Seer Release Day!

Gay Romance, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Suspense
Word Count: 54,500
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

EvernightAmazon – BookStrandKoboSmashwordsNOOKiBooks

No one knows that Nick Auspex is a Seer, but his power is very real—that’s why he knows he’ll always be alone. Since childhood, he’s seen visions of his soulmate caught in the midst of a terrible fire. So when he’s assigned to protect Jeff Wright, he knows their mutual attraction is destined to go nowhere.

When Jeff opens the door to find the Craft Council’s security expert on his doorstep, his first instinct is to send Nick away. Jeff is human, but Nick is a powerful Crafter, and everyone knows relationships like that never work. Jeff needs to figure out who murdered his parents, not screw around with some random guy when he’s never even dated another man before.

Of course, neither of them can control fate—and when two soulmates meet, destiny trumps fear. Will fire destroy lives or illuminate the truth hiding in the darkness?

Story Excerpt:

Jeff waited for Nick to make the first move. The man felt large and hot and completely fucking overwhelming, but there was no way Jeff was about to let go. Not now. Not after the gunshot, and the fire, and the last two weeks of grief, and the last two years of denying himself everything he wanted. He’d thought he was a chemist, and he’d been wrong. He’d thought he could believe the cops, and move on after his parents died, and he hadn’t been able to open his eyes without feeling total denial of what everyone told him must have happened. His parents hadn’t killed themselves. And I thought I was straight, but that was before Nick broke down every door I tried to keep closed,he mused, feeling as though he was finally seeing things with complete and utter clarity.

“I’m alive, and I’m fucking sure,” he said, goading Nick. He needed Nick to kiss him again. He needed Nick to push him into the wall. He needed things he didn’t have words for. I want my life to be worth something more than to be the failed experiment my parents couldn’t deal with.

“Dammit,” Nick growled, and then he kissed Jeff again, but this time he wasn’t gentle. He wasn’t soft. He didn’t ease his way into it, as if Jeff were a blushing virgin. He dove in, forcing Jeff to open up or else. “Give it to me,” he muttered, biting along Jeff’s lips. “Come on. Open your mouth.”

Jeff gasped, hands moving to Nick’s hair. He liked the stubble scraping at his skin. He liked the controlled violence of Nick’s hands on his face. “Come on. Do it. I’m not going to break. I’m not fragile.” If there was one thing he knew, one thing he’d alwaysknown, it was that he was a survivor.

“No, you’re not,” Nick said, pushing into him. His erection slotted up against Jeff’s hip, hot and heavy. Jeff sucked in a shocked gasp as he felt another man’s cock against his body for the first time, but then Nick bit his jaw, stealing even the ability to string two thoughts together. The door behind them creaked with their weight. Nick opened it and dragged Jeff through, and he didn’t even try to resist. He wanted it. He wanted Nick, God help him. The bodyguard pulled him down the hall and into the first bedroom.

“Oh my God,” Jeff said, fighting to breathe as Nick kissed him again. He pulled away, ignoring Nick’s frustrated expression, and then he took off his shirt with shaking hands, vaguely surprised at how hard his cock was. He’d never been this revved up before. His ex hadn’t ever gotten him this randy, and she’d been hot as hell. She was beautiful, but she also lied all the time,he thought, hesitating a moment. What the hell am I doing here?

He stared at Nick. Nick’s hazel eyes had darkened, and Jeff felt a hint of fear. He was about to take a step he didn’t think he could ever come back from, but his cock was hard enough to hurt. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t remember what the hell he was supposed to be worried about. He palmed himself through his jeans. Maybe if they did it quick, it would be okay. “I’m too close to the edge for anything complicated,” he said, voice rough. His mind shied away from what complicatedmight mean.

“I’m not going to let you go off before I can have my fill,” Nick said, slowly unbuttoning his shirt. “Deep breaths, Jeff. I won’t let you fall.” He peeled off his shirt.

Jeff stared as muscles on top of muscles peeked out. He wanted to press his hands onto Nick’s chest and just feel. “God. What are you doing to me?” He’d never felt quite like this before. Was it the danger from the lab? The gunshots? Being attacked, not once, but twice?

“You’ve never done this before,” Nick said, stalking closer. He undid his pants, but didn’t take them off. He’d lost his shoes already, and Jeff had no idea when or how. “So you’d best prepare yourself.”

“I’ve had sex,” Jeff said defensively, puzzled by Nick’s statement. He frowned when the older man went to his knees. “What are you doing?”

“What do you think I’m doing?” Nick said, staring up at him.

Jeff’s mouth went dry. “Oh, hell.” He grabbed himself, needing the pressure to keep from spontaneously combusting. He didn’t know what he’d expected, but Nick on his knees in front of him wasn’t it. “I’ve had sex,” he repeated, like a mantra. This wasn’t going to be that different from what he’d experienced with his ex, right?

“You may have had sex,” Nick said, hazel eyes dark with lust. “But you’ve never had sex with me.”

SEER is coming on October 24!

Yes, the novel you’ve been waiting for, the sequel to SOULMATES, is finally done and set to release next week! October 24 is going to be a good day, my friends. 😀

Gay Romance, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Suspense
Word Count: 54,500
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Releasing October 24!

No one knows that Nick Auspex is a Seer, but his power is very real—that’s why he knows he’ll always be alone. Since childhood, he’s seen visions of his soulmate caught in the midst of a terrible fire. So when he’s assigned to protect Jeff Wright, he knows their mutual attraction is destined to go nowhere.

When Jeff opens the door to find the Craft Council’s security expert on his doorstep, his first instinct is to send Nick away. Jeff is human, but Nick is a powerful Crafter, and everyone knows relationships like that never work. Jeff needs to figure out who murdered his parents, not screw around with some random guy when he’s never even dated another man before.

Of course, neither of them can control fate—and when two soulmates meet, destiny trumps fear. Will fire destroy lives or illuminate the truth hiding in the darkness?

Story Excerpt:

Jeff waited for Nick to make the first move. The man felt large and hot and completely fucking overwhelming, but there was no way Jeff was about to let go. Not now. Not after the gunshot, and the fire, and the last two weeks of grief, and the last two years of denying himself everything he wanted. He’d thought he was a chemist, and he’d been wrong. He’d thought he could believe the cops, and move on after his parents died, and he hadn’t been able to open his eyes without feeling total denial of what everyone told him must have happened. His parents hadn’t killed themselves. And I thought I was straight, but that was before Nick broke down every door I tried to keep closed,he mused, feeling as though he was finally seeing things with complete and utter clarity.

“I’m alive, and I’m fucking sure,” he said, goading Nick. He needed Nick to kiss him again. He needed Nick to push him into the wall. He needed things he didn’t have words for. I want my life to be worth something more than to be the failed experiment my parents couldn’t deal with.

“Dammit,” Nick growled, and then he kissed Jeff again, but this time he wasn’t gentle. He wasn’t soft. He didn’t ease his way into it, as if Jeff were a blushing virgin. He dove in, forcing Jeff to open up or else. “Give it to me,” he muttered, biting along Jeff’s lips. “Come on. Open your mouth.”

