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Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 31,883
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Still grieving over the arrest and subsequent death of his lover in prison, brilliant young artist Gavin Winters is living in a ramshackle old house and just trying to survive. Living alone in the house can be scary, especially when there’s ghostly knocking on the walls at night, and the sounds of something scurrying behind the walls. His psychiatrist thinks he’s crazy and his lawyer suspects there may be rats. Meanwhile, gorgeous insurance investigator Connor Todd believes Gavin knows more than he’s telling about the location of the priceless art stolen by his former lover, and he’s trying his best to persuade Gavin to revisit a past that he’s trying his best to forget.

Excerpt

Wrapping a big bath towel around my waist, I unlocked the door and went out, immediately feeling the hot blast of his eyes on me.
I ignored him, or pretended to and went to my dresser to dig out some sweats. I usually slept in just my underwear, but not tonight. Behind me, I could hear my favorite DVD playing. So he had decided to watch my porn after all. I listened with half an ear to one of the scenes I liked, the one where the boy went to a bar and got picked up by the handsome stranger. The voice drifted over to me loud and clear. “I’m going to make love to somebody tonight. It might as well be you.”

I whirled around in horror and found Connor Todd looking at me and shaking his head. “I always wondered about that line. It was one of the first things you ever said to me, and later I realized it didn’t even sound like something you’d normally say. Now I see why.”

He got up from the end of the bed and walked slowly toward me. Stopping in front of me, he tugged gently at my towel, glancing up in my eyes to give me a chance to stop him. When I stood there, frozen, he pulled at it and the towel dropped to puddle around my feet. “I can explain.”

“You can?” He bent down and nuzzled his face against my neck and my knees went weak. I clutched his shoulders to steady myself.

“Yes.” I was mortified to hear the breathlessness in my voice. “I—I can’t always think of clever things to say, you see. You know, when I first meet someone.” He wrapped one hand around my cock, not moving, just holding it gently, as his lips moved down my chest to land on one of my nipples. He dropped a kiss on first one and then the other before his tongue came out to circle one of the small nubs. My cock twitched in his hand, eager, apparently to get some of the attention my nipples were getting.

“Go on,” he said. “You were explaining.”

“Well, I…I watch a lot of movies and…oh…” His teeth had scraped against the tip of my nipple, and I was wondering if I could stay on my feet much longer. As if he could read my mind, he turned me around and nudged me toward the bed. I stumbled backward a step or two, and he followed me, his mouth and hand never shifting even as he lowered me down with his other hand wrapped around my neck. He put one knee on the bed beside me and leaned over me, releasing my cock but really fastening on my poor nipple, sealing his mouth around it until I thought I might lose consciousness.

When I moaned aloud, he pulled back and smiled down at me before blowing across the nub of flesh, sending a shiver down my spine. “Now here I was,” he said, “thinking you were all suave and sophisticated, even though you looked like an innocent angel that night.” He bent down to lick at the nipple again, as if he was afraid it needed his attention. “I was almost disappointed, because I thought you were probably someone who did that all the time—picking up a lot of men in bars.” He straightened up and began unbuckling his belt while he toed off his shoes. “I was even jealous, thinking of you screwing other men—even that first time, I didn’t like it one damn bit.”

“No?”

“No,” he said, shaking his head and slipping down his pants and underwear all in one move, freeing that gorgeous cock of his. It was pointed at the ceiling, flushed a deep pink with just a pearly drop of pre cum glistening on the head. I leaned forward, wanting to taste it on my tongue, but he pushed me back down.

“I still don’t like the idea of you with anybody but me.”

“B-But you said…”

“What I said was bullshit, and we both know it. I’m having a hard time with all of this, but I’m through taking it out on you. I didn’t mean to hurt you like that, and I won’t do it again. Forgive me, baby?”

“Yes.” I watched him as he pulled out a condom and the lube from the drawer beside him. He put the condom on and squeezed lube in his fingers. His movements were easy and natural, not hurrying at all. Looking down at my eyes, he pushed my legs back and began to move his fingers in a light circle around my hole, massaging the tight ring of muscle with a steady pressure.

“I’ve never felt this way about anybody before, Gavin. I have feelings I don’t know what to do with. If you can give me some time…”
I would have promised him anything right then, too desperate for more of his attention to think clearly. He smiled and pushed in one finger, working it in and out with slow, even strokes. My hips were moving without my conscious knowledge, and I was making sounds like a half-starved kitten. They embarrassed me so much I clamped down on my tongue, pressing my lips tightly together. I was able to stifle the sounds pretty well then until his finger crooked up and touched my prostate.

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