UNHINGED BONUS EPILOGUE
“Are they too tight?”
Noah rotated his wrists, glancing up to where his hands were bound together and anchored to the bed with black silk cord. “No, I think it’s good.”
Adam paced at the foot of the bed. “Feet?”
Noah repeated the process with his ankles, the rope a soft caress against his skin. “We’re good.”
Being bound for Adam was Noah’s favorite pastime. They did it often. Adam never tired of keeping Noah hostage, and he never tired of Adam in the role of predator. He was sexy any day, without even trying, but never so much as when he was shirtless, sweatpants hanging low on his hips, his gaze tracking Noah’s every movement, no matter how minute. Yeah, that just did it for Noah.
It wasn’t often Adam wanted him on his back like this. Usually, he was face down, completely oblivious to what would come next. But this was better—or maybe a little worse. Like this, Noah could see Adam open their toy box, could see him holding up vibrators, whips, floggers, examining each item like he was choosing his weapon. When he saw Noah watching him, he pulled something from the box and crossed the room, tugging soft material over Noah’s head. A thick black eye mask. The fabric was gentle on his skin, but it left him totally blind.
“That’s better,” Adam said, tone smug.
Noah’s already hard cock throbbed. “Adam…”
Adam captured his lips in a dirty kiss, thrusting his tongue inside before the bed dipped and Adam disappeared once more. This was the hardest part. The waiting. Sometimes, he was sure Adam left and made himself a sandwich or something, leaving Noah to wait and wonder and worry if maybe this time he wouldn’t come back. Bound and blind, time seemed to drip like molasses.
Adam liked making him wait, making him nervous. He said Noah’s fear and nervous energy was intoxicating. And the way Adam tried to bury himself in Noah’s scent made him wonder if the predator in Adam could really smell his distress.
Noah gasped as something tickled along his thigh and over his balls before disappearing again. A feather? He was already hard and leaking. Even the slightest touch had his nerve endings shivering with pleasure. Fuck, he loved playing like this with Adam.
A startled breath escaped at the sudden sting of leather slapped over the taut peaks of his nipples, first one, then the other. The riding crop snapped against his skin at close range. Perspiration formed on his forehead. The feather, once more, brushed his skin, this time running along the underside of his shaft. Then it was gone.
And so it went. The soft touch of the feather floated over him, his nipples, his neck, his ribs, only to suddenly disappear, replaced by the sharp slap of the leather trailing fire anywhere it landed. Noah had no idea how long they played like this, but when the mattress finally dipped and the heavy weight of Adam pressed down on his chest, he shivered, hoping he was done teasing him. He moaned as the head of Adam’s cock rubbed over his lips.
“Open,” Adam ordered.
Noah did as he was told, forcing himself to relax as Adam’s weight shifted and he slid his cock into Noah’s mouth, running it over his wet tongue.
Noah nursed obediently, reveling in the taste of clean skin and the scent of soap, his own erection throbbing as Adam’s fingers twisted in his hair, feeding him his cock an inch at a time until each roll of his hips had the head grazing the back of his throat, cutting off his air supply until he was dizzy from it.
“Good boy. I love fucking your mouth almost as much as I love your ass.” Noah couldn’t answer; his mouth was full and his head was fuzzy. He was floating in that hazy, warm place he went when he and Adam played like this. That didn’t stop Adam’s stream of consciousness dirty talk. “You fucking love sucking my cock, don’t you, baby? My good boy.” He pulled his cock free, tapping it against Noah’s spit slick lips before slapping his face hard enough to make him moan.
“You know I do,” Noah said, not recognizing his own raw voice.
Adam shifted, and suddenly, his breath was fanning over Noah’s lips. “Yeah, I know. But I want the fucking words.” He tugged at Noah’s nipple, then soothed over it with his thumb. “Let me hear it, baby.”
Before Noah could say anything, Adam’s phone rang, causing his head to turn towards the table.
Adam gripped his chin, tugging him back, his lips pressed to his ear. “Don’t look over there. There’s nothing for you over there. Look at me. Say it. Tell me how much you fucking love it.”
“I love sucking your cock,” Noah whispered. “So much. But I love fucking it more. Please, Adam.”
Adam chuckled, then made a frustrated noise low in the back of his throat when his phone began to ring once more. Ignoring it, he tongued over Noah’s nipples, biting and sucking at them until Noah whimpered.
“I love it when you make that sound. Makes my dick so hard. Fuck, you smell so good.” The phone started ringing for a third time, and Adam sat up with a huff. “What in the actual fuck?”
“It could be an emergency,” Noah cautioned.
Adam shifted, and Noah imagined he was reaching for his phone. Then he growled, “Somebody better be fucking dead.” Noah’s heart plummeted, and his erection flagged as Adam’s voice sharpened. “What happened?”
Was somebody dead? Injured? Incarcerated?
Adam’s voice took on a certain hesitancy when he said, “What did she say about him?”
Say? This was about...gossip? Him who? Who triple tapped somebody’s phone over gossip? The Mulvaney boys weren’t really the types to worry about gossip unless it might get them thrown in a prison cell, which, to Noah’s knowledge, had never happened.
“Who is it?” Noah whispered.
Adam ignored him, saying, “Those aren’t even good insults.”
Only August would call Adam over and over again because of hurt feelings. He was—in some ways—childlike in his moods. He spent so much time thinking about big global pictures that there was little left in terms of humanity. This had to be about August’s new crush. What was his name? Oh, yeah. Lucas.
August was furious because somebody was mean to Lucas. If it was anybody else, Noah would have found it amusing, but he knew first hand that a mildly inconvenienced psychopath could be worse than an infuriated non-psychopath any day. And August seemed very, very into his new friend.
“I get it, but you gotta rein it in, bro, or Dad will try to take him away from you. So, pull it together, okay? Good talk.”
Noah winced. Things were bad when Adam was the voice of reason.
Noah snickered as Adam said, “He’s a little…tied up right now.”
His laugh became a mewling sound as Adam’s hand closed around his now only half-hard cock, slowly jerking him back to attention. “Hnf.”
Noah couldn’t see Adam but he seemed to be multitasking just fine, talking to his brother like he wasn’t sending shockwaves of pleasure over Noah with each tug. “Do you have any idea how long it takes to tie these restraints, bro? He’ll call you later.” There was a long-suffering sigh. “Yes. Literally. I have him literally tied to our bed right now. Call back later.”
Noah’s face grew flaming hot. “Oh, my God, Adam. You cannot just tell people you have me tied to the bed.”
Adam tightened his fist, twisting on his upward stroke. “Why not? You are. Besides, it’s not people. It’s August.” To August, he said, “He’ll call you later.” Then his voice perked up. “A date?”
“Put him on speakerphone,” Noah demanded, even as he pumped his hips upward into Adam’s tightened fist.
“You can’t be serious?” Adam asked.
Noah rolled his eyes, even though Adam couldn’t see it. “I am. He needs our help.”
“Ugh, fine. Five minutes. That’s all you get. You hear me? Five.”
Noah didn’t know whether Adam was talking to him or August but it didn’t matter. There was a beep and then a white noise indicating August was in his ugly Mercedes jeep rip-off.
“Wh—” Noah’s breath hitched as the bed dipped and Adam’s nose nuzzled against the spot where his hip and thigh met. “What’s up, dude?”
“I’m supposed to go on a date with Lucas. Like tonight.”
“That’s good,” Noah assured him, voice filled with false cheer.
“I’ve never been on a date before,” August said.
Noah couldn’t help another sharp inhalation as Adam licked over his balls before curling his tongue along the hard length of him. How did he fucking do that? He forced himself to concentrate. “Okay. Well, where are you going?”
“Oh, yeah. Fuck, keep doing that,” Noah whispered when Adam closed his mouth over his cock and began to suck with slow, deliberate pulls, starting at the base then pulling upwards until only the crown of his erection remained, before slowing and starting all over again. Adam had clearly found a new game. Trying to make Noah fall apart while on the phone.
“Doing what? I’m not doing anything,” August said. Noah was grateful for how literal August was.
“Not you,” Noah assured.
August sounded mildly irritated as he said, “We’re supposed to have dinner and talk about his killer ex-coworker.”
Noah stifled a moan as Adam snickered, the feeling vibrating along his shaft. “Most people just make small talk on a first date, but, honestly, this seems right on brand for you,” he mused.
Adam pulled off Noah with a pop, asking, “Are you sure it’s a date?” His tone was doubtful.
“It is. I asked. He said yes.” August’s indignant response was kind of cute.
Sometimes, August ignored major context clues, but Noah wasn’t about to burst his bubble. This was good for August. He wanted a person of his own so badly. Still, Noah couldn’t help the hesitancy in his voice. “Okay, well…good.”
“Help me,” August begged. “What does somebody do or say or wear on a first date?”
Adam took Noah back into his mouth once more, his finger pressing between the cleft of his cheeks, nudging his thumb against Noah’s entrance. Bastard. Noah’s breath became shaky. “Adam, stop,” he said, his voice a pleading whisper.
“You say stop but you don’t mean it,” he whispered back, his thumb breaching his hole. “Keep talking,” Adam ordered. How the fuck was Noah supposed to have a fucking coherent conversation with Adam trying to suck the soul from his body? Noah bit hard on the inside of his cheek as Adam’s whisper became a low rumble. “Do it. Now.”
Fuck. Why was that so hot? He needed to concentrate. “Um, full disclosure. I’ve never been on a date. Adam just sort of showed up at my trailer and never left.”
“God, that would make this so much easier.” August sounded miserable.
Noah wanted to cry when Adam stopped sucking to say, “Don’t get too dressed up. You’ll look like a dweeb. Jeans, a nice shirt,” before plunging back into the task of making Noah fall apart on the phone.
“Hnf,” Noah managed, hyper-aware of the sucking heat around his cock and the dry press of Adam’s thumb inside him, pulsing against his prostate. He was going to come any minute but he couldn’t very well tell Adam that without also telling August. “Bring flowers. Oh, or wine.”
This time, Noah didn’t hide his displeasure, openly groaning when Adam pulled off once more to caution, “Do not talk about how much you like eviscerating people to pop music…or your weird obsession with Celine Dion. Or your knife collection. Or the swords. Or the array of medieval torture devices you have. Honestly, just steer clear of weaponry altogether.”