Jeff gasped, hands moving to Nick’s hair. He liked the stubble scraping at his skin. He liked the controlled violence of Nick’s hands on his face. “Come on. Do it. I’m not going to break. I’m not fragile.” If there was one thing he knew, one thing he’d alwaysknown, it was that he was a survivor.

“No, you’re not,” Nick said, pushing into him. His erection slotted up against Jeff’s hip, hot and heavy. Jeff sucked in a shocked gasp as he felt another man’s cock against his body for the first time, but then Nick bit his jaw, stealing even the ability to string two thoughts together. The door behind them creaked with their weight. Nick opened it and dragged Jeff through, and he didn’t even try to resist. He wanted it. He wanted Nick, God help him. The bodyguard pulled him down the hall and into the first bedroom.

“Oh my God,” Jeff said, fighting to breathe as Nick kissed him again. He pulled away, ignoring Nick’s frustrated expression, and then he took off his shirt with shaking hands, vaguely surprised at how hard his cock was. He’d never been this revved up before. His ex hadn’t ever gotten him this randy, and she’d been hot as hell. She was beautiful, but she also lied all the time,he thought, hesitating a moment. What the hell am I doing here?

He stared at Nick. Nick’s hazel eyes had darkened, and Jeff felt a hint of fear. He was about to take a step he didn’t think he could ever come back from, but his cock was hard enough to hurt. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t remember what the hell he was supposed to be worried about. He palmed himself through his jeans. Maybe if they did it quick, it would be okay. “I’m too close to the edge for anything complicated,” he said, voice rough. His mind shied away from what complicatedmight mean.

“I’m not going to let you go off before I can have my fill,” Nick said, slowly unbuttoning his shirt. “Deep breaths, Jeff. I won’t let you fall.” He peeled off his shirt.

Jeff stared as muscles on top of muscles peeked out. He wanted to press his hands onto Nick’s chest and just feel. “God. What are you doing to me?” He’d never felt quite like this before. Was it the danger from the lab? The gunshots? Being attacked, not once, but twice?

“You’ve never done this before,” Nick said, stalking closer. He undid his pants, but didn’t take them off. He’d lost his shoes already, and Jeff had no idea when or how. “So you’d best prepare yourself.”

“I’ve had sex,” Jeff said defensively, puzzled by Nick’s statement. He frowned when the older man went to his knees. “What are you doing?”

“What do you think I’m doing?” Nick said, staring up at him.

Jeff’s mouth went dry. “Oh, hell.” He grabbed himself, needing the pressure to keep from spontaneously combusting. He didn’t know what he’d expected, but Nick on his knees in front of him wasn’t it. “I’ve had sex,” he repeated, like a mantra. This wasn’t going to be that different from what he’d experienced with his ex, right?

“You may have had sex,” Nick said, hazel eyes dark with lust. “But you’ve never had sex with me.”

The Drive – Liam & Charlie – New Release!

Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, May/Dec
Word Count: 14,930

buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandSmashwordsKoboBarnes & NobleiBookstore

Liam is done with love, but his daughter Portia has other plans. When he arrives to pick her up from college, she sets him up with her friend Charlie, and merrily heads off to her internship without them. Liam is left with an uncomfortable hard-on for Portia’s bestie, and a long drive to Vegas with a guy too young to know what to do with a guy Liam’s age.

Charlie thought he liked girls. More specifically, he thought he liked Portia, but when her dad offers him a ride home after graduation, he suddenly, shockingly realizes that he doesn’t like women at all. He likes Liam, and he wants to hook up as soon as possible, and maybe not ever let go. So, when Liam makes an offer he can’t refuse, what’s he supposed to do? Say no to the hottest person he’s ever met?

 

Story Excerpt:

Liam stared out at the gorgeous view, contemplating his options, and then he turned to the younger man. “I’m not safe, Charlie. I’ve never been safe.” He smiled slowly, taking a bit of the sting out of his words. “However, I’m quite willing to be your experiment.”

Charlie swallowed. “I … what?”

“Experiment. That’s what you wanted, yes?” Liam noted that the younger man had jammed his hands into his pockets. Hiding … what? An erection? I certainly hope so.Decision made, Liam stepped forward, crowding Charlie up against the low stone wall. What’s the worst that could happen? You fool around, he learns something about himself, and you’ve done your daughter’s friend a favor, he told himself as his arousal revved a bit higher. “You realize I shouldn’t be doing this,” he murmured against Charlie’s temple. It took a supreme act of will not to thrust against the younger man.

“Why not?” Charlie whispered. His hands had gone to Liam’s hips.

Liam inhaled. Charlie smelled fantastic—a combination of coffee and some unidentifiable woodsy scent—like the guy had recently been standing next to a campfire. “Because you’re my daughter’s friend. You’re at least twenty years younger than me. And because I’m not old enough to have a mid-life crisis yet.” He let himself run his hands up Charlie’s arms. The solid muscles in his arms appealed to Liam.

“How old are you?” Charlie asked.

Liam went still, surprised by the question. “Thirty-nine.” Charlie’s biceps felt solid and warm beneath his palms. He resisted the urge to dig his fingers into all of the delicious weight, and kept his touch light. “Old, by your standards.”

“That’s not old,” Charlie said, licking his lips.

“No? What is it then?” Liam tilted his head.

Charlie mirrored him, eyes going dark. “You’re mature. Experienced.” He slid his hands up Liam’s chest. “You’re killing me, Liam.”

All right then, no more hesitating, Liam thought, leaning in. When his lips touched Charlie’s, the younger man sucked in a quick breath. Liam opened his mouth and licked inside.

“Oh God,” Charlie tried to say, but then Liam slid his hands up to the younger man’s head, and there was no more room for words. Charlie tasted sweet and smoky, and Liam abruptly knew that he’d just got himself into a deeper bind than he’d anticipated.

I’m not going to be happy with a simple kiss, he thought, even as he pushed harder, pressing his hard-on into Charlie’s hip. The younger man moaned, and then Liam threaded his fingers into Charlie’s hair, holding his head precisely where he wanted it. “Fuck me,” he breathed, biting Charlie’s lower lip. “You’re dangerous.”

“Me? That’s ridiculous,” Charlie panted, and Liam kissed him again.

“Addicting.” Liam mouthed the words against Charlie’s jawline. The subtle scratch of whiskers shot a bolt of heat straight through to Liam’s cock. It had been so longsince he’d had the pleasure of another man’s beard against his skin. Why the hell had he waited so long? He kissed Charlie again, hands going down to the younger man’s ass. Charlie gasped, and his erection pushed into Liam’s in the most perfect way.

“Oh my God,” Charlie breathed, mouth open against Liam’s cheek. “What is this?”

