Cherish, Texas (MM)
[Siren Classic ManLove: Erotic Alternative Cowboy Romance, M/M, light bondage, HEA]
Cody and Luke were childhood friends who had just started to bloom into something more when something happened to tear them—and their small circle of friends—apart. Years later, Sergeant Cody Allen of the Texas Rangers returns to Cherish, Texas, on the trail of a serial arsonist to find that not only is Luke at the center of the case, but he's also the chief suspect!
Battling the feelings he'd tried to convince himself were long dead and the determined efforts of Luke to fight him at every turn, Cody must find the arsonist, get to the bottom of what went wrong between him and Luke and their friends so many years before, convince Luke that they're still worth fighting for, and cope with well-meaning friends and relatives trying to help. One thing’s for sure—Luke, Cody and Cherish will never be the same again!
A Siren Erotic Romance
Luke risked a glance up, pissed beyond belief that he had to do so because the last time he had been this physically close to Cody they had at least been the same height, and growled once more. “Let. Me. Go.”
Cody bared his teeth. “No.”
A standoff of a few seconds stretched out before Luke looked away from the fulminating hazel eyes staring down into his, and he told himself that it was only to prevent Mac from being carted off to jail and not because he could feel his body start to hum with long-forgotten awareness at Cody’s proximity and the increasingly desperate need to put some space between them. “Fine.” He jerked his arm again. “Fine, okay? You win.”
Cody held onto him for another few moments before slowly relaxing his fingers, making it all too obvious that Luke was being turned loose because Cody was letting it happen and not because Luke’s wishes had anything to do with it. He watched Luke put as much space as he could between them as he could to still have a reasonably private conversation and ignored the residual heat in the palm of his hand from Luke’s skin as he said, “Where were you the night of the fires?”
Luke glared at him spitefully, resentment written in every line of his body. “Here, asleep.”
Cody let his eyes drift down Luke’s body, not bothering to mask his blatant appraisal, and questioned, “Alone?”
“You know I was.” Luke’s hands curled into frustrated fists at his sides. “Y’all have my statement.”
“No, the local yokels have your statement. All I got is some bad attitude and a whole lotta runaround since I came back.” Cody hooked his thumbs in his belt loops and eyed Luke closely. “You sleep alone often?”
Startled, Luke’s eyes flew to Cody’s and he stared at him blankly, not able to miss the sudden drop in register in Cody’s questioning tone. “What?”
* * * *
Cody grinned, enjoying the tenseness in Luke’s body and the look on his wide-eyed face. Back in the day it had always been Cody staring flushed and wide-eyed at an infuriatingly confident and in-control Luke, and he was man enough to admit that, despite the circumstances, he was loving the fact that he was the one in control now. “I asked if you sleep alone often, it a regular occurrence?”
Luke gritted his teeth, face screwing up in a mixture of fury and embarrassment. “That’s none of your business.”
Cody’s grin widened. “That’s where you’re wrong. Until this thing is settled to my satisfaction, then pretty much everything about you is my business.”
Looking trapped and uncertain, Luke stared at Cody. “This thing? What thing?”
“The fires.” Cody let some of the heat he was feeling in his gut show in his eyes, dragging his gaze up and down Luke’s body. “What else could I mean, Luke?”
Luke opened his mouth, shut it again, and looked away from those knowing, mocking eyes. He ground his jaw and bit out, “No one comes out here. Just me.”
Cody blinked in confusion for a moment before realizing that Luke was answering his question of how often he enjoyed company in his bed He looked around, taking note of the solitude of the place, and felt a sudden unexpected pang of something like pity in his chest. “Lonely.”
Almost snarling, Luke spat, “Peaceful.”
Cody shrugged, still watching Luke’s face for that lightning-fast change in expressions. “I’ll go with my first impression, thanks.” Not giving the other man chance to answer him, Cody continued, “You got any ideas on who’s tryin’ to set you up?”
Luke froze, staring at him wordlessly, eyes round with surprise and confusion in his face.
Raising an eyebrow, Cody said smoothly, “There must be someone that comes to mind, Luke. This town ain’t exactly overflowing with criminal masterminds. Who’ve you managed to piss off these past few years that they hate you this much?”
Luke’s throat worked for a moment before he could speak. “You don’t think I did it?” His forehead creased in bewilderment and the faintest of cautious hope showed in his eyes as he asked hoarsely, “You believe me?”
Staring at him like he’d lost his mind, Cody slapped his hands on his hips and snapped, “Don’t be a horse’s ass, Luke. Of course I don’t think you’re capable of somethin’ like this. I know you.” He rolled his eyes when Luke jerked and opened his mouth again to protest against there still being a connection between them. “Fine, I knew you. Whatever. The point is I knew from the moment I sat down across from you yesterday that you weren’t responsible for what’s goin’ on around here.”