“Wine. Flowers. No evisceration. No Britney or Gaga,” August reiterated. “I think I can do that.”
Adam disappeared completely, and Noah heard him say, “Your five minutes are up.”
“Good luck,” Noah called, then moaned as Adam’s teeth sank into the tender flesh of his inner thigh.
There was a thud like Adam tossed his phone onto the floor. Noah snickered. He went through so many phones. Adam stood, causing Noah to temporarily list to the left, then, suddenly, he could move one foot and then the other. After a moment, his hands were untied from the headboard but not from each other. “Are we done?” Noah asked, frowning behind his mask.
Adam didn’t answer, clearly still in cave man mode. He tugged Noah upright by his wrists, kissing him deeply. “Roll over.”
Noah quickly complied.
Adam hiked his hips into the air. Three slick fingers probed his entrance. He gasped as they pushed inside without warning, stopping at the second knuckle when they met resistance.
“Fuck, I love the noises you make,” Adam said, almost to himself.
“It hurts,” Noah hissed. It wasn’t a complaint.
“Good.” Adam slapped Noah’s ass with his free hand, working his fingers deeper.
When Noah swayed back, trying to move them where he needed, they disappeared. He dragged Noah back against him, his knees between Noah’s thighs. He could feel the fabric of Adam’s sweatpants gathered beneath him, like he’d hastily shoved them out of the way. Before he could so much as take in a breath, Adam was impaling him on his thick cock. Noah’s mouth opened in a silent cry, breathless as his body fought to adjust to the invasion, every nerve ending on fire.
Adam wasn’t interested in giving him more time, it seemed. He began to move, quickly finding a hard rhythm, pulling Noah’s hips down on every upward thrust.
“I wanna watch,” Noah begged.
Adam tugged the mask off and even the bathroom light felt like a spotlight until his eyes adjusted, locking on the full-length mirror in the corner. Fuck. They always looked so hot together. Sometimes, they filmed themselves just so they could watch it later. Maybe it was narcissistic, but Noah loved the way he looked when he was being used by Adam, loved how he let himself be the monster Noah needed in bed.
It was the least of their transgressions in the grand scheme of things.
Of all the ways they came together, this was one of Noah’s favorite positions—Adam’s chest to his back, his lips against his ear so he could whisper whatever filthy thought popped into his head while he drove into Noah. By now, he’d imagined the dirty talk might have lost its power, but it wasn’t the words, it was the raw growl in Adam’s voice as he said it.
“Fuck, you’re really tight. I should fuck you unprepped more often. You’d love that, wouldn’t you? Yeah, look how much you’re leaking at the thought of being my little fuck toy. That’s it, work yourself on my cock. You’re so horny for it. My needy little whore.” His hand threaded in Noah’s hair briefly to turn his head, capturing his mouth before saying, “You’re not allowed to come until I do, so you better make it good.”
It was all lip service. Noah could never explain how much Adam’s words turned him on. Some people might find being called slut or whore degrading, but Adam could make anything sound like a compliment. He wasn’t a whore but, at that moment, he was Adam’s whore.
“That’s it. Fuck, yeah, you love taking every inch in that slutty little hole. So dirty for me. So desperate for my cock.”
Noah’s own cock ached, flushed pink, so hard he was sure one good stroke would be enough to get him there. “Please, Adam. I need to come. Please. Oh, fuck. You feel so good. Fuck me harder. Make it hurt. Bite me. I want to feel your teeth in my skin.”
He’d long since stopped caring if what they were into was normal or not. The truth was, it didn’t fucking matter to anybody but them. They weren’t selling tickets. Noah’s eyes rolled as Adam’s hand closed around his throat, driving into him hard and fast, chasing his own release.
“Oh, fuck, yes.” Adam sank his teeth into Noah’s shoulder hard enough for him to cry out, his hips stuttering beneath Noah before he buried himself deep one final time, his cock pulsing as he came, filling Noah up.
“My turn,” Noah begged, breathing heavy, his erection heavy and leaking. “Please.”
“You want my hand or my mouth,” Adam growled in his ear.
Noah didn’t have to think about his answer. “Hand. I want you still inside me when I come.”
Adam dribbled lube onto his palm and fisted Noah’s cock. It was tight and wet and perfect. “There you go, baby. Fuck my fist. I want to watch you make yourself feel good.”
Noah’s head fell back against Adam’s shoulder, only caring about one thing. He needed to come. He was so ready. He fucked into Adam’s fist, half-bitten moans falling from his lips with each stroke until he started to babble, heavy breaths punctuating every word. “Oh, fuck. Just like that. I’m so close. Oh, fuck. Yes. Adam…”
“Come on, baby. You look so fucking hot like this. Let me see you come. Show me.”
A cry ripped from Noah, pleasure shivering through his whole body as he spilled over Adam’s fingers. He continued to work him until Noah batted his hand away when he became too sensitive.
After a moment, Adam unceremoniously dumped Noah onto the mattress, face first, before blanketing himself over him. Noah shuddered as his cock slipped free. He always hated that part.
“Do you think August is going to pull this off?” Adam finally asked.
Noah’s shoulders lifted in an aborted shrug. “I don’t know. I guess it depends on whether this Lucas guy is the right kind of crazy.”
“What’s the right kind of crazy?” Adam asked, his amusement obvious.
“Well, feeling things is hard for you. Not feeling things is hard for me. But together, we make one barely functioning human. For this to work, August is going to have to find somebody crazy enough to date a homicidal maniac but not so crazy he makes August’s impulse to kill worse.”
“Well, he’s a former FBI agent, so I doubt he’ll use August like an attack dog, but I also find it hard to believe that a cop’s life has fallen so off the rails that dating a serial killer is now on the menu.”
Noah thought about it. “I mean, the guy did ask August out.”
He watched Adam shake his head from the corner of his eye. “No, August said he asked him out.”
“August said he asked if it was a date and Lucas said yes,” Noah reminded him.
“Yeah, but August is so smart it sometimes makes him really dumb. He’s very literal. Too much so. This guy could be using my brother, gathering evidence to have us all thrown in jail.”
Noah’s heart rate skyrocketed. “Doesn’t that scare you even a little?”
Adam kissed between Noah’s shoulders. “Nothing scares me except losing you. I doubt they’d let us have conjugal visits in prison since we’re not married.” After a brief pause, he said, “Maybe we should get married?”
Noah laughed. “Did you just propose to me so we can have conjugal visits if August’s new boyfriend has us all thrown in prison?”
Adam’s finger began to draw lines between Noah’s freckles. “I mean, we were going to get married eventually anyway.”
Noah frowned. “We were?”
This was news to him. He always imagined Adam wasn’t the marrying kind.
“Well, yeah. If I die, you need to be protected. My life insurance and my trust fund should go to you. If we were married, you’d be more protected financially.”
Noah simpered. “Aw, all this talk of life insurance and financial protection is making me feel all warm and tingly inside. You’re such a romantic.”
Adam sat up and flipped Noah over, hovering over him. “I don’t know how to be romantic. A piece of paper isn’t going to tell me you’re mine. You just are. But that piece of paper will protect you if anything ever happens to me. It’s okay if you don’t want to. As long as you don’t leave.”
Noah raised his hands and cupped Adam’s face. “I didn’t say I don’t want that. I’ve thought about it. I just didn’t think your proposal would happen because you fear a lack of conjugal visits…or at all, really.”
Adam jumped off him, walking to the corner of the room where there was a safe hidden beneath the floorboards. When he pulled something free and turned around, Noah’s galloping heart began to sprint. Adam had a ring box. He climbed back on the bed and straddled Noah’s belly, opening the box without ceremony. Inside was a chunky brushed nickel ring. “It's not the only reason. I was going to propose to you on your birthday, but given August is dating a cop, it just seems smart to do it now.”
Noah’s heart felt too big for his chest and he willed himself not to cry because, as far as romantic gestures went, this was the Adam equivalent of a hot air balloon ride or dropping to one knee on the top of the Eiffel Tower.
“So, do you want to or what?” Adam asked, looking somehow both irritated and intense.
“I don’t know,” Noah said, feigning indifference.
There was a long pause, and Noah watched a hundred emotions play out over Adam’s face before he said, “You don’t know?”
“Yeah, how do I know you really want to marry me?” Noah teased at Adam’s dumbfounded expression.
When Adam caught on, he gave a heaving sigh. “Because I’m the son of a billionaire and I’m not asking you to sign a prenup,” he deadpanned.
“Well, when you put it that way.” He brandished his left hand, waggling his ring finger in Adam’s face.
Adam rolled his eyes but pushed the band into place. It was cool against his overheated skin. “There. Now, we’re engaged.”
“Swoon.” Noah laughed, dumping Adam off him to go to the bathroom. He bounced off the bed only to find himself dragged into Adam’s lap. “What? I have to pee,” he cried, wiggling in his lap.
“I maybe love you,” Adam said, words muffled against his skin.
Butterflies erupted in Noah’s belly. He never got tired of this silly little game. “I maybe love you, too.”
PSYCHO BONUS EPILOGUE
Lucas was sitting on top of his desk at the front of the lecture hall, a picture of serial killer Ed Kemper displayed on the overhead projector. “Why do you think a serial murderer like Kemper would have an interest in helping the police profile killers like himself?”
“Ego?” a voice called out.
“Reliving his crimes?” another suggested.
“Maybe both,” Lucas agreed. “Kemper was exceptionally smart. Had a high IQ, was well spoken, and was surprisingly self-aware for a predator—”
Lucas broke off as the door at the back of the auditorium creaked open, like they were in a horror movie, then slammed shut and Cricket speed walked towards him, leaning close to whisper, “Sorry, but August said I needed to give you this now.”
A shiver of fear went through Lucas, but he nodded, peering into the bag as she scurried away. Inside was an envelope with Umnishka written in August’s script. He reached a hand inside, carefully extracting it, then opened the envelope to find a card with a bubbly heart with a lock. Why would August want him to see this right now?
When he opened it, a vision of August hit him hard enough to knock the air from his lungs—Lucas pressed up against the stacks, August on his knees, Lucas’s hands grasping in his hair as August muffled his moans. Lucas slammed the card closed, yanking himself forcibly from his vision before he embarrassed himself in front of the class, who watched him intently.