Liam bit Charlie’s earlobe. “This is lust,” he said, as if that explained everything, but how well he knew that it didn’t. He hadn’t felt this crazed in years. He thrust once, twice, and then forced himself still. “I want to suck you,” he said, kneading Charlie’s delectable ass. “I want to make you lose your mind.”

Charlie trembled. “Oh.”

Liam smiled, then slowly slid down until he was on his knees in front of the younger man. The sunset slanted orange and red across Charlie’s body, casting his groin into shadow, but Liam didn’t need light for what he was about to do.

“Wait, here? Are you serious?” Charlie asked, biting his lip.

Liam put a hand on the younger man’s cock. “Right here. Right now.” Truth be told, the risk of getting caught giving head in an interstate rest stop heightened everything. He smirked, then undid Charlie’s jeans. The younger man’s cock sprang out of his soft boxers, and Liam took him in hand.

“Oh, fuck.” Charlie jammed the heel of his hand against his mouth, muffling the rest of his words.

“Easy,” Liam murmured, running his lips over Charlie’s soft skin. His cock felt silky and hard and delightful against his face, and he opened his mouth to lick the pre-cum welling from the tip. Charlie tasted like smoke and sweetness, and Liam wasted no time sucking him in.

 

Like what you see? Get the first two books in the Close Proximity series!

The Elevator — Adrian & Greyson

Adrian Hughes is a geek who sucks at social interaction because awkward is his middle name. Even though he’s gay, he’s the opposite of flamboyant (when they were handing out fabulous, he was hiding in another room). Even so, he’s always wanted a boyfriend—who doesn’t want to find love?—but so far, the closest he’s gotten to it is crushing on the hot older guy he only sees on the elevator. So what happens when he’s trapped inside it with Mr. Zillionaire Hottie during a heat wave brownout? He stutters like an idiot, because Mr. Greyson Lee is unexpectedly cool, calm, and collected … right up until he’s not.

When kissing leads to sex, Adrian can’t say no. But is it just a hookup? Or is it the start of something more?

 

The Cabin — Flynn & Beau

Flynn is having a terrible day—his fiancée jilted him at the altar and now he’s alone on his honeymoon. Going to a wilderness resort by himself was probably not his best idea, but then artist Beau Green arrives to make everything even more complicated. A reservation mistake and stormy weather means the charismatic black man is out of options for the night, but Flynn can’t let someone sleep on a cold floor when there’s a perfectly good sofa in his cabin. When the power dies, Flynn ends up on the sofa, too, because there’s only one fireplace, and freezing is not part of his plan for the day.

Also not planned? Having sex with a dude, but Beau is everything his ex is not—kind, strong, and intelligent. Unfortunately, Flynn is straight, and falling for a man might be one disaster too many for him to handle.

The Cabin Release Day!

Buy Links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboiBooks

Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, May/Dec, Interracial, Contemporary
Word Count: 14,000
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

 

Flynn is having a terrible day—his fiancée jilted him at the altar and now he’s alone on his honeymoon. Going to a wilderness resort by himself was probably not his best idea, but then artist Beau Green arrives to make everything even more complicated. A reservation mistake and stormy weather means the charismatic black man is out of options for the night, but Flynn can’t let someone sleep on a cold floor when there’s a perfectly good sofa in his cabin. When the power dies, Flynn ends up on the sofa, too, because there’s only one fireplace, and freezing is not part of his plan for the day.

Also not planned? Having sex with a dude, but Beau is everything his ex is not—kind, strong, and intelligent. Unfortunately, Flynn is straight, and falling for a man might be one disaster too many for him to handle.

 

Story Excerpt:

“If the way you’re looking at me is any indication, you seem like you had no idea that you might be the kind of man who leans the other direction,” Beau said softly. “So to speak.”

Flynn stared at him. “I’ve never really thought about it.” He wouldn’t disrespect a guy who had been nothing but kind to him by acting like he didn’t know what Beau was talking about. And it’s not like I can afford to make him angry. We’re stuck in this cabin together. He glanced away. The sleet hadn’t let up. He’d be amazed if there weren’t trees down by morning.

Beau sat up. “I’m not against being your gay experiment.”

Flynn’s gaze flew back to Beau as his mouth went bone dry. “I’m not into pity fucks,” he lied. He so totally didwant a pity fuck after this stupid day. His cockwanted a pity fuck. His hands twitched. It took everything he had in him to keep reclining on the sofa like Beau’s suggestion was no big deal.

“Oh, Flynn. It wouldn’t be a pity fuck for me,” Beau said, voice going low and soft. “You’re a fine-looking man.” He reached out and put a finger on Flynn’s arm, then slid it down until he reached his fingertips.

Flynn’s heart banged against his ribs. How could such an innocuous touch feel so damned hot? He licked his lips as he shifted uncomfortably. He wanted that finger on his erection so badly he couldn’t keep still. “I don’t know what to say.” He glanced away. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Beau laughed. “Me? I know exactly what I’m doing.”

“I’m on the rebound. That’s what this is,” Flynn said quickly. He could barely recall what Darlene looked like. And he had no memory of what she tasted like, but he bet Beau tasted like sin. And regret.

“I don’t care. I like you.” Beau leaned closer. The intensity of his gaze pinned Flynn to the sofa. He couldn’t move even if he tried. “You a good man, Flynn, but you’re all mixed up. I can help clear some shit up for you.”

Flynn held perfectly still as Beau moved his finger down his hip to his leg, but when the man put his palm flat on his thigh, he couldn’t stop the moan. “Shit. What are you doing to me?”

“I’m not doing a damned thing.” Beau sat back up and lifted his hand away. “Yet.” He pulled the blanket off of Flynn. “You need to tell me yes, or this all stops here.”

Flynn shuddered. He couldn’t think straight anymore. Am I really contemplating this? As if from a long way off, he heard himself speak. “Yes.”

Beau grinned. “Thank fuck.” He stood up and stripped off his shirt. Tiny silver barbells winked out at Flynn from his nipples. His erection poked out his sweatpants.

“Holy shit, you’re pierced,” Flynn said, staring. The man looked liked a damned cover model. His gaze dropped to Beau’s cock. Even from here, and even with the dim lighting, he could tell the guy was well endowed. He thought of anal sex and couldn’t hide his wince as he struggled up to a seated position. There was no way he was up for having that thing anywhere near his butthole. No way, no how.

“Don’t you worry. We’re not going straight for the full monty,” Beau said, clearly amused. He dropped to his knees.

“How do you know what I’m thinking?” Flynn asked him. His voice cracked.

“You’re thinking the same thing every guy who first sets eyes on me thinks.” Beau reached out and pulled Flynn down. “Don’t stress. I know what I’m doing.”

Flynn couldn’t look away from those eyes. “I hope so.”

Instead of responding, Beau kissed him. At the first touch of his lips, Flynn gasped. Beau licked inside, and Flynn realized that he’d never, ever really been kissed before. Oh sure, he’d kissed Darlene, and a couple other girlfriends, but he’d never experienced this … this volcano of arousal. He groaned and slid his hands up to cup Beau’s head. The small dreadlocks under his palms were soft and springy. Beau smiled against his mouth and kissed him again, not holding back.

