[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Shape-shifters, Paranormal, Western, MM, HEA]
The Diamond Ranch had been in their family for five generations. That was until Scott Diamond happened. Damien’s father turned into a full-fledged drunk and had leveraged their business until they were close to filling bankruptcy. There was only one way to save it, and that was for Damien to go groveling to Henry Miller, his childhood best friend turned enemy. Only Damien got more than he bargained for, changing his life forever.
No one knew that Henry’s business was failing. His father, who was dying of prostate cancer, had forbid him to tell anyone. Henry wasn’t sure what he was going to do to stay afloat, until Damien Diamond knocked on his door. They had been inseparable since childhood, but Henry had ruined that three summers ago. Now his uncle was there, causing trouble on the Miller Ranch. Not only was Damien a bear shifter, but now Henry was pregnant with his child and in deeper trouble than he could ever imagine.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Damien felt every inch of Henry’s gaze on him, and his body heated up just knowing Henry was there in front of him after so much time had passed without seeing each other.
Henry’s brows crinkled. “Damien, is that you?”
“Yep.” He nodded, unsure what to say next. He couldn’t read Henry’s expression, so he wasn’t sure if the guy had forgiven him or was ready to battle it out again. Did Damien want it to turn into a fight? Hell no, but damn if he wouldn’t mind the close contact.
Damien had to force himself not to shiver at the mere sight of him. That was what had destroyed their friendship. The need to have his hands on Henry, those lips on his, and to pound into Henry’s...
“Been a long time.” Henry let the screen door close behind him as Damien forced those thoughts from his head. “What brings you here?”
He didn’t tell Damien that he missed him or try to hug him. Henry didn’t even extend a hand. His arms were crossed over his slim chest as he continued to look Damien over. Damien was tempted to turn around and walk away. Pride was a son of a bitch, but he reminded himself why he was there in the first place.
“I’m not sure if you heard about my ranch,” he began.
Henry nodded. “I heard. Scott damn near ruined you and your brothers.”
It was no surprise the town gossiped about them. That was what small towns did. It was also embarrassing as hell to have your family shame out there for everyone to pick apart. Lately, every time Damien went into town, it felt like he was wearing a badge of shame.
Henry waved toward the porch swing, and to be honest, Damien was disappointed the guy hadn’t invited him inside. The sky hadn’t gotten any lighter. In fact, a few raindrops had started to fall. The temperature had cooled off by a few degrees, too.
At least Henry wasn’t trying to put a boot to Damien’s ass. Hope blossomed that he was willing to hear Damien out, so he had to let the past go and treat this visit like the business call that it was.
Instead of sitting beside him, Henry chose to lean against the porch railing, his arms still crossed over his chest, which told Damien that Henry was defensive, even if he was being cordial. Damien wanted to knock those arms aside and beg his ex-friend to forgive him so they could go back to the way things had been between them before he’d fucked that all up.
“How are your brothers doing?”
“Good.” Damien hadn’t expected small talk. “Thanks for asking.”
Awkwardness hung between them like two strangers meeting for the first time. Damien looked down at his boots, rubbed his hands up and down his thighs, and steeled himself. “I came by to ask about your semen prices.”
The history between them made that question uncomfortable as hell. Fuck if it didn’t feel more sexual than business. But he refused to rattle on that he was talking about the horses and not Henry. Damien Diamond did not do stumbling words, so he fell silent as he waited.
He wanted to ask how Henry’s dad was, but he wasn’t sure if Lannister Miller had made it out of his sickness or had gotten worse, and Damien didn’t want to bring the mood down and kill the business negotiation.
“Depends on which stud,” Henry said.
Henry gave a low whistle. “You’re not kidding around. He’s top pedigree.”
Damien sat back, tossing his arms over the back of the swing like he did as a teenager whenever they’d hung out on the porch. He kicked off with his boot, sending the swing into a gentle glide. “If you know about my dad, then you know the ranch is suffering. We’ve got a few buyers interested in prize colts, but first we need prize sperm.”
Henry nodded. “That would definitely change your ledger from red to black. I’m guessing you want my sperm right away?”
He. Is. Killing. Me. Why on earth did he have to phrase it that way?
Damien’s gaze dropped to Henry’s groin, but he immediately looked away as Holton’s warning shot through his head. “Sooner would be better.”
“I think it would be more cost effective if you bring your mare to my ranch,” Henry said. “I have a guy who comes to the ranch to extract the semen, but he bills by the hour.”
Damien doubted that he should come back and wondered why Henry would offer such a thing. In his opinion, the less they interacted, the better. He didn’t want old feelings surfacing—too late for that—and this deal to go south.
But Damien didn’t argue. Was Henry extending an olive branch? He wasn’t sure.
“You can bring the mare by later this evening. Right now I have pressing matters I need to take care of.”