When he examined the card, it was blank inside, but on the back it said, FIND ME.
“Is that from Professor Mulvaney?” one of his first year’s—Daria—simpered.
“Is it a love note?” her little brunette sidekick, Maria, asked, forming a heart with her hands.
August’s and Lucas’s relationship was still the talk of the school months later. Thankfully, the wild rumors of Lucas being a money grubbing mental patient looking for a cash grab had faded, leaving behind a bunch of staff and students who were weirdly invested in their relationship. It was sweet, if not somewhat creepy.
Crychek, a burly football player currently sprawled in third row shouted, “Nah, man. Look at his face. Professor M wants a nooner. Some lunch time lovin’.” He nudged his friend. “The quiet ones are always freaky.”
Lucas chuckled, placing the card back in the envelope and pushing it aside.
“You’re not gonna just leave your man hanging, are you?” Daria asked.
Was he? Was August waiting for him on the third floor of the library? Was he looking to recreate that hookup? Lucas shifted, grateful his button down shirt was untucked, hiding his rapidly growing erection.
“He didn’t actually ask for a hookup,” Lucas said. Not exactly. “Not that it’s any of your business.” He glanced at his watch. “Besides, we still have twenty minutes left of class and then I have another after this.”
His TA, a lanky grad student—ironically named Ed—waved a hand. “I got you, Professor B.”
Lucas looked down at the card longingly. “Are you sure?”
Ed nodded. “Yeah, sure. No problem.”
Lucas hopped off his desk, snatching his work bag and the envelope. “Thanks.”
Lucas flushed as his students wolf whistled and shouted like he was on his way to get laid. Though, he supposed it was just as likely as anything else August might have planned. Being with a man whose brain worked like his made for interesting times. August was painfully literal sometimes, shockingly overwhelmed at others. Lucas had seen him melt down from overstimulation and go into a bubble of silence when he was working on a theory that just wouldn’t let go of him.
Lucas didn’t mind the silence or even the meltdowns. He was no picnic either. Despite his meds and therapy, his PTSD was never far from the surface. There were nights he still woke up screaming and days he couldn’t seem to pull himself out of his depression. Helping Thomas with cases was surprisingly therapeutic. Being able to brush up against a target and know his guilt or innocence streamlined their process greatly. Though, it made Calliope cranky because she wasn’t required to work as hard.
Lucas made it to their spot in the library only to find it empty. He was looking around when he saw it. A small black box with a little red bow. He smiled, opening the box and finding the key fob for August’s Mercedes. Inside the box was a message: USE ME. Lucas closed his eyes, a perfect image of August walking into what used to be their coffee shop. It was now a florist. August was speaking to the girl behind the counter.
This was a scavenger hunt. A psychic scavenger hunt. A thrill ran through him. He made it to the florist on autopilot, parking across the street. Once inside, he found the girl he’d seen talking with August.
“Um, this is going to sound strange, but did anybody leave something here for me?”
“Are you Lucas?” she asked, voice hopeful. He nodded. “This is for you.”
He frowned in confusion as she handed him the tiny container that held August’s earbuds. When he wrapped his hand around it, a wave of warmth washed over him. Them standing in Lucas’s old apartment. August telling Lucas why he didn’t wear his headphones around him.
“I want to remember everything you say to me.”
Them falling into bed together, getting off together, cuddling together afterwards.
“These are for you, too.”
Lucas blinked his eyes open, pulling himself from another memory to find the girl holding a stunning bouquet of flowers in a riot of colors. Lucas smiled. “Oh, thank you.”
Was Lucas supposed to go to the old apartment? It was only just upstairs. He took the stairs two at a time, relieved that what he was looking for was stuck to the door. It was a note card that just said, JOIN ME.
When Lucas closed his eyes, images of August filled his head. He was at home, cheesecake from Rinaldi’s sitting on the counter. He couldn’t help but snort. Only August would decide to do a scavenger hunt to get Lucas to play hookie from work to go home and have sex and eat cheesecake. But fuck if Lucas was going to refuse because it sounded like a perfect fucking Wednesday to him.
He took his flowers and hopped in the car, breaking speed limits in his haste. He didn’t know why this somehow made a normal night between them seem even more thrilling than usual but he was weirdly excited and still very much turned on.
There was a sticky note on the front door, the images it contained leading him to the kitchen counter where there was a glass of champagne. Lucas picked it up, taking a tentative sip as he picked up the note that said, DRINK ME.
This note led him to the bedroom. Lucas took his champagne with him, looking for any hint of August, but the apartment was silent. He grinned at the rose petals that spelled out LOVE ME on the comforter. When he picked up one of the petals and rubbed it between his fingers, he gasped. There was an image of August on one knee, a small box open behind him.
He spun around, a surprised sob escaping when he realized August truly was there, on one knee, with a ring box in his hand. He looked sexy as hell in tailored pants and a crisp blue button down. Was this actually happening?
As if August could read his mind, he handed him a final note. MARRY ME.
Lucas couldn’t talk, he just nodded, holding out his hand. How was any of this real? August’s shoulders sagged in relief as he fished a satin band with channel set diamonds from the box and slid it onto Lucas’s finger.
Lucas launched himself into August’s arms. “How did you come up with this?”
“Noah and Cricket helped,” August admitted. “You know me. I’m bad at romance stuff.”
Lucas shook his head. “You’re really not. You are actually pretty amazing at it. But why at noon on a Wednesday?”
August frowned. “It’s our anniversary?”
“Our seven month anniversary,” August clarified. “We celebrated seven weeks. I figured we should celebrate seven months.”
“I celebrated seven weeks with some kinky professor/student roleplay.”
August dragged his lips over Lucas’s, dipping his tongue inside. “I’m always up for a little roleplay.” He gripped Lucas’s ass, dragging him closer, humming appreciatively when he realized Lucas was hard. “Seems you might be up for some, too.”
“What did you think was going to happen when you were sending me images of us hooking up in the library?” Lucas asked, already reaching between them to unbutton his shirt, pulling it off before reaching for August’s. “Hurry up. I want you on your knees.”
They tore at each other’s clothes between kisses, Lucas almost stumbling in his haste, but then August was sinking down, his lips trailing over Lucas’s belly, the dip of his hip, first one, then the other. That was the other difference between them. August liked to go slow, liked to tease and taste and savor every part of Lucas before giving him what he wanted. Lucas was always so ready to just bury himself in August, to feel the tight heat of his body surrounding him.
He groaned as August ignored his flushed and leaking cock to nuzzle at the base and suck at his balls. “Stop teasing.”
Lucas hissed as August’s lips closed around just the tip, tongue teasing his slit. Fuck, he looked good like this, on his knees for Lucas. For as predatory as August was, he loved to serve, loved taking Lucas’s orders, loved when Lucas marked him. His name was permanently embedded in August’s skin, right on his shoulder so Lucas could look at it while he fucked into him.
Lucas was already too close, toes curling as August began to work at him with long, sucking strokes, sending goosebumps of pleasure erupting along his skin. “Oh, fuck.” Lucas threaded his fingers in August’s hair, holding him steady so he could work himself in and out of his mouth. “God, your mouth…”
Yeah, nope. Lucas wasn’t going to last. He pulled free. “On the bed. On your back.”
August did as Lucas ordered as he grabbed the lube and tossed it on the bed. He caught August under the knees, pushing his legs apart to kiss his inner thighs, his balls, spreading him open to lave over his entrance, loving the harsh sound August made.
Lucas coated his fingers, closing his mouth over August’s cock as he pushed two fingers inside, pumping them in and out as he sucked him.
“I’m good. I’m ready.”
Lucas was relieved to hear it. He caught August’s knees with his elbows, sliding into him in one solid motion that had them both groaning against each other’s lips. Lucas usually started slow, building up, drawing it out, but the minute August’s body gripped him, this wasn’t going to be a long, drawn out process.
He caught August’s gaze as he began to move, his chest tight at the wave of emotion that hit him. This was the man he was going to marry. This crazy, beautiful, sexy, weird man. A man he loved so much he could never put it into words. The thought was so overwhelming he had to catch August’s mouth in a kiss before he did something stupid like start to cry during sex.
August’s hands gripped Lucas’s ass, spurring him on, letting him know he was on board with the brutal pace he was setting. Lucas dropped his shields, letting August’s pleasure become his own, unable to stop the moan that fell from his lips. “Fuck, you feel so good. So hot. I love you. Love this. Love us.”
Then there was no more talking, just Lucas pistoning into him, chasing the pleasure building within him, his forehead pressed to August, their bodies moving together, August’s feelings washing through him as much as the physical sensations pulsing over him. It was too much. Lucas drove into him once more, groaning as he came hard, filling August before sitting up between his legs, gripping August’s leaking cock and working him roughly, even as he moved his own oversensitive erection in and out of August’s hole, knowing he liked Lucas inside him when he came.
August worked himself into Lucas’s tightened fist for another minute before he followed, his cum spilling over Lucas’s hand, his body spasming around Lucas, making him shiver.
Lucas collapsed on top of him unceremoniously. “That was nice.”
“Yes, very pleasant,” August agreed, still breathing hard.
“Do you know what would make it better?” Lucas asked, kissing August’s sweaty, fuzzy chest.
Lucas rolled off him. “You going and getting the cheesecake you promised me.”
August snorted, but he rose, visiting the bathroom before making his way to the kitchen. He returned with the entire cheesecake and two forks, setting the box between them. Lucas rolled onto his side, forking a bite and feeding it to August, who did the same.
“So, Noah and Cricket helped with your little psychic scavenger hunt? Does that mean the whole family knows about the proposal?” Lucas asked around another bite.
August nodded. “Yeah, even Aiden. They were excited. Well, Calliope, Noah, and my dad were excited. The others were ambivalent about the announcement.”
“Well, no surprise there. When do you want to get married? Do you want, like, some kind of big, fancy wedding?”
“Given who my father is, I imagine there’s probably some kind of etiquette involved, people who have to be invited. If it was up to me, I’d say let’s go to the courthouse right now and do it.”
Lucas’s pulse quickened at the idea. “We could,” he said, trying to keep his voice casual as he forked another piece of cheesecake into his mouth. “Nobody would have to know.”
August took another bite of his own. “Really?”