“Oh, fuck me,” Flynn breathed, when Beau finally let him up for air. He gripped the larger man’s biceps, digging his fingers into muscle. Beau wasn’t like any woman he’d ever touched. He was hard and impossibly overwhelming.

“No, I’m not going to fuck you,” Beau said, biting down Flynn’s jaw. “You’re going to fuck me.”

At those words, Flynn tried to inhale and ended up wheezing. “Jesus, Beau. You sure don’t hold back, do you?”

“What would be the point of that?” Beau climbed up and over Flynn, settling his thighs on either side of his hips. “Don’t be afraid.”

How does he know what I’m feeling? Flynn wondered, but then Beau kissed him again and all rational thought fled. Beau kissed the way some people jumped off cliffs: all in, drunk on adrenaline. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe that’s just what it feels like to kiss this man. To kiss Beau, Flynn mused, hips jerking. His erection met Beau’s considerable weight, and he couldn’t resist screwing his body up harder. “God, what is this?”

“This, my friend, is harmony,” Beau murmured, moving down until his lips were at Flynn’s hip. He knelt up, pulling Flynn’s shirt off with one, smooth motion.

 

Read The Elevator – Close Proximity #1!

Buy Links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboiBooks

Gay Romance, Romance on the Go, Erotic Romance, Interracial, Contemporary, Humor
Word Count: 14,000
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Adrian Hughes is a geek who sucks at social interaction because awkward is his middle name. Even though he’s gay, he’s the opposite of flamboyant (when they were handing out fabulous, he was hiding in another room). Even so, he’s always wanted a boyfriend—who doesn’t want to find love?—but so far, the closest he’s gotten to it is crushing on the hot older guy he only sees on the elevator. So what happens when he’s trapped inside it with Mr. Zillionaire Hottie during a heat wave brownout? He stutters like an idiot, because Mr. Greyson Lee is unexpectedly cool, calm, and collected … right up until he’s not.

When kissing leads to sex, Adrian can’t say no. But is it just a hookup? Or is it the start of something more?

 

The Drive – Close Proximity #3 is coming soon!

Liam is done with love, but his daughter Portia has other plans. When he arrives to pick her up from college, she sets him up with her friend Charlie, and merrily heads off to her internship without them. Liam is left with an uncomfortable hard-on for Portia’s bestie, and a long drive to Vegas with a guy too young to know what to do with a guy Liam’s age.

Charlie thought he liked girls. More specifically, he thought he liked Portia, but when her dad offers him a ride home after graduation, he suddenly, shockingly realizes that he doesn’t like women at all. He likes Liam, and he wants to hook up as soon as possible, and maybe not ever let go. So, when Liam makes an offer he can’t refuse, what’s he supposed to do? Say no to the hottest person he’s ever met?

New Release! The Elevator!

Buy Links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboiBooks

Gay Romance, Erotic Romance, Interracial, May/Dec, Contemporary
Word Count: 14,000
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Scroll down for excerpt.

Adrian Hughes is a geek who sucks at social interaction because awkward is his middle name. Even though he’s gay, he’s the opposite of flamboyant (when they were handing out fabulous, he was hiding in another room). Even so, he’s always wanted a boyfriend—who doesn’t want to find love?—but so far, the closest he’s gotten to it is crushing on the hot older guy he only sees on the elevator. So what happens when he’s trapped inside it with Mr. Zillionaire Hottie during a heat wave brownout? He stutters like an idiot, because Mr. Greyson Lee is unexpectedly cool, calm, and collected … right up until he’s not.

When kissing leads to sex, Adrian can’t say no. But is it just a hookup? Or is it the start of something more?

 

Story Excerpt:

Adrian lost the ability to breathe the moment Greyson’s tongue slipped into his mouth. The hint of bourbon on the edge of the coffee he smelled earlier was without a doubt the sexiest taste he’d ever experienced in a kiss. He wrapped his left hand around Greyson’s head, sinking into the soft strands of his hair, and wrapped the other one around the man’s bicep. “Fuck,” he moaned, when Greyson slid his mouth to the corner of his lips and sighed.

“Not in the elevator,” Greyson said, and Adrian choked on a laugh.

“No, I’m not into public exhibition,” he said, wondering wildly if there were security cameras in here. He glanced up at the ceiling but didn’t see any tech that might indicate a hidden lens.

“No cameras are working right now,” Greyson said, kissing him again.

Aw, fuck it,Adrian thought as Greyson’s strong, warm body pressed him into the brass railing. It hurt a bit, but he didn’t give two shits. “Jesus, Greyson.” He bit the older man’s plump lower lip, then sucked away the sting. “You’re killing me.”

“Ha,” was all Greyson said, but then his hands were unbuttoning Adrian’s shirt. “Nice,” he said, when the lapels gaped open. He put a hand on Adrian’s chest. “You work out.”

Adrian couldn’t remember if he worked out or not. He could barely remember his own damn name. “God, don’t tease me.” He wrapped a leg around Greyson’s calf and brought their groins together. When their erections touched, he groaned. He needed to get off so badly his hips jerked without his conscious control.

“Fuck,” Greyson muttered, hands dropping to Adrian’s ass. He ground them together, pushing Adrian into the railing even more. “I haven’t been this worked up in years.”

“This is crazy,” Adrian agreed, hips rolling into Greyson’s. He kissed the older man again, then shoved him away. “Stop.”

Greyson froze. “Stop?”

Adrian already had his hands at the older man’s pants. “Unbutton, you stupid fucking— Ah.” He breathed easier when the inside button popped off, and didn’t feel even a hint of regret as it pinged off the wall and rolled into a corner. He was too busy unzipping the placket and reaching his hands into Greyson’s boxers. “Jesus, you’re big.”

“Christ. Yeah, just like that,” Greyson said, voice dropping even lower.

Adrian wrapped his fingers around Greyson’s cock and stroked. “How are you so perfect?”

Greyson made a sound halfway between a laugh and a moan. “I’m not even close to perfect.”

Adrian let go and unbuttoned the rest of Greyson’s shirt, pausing to take in the amazing tattoo inked all over his chest. “Wow.” He slid his palms all over the smooth skin. “That’s fucking gorgeous. A dragon?”

Greyson shrugged. “My father was fond of dragons. Said they were good luck.”

Adrian nodded. “I want to lick you all over.”

Greyson laughed. “By all means.” He leaned back, arms open. He should’ve looked ridiculous, standing there half dressed with his cock pointing out, but he didn’t. He looked like a warrior emerging from modern clothes: fierce and hot and quietly menacing.

“Don’t poke the dragon,” Adrian murmured as he went to his knees. He pressed a fist to his erection, hoping like hell he wouldn’t go off like some teenager out for his first ride.

“I’m no dragon,” Greyson said.

