Crow Huntley had been shot and ended up in a coma. When he woke up, he discovered his life was over. Not only would he never be able to do the job he loved, but he might actually never walk again.
Tarq Havish had spent months wooing Crow. Just when he’d finally gotten his man, Crow had been shot and pushed Tarq away once more. If Crow thought that would stop Tarq from doing whatever it takes to get their happily ever after, he had better think again. Tarq had no problem playing dirty, even if it meant calling in help from some unlikely friends.
Warning: Let the hijinks begin. Expect anything and everything from Bigfoot to cheers that will force Crow to get back on his feet and into Tarq’s bed.
“I said no visitors.”
Tarquin Havish winced as the clatter of something metal slammed into the wall. He should have known Crow Huntley wouldn’t exactly be happy to see him. Hell, it had been two months since they’d brought Crow out of his medically-induced coma and still Crow refused for anyone to visit him, especially Tarq.
Not that Tarq could exactly blame him. It had been Tarq Crow had been trying to protect when he’d stepped in front of that bullet that would have hit Tarq instead. Once more he cursed that day gunmen had decided it would be a good idea to rob the casino.
The nurse came rushing out of the room, her face white as a sheet. She shook her head at Tarq then turned to stare in fear at the room Crow occupied. “Look, normally I would force you to leave.” She scowled as if Crow were there in front of her. “But that man needs a swift kick to the ass before he finds himself accidentally left naked in the hallway.”
Tarq couldn’t help but chuckle at her vindictive side. “I’ll just assume you’ve left or…something,” he said as she walked back to the nurses’ station.
“Either way I have so much paperwork it might be hours before I check on him again.”
A low whistle to his right reminded Tarq that he wasn’t alone. “Damn, I hope he isn’t armed,” Ethan teased. “Bram will paddle my ass if he knows I put myself in danger.”
Jesse snorted. “So, in other words, I need to make sure to bring up that Crow had a knife or something.”
Ethan spread out his hands innocently. “I couldn’t lie to Bram like that.” Then he grinned at his best friend mischievously. “But, you know, if you want to, I wouldn’t get in your way.”
Tarq sighed. Why had he thought this a good idea? He knew damn well getting Jesse and the others involved always led to mayhem. Just the other day, Jesse, Vail, Flynn, and Gabriel had come into Tarq’s restaurant, Bliss, one of several restaurants in the casino, Utopia, claiming they were going to cheer him up.
Tarq’s bartender, Brad, quit on the spot when Jesse complained his flirtini didn’t have enough champagne, even when, after three attempts, Brad finally gave in and let Jesse make it himself. It hadn’t helped that Flynn insisted Brad hadn’t put any tequila in his margarita. Brad had made Flynn another one, even going so far as to do it right in front of Flynn so the man would see him putting in the tequila.
Flynn had tasted the new drink, only to shake his head and claim that Brad was watering down the liquor. If he’d just said it to Brad, the bartender might not have been so offended, but Flynn had projected his voice to ensure the entire restaurant could hear him.
But it had been Vail, who’d offered to teach Brad how to be a good bartender, even going so far as to get up from his barstool and walk around the bar, hip-bumping Brad out of the way, that had been the last straw. Brad had been the fourth bartender Jesse and friends had driven away since Tarq had taken over Bliss just over a year ago.
Why Jesse felt the need to do so, Tarq wasn’t so sure. At first Tarq had thought Jesse was trying to goad Tarq, but that had been until Crow was injured. Since that horrible day, Jesse had been a lifesaver. He’d coordinated with the other chefs, not just from the casino’s restaurants but those in town, to help cover Tarq while he sat with Crow praying he’d wake up.
There were times Tarq couldn’t believe he’d been in Cedar Falls for more than a year. Then again, with Jesse and his crew, it had felt more like a decade.
He looked at the men before him—Jesse, Ethan, Flynn, Vail, Eddie, and Danton—and said, “Look, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea for me to bring you here.”
Jesse smacked the back of his hand against Tarq’s chest. “Too late for that. We’re here and, by the sound of things, not a moment too soon. So pull up your big boy panties, go into that room, and talk to the man you love.”
Tarq sighed. Jesse was right. It was time for Tarq to put his foot down when it came to Crow. He’d given the man he loved more than enough time to sulk.
“Don’t worry. We’ll be right out here to back you up as soon as you say the word,” Danton reassured.
Tarq appreciated it. He’d always been self-assured, but since Crow had almost died saving him, Tarq found himself unsure about everything he did when it came to Crow. It was the only reason he’d allowed the man to throw him out of his room when he’d been told he might never walk again.
In hindsight, Tarq knew that had been a mistake, but he hadn’t known how to help Crow, especially when those dark brown eyes looked at him as if Tarq was the reason his life was over.
He glanced once more at the six men who had come to support both him and Crow and nearly broke down laughing. Ethan was giving him two thumbs-up while Flynn rolled his eyes at the delay. Danton, on the other hand, smiled at him as if everything would be okay, and Eddie had his brows furrowed but one side of his mouth lifted into a half-smile, as if unsure what to expect.
But it was Vail and Jesse who caused Tarq to do as Jesse suggested and pull up his big panties, for they were both rolling their eyes and shooing him on with their hands, even as they checked their wrists as if looking at invisible watches. Chuckling, Tarq turned on his heel and headed into Crow’s room.