“I mean, if you wanted.”
“Do you want?” August asked.
Lucas bit his lower lip for a minute and then nodded. “Yeah, I want. Do you?”
“Yeah. I do.”
A laugh bubbled from Lucas. “We moved in together at seven days, had sex in your office at seven weeks, got married at seven months. What are we going to do for seven years?”
“Have a baby?” August asked just as Lucas took another bite of his cheesecake.
Lucas inhaled his bite, erupting in a coughing fit that took a solid minute to subside. “A baby? You want to raise a baby in a family full of murderous psychopaths?”
“Can you think of a more protected child?”
Lucas considered it. He didn’t fear August’s brothers harming a child. But could they insulate them from the horrors they dealt with behind the scenes? Cops did it. FBI agents. August was right. There would be no child more protected than a Mulvaney.
Lucas had always wanted kids but had put the idea on a shelf long before he met August for a million reasons, not the least of which was burdening a child with a gift nobody believed he had. But that wasn’t a problem for their child. Nobody in the family doubted Lucas’s gift and they wouldn’t any child’s either. Thomas would be an amazing grandfather, and August—despite his lack of emotional ties—would be an attentive father. He was more than capable of seeing to Lucas’s needs.
“Did I break you?” August asked. “If it’s not something you want, I understand. I’m more than content with us just as we are. Couldn’t imagine being happier, truthfully.”
“I’m…processing,” Lucas managed before asking, “Do we have to wait seven years?”
August smiled. “No. Of course, not. But maybe we should focus on getting married first.”
Lucas dropped his fork and pounced on August. “Okay, marriage first. Then cheesecake. Then maybe baby.”
“There’s the slight snag in our plan. We’d need a uterus to house our baby.”
“Hmm, we could ask Cricket,” Lucas teased. “We did save her life. Surely, she wouldn’t deny us the use of her womb for ten months?”
“We could adopt.”
Lucas nodded. “True. But I kind of like the idea of a baby with your big brain.”
“I like the idea of a baby with your psychic gifts,” August countered.
They could do this for hours. He pressed a kiss to August’s lips. “Let’s go get married, Professor Mulvaney.”
“Yes, let’s… Wait, does that make you Professor Mulvaney also?”
Lucas snickered, rolling off the bed and onto his feet. He really couldn’t imagine his life without August. “Let’s talk about it in the car.” He pulled August to his feet. “I love you.”
“If you say I know right now, the wedding is off,” Lucas warned.
August grinned, smacking a kiss on Lucas’s forehead. “I love you, too.”
MOONSTRUCK BONUS EPILOGUE
Jericho was under a Honda Civic when he heard Arsen say, “Hey, Atticus.”
“Hey. Is Jericho around?”
Atticus? Jericho frowned. Why would Atticus be visiting midday? Was something wrong? He slid out from under the car, sitting up just in time to see Atticus walking into Jericho’s office without saying hello. Maybe he hadn’t seen Jericho. He made a half-hearted attempt to wipe the grease off his hands before following. He entered just in time to see Atticus drawing the blinds, shrouding the office in darkness.
“What’s going on, Freckles? You on the run?” Jericho teased.
Atticus didn’t say anything, just pushed Jericho back onto the ratty sofa, following him down to straddle his legs. Before Jericho could get his bearings, Atticus was kissing him, plunging his tongue into his mouth, grinding his obvious erection against Jericho’s rapidly awakening one. Jericho’s hands palmed his ass, pulling him closer, until their hips met again, making them both groan.
Jericho thought about breaking the kiss to find out what had Atticus so worked up but thought better of it. Atticus rarely initiated sex, and he never initiated it when Jericho was working. He brought his hands up to cup Atticus’s face, holding him still so he could take control of the kiss. Atticus’s whole body relaxed in response, like he’d just been waiting for Jericho to get on board with the program.
“You want something, Freckles?” Jericho murmured, breaking the kiss to trail his lips along his jaw, his ear.
Atticus sighed, tipping his head to give Jericho better access. “You.”
Jericho bit at his Adam’s apple. “You’ve got me. You know that.”
“I want you,” Atticus said, dragging Jericho’s mouth back to his, whispering, “Fuck me. I want you inside me.”
Jericho’s semi-hard cock hardened so fast it made him dizzy. “Here?”
Atticus nodded, giving him a dirty kiss, before saying, “Now.”
Yeah, something was definitely going on with him, but Jericho wasn’t going to refuse. Atticus would close up for days if Jericho rejected something he’d initiated. Besides, there was never any place Jericho would rather be than buried inside Atticus.
“You know there are, like, ten people on the other side of that window,” Jericho teased, already reaching for the buttons on Atticus’s pants, freeing his cock, before going to work on the buttons of his shirt.
“Then you’ll have to keep me quiet,” Atticus rasped, eyes rolling back as Jericho scraped teeth along his shoulder, tossing his shirt towards the desk.
“Lube?” Jericho asked, already knowing what Atticus would say next.
Atticus looked him dead in the eye, making Jericho’s stomach flip in a not unpleasant way. “No, I’m good. I’m…ready.”
Ready. Prepped and ready. That was Atticus, always prepared. “Fuck, Freckles. You are gonna be the death of me.”
Jericho dumped Atticus on the couch. “Face the back. That’s it, on your knees, hands on the back.” He shoved Atticus’s pants and underwear down until they pooled at his knees. “Open your legs for me, Freckles.” Jericho hummed in appreciation at the picture Atticus made.
Jericho unzipped the coveralls he was wearing, pushing his underwear out of the way, rubbing the head of his cock over Atticus’s slick hole. “Fuck, Freckles. I love when you’re already wet for me.”
“I know,” Atticus managed.
“Arch your back for me. That’s good. Just like that.” Jericho didn’t enter him, just continued to rub the head of his cock between his cheeks. “This what you came for?” Jericho asked. “You want me inside you?”
“Yes,” Atticus said, voice raw.
Jericho smacked his ass, admiring the single handprint that appeared on that creamy pale flesh.“Yes, what, Freckles?”
“Yes, please,” Atticus whispered, pressing back on Jericho, making a frustrated sound when he pulled away.
“You know what I want,” Jericho taunted. “Tell me. Let me here the words and I’ll fuck you just how you like it.”
Atticus didn’t hesitate. “Please, Jericho.”
“Good boy.” Jericho slapped a hand over Atticus’s mouth, capturing his cry of surprise, as he impaled him in one hard thrust.
Jericho didn’t give him a chance to adjust. He couldn’t. He was suddenly desperate to fuck him just how Atticus liked it. He snapped his hips into him in hard, deep thrusts that had Atticus moaning behind his hand.
Fuck. He knew Atticus’s body inside and out, knew exactly what it took to make him shiver, sigh, whimper, moan…beg. Atticus always claimed that Jericho used sex as a coping mechanism, a way to blow off steam when he was too emotional or too tense.
But Atticus was the opposite. Atticus used sex as a way for them to feel physically connected. Atticus initiated sex when he was feeling anxious or untethered. Or unloved. Not by Jericho. Jericho loved him more than he loved anyone, more than he could ever put into words, even though he tried to say it every day. Atticus was fussy and closed off and easily embarrassed, and Jericho loved every single solitary thing about him.
He let his hand slide from Atticus’s mouth to his throat, craning his head back to give him a dirty kiss as he pounded into him from behind. “This better, Freckles? Is this what you drove all the way across town for?”
Atticus’s head bobbed as he nodded frantically. “Yes.”
“That’s my boy. Such a slut for this cock you left work early? Did you just need me inside you? Need me to use you, fill you up?”
The words were just as much for Jericho as they were Atticus. It wasn’t always like this, rough and raw and lacking in even the slightest of romantic gestures. No, sometimes, Atticus wanted Jericho to go nice and slow, to tease and torture him for hours until he was sobbing with need. Sometimes, Jericho would fuck him awake, hold him tight as he rocked into him until Jericho’s nightmares disappeared.
August constantly went on about love languages. If he and Atticus had a love language, it was sex, touch, joining their bodies together into one. They had sex daily, sometimes more than once. Adam teased they were like horny teens, unable to get enough. He was right, though. Jericho couldn’t get enough. When it came to Atticus, he was insatiable.
Jericho gripped his hips, increasing his tempo, changing his angle in a way that had Atticus muffling himself with a cushion to keep from alerting everyone outside that he was getting dicked down by his husband in the middle of the day. “Fuck, Freckles. I’m not going to last.”
Atticus looked back over his shoulder, his expression needy. “Good. Fill me up. I want to feel you inside me for the rest of the day.”
“Christ,” Jericho muttered through clenched teeth.
Three more solid thrusts, and then his hips fell off rhythm and he ground himself against Atticus, sinking teeth into his shoulder to muffle his own hoarse shout of release.
Jericho took a minute to savor the aftershocks of his orgasm before saying, “Turn over, Freckles.”
Atticus complied, sliding himself towards the end of the couch like he knew just what Jericho was about to do. He went to his knees, taking his flushed cock and swallowing him down until his eyes watered and his throat convulsed. Both of Atticus’s hands threaded in Jericho’s hair as he started to fuck into his mouth, his head thrown back, lips slack as he abused his throat.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck,” Atticus chanted, then he was flooding Jericho’s mouth, forcing him to swallow or choke. Jericho kept sucking him until Atticus gave him a gentle shove.
Jericho stood, then fell onto the couch beside him, wrapping his arms around him. “What’s going on, Freckles? You good?”
Atticus nodded, dropping his head to Jericho’s shoulder. “I was just having a bad day.”
“And now?” Jericho asked, kissing his temple.
Atticus gave a big sigh. “Better.”
Jericho frowned. “Did something happen at work?”
Atticus nodded. “Yeah, but I’ll tell you about it tonight. I don’t want to talk right now. Is that okay?”
“You know it is,” Jericho promised.
After a few minutes, there was a timid knock on the door, and then Arsen’s muffled voice said, “Uh, boss? You know, Honda guy is coming back in, like, thirty minutes, right?”
“I’m coming,” Jericho called.
Atticus snickered at his turn of phrase.
They righted their clothes, and Atticus followed Jericho out. “Come on, Freckles. I’ll walk you to your car.”