“Yes, you are,” Adrian replied, leaning in and inhaling the musky scent of him. God, he smells good.He rubbed his cheek against Greyson’s cock, and then took it in his hand. “I’m going to suck you until you forget your name.” Greyson exhaled, and Adrian licked his cockhead. “Fuck, you taste good,” he said against the soft skin, and then he closed his eyes and opened his mouth. Hands sank into his hair as he slid down, scrubbing his tongue along the shaft. When it hit the back of his throat, he swallowed, then relaxed. He could do this. So what if he was seriously out of practice? He wantedto deep throat this man. He wanted Greyson to lose his mind, and he wanted to be the reason.

“Oh my God,” Greyson croaked, sounding strangled.

Adrian swallowed again around the cock in his throat, then slid off, slowly. “I’m not a god,” he said, smirking up at the older man.

Greyson blinked, then smiled. “No, but you have the mouth of an angel.”

Queen Wolf Release Day!

Triad mates haven’t been seen in ages, but when the wolf howls and instinct rises, destiny wins.

I’m going to be in and out of Evernight Reader’s Group ALL DAY! You can ask me anything, and I’ll be doing a few giveaways: backlist ebooks, a few cutie cups (handcrafted crochet by yours truly), and virtual hugs.

Here is the EP Reader’s Group link.

I’ll also be doing a LIVE FB chat at 7 pm at the Lydia Michaels’ East Coast Author Convention Facebook Group.

Join me!

Buy links: EvernightAmazonBookStrandKoboSmashwordsNOOKiBooks

Menage, BBW/Rubenesque,  Gay, Shifters, May/Dec, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Suspense
Word Count: 51,770
Heat Level: 4
Published By: Evernight Publishing

Scroll down for an excerpt.

Avery is resigned to solitude. She can’t shift, she’s overweight, and her ex cheated on her, but when Alpha Fletcher and his best friend, Mitch, return to Boulder Pack after years of traveling, she’s shocked at how much she wants them.

Fletcher doesn’t expect to meet his mate within moments of coming home, but he and Mitch are nothing if not adaptable. Avery makes their beasts howl with need, but can she accept two wolves instead of one? Triad mates haven’t been allowed in ages.

Mitch is happy to bond with Avery and Fletcher—he has room in his heart for two mates. What he isn’t happy with is Avery’s father threatening her, and making her doubt her worth. Avery is a Queen, but she has no idea what that means. Will instinct be enough to push them together, or will Mitch and Fletcher need more drastic measures to convince Avery that she’s their destiny?

 

Story Excerpt:

Mitch stopped just behind Fletcher. He stared for a moment at the woman backlit by the window. He could tell she was curvy. He could tell she had serious muscles under the curves. And he could tell she had grey eyes, because they were practically glowing as she looked at him and Fletcher, but he could not, for the life of him, figure out what the hell his wolf thought he was doing. The beast howled like the full moon was about to fall in on them, and his fucking heart felt that way, too. When he realized that Fletcher wasn’t able to move, he reached back and shut the door. He didn’t give a shit if this was the Alpha’s suite. Right now, he didn’t want an audience for the arousal that rocketed through him.

“Nine years is a hell of a long time,” Fletcher said.

Mitch didn’t know how he got his voice to work. He inhaled, and the scent of her—floral and musk combined—drove all rational thought out of his head. He growled under his breath as his cock shoved hard against the placket of his jeans.

Fletcher twitched, and Mitch clamped his mouth shut. He didn’t trust himself to speak right now.

“Nine years ago, I was sixteen,” the woman said, and Mitch abruptly realized who she was. Avery Tate. Paige’s best friend,his brain told him. His wolf didn’t care. The beast wanted out.The beast wanted her.

Fletcher reached out his arm, pushing against Mitch’s chest as if to ground him. Mitch exhaled, sensing Fletcher’s Alpha power slide into him like a warm, familiar hand. A bit of his normal calm returned, thank fuck. “Avery,” he said, voice so low he barely recognized himself.

Avery turned her brilliant light eyes on him, and he almost stepped back when he saw the power floating in her gaze. She’s a Queen,he thought, shocked, and then, She’s ourQueen.He reached up and gripped Fletcher’s wrist, pressing his fingertips into his best friend’s bones.

Fletcher didn’t even flinch. He glanced at Mitch, and the knowledge in his expression told him that they were on the same page.

“Mitch,” Avery replied. Her gaze shifted back to Fletcher. “And Fletcher.” She licked her lips, and Mitch felt the rumble of Fletcher’s growl on his skin. “Welcome home. It’s been a very long time.”

Fletcher dropped his arm and strode forward. Avery stepped back, but there was nowhere for her to go. Her back was at the window. Mitch followed his Alpha and stopped just as Fletcher sank his hands into Avery’s long, red hair. She gasped, eyes flashing silver, and Mitch felt her desire like a punch in the gut. She was just as aroused as they were.

“You’re all grown up,” Fletcher said to Avery. He jerked his head, short and sharp, and Mitch knew Fletcher wanted him to move in on Avery’s other side. He did as Fletcher asked, not needing words, and put his hand on Avery’s shoulder. Her skin was so hot it burned his palm, but his wolf liked it. The creature snarled, and Mitch sucked in a hard breath, fighting to keep himself from just grabbing her and throwing her down on the floor where they could fuck her easier.

Dear God, help me,he thought, half shocked by his thoughts, but also grateful. He hadn’t been able to have sex in over a year, and this woman obviously had something that both he and Fletcher needed. He didn’t mind sharing. Hell, he wantedto share with Fletcher. He neededit. He could already feel the tenuous thread that tied them together strengthening. This woman is a catalyst,he realized, but he had no idea how or why her,instead of any of the other women he and Fletcher had tried to hook up with.

Avery blinked, but astonishingly, didn’t try to get away from Fletcher’s grip. “Yes. I’m twenty-five now.”

“Thank God,” Fletcher said, and then he dipped his head and kissed her.

****

Avery froze, stunned when Fletcher just leaned down and kissed her, as if it were perfectly normal to kiss a woman you’d just met again after nearly a decade apart. She hadn’t minded the hands in her hair, or Mitch’s hand on her shoulder, because the touch soothed her wolf in some unfathomable fashion, and she wasn’t about to complain when the prickles in her skin calmed down. However, the kiss was another thing altogether. She lifted her hands, about to push him away, and then his tongue slipped into her mouth and all rational thought fled her skull.

Oh my God, he tastes like the wind,she thought absurdly, and then Mitch pressed up against her side, and she turned her head, gasping. Before she could take a breath, hekissed her, too. He tasted like a storm, all roiling clouds and lightning, and she realized that the two men tasted the same.She wrenched her head back, and stared at them in shock. “Oh my God. What’s happening?” She had neverfelt this way with Brian. Or anyone, for that matter.

“I have no fucking idea,” Fletcher said, staring with those golden eyes as if he could see into her soul.