Damien knew when he was being dismissed, so he got off the swing and nodded, unsure if he should shake the guy’s hand or just walk away. He got his answer when Henry walked inside, leaving him standing on the porch.
Fuck it. He’d accomplished what he’d set out to do. So why on earth did he feel like he’d been kicked in the nuts?
This honestly hadn’t been Damien’s intention when he’d brought Henry upstairs. He just knew that his best friend needed him, and Damien would be damned if he let Henry down. Even so, there was no way Damien could stop this anymore than he could stop himself from breathing.
Damien positioned himself between Henry’s legs, running his finger through the thick, dark thatch of hair. “Are you ready to have your mind blown?”
“I would prefer my cock being blown,” Henry said, though he moaned the words.
Oh fuck. Henry was playful in bed, and Damien loved that. He knew his friend was shy and thought he’d have to coax him into everything they did, but Henry was just a willing to learn as Damien was willing to teach.
Damien backed off long enough to lube his fingers before moving back in.
“Such a pretty cock.” Damien licked the base of Henry’s cock. Henry led the tip of his erection to Damien’s lips as Damien worked his fingers into Henry’s tight ass.
He was overwhelmed by how much he wanted Henry. Damien couldn’t ever remember feeling this needy before, this turned on. The desire in him surged as he inched Henry’s cock down his throat and his fingers worked at stretching the man.
Henry made him feel raw, wild things. Damien didn’t want this to ever end. And not just the sex. They’d already spent a lifetime together, sharing twenty-five years with each other. It was the last three years that Damien regretted. He should have read between the lines, should have known something was wrong when Henry had rejected him.
But he’d let his pride get in the way and wished he could get back that lost time. But Damien was going to make up for it in every way possible. He was going to show Henry that he was there for him, no matter what.
He never wanted Henry to feel alone again.
Damien pulled back, removing his fingers before he lubed his cock. He locked gazes with Henry as he slowly entered the man. “Grab the back of your knees and pull your legs back, hon.”
Henry’s eyes rolled to the back of his head as he did as Damien instructed. His lips parted, and Damien wanted to kiss them again. He wanted to kiss every part of the man’s body.
“Slow,” Henry whispered. “The stretch burns.”
“I’ll go as slow as you want.” Damien kissed along Henry’s jaw. “But the slower I go, the longer it will take for your pain to turn into pleasure.”
Henry looked at him with heavy-lidded eyes. “Then don’t go slow. I want to feel the pleasure.”
As he inched inside, Damien grabbed Henry’s ankles, spreading the man’s legs apart as he watched his body join with Henry’s. It was the most breathtaking sight he’d ever seen.
The skin hugged him so tightly that his teeth ached from gritting them together. He wanted to make this last all night but knew he couldn’t. Henry was too much of a temptation, and Damien wasn’t going to last that damn long.
“So b-big,” Henry breathed out.
Damien stilled. “Am I hurting you?”
Henry shook his head, the blue of his irises sparkling. “No. The pain is easing. Don’t stop.”
Damien pulled back and then slid inside, slowly at first and then faster. He couldn’t stop himself. His punched his hips forward, thrusting his cock harder inside Henry, the pleasure so damn good he wanted to growl with it.
Henry seemed eager, matching Damien thrust for thrust. Damien dropped over Henry, the palms of his hands on either side of the man’s head as he took Henry’s lips in kiss burning with so much desire the two of them should have caught fire.
The man was so hot, so tight around Damien’s cock, the muscles gripping Damien like a slick, velvety glove.
“How have I not done this before?” Henry asked when their lips parted.
“You needed time to come to grips with your sexuality.” Damien grinned and drove deeper. “I have no problem showing you the ways, grasshopper.”
Henry’s brows furrowed. “Your eyes.”
Damien knew they were his bear’s eyes. He was drowning in lust, in passion, and his bear was close to the surface. “Just my bear peeking out.”
“There’s so much I have to learn.” Henry moaned and thrust his ass upward. “You’ll have to show me your bear after this.”
Damien flexed and was rewarded with a swift intake of air from Henry. The man looked reverently at him, and Damien never wanted that look to diminish. Never again would he allow anything to drive a wedge between them.
There was a niggling in the back of his mind, and Damien remembered what he should have warned Henry about.
Pregnancy. That was one of many things Henry didn’t know about their kind. It didn’t matter if the person was male or female. Then again, Henry wouldn’t conceive if the Diamond family crest didn’t show up on him. But Damien wouldn’t know until afterward. If the seal burned itself into Henry’s skin, then they would not only be mates, but Henry’s body would go through the change in order to carry their child.
Damien would cross that bridge when he came to it. If he came to it. Henry might not be his mate, and that thought saddened Damien.
But it was too damn late to turn back now. Only the end of the world could stop Damien from finishing what they’d started. There was no way he could pull back now.