Atticus nodded, allowing Jericho to take his hand. When they reached the Volvo, Jericho pushed him back against the driver’s side door, giving him a soft kiss. “Are you heading back to work?”
Atticus looked down at his hopelessly wrinkled shirt. “I think I’ll head home. I’m pretty sure I have your greasy palm prints on my Armani dress pants.”
Jericho smirked, giving his ass a playful squeeze, before chucking him under the chin. “Hey, you came to me, Freckles.”
Atticus frowned, his gaze darting down to stare in horror at something. Jericho followed his gaze, chuckling when he saw a tiny kitten clawing her way up Atticus’s pant leg.
Jericho reached down to extricate its claws from Atticus’s favorite Armanis. Its body was pure white, but its ears, tail, and feet were all gray and black stripes. It had pretty gold eyes, too. “Looks like you made a friend.”
Atticus curled his lip at the tiny ball of fluff, like Jericho was holding a sewer rat. “I hate cats.”
Jericho chuckled at the vehemence in Atticus’s voice. He pushed the kitten towards him, and it began to mew at him. “I think she likes you. She climbed right up your leg to get closer to you.”
“Sounds like you,” Atticus said, tone prissy, still glowering at the kitten.
Jericho held it up higher. “Look at that face. How can you be mad at something that looks like it’s wearing little boots?”
Atticus rolled his eyes. “Easy. It’s dirty and probably riddled with disease.”
Jericho shook his head. “Well, good thing you’re a doctor. You’re great with diseases.”
Atticus scowled. “Are you saying you expect me to keep this…tiny little rat?”
“Of course not. I mean, you could if you wanted. It would be nice having a pet around the house. But maybe you can drop it off at the no-kill shelter down the road? She’s going to get hurt out here all alone.”
Atticus sighed, staring at the kitten for a solid minute before he scooped it up, holding her to him. “Fine. I’ll drop it off at the shelter.”
Jericho sighed, leaning in and smacking another kiss on his cheek, laughing when the kitten protested. “I’ll see you tonight, Freckles. Try to get some rest. Did you remember to defrost the chicken?”
Atticus gave him a haughty look. “I don’t forget things like that.”
* * *
When Jericho pulled up to the building, he hopped out of the Bronco, turning off the engine when he didn’t see the valet. He was almost to the stand when Diego came jogging around the corner. Jericho waved and tossed his keys in Diego’s direction. The boy caught them easily, calling, as he climbed into the car, “Did you see that game last night?”
Jericho laughed. “Yeah, I think this is our year for the championships.”
He waved as Diego drove off, then again at the two desk attendants before stepping onto the elevator. Jericho wasn’t sure what he’d find when he arrived. Atticus had seemed pretty on edge when he’d shown up earlier. He’d been working far too hard the last few days.
Jericho tried to pick up the slack for the Mulvaneys so they would leave Atticus to do what he did best, but, sometimes, Jericho did need his assistance. They’d had a few jobs over the last couple of weeks, and he could see Atticus getting a bit more wound up with each passing day. All that angst had to go somewhere.
Jericho flushed, thinking about Atticus bent over and wet for him on his office couch. Every time he’d looked at that couch for the rest of the day, he got a hard on. He’d have to con Atticus into visiting for nooners more often.
He shared the elevator with the prickly old woman from the third floor. The one with the purse dog. She gave him a look, taking in his permanently stained hands, wrinkling her nose. “What is that horrid smell?”
Jericho was certain she meant the scent of dirt and motor oil from the garage still clinging to his skin, but he looked her dead in the eye and said, “Sex. I just had sex.”
She made a disgusted sound, practically running off the elevator. Jericho chuckled the rest of the way up to the apartment, punching in the code to the door and stopping short. Atticus was sound asleep on the couch, one leg hanging off and his hands behind his head. He was wearing a black t-shirt and a pair of flannel pajama bottoms.
Jericho had never seen Atticus in sleep clothes during daylight hours, but that wasn’t what shocked him. What shocked him was the tiny ball of fluff curled up on his chest. Jericho dropped his bag on one of the kitchen stools, taking in a case of tiny cat food cans that probably cost a fortune.
There was also a cat tower with a hammock and little hiding spots and toys scattered across the floor. There was even a little fluffy bed beside the sofa. Jericho crossed the floor, gently scooping the kitten up, smiling when she gave a tiny meow. She was no longer covered in fleas and mites. In fact, she looked shiny and clean. She was even wearing a tiny pink rhinestone collar with a tag that said “Boots.”
Not highly original as far as animal names went but it was appropriate and Atticus had done it himself. “Rise and shine, Freckles,” Jericho said, gently nudging him with his knee.
Atticus swung into a sitting position, looking around the room in confusion, relieved for a brief moment when he saw Jericho holding the kitten. Almost as quickly, his face flushed and he looked around the apartment, like he’d just woken from a fugue state to find bodies on his floor.
“You good, Freckles?” Jericho asked, amused but also slightly concerned.
Atticus nodded. “Yeah, I’m okay,” he said, pressing the heels of his palms against his eyes. “Long day.”
“Wanna tell me anything?” Jericho prompted.
Atticus flushed to the tips of his ears, muttering, “We have a cat.”
“And how did that happen, Freckles? When you left the shop, I was half afraid you were going to chuck Boots here in a dumpster.”
Atticus looked horrified. “I would never do that.”
Gutting, skinning, butchering…none of that bothered Atticus. He could sit and eat a seven course meal while Jericho slowly tortured somebody, but he recoiled in horror at the idea of harming a kitten. That was why Jericho loved him. That right there. Atticus had his priorities right.
“I was kidding, Freckles. But can you tell me what happened between you leaving my shop and you maxing out your black card at PetCo?”
“One: my black card doesn’t have a limit. Two: I called Calliope to get the address of the shelter.”
Jericho snickered. Of course, he had. Why would his researcher husband consult Google for such a task when he could harass his hacker best friend? “And the shelter wouldn’t take”—he raised the kitten to check and see the sex—“her?”
Atticus’s jaw thrust forward as he crossed his arms over his chest. “I don’t know. I never called.”
Jericho smirked. “And why is that?”
“Because Calliope said there are thousands of kittens dropped off at those shelters every day and they sometimes don’t get adopted for months.”
“And that thought upset you, Freckles?” Jericho prodded gently.
Once more, Atticus shifted his gaze away. “No. Of course not. I just don’t want to contribute to a problem. I have the means to take care of one tiny animal. There’s no reason why she can’t live here instead of a shelter. It’s the least I can do.”
Jericho scratched the top of the kitten’s head. “So…it has nothing to do with you actually liking the kitten. This is just you doing your civic duty?”
“Yes, exactly. I’m glad you finally understand.”
Jericho rolled his eyes, handing her back to Atticus. “Whatever you say, Freckles. I’m going to go take a shower. Chicken for dinner, right?”
“Uh…let’s just do delivery?” Atticus hedged.
Jericho studied him. “Why’s that, Freckles?”
Atticus didn’t meet his gaze. “I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer.”
“You? But you never forget things.” Atticus didn’t respond, just pouted. Jericho kissed his pouting lips. “Okay. I’ll leave you and your new humanitarian effort. I’ll order dinner when I get out?”
Atticus nodded. “Yeah, okay.”
Jericho was almost to the bedroom when he heard Atticus croon, “Did you hear what he said? I would never throw you in a dumpster. Your daddy thinks he’s funny, but he’s really just an ass sometimes.”
Jericho grinned, walking to the bathroom and shutting the door, leaving Atticus to bond with his new pet. That man was crazy, but fuck, if Jericho didn’t love that about him.
HEADCASE BONUS EPILOGUE
Asa slid off his coat as soon as he walked through the apartment door, shaking off the cold before following the sound of voices into the living room. He stopped short at the scene before him, taking it all in. Felix sat on the couch, feet tucked beneath him, his ever present cardigan falling off his shoulder. Avi was dressed in plaid pajama pants and nothing else. Zane sat sandwiched between them, his head resting on Avi’s shoulder.
Asa blinked at them for a solid thirty seconds. “You realize that’s not me, right?” he teased.
Usually, his snark was met with an equally pithy response, but, this time, Zane turned dull eyes on Asa. “You weren’t here.”
Asa frowned. Zane’s eyes were swollen and puffy, his expression miserable. Only one thing made Zane this fucking despondent. Beverly. He glared at Avi and Felix as if they were personally responsible for the state his husband was in.
“How’d she get to him?” Asa demanded. “We have her blocked everywhere.”
Felix shrugged delicately, pulling his sweater up over his shoulder only for it to slide right back down. “She’s a virus. Just when we think she’s been eradicated, the bitch mutates.”
Zane nodded miserably, flopping his head from Avi’s shoulder to Felix’s, who curled a protective arm around him.
“Is somebody going to tell me what she did? Or said?” Asa finally asked.
Avi leaned forward and flipped over the paper sitting on the coffee table. It was the tabloid where Zane had once worked. A picture of Beverly’s weeping face sat in the corner beside a much larger picture of Asa and Zane in their wedding clothes. The headline was just a single word in capital letters.
Beneath it, in much smaller font, was a subtitle: Beverly Scott Banished from Son’s Lavish Wedding to Asa Mulvaney.
That bitch. Asa should have fucking killed her and made it look like an accident. She was a fucking liability.
He continued to scan the article, rolling his eyes at things like ‘dead son’ and ‘cruel and inhumane.’ Felix was right. The woman was a virus. The worst kind of virus, far reaching, fast-moving, and insidious.
He shook his head, stepping up onto the coffee table and taking Zane’s hand, pulling him to his feet. “Alright, to the bedroom. I know just what you need.”
Felix snickered. “Surely, your dick doesn’t cure everything?”
Asa rolled his eyes. “Not that bedroom. The spare room. You guys know the drill. Raid the fridge and the bar. Let’s go.”
Asa helped Zane over the table then wrapped his arms around him from behind, picking him up and walking him so his feet hovered just off the ground before depositing him onto the king-sized bed in the room at the end of the hallway.
Zane flopped onto the bed dramatically. “I don’t want to play games.”
Asa rolled his eyes. “You say that every time.”
“And I mean it every time,” Zane retorted.
Asa grinned. “Liar.”
He flipped over the white murder board on wheels—stashed in one of the spare rooms for just such an occasion—erasing the drawing from the last game.