Avery reached up and tugged her hair away from his fists, then moved so that Mitch’s hand fell away. Her wolf immediately howled again, and she flinched, feeling behind her for the window. She knew there was a small balcony of some sort just below this suite, and she knew she could survive the jump down. But I’m not sure I can survive another second with the two of them,she thought, panicking. How could Paige have been so right about her wanting Fletcher? And Mitch? How could her wolf suddenly go crazy, pushing her to want things she shouldn’t? She wasn’t anyone important. She couldn’t even shift.She wouldn’t bring anything helpful to the pack. Heirs usually married the daughters of Alphas, or Betas, and quite often, the pairings were politically motivated. She was nobody. I have to go,she thought, as fear speared through her arousal.

“Avery—” Mitch said, reaching out.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, and then she let herself twist backwards and down, rolling onto her feet as she landed. She risked a quick glance up—Fletcher and Mitch stared down at her—and then she pushed off and ran away.

SOULMATE #FirstChapter #Excerpt!

It’s that time again: if you’re not sure you want to try something, you read a sample first, right? So here is a first chapter excerpt for my bestselling new release, SOULMATE!

Buy links: EvernightAmazonGoogle PlayBookStrandKoboSmashwordsNOOKiBooks

  

Gay Romance, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Suspense, May/Dec
Word Count: 53,500
Heat Level: 3
Published By: Evernight Publishing

****

Guy Keaton doesn’t want a hookup or a soulmate or anything in between. When he lost his wife to cancer, he knew he’d be alone for the rest of his life. He has a grown son, and his woodshop, and in a world where those born with powerful gifts are few and far between, that’s all that really matters.

Theo Fraser’s empathic gift is rare and strong. He isn’t looking for love, but when he meets Guy, everything changes, because he knows that when you find your soulmate, you hold on tight and don’t let go. The only problem is that Guy thinks he’s straight, and Theo doesn’t know if he can convince a man already set in his ways to change his mind.

Will Guy be able to give up his grief and accept Theo’s love? And what happens when a terrible betrayal forces them to fight to keep each other alive?

****

First Chapter Excerpt:

“It’s been three years since Mom died, Dad,” Guy Keaton’s son said.His voicesounded smaller over the phone than in real life, but his exasperation came through loud and clear. “You need to get out there again. Maybe go on a date or two. You know people like us live longer than ordinary humans. You may be forty-five, but for a WoodCrafter, you’re still young. I’m a Healer, and I can tell that you’re as healthy as a horse.”

Guy frowned, feeling the beginning of a headache creep up from his spine as he paced his shop. The afternoon sunlight lit the bench where he’d just placed his latest creation: an acoustic guitar. It still needed a lot of work. He stared at it while he tried to figure out what to say to his son. The swirls of the flame maple front picked up the light quite nicely, and he sighed, wishing he wasn’t having this conversation again. “Jonathan, I’m fine just the way things are. Seriously. I don’t know why you keep nagging me about dating. I’m good with my woodworking and hanging out with you once a week or so. I don’t need to start dating. I loved your mother, and I have no intention of replacing her with anyone.”

“Mom made me promise I wouldn’t let you hibernate alone forever,” Jonathan said impatiently. “She also told me you’d be impossible over this, and she was right.” He let out a gusty sigh, then continued. “I know it sucked, the cancer. Her dying so young. Believe me, I get it. She was my mom, and I couldn’t save her. I miss her, too, but, Dad, you hardly leave the house. It’s not healthy. I’m not sure having your woodshop attached to where you live is a good thing.” He paused a moment, then continued. “And who knows? Maybe you’ll find a soulmate out there.”

I don’t want a soulmate,I want my wife back, Guy thought as a familiar surge of grief welled up and lodged in his esophagus, nearly choking him. For a moment he couldn’t talk. He remembered Pamela’s dark red hair. Her startling blue eyes. He’d loved teasing her about how much time she spent fooling with her makeup when the truth was, she didn’t need any at all. She was beautiful to him even after the cancer had robbed her of everything: her hair, her sparkle. Even her skin lost its glow, but she was still his wife. His high school sweetheart. He’d loved her for her kindness and her intelligence, not because of how she’d looked. She wasn’t his fated soulmate, and she didn’t have any Craft power, but it didn’t matter. How many people found their perfect match, anyway? It happened so rarely it was almost mythical. He’d fallen for Pamela in middle school, and had never bothered wishing after some impossible soulmate that only one percent of the already rare Crafted population ever found. He loved Pamela. They were supposed to live happily ever after together, not happily for half of a life.

“Dad? You there?”

Guy cleared his throat. “Yeah, I’m here.” He heard the hoarseness in his voice and knew he had to do better. “Look, I’m about to head out. Are we still getting together for pizza on Friday night?”

“You’re trying to get out of this conversation,” his son said.

Guilty as charged,Guy thought, but he couldn’t let his son think that he didn’t want to talk to him. “No, really. I’m going—” He thought frantically for a split second, trying to figure out what he could tell his son that wouldn’t be a lie. His gaze landed on his shop’s bulletin board where he let customers and friends post advertisements and business cards. A flyer for a local outdoor trail caught his eye. “—hiking,” he said, seizing on the idea. He could use a break from his latest project. The surface of the guitar’s neck had cracked when he’d tried to screw in the pegs, and now he had to take it apart and re-varnish the entire piece. He could use a bit of cardio to work off his frustration. “I was about to head out to the Blue Mountain trails when you called.”

“Hiking? Hmm.” His son sounded suspicious.

“I used to go hiking all the time,” Guy pointed out, praying his son would buy the excuse.

“You haven’t gone since…” Jonathan trailed off.

Guy smiled grimly. He hadn’t gone since Jonathan’s mother had died, true. She hadn’t liked hiking, so it had been one of the few things they didn’t do together, but he’d been going out to the woods since he was a teenager. Glancing at the flyer again, he realized he missed being in the forest. It made sense. As one of the few people born with a Craft talent, he’d been blessed with an affinity to wood. He was a WoodCrafter. He probably shouldn’t have cut himself off from living trees for so long. “It’s just a quick hike. I miss going out into nature. And I need to work off some energy today because I messed up the varnish on my latest guitar.”

“Well. That’s good, I guess,” Jonathan said slowly, obviously working through what Guy had told him. “You shouldn’t be obsessing over cracked varnish, anyway. You’re a WoodCrafter. You could just smooth over the problem spot with a little bit of energy.” His son sounded cheerier. “You have more than enough Crafting skill to fix something like that, and you should keep in practice, anyway. Not many of us have the ability to actually use what we’re born with, you know.”

“And you know I don’t like to do that. Feels like cheating,” Guy replied, bemused. His son was repeating his own lessons back at him. He shook his head. He didn’t know why he’d been born with the ability to handle woods, but it wasn’t something he’d chosen. No one did. Not everyone was born with the capability to manipulate natural materials, and of those who were, only some had enough power to actually use the ability. Most people with Craft could sense the energy, but didn’t have the capacity to do anything with it, and no one knew why.

“Look, it’s not like this talent is particularly useful in the modern world. There isn’t that much of a demand for Crafted wooden objects,” Guy told his son.

