ease, but now he tensed. There was a pause. At last he said, “I had to leave town in a hurry. I didn’t have time to change.”

Joam tried to ignore his disappointment. “So that’s not what you usually wear? You were at a costume party or something?”

Blake laughed, but it wasn’t a mean laugh. Joam knew it wasn’t a laugh at him even before Blake said, “Oh my god. I’m sorry. It’s just this situation. This is just so… Look. You seem like a decent guy, Joam, so I’m just going to tell you the truth and trust that you’re not going to beat me up and leave me by the side of the road --”

Joam just managed to stifle a gasp. Blake thought he might hurt him? He’d been in the doorway of the office. Had he seen Joam with the chair? Had he seen more? Joam had thought nothing more had happened but there was no way to be sure. He turned to look at Blake just as Blake was finishing his sentence.

“-- I’m a hustler. A gay hustler.”

Joam couldn’t help it. He smiled then forced himself to look back at the road. They were in town now, just passing Sam’s. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ve been nice to me. You shared your food with me. I would never hurt you. I --” He glanced over again, his last words unspoken. I want to make love with you.

The worry lines creasing Blake’s forehead relaxed. He smiled back. “You’re a good guy, Joam. I’m lucky I found you.”

Sweating, Joam brought the truck to a stop at the blinking red light. The way Blake was looking at him -- so open and friendly -- he felt…seen, for the first time since his mom died. This was better than Jasper January. Suddenly brave, he said, “I don’t have any money, but…I could fix your car for free.”

Blake blinked in surprise.

Not wanting to see the distaste on his face, Joam looked away and concentrated on pulling the truck into the parking lot of the service station. What was he doing? What if Blake agreed but only because he had no choice? What was he going to do then? Let Blake “service” him because he held the power of car repair over him? Was that what he wanted?

Blake’s tenor voice came to him, sweet and warm. “I think I understand what you’re suggesting, Joam, and I think that would be lovely.”

The words unleashed a torrent of emotion inside him and undid the last of his restraint. Lovely! He slammed the truck into park, heedless of the Olds on the hitch, which lurched forward with a crunch and a splintering of glass. The headlights. Fuck it. Higgs had some good ones, he’d steal ’em and install them when he did the other repair. His hands shook as he fumbled with his seatbelt and at last got it off.

He threw himself across the seat, grabbed Blake by the shoulders and kissed him hard. Blake’s lips were soft and his stubble scraped against Joam’s cheek, igniting every nerve in his face. Blake’s shoulders beneath his hands were round and hard, like twin boulders. Their mutual arousal perfumed the close air of the truck cab and made Joam drunk. His dick, already sore from near-constant arousal, throbbed painfully. He took a deep breath and fought for control. It would be so easy to lose himself. As if of their own volition, his hands sought out the fly of Blake’s shorts. “What…what do we do first?”

Blake’s hands, warm and strong, closed over his fingers and squeezed, stilling their frantic efforts. “First, we go someplace private. Is there someplace we can go where we won’t be interrupted?”

His heart sank, thinking of his cot. He didn’t even have a curtain to close off the corner. Higgs could come in at any time and find them. Frustration brought tears to his eyes.

“Hey,” Blake’s voice was as gentle as the hand that stroked the side of his face. “What about that motel you mentioned? Could we go there?”

“I don’t have any money.”

“I have enough, for tonight anyway.”

Joam blinked, disbelieving. “But you’re… I’m supposed to pay you.”

“You’re going to fix my car, remember? Besides, I’m going to have to pay for the room anyway. I need a place to sleep tonight.” Blake’s voice and his gentle hands calmed Joam. “It’s okay.”

Joam believed him.

Copyright © Jessica Freely