Drawing a shaky breath, Luke nodded jerkily. “Thanks.” He frowned and averted his eyes to the floor, not willing to let Cody see how much his faith meant to him. “I…thanks.”
Taking a step forward, Cody lowered his voice and bent his head to try to catch Luke’s eye, hoping against hope that he’d made some kind of breakthrough. “But I also know that you do know somethin’ that could maybe help me figure out just what is happening and, for whatever reason, you’re hidin’ it. C’mon, Luke, just trust me a little, okay? Let me help.”
Cody wasn’t kidding about taking it slow. Luke was beginning to forget there was life outside of the room and bed he was currently occupying, anything outside of the firm hands stroking over him and the lips mapping every inch of his newly stripped body. He gasped and twisted when Cody licked over the curve of his hip, hands threading into Cody’s long hair and then slipping down to knead restlessly at his shoulders when Cody sighed his name and licked his skin again. He kept trying to catalogue all the differences between the Cody of now to the Cody of then, but Cody just wouldn’t let up enough to let him focus for one damn minute. He remembered feeling awed—and more than a little nervous—when Cody had finished stripping him and then had gracefully removed his own clothes. Broad—really broad—shoulders, ropey muscle covering every inch of him that moved slickly under tanned skin, and a trim waist that was ridged with defined abs that Luke found it almost impossible to tear his eyes away from.
Until Cody dropped his shorts.
Luke stared because he was fairly sure that he would have remembered Cody’s cock being that large—no way would he have forgotten that—and came to the conclusion that his younger self was clearly even more reckless than he remembered because, god damn, this was going to hurt. His mouth quirked in a wry grin. Or it was going to be really, really good.
Cody, oblivious to Luke’s brief moment of wariness, crawled onto the bed and stretched out on top of him. “I missed this.” He bent his head, licking along Luke’s collarbone reflectively. “Really, really missed this.” He groaned happily when Luke let his legs part, their groins pressing together and damp bellies rubbing deliciously. Time spun away from them as they relearned each other’s hot spots and pleasure noises, taking it in turns to nip and suck at each other’s bodies until finally Cody had managed to work his way down to Luke’s groin. He licked again at Luke’s hip and then turned his head and nuzzled the hard length of his erection that was lying flat against his belly.
Luke arched at the sudden flicker of wetness and gasped, staring blindly at the ceiling. He reached out, his hands finding Cody’s head and sliding his fingers into thick dark hair. “Cody, I…”
“Ssh.” Cody licked again. “I know I’ve spent the last few days tellin’ you to talk to me, Luke, but now is really not the time.” He slipped his hand around the base of Luke’s dick and licked some more, grinning when Luke half yelped and half laughed his back curving in a strong arch when he dug his heels into the bed and curved upward. “You always were a contrary asshole.”
“Was not.” Luke sucked in a breath and this time curled forward off the pillow when Cody sucked the tip of his cock into his mouth. “Goddamn it!”
Cody grinned some more and rubbed just right with his tongue to have Luke trying to flop both ways at once and managing to do nothing more than look like a large landed fish. “Graceful.”
“Fuck. Off.” Luke ground out through gritted teeth. “You never used to be such a tease.” He managed to stop himself squealing like the pig Andy had warned him against when Cody slipped a hand between his legs and cupped his balls, one long finger moving to rub enticingly between his clenching buttocks.
“Yeah, well, being cut off by my boyfriend and best friends and lied to for ten years will do that to a guy.” Cody looked up the line of Luke’s taut torso and met his guilty gaze with a pointed one of his own. “Trust me, this is nothin’ to what I’m gonna be doin’ to you when we get this mess sorted out.”
Luke frowned. “Cody, you’re goin’ back to Austin. I’m stayin’ here. There isn’t goin’ to be…”
“Wrong answer.” Cody knelt up, fumbled in the bedside table for a moment, and then dropped a condom and lube onto the bed while swinging a leg over Luke’s waist to straddle him. He flipped open the lube, smeared some on his fingers, and then put a hand behind himself and began to move his arm in a brisk, businesslike way. Luke’s eyes nearly popped out on stalks. “Swear to God, Luke, you make me crazy.” He brought his hand back around, smeared on some more lube, and then his hand moved back into position. “This is our second chance, man. We can make this right.” Luke’s eyes darted disbelievingly between Cody’s now obviously thrusting arm and his disapproving face as he lectured him while he prepared himself. “I’m not sayin’ there isn’t a lot of ground to make up. A helluva lot of issues to work out, but there’s still something between us that makes at least tryin’ to give it a shot worthwhile, don’t you think?”
“What are you doin’?” Luke nearly came off the bed for real when Cody freed his fingers from their work, rolled the condom smoothly down over Luke’s dick, coated his hand with lube, and rubbed it liberally over the rubber—and then lifted up and sat himself down, neat as you please, with barely a hiss of discomfort.