“Are you kidding?” Jonathan asked incredulously. “You could be creating soulmate rings and pulling in money hand over fist. I’m not sure anyone is making them anymore.”

“Only bonded WoodCrafters can make those rings, and I don’t have a soulmate. I know I’ve explained that to you that before.” Guy scowled. “So, no. I can’t. And it’s not like there are a lot of soulmated pairs to sell them to, anyway.” The thought of making soulmate rings when his own wife had died… Ugh. Not now, and probably not ever, he thought, recoiling from the very idea of it. He’d never be able to handle the pain of meeting and dealing with soulmate couples. He didn’t care if there was a shortage of the rings. He deserved to live out the rest of his life in peace, if not happily, and he had no desire to date or meet his so-called perfect match. The love of his life was gone, and she was never coming back.

“What good is having power if you don’t use it?” his son asked, clearly sensing his father’s disquiet. “Your Craft power is cool. Sometimes I wish I’d inherited your abilities.”

Guy exhaled slowly. They’d been over this before. “I like to work with wood the old-fashioned way. I know I have both an affinity and the power for WoodCraft, but I like working with my hands. And you have your own power, Jonathan. Not everyone can sense illness the way you do. You’re a fantastic veterinarian. A Healer. That’s rare, too.”

His son made an unintelligible sound. “Fine, fine. I can tell you don’t want to talk about it anymore. So, about hiking. Maybe we could go together sometime. Next weekend?”

Guy nodded, happy to get off the topic of soulmates and power and most especially dating. “Yes, that would be great.” He and his son used to go hiking all the time. When had they stopped? He thought a moment. When Pamela first got sick. Has it really been five years since we’ve been out in the woods together? Wow,he thought, dismayed. His son deserved more of his time. Jonathan was the only family he had left.

“I can do next Sunday afternoon, maybe around four,” Jonathan said, sounding distracted. “Hang on, let me put it on my calendar.”

“That would be nice. I’d really love to get out with you. I miss it,” Guy said. There, that wasn’t a lie at all. He smiled to himself. Maybe Jonathan was right. He didneed to get out, but he certainly didn’t need to try dating. Doing some hiking with his son and getting in a little extra exercise wouldn’t hurt. He was in great shape thanks to his woodworking. The bigger pieces he put together, like tables and cabinets, often needed a lot of muscle, but more active pursuits wouldn’t be bad for him. Might help me be more creative, too. Exercise is good for the mind and the body, everyone says,he mused.

“Hey, Dad, I have to go. They’re bringing in an injured dog, and they need my Craft. I’ll see you Friday, okay?”

Guy nodded, even though he knew his son couldn’t see him. “Yeah, Friday for pizza, and then next Sunday. Four o’clock.”

“Yup, great. Bye, Dad. Love you.”

“Love you, too,” Guy replied, but then he realized the connection was already dead. He smiled wryly. His son was a busy man. Most of the people born as Healers were human doctors, so a veterinarian with that particular power was in high demand. People loved their pets. He rolled his shoulders, wincing as his spine cracked. He wasn’t getting any younger. People with Craft lived a little longer than regular humans, and people who found their soulmates lived even longer than that, but he was no longer sure an extended lifespan was all it was cracked up to be. He’d much rather have Pamela back than go on through the next sixty or so years alone.

“Stop it,” he said aloud, standing up and stretching. “You’re only forty-five, and you have a son, and a successful business.” He hated self-pity, and he’d been falling into the habit too often in the past few years. He grimaced as he racked his tools and set the guitar aside, out of the sunlight. Maybe he’d trail run instead of hike. If nothing else, working his body to exhaustion would help him sleep tonight.

****

“Stupid,” Guy muttered, wiping the sweat off his face. He’d run two miles, and then pooped out. “I am an idiot.” The sun glittered down through the trees and the birds were singing, but to him, the sounds of the late spring day felt like taunts. He’d let himself get way too out of shape for running, but now he was in the middle of the trail loop and there was no way out but forward. “One step at a time,” he said, snorting. He’d at least managed not to get a blister, but it had been a close thing. He’d already taken his trail runners off twice to cool a hot spot on his heel. He kept walking, watching for roots and rocks as his overheated body cooled. At the back of his mind, he sensed the trees murmuring to each other with his Craft, and he had to smile. He’d missed this. Working with wood helped, but living, breathing trees had a language all their own. Why had he stayed away from the woods for so long?

“Sir, please wait a moment,” a man said, startling him as he headed around a sharp curve.

Guy looked up just before he walked into a black-clad man standing in the middle of the trail. “What?”

“Delegate Fraser is almost done filming,” the man replied, blocking his way. “You can pass in a moment.”

Delegate? What is a Craft Councilmember doing out in the woods?Guy frowned, looking past the black-clad man. Just beyond them stood a younger man talking to a camera. A woman held a microphone boom next to the cameraman, and another woman stood to the side. She watched, occasionally tapping at her tablet computer. Two more black-clad men stood on the other side of the trail, blocking access from that direction. “What’s going on?” Guy asked, confused. Sure, this was a popular public trail, but it wasn’t like there were so many Council Delegates that it was easy to stumble over one in the middle of the woods. The Council mostly mediated disputes between Crafters and handled public relations with the larger non-gifted population.

“Sir, please stand back,” the man said, not answering Guy’s question.

The woman with the tablet looked over, then made her way around the camera. “Delegate Fraser is recording a public service announcement promoting outdoor activity,” she said, smiling. She nodded to the man in black, and he backed up a bit, turning to watch the trail. She held out her hand. “Hello, I’m Rose Tremaine, Delegate Fraser’s assistant. Do you come here often?”

That guy looks like a bodyguard. Strange. I’ve never heard of a Council Delegate needing protection, except maybe the Council Head.Guy absently shook the woman’s hand, noting her short dark hair and brown eyes. Her light brown skin looked smooth as butter, and he wondered what was wrong with him that he felt not even the slightest bit of attraction to her. Even when he’d been married he’d noticed beautiful women, but lately he hadn’t felt anything. “Guy Keaton. And no, I don’t come here often anymore, but I used to. It’s been a few years.” He looked past her. Something about the Delegate still talking to the camera intrigued him. “He’s a bit young for a Delegate, isn’t he?”

Rose smiled. “He’s thirty, so, yeah. He’s young, but not that young.” She glanced over her shoulder at the Delegate. “And he’s the smartest guy I’ve ever met.”

Guy raised an eyebrow, sensing that she meant more than she was saying out loud. “Is he gifted, then?” He felt himself flush. Of course the man had Craft power. He couldn’t serve on the Council if he didn’t. “I meant, does he have a Craft specialty?” Only the strongest of them specialized in something. His WoodCrafting and his son’s Healing abilities were unusually strong, but then, the power did tend to run in families.

Her mouth twisted slightly, and Guy knew she was amused by his stumbling. “He’s an Empath, and he has a lot of Craft power, yes, if that’s what you mean.” She lifted a shoulder. “But he’s gifted in other ways, too. He truly believes in serving his constituents. You know how rare that is.”