Avi and Felix arrived with cold pizza, sushi, and the remnants of a charcuterie board Cricket had insisted they take from her birthday party the night before.
Felix climbed into the middle of the bed with two huge bottles in his hand, propping himself against the headboard. “We have no emotional support vodka so, instead, we are subbing in poor life choices whiskey and always down for a good time rum.”
Felix plopped a pillow into his lap, and Zane dropped his head onto it.
“Alright, who wants to go first tonight?” Asa asked, holding up a black dry erase marker.
Felix and Zane insisted Avi and Asa play on opposite teams. They said their little mind meld was an unfair advantage, which was true.
“You’re already standing,” Felix pointed out, uncorking the bottle of rum and pouring a healthy dose directly into Zane’s mouth.
“Wait, what’s the current score?” Avi asked.
Felix squinted, as if trying to remember. “Zane and you have 145 points. Asa and I have 150.”
Avi started the timer, and Asa began to draw, his skill on par with at least Felix and Avi, all of them requiring some level of drawing skill to do their jobs. Zane was the only one who struggled, but still, he held his own. Besides, it was just a game.
Asa drew a rather unflattering depiction of his mother-in-law being held in the air.
“Oh. Oh. Throw her off a cliff? Throw Beverly off a cliff?” Felix shouted.
Asa shook his head, adding a large mountain-like structure with smoke pluming from the top.
“Chuck her in a volcano,” Felix amended, bouncing as he held both bottles of liquor in the air.
Asa grinned, erasing his drawing and putting a mark under their team.
“Wait, didn’t we already chuck her into a volcano?” Avi asked, looking at Zane for confirmation.
Zane shook his head. “No. I don’t think so. I think we dropped her into a forest fire, like that scuba diver that got scooped up by the water plane.”
“We also boiled her in oil,” Felix said helpfully.
“But no volcano,” Zane said, opening his mouth for another shot.
Felix complied, then tipped the bottle to Avi’s lips when he opened his mouth like a baby bird.
“Don’t get too sloppy. I have plans for you later,” Asa warned, his intent clear.
Zane flushed, but his reply was sassy. “Like that’s ever stopped you before.”
Asa felt a little better hearing Zane’s sarcasm. It meant he wasn’t completely spiraling. This was just a bump, not a crash. By tomorrow morning, Zane would be back to his old self after Asa spent the night reminding him of what—and who—was truly important in his life.
Avi took a bite of sushi, then offered some to Felix, who accepted it, chewing and swallowing before he waved a hand at him. “Go. Your turn.”
“Why can’t you go next?” Avi asked.
Felix gave him a withering look. “We’re not even on the same team, dummy.”
“Dummy?” Avi said, pretending offense. “You’re not the boss of me. I’m the boss of you, remember. Why can’t Zaney go next?”
“Because Zaney has had a hard day,” Zane said, burrowing his head deeper into the pillow on Felix’s lap.
Felix hooked one perfectly arched brow at Avi, who sighed. “Fine, but I was going to do it anyway.”
Felix’s lips formed into a knowing smirk. “Mm, that’s what I thought.”
Asa settled onto the bed between Zane’s knees.
“Get your big head out of the way!” Felix yelled.
Asa leaned back until his head was on Zane’s soft stomach, eyes closing when Zane’s fingers automatically began to comb through his hair. Avi looked back at the bed, frowning. “What the hell? This is bullshit. Why is nobody playing with my hair?”
“Draw!” the three screamed at him.
Avi rolled his eyes but then turned and faced the board, waiting for Felix to say, “Go.”
Avi drew Beverly crumpled on the ground, then began to draw a four-legged creature. Asa knew what it was instantly, but he wasn’t on his team, so he kept his knowledge to himself.
“Trampled by a horse?” Zane yelled. “No, we’ve done that. Uh, trampled by a dog? A cow? A moose? Is… Is that a reindeer? Did she get run over by a reindeer? Beverly got run over by a reindeer!” Zane shouted triumphantly.
Avi nodded, high-fiving Zane, then tossed the marker to Felix, who stuck his tongue out before tapping Zane on the forehead. “Yas! Christmas themed deaths. Very festive. I love this for us,” Felix said. “And for her.”
* * *
"Are you drunk, Lois?” Asa teased, lips trailing along the slender column of Zane’s neck as he undressed him.
“You ask me that a lot. I’m not Archer,” Zane grumbled.
Once he was naked, Asa slowly turned him, his hands roaming as he kissed his soft lips. “I’m just checking in.” He dipped his tongue inside, tasting cinnamon whiskey. “I like fucking you when you’re asleep, but fucking you when you’re completely unconscious would be weird. A little too necrophile for me.”
Zane gave an exaggerated moan against Asa’s mouth. “Oh, yes. It gets me so hot when you talk about fucking dead people.”
Asa’s hands reached down to squeeze Zane’s bare ass, his fingers spreading him apart. “I just want to make sure you’re consenting, Lois. I need you.”
“You need me?” Zane asked, his breath hitching when Asa’s fingers delved between his cheeks.
“You always say that like it’s a surprise,” Asa mused. “I don’t think there’s a single night where I haven’t ended up buried inside you. Surely, by now, you have to know I cannot keep my hands off you.”
“It’s just nice to hear,” Zane said.
“You feeling a little needy, Lois?” Asa asked, not in a mean way. “Need a little extra time and attention?”
Zane nodded, arms coming around Asa’s neck.
Asa picked him up and walked him backwards to the bed, dropping him onto the mattress and following him down. “I can do that. You want me to tie you up?”
Zane seemed to contemplate it but then shook his head.
“You want me to go slow?” Asa asked.
Zane’s gaze met his. “I want you to do all the work.”
Asa grinned. “Okay, Lois. I can do that. Just don’t start snoring on me. It throws me off my game.”
Zane stretched all his limbs before collapsing. “Then don’t be boring.”
Asa snagged Zane’s wrists, capturing them over his head with one hand, forcing his knees apart with his own. “That’s better.”
Asa kissed Zane the way he liked, long and slow and deep, only moving on when he grew restless beneath him. He took his time, using the bruises and bite marks on Zane’s skin as a road map, kissing and licking at each one as he moved down his body. When he got to Zane’s cock, he was already flushed and leaking. Asa flicked out his tongue to taste but then moved on, earning a whine from Zane.
“Shush. You said don’t be boring.”
He pushed Zane’s knees up, biting at his inner thighs before burying his face in the heart of him, his tongue spearing against his entrance. He teased and sucked at him, while Zane slowly came undone, his hands fisting in Asa’s hair, trying to put him where he wanted him. Asa resisted, taking his time, nuzzling his balls, licking up his shaft, but never closing his mouth over him.
“Asa, please,” Zane whined, his hips writhing.
“What do you need, Lois?” Asa teased.
Once more, Zane tugged on his hair. “You. Inside me. You know what I want.”
Asa didn’t bother to undress, just shoved his pants and underwear out of the way, snagging the lube off the side table and slicking his cock, not even using his fingers before he eased inside. Zane hissed at the sudden invasion, but Asa knew he liked the burn. He loved being used by him, which only turned Asa on more.
Zane had total trust that Asa knew just what he needed, knew just how much he could take. He pinned Zane’s knees to his chest and rolled his hips, burying himself deep with each hard thrust until Zane was making sounds he was sure were traveling throughout the apartment.
“Shh.” Asa clamped his hand around his throat, squeezing just hard enough to feel Zane go limp, eyes rolling with pleasure. Yeah, Zane loved being manhandled, loved when Asa took control and just used him hard. Knowing how much Zane loved it, loved being his, made it all the hotter for Asa.
He was already so close and had been thinking about burying himself in the tight heat of Zane’s body since long before he got home. “Fuck, you feel so good. I’ve been thinking about this since you sent me that pic at lunch today, you little fucking tease.”
Zane moaned. “Harder.”
Fuck. Asa gave him what he wanted, driving into him, his orgasm building with each sling of his hips, his hand spasming around Zane’s throat. The next moment, he was coming, filling Zane up, hips twitching as he rode it out. Then he was sliding back down Zane’s body, closing his mouth over his straining cock, forcing three fingers into his hole, finding that spot that made Zane scream.
And he did. Asa should have gagged him. It didn’t matter. They were all used to the sex noises that happened in the house. Zane came hard, the bitter taste of his seed filling Asa’s mouth as he continued to massage him from the inside, milking every drop until he was begging Asa to stop.
After he cleaned them both up, he gathered Zane to him, forcing him into little spoon position. “You okay, Lois?”
“Mm,” Zane managed. “I’m always okay after that.”
Asa smiled against his hair. “I meant about the Bev situation. You good?”
“I’m better. I just wasn’t expecting it. It’s easier when I can prepare myself, like at our wedding. Like I knew she’d try something. But this…going to my old work…and the fact that Beach would even print something like that about me.”
“Were you close?” Asa asked.
“I thought we were at one point. But Beach doesn’t really have friends. She has sources or employees.”
“And you’re neither. She was just chasing a story and it happened to be about you. You’re a Mulvaney now. Our lives are public fodder. Just remember every ridiculously mundane scandal helps shield what we really do. Bev is a fucking nightmare, but she’s great at creating drama as subterfuge.”
Zane sighed. “I guess you’re right.”
“Nobody cares that you didn’t invite her to the wedding. There’s nobody sitting at home thinking she’s the wounded party. They’re just there for the trauma porn. They’re tragedy tourists. They’ll forget the moment they close the magazine. Promise.”
“How was your day?” Zane asked, clearly tired of the subject of his mother.
“It was good, especially after that pic you sent. Sorry I couldn’t send one back but I was in the middle of a huge meeting. Sending you a dick pic might have derailed the conversation.”
Zane snickered. “That’s okay. It’s much more fun to look at in person. And worth the wait. Sorry if the sex was boring.”
“That seemed boring to you?” Asa asked around a laugh. “Damn, Lois.”
“No, but you’re the one who has to be, like, punching me in the face to get off,” Zane countered, reaching back to pinch him.
“I have never—not ever—punched you in the face. Or anywhere. I can’t help that I love to see the evidence of our sex life. I can’t help that it turns me on to see all my marks on you. But if you don’t want to play rough anymore, just say the word.”
