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Break-Away Strength

Carry Me

eXtasy Books

Heat Rating: SIZZLING
Word Count: 37,190
Available Formats
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Mobi
ePub

Reginald Reggie Herrera has been feeling out of sorts for a while. Helping an old friend build a barn for a gay couple causes him to wonder what if, creating a resurgence of needs he’d thought buried decades ago. Filled with guilt, as if he is somehow betraying the memory of his late wife, Reggie heads to his fishing cabin for a few weeks alone, hoping to clear his head. While Reggie is out fly-fishing, he sees a man in a float tube flip in the river and hit his head. Reggie pulls the unconscious guy from the water, but when the young man wakes, he has amnesia. As Reggie helps the stranger regain his strength and piece together his past, his feelings turn from fatherly concern to something more. Just as Reggie begins to give into his desires, he learns that his young lover is Miguel Swanson, and he’s wanted in connection with the death of his female roommate. Can Reggie believe Miguel, who doesn’t truly remember, that he didn’t actually murder his best friend? Not to mention, if Miguel didn’t do it…who did?

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Excerpt

His mind felt muzzy, confused. He struggled to open his eyes. Blurry images made no sense. After blinking several times, one of his eyes focused. The other did not.

Worried, he rubbed his unfocused eye. Nothing. On instinct, he rubbed them both, wondering what he might have done to himself. When he felt something move, he froze.

Blinking some more, he stared ahead, trying to make sense of it. Then he spotted the glasses case on the coffee table three feet in front of the couch he lay on. Right, his glasses. He must have lost a contact.

What was I doing to lose a contact?

He wasn’t sure. That brought him back to his surroundings. Closing his bad eye, he looked around and took in the rustic décor and cabin-like feel. A fissure of unease slithered through him.

Where am I?

Hearing a door open and the creak of hinges, then the door close, he froze. He slowly rolled over, grimacing at the pain throbbing through his temples. Lifting a hand to the back of his head, he prodded gingerly at his scalp. Upon feeling a bump, he cringed.

“Hey, there, buddy,” a deep voice rumbled. “I’m glad to see you awake. How are you feeling?”

He watched a man—hell, a big man—round the sofa and stop at the side of the couch. Unable to help himself, he gaped up at the guy. He actually felt a tingle of arousal, which, even in his confusion, he knew was completely inappropriate.

He appeared to be in his late forties or early fifties. The man stood over six feet, had broad shoulders, a barrel of a chest which stretched his white wife-beater, and tapered to a narrow waist with just the beginning of love handles. His arms were lightly covered in a mixture of gray and light brown hair and thickly muscled. From the way the man filled out his faded blue jeans, he bet the guy’s legs were heavily muscled, too.

While his mind was a little muzzy, he knew he’d always had a thing for older men.

“Just try to relax,” the man urged. He picked up the glasses case, then settled on the coffee table. The wood creaked a little, but held. The older man held up the case. “Did your contacts survive your tumble in the river, friend?” His smile appeared kind. “I’ve seen your expression on my daughter’s face a time or two. You’re having trouble focusing.” His brows furrowed and he straightened. He rubbed his free hand over his bald scalp. “Unless you have a concussion. Your eyes are pretty dilated, friend. How’s your head feel?”

Daughter? Yeah, I really should not be admiring his bald head, no matter how much I want to run my palms over it.

Head injury. That had to be the answer.

“Um, can I have those, please?” He held out his hand, glancing toward the glasses case. “I lost a contact.”

The man handed him the case.

Feeling around his left eye, he quickly popped the contact out. He held it on his finger as he opened the case with his thumb, then settled the wire-rimmed spectacles on his nose. After a second of hesitation, he closed the case, then leaned over and put the case on the end table. He put the contact lens on the case.

Seeing the older man clearly for the first time affirmed his earlier assessment. The man was definitely older and definitely hot. His host also waited patiently.

“What happened?” he asked. Finally focusing on what he should. “Where am I?”

“You were on an inner tube, floating down the river,” the stranger told him. “Do you remember that?”

He began to shake his head, but the pulsing waves of pain made him think better of it. “No,” he whispered. “I don’t remember a river. Are you sure?”

“Well, I saw you go under myself,” the big man replied, his concern evident in his tone and warm brown eyes. “What about your name? Do you remember that?”

Scoffing, he nodded. What kind of question was that? “My name is—” He stopped, his mind blanking. My name. What is my name? My name is—“I can’t remember.”

Panic set in, fast and hot. “What’s my name?” He racked his brain, struggling for an answer. Except his mind remained stubbornly blank. Attempting to swing his legs off the sofa, he let out a pained whine when something bound his legs.

“Hey!” A deep voice cried, vying for his attention. “Easy now, easy. You’re all right. Just take a deep breath.”

He felt something grip his thighs. He froze. Sucking in a harsh breath, he kicked out.

“Stop,” that same deep voice ordered. “Stop now. I don’t wanna hurt ya, kid.”

That cut through. Why the hell had he reacted like that? He didn’t know.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I-I’m so sorry. I...” He trailed off, having no answer.

“Easy now, kid,” the man continued. “I’m gonna untangle your legs from this blanket. Then you’re gonna swing ’em over the side here and tell me why you freaked out.”

He nodded. He wanted to be untangled. He hated being bound. Feeling the fabric ease from his legs, he took a deep breath. Almost instantly, he felt better.

“Thanks,” he muttered. Resting his feet on the floor, he rubbed his palms up and down his sweatpants clad legs. He could feel the way they draped over his thighs, the way they hung on his hips. These sweatpants didn’t fit him. Struggling to keep his voice smooth even as his throat threatened to close, he mumbled, “I d-don’t remember much. I-I—” He stopped and shook his head. “These pants aren’t mine. I’ve lost a contact and needed those glasses you were holding. I like older men. Th-That’s about it.”

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