Guy nodded. Historically, people who were born with empathy as their Craft sometimes went into politics, but not many could handle the burden of being around people all the time. The Empaths who’d served on the Council in the past were always bonded with a soulmate, and their partner helped them handle the pressure of their situation. Empathy was both a gift and a curse, so much so that he hadn’t heard of anyone with that particular gift becoming a Delegate for at least fifty years. He didn’t envy the guy.

“Theo’s a good guy,” Rose said, turning back to look at her boss.

“Interesting,” Guy murmured, feeling the trees around him hush as the man spoke. Guy’s Craft power tingled, sending surges of energy down his spine. He inhaled, then let out his breath slowly. He hadn’t had to wrestle with his power in ages. Down, boy,he told himself, amused when his cock twitched. Something about the Delegate and being in the woods was getting his energy all riled up.

“Are you gifted?” Rose asked him, tilting her head.

He nodded. “Wood.” He gestured to the trees. He could tell she didn’t have even a spark of Craft, but she seemed naturally intuitive.

She smiled. “Interesting, Mr. Taciturn.”

He laughed, enjoying her poke at his cryptic statement. “Not that interesting,” he said wryly.

“There aren’t a lot of WoodCrafters,” she said, dark eyes speculating. “Do you create soulmate rings?”

Guy went still. “No. I’m not bonded,” he said, suddenly angry. Everyone knew only a soulmated Crafter could make the rings. And why did so many people assume he wanted a soulmate? He’d had a wife, and he’d loved her deeply even though she wasn’t his soulmate, and then he’d lost her, and now his life was shit.

“I’m sorry,” she said, stepping back. “Crafting with wood is so rare, and there’s the shortage of rings…” She trailed off apologetically.

Guy shook his head, then scrubbed at his face. “No, no. You did nothing wrong. I’m just—” He cut himself off before he said anything more.

“What’s wrong? Rose?”

Guy looked up, then froze. The Delegate had come over while he was having his little internal freak out. He stared at the man as everything went strangely silent in the forest. He felt as if the ground had suddenly dropped out from under his feet. Theo Fraser was around the same height as Guy, and muscular, but he carried himself like a man used to delicate negotiations. Guy wanted to touch him to see if he was real, but somewhere in the back of his mind he knew that wasn’t proper. He needed to wait … for what? He shook his head against the vertigo, and looked down at his trail runners for a moment, hoping the familiar sight would help settle the weirdness. He jammed his right foot against the root poking up through the dirt and let the wood’s quiet strength seep into him. What the fuck was wrong with him? With his power? When he looked up again, the Delegate stared at him, dark eyes unwavering.

“Theo? Theo, are you okay?” Rose was asking. She put a hand on the Delegate’s arm.

Theo blinked. “I’m fine, Rose.” He held out his hand to Guy. “Hello, I’m Theo Fraser.”

Guy couldn’t move. The man’s brown eyes seemed lit with some kind of knowledge Guy didn’t share. Slowly, as though he had to push through molasses, he raised his hand. Theo grasped it, and Guy sucked in a startled breath when static jumped over his skin. “That’s some power you have there,” he managed to say.

Theo let go, looking just as startled. “It’s not my power. It’s yours.” He flexed his fingers. “You zapped me.”

Guy frowned, not sure what to say. His Craft power wasn’t anything nearly so dramatic as that. Talent with wood was a quiet skill. No one would even know he had any abilities at all unless he told them. Rose’s intuition about his Crafting was an anomaly.

“Did you finish filming the segment?” Rose asked, interrupting Guy’s thoughts.

Theo turned to her, looking confused. “No. I felt something … odd. I thought you were upset. I wanted to make sure you were okay.”

Rose pursed her lips. “I’m fine.” She glanced at Guy. “Theo, this is Guy Keaton. He said he used to use these trails a lot.”

“Hello, Guy,” Theo said, and then he smiled.

Guy almost stepped back, because it felt like he’d been punched in the chest. He sucked in a breath as his gaze met Theo’s. He’d swear the Delegate was peering right into Guy’s soul. He forced himself to look away, but his attention didn’t wander far, and his gaze landed on Theo’s hair. It was long for a politician: it just brushed his shoulders in soft waves. I bet it feels as soft as it looks,Guy thought, strangely fascinated.

“So, you used to hike here often?” Theo asked. “Have you been going somewhere else lately?”

Guy wrenched his attention back to the Delegate’s words. “No.” He cleared his throat. “I mean, I used to hike and run here all the time, and then, well…” He trailed off again. He had no idea how to tell people his wife was dead. He’d never been able to figure out how to explain the dramatic disaster of his life, and how Pamela’s death had changed everything for him. He doubted he’d everfeel comfortable explaining.

Theo’s expression softened as if he knew exactly what was going on in Guy’s head. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pry.”

Is this what it’s like to be on the receiving end of an Empath?Guy drew in a deep breath and decided to just get it over with. “I used to come hiking here all the time before my wife passed away three years ago.” He shrugged. “Cancer.”

Theo nodded as if he’d already expected that explanation. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” He glanced back at the cameraman for a moment. “I need to finish up the segment we’re filming, but I’d like it if you stuck around. I want to hike the rest of the trail, and it’d be nice to have company.”

Guy saw Rose’s eyebrows lift, but her surprise barely registered. The thought of hiking withsomeone intrigued him. “Yeah, that would be cool,” he found himself saying before he could question his sudden desire to hang out with a complete stranger. He hadn’t really wanted to hang out with anyonein years.

What the hell is wrong with me?he thought, running a hand over the back of his neck. His skin prickled, as if static was still running just under the surface.

“Great. I’ll be done in a few minutes,” Theo said, and then he loped back towards the camera.

“I have no idea what just happened,” Guy murmured, mostly to himself.

Rose laughed. “You met Delegate Fraser. He has that kind of effect on some people.”

Guy made a face. “I’m not some people. I’m just a guy. I’m ordinary.”

Rose gave him a speculative look. “Hmm.”

“Hmm? What does that mean?” Guy shifted his weight. His cock hung heavy and half-hard against his thigh. He wasn’t used to it. He wasn’t used to feeling much of anything, lately, except grief.

Rose just shook her head. “Nothing. You’ll see.”

Guy stared past her. The Delegate gestured to the woman holding the microphone, and the cameraman grinned. Theo began talking, but this time, Guy could tell there was something more there. Some sort of energy the Delegate hadn’t had before.

“He’s a good guy,” Rose murmured, watching with a half-smile on her face. “You could do worse.”

Guy frowned at her. “What?”

She just shook her head. “You’ll see,” she repeated.

I’ll see what?Guy wondered, but then the cameraman unshouldered his equipment, and Theo turned back down the trail. His dark eyes gleamed, even in the bright afternoon light. Guy nearly took a step back when their gazes caught and held. There’s nothing to fear,he told himself, as Theo started walking toward him. He’s just a man. A good man.Somehow, repeating those words in his head didn’t make him feel any better.