Zane snapped his head back to give Asa a look. “Don’t be dramatic. You know I love our sex life. I just know that the tamer stuff isn’t as fun for you.”
“You know no such thing. Any sex that ends with me buried inside you is enough for me. Is it enough for you?” Asa asked, already knowing the answer.
“Duh,” Zane deadpanned, burrowing closer. “Anytime you’re touching me, I’m happy.”
“I’m touching you now.”
“And I’m happy,” Zane said.
They were silent for a long while when Zane said, “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Lois.”
“Forever?” Zane hedged.
Zane erupted into peals of laughter. “Did you just quote Outkast to me?”
“Would you prefer Shakespeare?” Asa asked.
Zane shook his head. “No. Outkast is highly underrated as one of the romantic poets.”
MAD MAN BONUS EPILOGUE
In all Avi’s life, he’d never imagined he’d get to live out this particular fantasy. Felix stood before him, wearing a black corset, silk panties, and stiletto boots that should have been registered as actual weapons. They were in the sex dungeon, Avi on his stomach, naked, anchored to the four points of the bed with just enough give to cant his hips if Felix demanded it.
When Felix walked to the foot of the bed, Avi pressed his face against the silk, nosing along the ridge of his cock. “Fuck, you smell amazing.”
Felix gave him a knowing smile. “I know.”
He threaded his fingers through Avi’s hair, holding his head in place as he worked his length against Avi’s lips through the barely-there scrap of fabric before crouching down to kiss him deeply. “Look at me.”
Avi forced his eyes open, groaning when he looked at Felix. He was so fucking beautiful. “Who do you belong to?” he crooned.
“You,” Avi said like a prayer.
Felix licked the seam of Avi’s lips. “Tell me you love me.”
“I love you,” Avi swore, breathless.
Felix gave him that soft, slow smile before leaning down to bite his lip hard enough to make him bleed. “Say it again.”
“I love you.”
Felix forced two fingers between Avi’s lips. “Suck.”
Avi did, pushing his tongue between his fingers, sucking them with the same enthusiasm he’d give any other appendage Felix presented him with.
Felix ran his tongue along the shell of Avi’s ear. “Tell me you’d do anything for me.”
“You know I’d kill for you,” Avi rasped, his hips working against the leather cushion that made up the ‘mattress.’
Felix pulled his fingers free and slapped him hard enough to make Avi’s cock throb. “Stop that.”
Avi groaned but complied, warming when Felix said, “Good boy.”
“Your good boy,” Avi heard himself say.
Felix combed his fingers through Avi’s hair. “My good boy,” he crooned. “Up on your knees for me, good boy.”
Avi did as Felix asked, feeling completely helpless with his ass in the air. Not that there was really any part of each other’s bodies they weren’t intimately familiar with at this point.
Still, this was the one thing they hadn’t done. The one line they had waited to cross, not because they thought it would change anything, but because Felix loved using Avi hard, loved barking orders at him while Avi pounded into him.
But this was all Avi had wanted for their one year anniversary. Felix inside him. Up until this moment, Felix had sounded unsure, worried he would do something wrong or that it would be over in an instant. But the truth was, none of that even mattered. Avi just wanted to be owned by Felix. Wanted to know what it felt like to be possessed so deeply by him that he left part of himself inside.
He expected pain. That was what he’d asked for. Fire trailed across his skin as Felix slapped his ass, then soothed it with a caress. Avi moaned as Felix smacked him again on the other side. “More.”
“You don’t make the rules,” Felix murmured but rewarded him with a hard slap that grazed his balls, sending the most exquisite pain raging through him.
“Oh, fuck, yes.”
Felix’s nails raked over his ass, sharp as claws. Goosebumps erupted along Avi’s whole body. His ass had to have been covered in handprints and scratches. His cock throbbed at the thought, but there was nothing he could do with his ass in the air, not even work himself against the bed.
“More. Touch me.”
What he’d asked for was pain, but what he got was the flat of Felix’s tongue licking him from his balls to his hole.
“Not quite,” Felix teased, doing it again, this time wrapping his hand around Avi’s cock to work him in time with his probing tongue.
Avi wasn’t about to be mad at this turn of events. How could he when it just felt so fucking good? But then it was gone, replaced by another hard smack that left him literally leaking into Felix’s hand.
“You really do need the pain,” Felix whispered.
“I just need you,” Avi promised, heart racing as he heard the telltale click of Felix’s knife.
Felix gripped his ass, massaging it for a moment before he said, “One for each year.”
He’d made Felix promise. Once a year, on their anniversary, he’d mark him, cut him deep enough to scar, so that some day he’d have a tactile reminder of their years together.
“Please,” Avi whispered.
He hissed as Felix dragged the blade along his cheek, then leaned down to lick the blood welling from the cut, his saliva somehow burning and soothing at the same time. Avi groaned, cock leaking at the thought of Felix licking his wounds.
Then the knife was gone, Felix’s fingers moving over his entrance, slipping two slick fingers inside without warning, forcing the air from his lungs. “Fuck.”
“We’re getting there,” Felix teased, though his voice was trembling just a bit.
It burned, then ached, then felt like not nearly enough, but when Avi looked over his shoulder at Felix, he seemed transfixed, eyes locked on where their bodies were joined, bottom lip caught between his lip as he fingered him open.
“I’m ready,” Avi said.
“I didn’t ask,” Felix replied, twisting his fingers in a way that had Avi’s toes curling.
“Please,” Avi whispered.
Suddenly, Felix’s fingers were gone, replaced by his cock sliding against the groove of his ass. Avi canted his hips as if he could somehow trick Felix into entering him, but he was being stubbornly evasive.
“Kitten,” he groaned.
Felix let out a shaky breath, breaking character long enough to murmur, “This is going to be over in seconds.”
Avi chuckled. “Then we can just do it again later.”
Avi liked being all of Felix’s firsts. If he could reverse time and go back and be his first kiss, he probably would have done that, too. Hell, he might have volunteered to be his first kill. He was always so greedy for Felix, could never get enough of him. He was perfection in every sense of the word.
When Felix finally pressed inside, Avi moaned, his body accepting him easily, like even it knew all of him belonged to Felix. When he was all the way inside, he stopped. Avi could feel him breathing hard, like he was fighting for control. Avi got it. Every time he slid inside Felix, he had to fight to keep from coming on the spot. He was so tight, gripping him in the heat of his body.
Felix wrapped his hands around Avi’s hips, nails digging into his skin before pulling almost all the way out and snapping his hips back in, both of them groaning in tandem. “You’re doing so fucking good, kitten.”
“Are you fucking patronizing me?” Felix asked, snapping his hips again, the head of his cock grazing Avi’s prostate in a way that had him hearing color.
“Holy fuck,” Avi gasped. “Do that again, please.”
“Yeah?” Felix asked, shifting just the tiniest bit.
The next thrust had Avi’s eyes rolling behind his lids, and he pushed his hips back, hoping to entice Felix into moving faster. But he didn’t really need the incentive, it seemed. Every time Felix drove his hips forward, he made his own helpless noises, like they were both getting exactly what they needed.
It was a good thing he was tied up because if Avi had his way, he would have put Felix on his back and rode him in a way that probably would have put them both in the hospital. But this was good, too. So good, fucking amazing. Holy fucking fuck, why had he never done this before levels of hot.
He could feel his neglected cock throbbing, his hands gripping the sheets with the same enthusiasm as Felix’s nails as they shredded whatever skin they came in contact with. Felix cried out then, his hips grinding against Avi’s ass as he emptied himself inside him.
Before Avi could really mourn the loss, Felix’s sticky fist was wrapping around him, jerking him while still inside him—steady, sure strokes that only came from intimately knowing someone’s body as well as his own. Felix knew just what Avi liked, what he needed.
When he slipped free of Avi, he worked three fingers inside in his place, grinding down on his prostate until Avi made a sound he wasn’t even sure was human, coming harder than he ever had in his whole life before collapsing onto the bed in the mess he’d made.
Felix fell on top of him, breathing heavy. “That was fun,” he managed. “But I think I’m better at receiving than giving.”
Avi gave a breathless laugh. “Oh, not true, kitten. Not true at all. You have many, many talents.”
“Really?” Felix asked hesitantly.
“Do I ever lie to you?”
“No,” Felix said. “You never do.”
“Then believe me when I tell you that you rocked my world.”
Felix snickered. “You’re an idiot.”
Felix undid Avi’s bindings before walking to the bathroom. Avi heard him washing his hands, returning with the first aid kit they kept on the countertop for quick fixes after playtime. Zane and Asa needed it far more than Avi and Felix, but when Avi needed his blade, like tonight, it was better to take care of the wound on the spot.
Felix cleaned Avi’s cut with the lights on. Avi watched him wince as he looked at the gash on his ass cheek. “I think I went too deep. You might need a stitch or two?”
Avi barked out a laugh. “I’m not calling my brother and asking him to stitch this up, so either you need to get real good at stitches or we just use the steri-strips in there to tack it closed and hope for the best.” When Felix hesitated, Avi said, “Do you want to have that conversation with your brother? Who is married to my brother? Do you want a lecture for our anniversary?”
Felix sighed. “No. Definitely not. I’ll use the surgical glue instead.”
“That stuff stings like a bitch.”
“I know you love it, you freak,” Felix teased, holding the wound closed until the glue dried. He then used the spray they kept on the shelf to wipe down the leather bed so it didn’t look like a crime scene for the housekeeper in the morning.
When he was finished, he looked at Avi, gaze raking over his naked body with renewed interest. “Shower?”
Avi stood, snagging Felix around the thighs and lifting him and carrying him to the bathroom like he was nothing. “Any excuse to stay naked with you, kitten.”
When they entered the bathroom, Avi put him down, looking at himself in the mirror, seeing the blood painting his thighs and dick. “Did you jerk me off with my own blood, kitten?”
Felix reached in and turned on the shower, testing the water, arching one imperious brow. “I did a lot of things with your blood. It’s organic. Get in the shower.”
They washed each other slowly, kissing until they forgot all about cleanliness and were just making out under the spray. When they finally exited the shower, Felix asked, “Do we go to bed or go find Asa and Zane?”
“You want to go hang out with Asa and Zane on our anniversary?” Avi asked.
“Don’t you?” Felix countered.