His heart stopped the moment he laid eyes on the man of his dreams. Everything about Crow, even the tears that were currently shining in those dark brown eyes, did it for Tarq. It had been six months since the shooting, four of which Crow had spent in a coma as they waited for the swelling in his head to heal. He’d lost a lot of weight, mostly muscle, but Tarq didn’t care. Crow was still the most stunning man he’d ever seen.
Jet-black hair, which used to hang to his shoulders, was now only a couple of inches long. It had been shaved so his doctor could get at the wound that had been caused when one of the gunmen’s bullets had sent a shard of the marble flooring flying. Between that injury and Crow’s head slamming into the same marble floor when the bullet, which had been meant for Tarq hit Crow in the spine, dropping him to the ground, doctors had insisted on putting him in a medically-induced coma to let his brain heal.
For months, Tarq had prayed to see Crow’s soft brown eyes. Of course, he hadn’t thought his prayers would be answered only to have that sweet gaze glare at him every time it landed on him. Not that he should be surprised considering their relationship before being Crow had been shot hadn’t been that great, but Tarq had been making progress.
Now, all his effort was for naught, for Crow had banned Tarq from his hospital room. Okay, so he’d banned everyone, not just Tarq, but even knowing that didn’t make it hurt any less.
Heat surrounded Crow as he struggled to wake from his drug-induced sleep. He really hated taking those pills, but when the pain was that intense, there was little he could do about it.
Yet, even with how bad his muscles and joints had hurt, it had been worth going to that stupid festival. Bigfoot. Who would have ever thought he would have been the one to suggest going, much less end up having so much fun?
Sinking back into the warmth at his back, Crow placed his hands on Tarq’s hands, which held his chest firmly. Had he made the right decision to give them a chance? Crow still feared just by making that choice he’d somehow doomed Tarq to die.
“Stop thinking so hard.” Tarq kissed Crow’s neck then his ear before whispering, “I have much more enjoyable things for you to think about if you’re up.”
Tarq shifted his hips to let Crow feel the bulge of his groin pressed up against his ass. Unable to stop himself, Crow rocked back for more.
Tarq gasped then let out a groan of need. “I hope this means that pill worked and you’re feeling better.”
Crow stopped moving to take stock of his body. There hadn’t been any stabbing pain as there had been when he’d left the festival, but that didn’t always mean he could move freely either. He’d learned from experience that sometimes, after a strenuous day like he’d had, it was best to take things slowly after the worst of the agony receded.
Testing each muscle group, he was relieved to find only a few twinges. “I doubt I could run a marathon,” he teased as he turned his head to give Tarq a light kiss. “But I’m pretty sure, as long as we move carefully, I’m up for whatever you have planned.”
He sure as hell hoped he was up for it, because now that Crow had decided to throw caution to the wind, he was desperate to feel Tarq inside of him. He may not have bottomed too often in the past, but Crow had to admit to looking forward to it with Tarq.
Gently, as if Crow were made of the finest crystal, Tarq turned him onto his back. Those dark eyes glittered with raw lust as he dipped down to take Crow’s mouth in a kiss that had any discomfort his body had been feeling disappear to be replaced by a fire that burned low in his belly.
Curling his arms around Tarq’s neck, he tried to pull him more fully on top of him. He wanted to know what it was like to have this man pressing him into the mattress, pinning him down.
But his hands were captured by Tarq’s as he tugged them over Crow’s head. His wrists were held down by one of Tarq’s hands as the other started to work its way down his body with long sure strokes.
When he got to the bottom of Crow’s shirt, Tarq released Crow’s wrists so he could pull the shirt up over Crow’s head. Not one to waste an opportunity, Crow immediately started to touch Tarq’s rock-hard body in return.
His fingers glided over the ridges of Tarq’s abs, and Crow found his mouth watering with need to run his tongue over each and every groove. He’d started to scoot down to do just that when Tarq captured his hands and pinned them to the mattress on either side of his head as he straddled Crow’s body, making sure not to put any pressure on him.
“You need to stay right there on your back and let me do all the work,” Tarq ordered.
No fucking way was Crow going to agree to that. “I can—”
Tarq cut him off with a hard, demanding kiss. “You can touch, but other than that, no moving. There is no way in hell I’m going to make love to you if you’re only going to end up hurting yourself, understand?”
Crow didn’t want to. If he’d thought it would work, he’d rant and rail against the unfairness of it. The only thing that stopped him was Tarq. The man was more stubborn than Crow could ever hope to be. If Crow didn’t agree, he wouldn’t put it past Tarq to deny him sex until he would cooperate.
“Fine,” he groused. “But when I’m better, there is nothing that’s going to stop me from licking you from head to toe. Got it?”
Tarq shuddered before slamming his mouth back down on Crow’s, devouring him as if he were feast and he a starving man. When Tarq finally pulled back, his eyes burned with a fire so intense Crow could almost feel its heat.
“You’re on,” Tarq told him as he went to work on Crow’s pants.
Before Crow even realized what was happening, Tarq’s mouth was wrapped around his cock. His hands instantly went to Tarq’s head, his fingers threading through his silky strands as he tried to push deeper into that wonderful wet heat. But Tarq had been prepared, and his hands pressed down onto Crow’s abdomen so he couldn’t move.