Avi grinned. “Yeah, definitely.”
Avi closed his eyes, searching for his brother’s consciousness in the house. “No, they’re done fucking.”
As they passed their bedroom, Felix called, “Who wants wedding cake?”
“Me,” Zane said from behind the bedroom door.
“Grab the champagne, too,” Asa said as the door opened, revealing the two. He took one look at his brother and laughed. “Nevermind, I’ll get it. Since my brother seems to have taken maximum damage tonight.”
“We should watch your wedding video,” Zane said, grabbing forks. “It cracks me up every time Cricket pukes into the ice bucket during the speech.”
Felix pushed him playfully. “It’s not her fault. She was pregnant.”
“Again,” Asa and Avi said together.
They set the cake on the coffee table and handed out forks, eating the top layer as they passed around a bottle of champagne and made fun of the guests at the wedding.
It had been a far more lavish affair than Asa’s and Zane’s wedding, with Felix in a silk floral tuxedo and Avi in a wine-colored suit, both designed by Felix. There had been hundreds in attendance, from Thomas’s business connections to celebrities and fashionistas, including Felix’s new business partner, Valencia, and his PR manager, Trixie, the rock star’s daughter.
Avi opened his mouth as Felix fed him a forkful of cake, looking around at the others. This wasn’t their first night sitting around the coffee table eating. It wasn’t even their first night this week, but life with the four of them together was far more than Avi had ever thought possible. He could hardly remember a time when he was afraid Zane would take Asa from him. Now, he had everything.
“Oh, there she goes,” Zane said with a laugh as Cricket hurled into the ice bucket.
“I can’t believe August and Lucas are up to three under three. That’s insane. They’re insane,” Felix said. “And their insanity is spreading. My brother and Atticus are talking about having a baby.”
“Do you think we’ll have kids?” Zane asked.
“Do we…want kids?” Felix asked, looking around at the four of them as if it was a group decision.
“Maybe?” Asa said. “But not now, right? Like, babies mean no more champagne nights in our underwear and no more playtime in the woods or the sex attic.”
“Maybe. I say solid maybe,” Avi said, feeding Felix more cake.
“I can live with maybe,” Zane said.
“With more champagne, I can live with anything,” Felix said, reaching for the bottle.
Avi stopped him. “Happy Anniversary. I love you.”
Felix grinned at him. “Yeah, I know. I love you, too.”
Asa snorted. “Ugh, enough of the mushy stuff. Rewind the puking scene,” he said, dragging Zane into his lap.
Zane rolled his eyes. “That’s Asa for Happy Anniversary.”
Felix and Avi looked at Zane. “We know,” they said in tandem.
LUNATIC BONUS EPILOGUE
Mac couldn’t take his eyes off him. He wasn’t the only one. The man was attracting all kinds of attention with his long leather coat and dark wavy hair that fell over one eye every time he leaned in close to the boy beside him. He looked like a pirate…or a celebrity. Did they have celebrity pirates? Did Captain Morgan count?
Even from across the room, he had an attitude like he was untouchable. If Mac had to peg him as anything, it would be an actor. He was certainly putting on a performance, teasing the boy beside him, pushing his hair from his face, talking directly into his ear. The kid was eating it up, too. He looked three seconds away from twirling his hair around his finger like some fifties teen in a malt shop.
Maybe Mac shouldn’t have had that fourth drink. He might be a little drunk. He hadn’t come to the bar to get laid, but he also hadn’t expected to find Jack Sparrow in a fancy Vegas hotel bar, so there was that.
The man was younger than Mac, by a lot, but he carried himself like someone who was used to never hearing the word no. He sat holding court at a horseshoe-shaped booth in the back corner of the dimly lit bar, one booted foot on the seat, the other long leg stretched out beside it. His clothes were expensive but well worn. Mac didn’t know if that was through use or by design, but the shirt he wore was open at the neck and showing just enough skin to give Mac ideas.
Mac knew he was staring. Hell, others probably knew it, too. Everyone but his current obsession himself. He was oblivious. That was fine with him. It gave him a chance to observe him, to figure out his motives. The man nursed the drink in front of him, turning his head each time he wanted to whisper in the ear of the little blond twink sitting beside him. If he was attempting a seduction, he wasn’t making much of an effort. If anything, he looked bored.
The boy beside him didn’t notice, but Mac did. There was something in his eyes. Even from a distance, Mac could see that the other man didn’t want to be there, not really. When the boy stood abruptly, either to leave or go to the bathroom, another boy slid into his seat. They could have been interchangeable. Same slight build, same light hair, same bored expression on the sullen pirate.
Mac drained his drink and stood, walking to the booth with zero expectations. As he approached, the stranger turned, raking his heated gaze over Mac from head to toe before dropping his feet so Mac could sit. He wasn’t wasting the invitation. He dropped into the seat and slid in close.
The man hooked one dark brow upwards, and that was when Mac really noticed his eyes. Not the color, but thick lashes so dark it looked almost like he wore eyeliner. It would have looked ridiculous on anybody else, but somehow, the whole look just worked for him. It worked for Mac, too, who was already half-hard just off the scent of the stranger’s cologne.
“I’m Mac,” he said.
“Archer,” the other man offered.
“Is that your name or profession, Robin Hood?” Mac teased.
“He plays poker,” the kid said beside him. “Like, professionally.”
Mac ingested that information. A professional gambler. Somehow, that made sense. Mac was willing to bet he was great at it, too. Still, he ignored the kid entirely, giving his full attention to Archer, who was studying him like some people studied calculus.
Fuck it. He’d come this far. He might as well shoot his shot. “None of these boys will hold your interest,” he said. “You only play with them because they’re forgettable.”
The man laughed low, reaching for his drink, this time actually swallowing it down. Mac watched his throat convulse, suddenly imagining wrapping a hand around his neck while he forced his cock down that same throat. Yeah, Archer would look great on his knees. Or even on all fours.
Archer set his drink down, running his finger around the rim of the glass before giving Mac a smug smile. “Make no mistake. I’ll forget you, too, darling.”
Mac was close enough that when he turned his head to respond, his nose brushed just behind Archer’s ear. “Come to my room and let me prove you wrong. What do you say, Katniss?”
He felt the other man bristle at the nickname and couldn’t hide his smile. Archer looked calm and collected, but deep down, he seemed…prickly. God, there was nothing Mac liked more than having to work for it. He pulled back just in time to watch Archer’s lips part. He stared at Mac for a long moment before seeming to catch himself, smirking as he said, “Hard pass, but thank you.”
“So polite.” Mac tilted his head, studying Archer closely. “What are you afraid of?
Archer scoffed. “I’m not afraid. I’m just not interested, darling. There’s a difference.”
Mac lifted his hand and ran a thumb along Archer’s bottom lip, watching his pupils blow wide. He smirked. “You’re definitely interested.”
The boy sitting forgotten on the other side of Archer cleared his throat loudly, his mouth creating an exaggerated pout when Archer failed to notice.
“Aren’t you bold,” Archer said.
Mac assumed the question was rhetorical. “I just know what I want.”
Once more, Archer gave him a hard once-over. “And what’s that?”
Mac leaned in, pressing the words into the shell of Archer’s ear. “To spend the night buried inside you.”
Even with the soft music piped through the bar’s speakers, Mac could hear the catch in Archer’s breath, his chest rising and falling. He heard him audibly swallow before he reached for his drink, draining it in two gulps.
Still, he said, “Does that line work for you often?”
Mac smiled. “I’m not sure. I've never had to use it before. Most men don’t make me work this hard.”
“I find that hard to believe. But I’m not the one you’re looking for,” Archer told him, trying and failing to maintain that same bored affect he’d had when Mac first approached.
“Why’s that, Katniss?” Mac asked, letting his hand curl high on Mac’s thigh.
Archer shrugged, turning to catch Mac’s gaze. “I don’t bottom.”
Mac grew bolder, his hand sliding higher, his thumb tracing the outline of Archer’s hard cock through his jeans. “That’s a shame. Because I’m so fucking hard thinking about you underneath me. I bet you’re so fucking hot inside.”
The three drinks he had were making him far bolder than he’d ever been in the center of a hotel bar, but Archer wasn’t pushing him away. In fact, he grabbed Mac’s wrist, grinding himself against his palm.
“Have you ever tried it?”
Archer shook his head. “Not interested.”
“I’m not trying to sound like some kind of pervy after-school special, but how do you know you don’t like it if you’ve never tried?”
“The same way I know I don’t like heroin,” Archer countered. “Deductive reasoning.”
Mac chuckled softly. “So, you think bottoming for me might become addictive? I consider that a compliment.”
Archer rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you do. But it’s still not happening.”
Mac let himself feel the hard line of Archer’s cock once more before pulling his hand back. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed the blond boy shake his head then leave the booth, making for another man sitting at the bar.
Mac shrugged. Maybe that kid had the right idea. “Guess I’ll go look for someone with lower standards and a slightly more adventurous spirit.”
Mac went to stand when fingers curled around his wrist. “Well, you might as well stay now that you’ve chased off my company.”
“What’s the point?” Mac asked, making no move to leave now that Archer’s skin burned a hole through him. “You were my first choice, but not my only one. Maybe I should go find one of your blonds. They looked like they’d be down for pretty much anything.”
Archer’s lips formed a hard line, and he clenched his teeth until his jaw muscle ticked.
“What’s wrong, Katniss? Don’t like the idea of me inside someone else?”
“I don’t even fucking know you.” He sneered.
“That doesn’t negate the fact that you’re jealous.”
Archer shook his head. “Are you trying to jedi mind trick me into fucking you?”
Mac waved his hands in front of Archer’s face like he was casting a spell. “This is the dick you’re looking for,” he teased.
Mac’s heart skipped as Archer tried and failed to hide a smile. It was gone as fast as it arrived, but it left Mac feeling kind of shocked in its wake. It was so hard won. “What do you say, Katniss? Wanna go to bed with me?”
This time, Archer’s gaze slid away. “So, you’re saying you won’t go to bed with me unless I let you fuck me?”
Mac had never said that. He’d heavily inferred it, though never directly said it, but the way Archer said it made it sound like he was blackmailing him. “Is that what you need, Katniss? Do you need to pretend you don’t like it?”
“I didn’t say that,” Archer managed.