[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Werewolves, Suspense, MM, HEA]
Julian Sanders thinks starting a new life will be easy—until he meets Sheriff Dominic Harper. The gorgeous man flirts with Julian, even though Julian is running from a past he’d rather forget. When Julian is attacked in his home, Dominic comes to the rescue. Now Julian’s staying with Dominic, afraid to go home, and he discovers a mind-blowing secret about the sexy sheriff. The guy he’s digging on is a bear shifter.
The moment Dominic meets Julian, he knows the human is his mate. But Julian is shy, and it takes a month for his mate to agree to go out with him. The first date is simple yet perfect and Dominic can see a future with the human. Unfortunately, Julian’s past is catching up to him when trouble blows into town. Together, they navigate through the danger, losing their hearts to each other along the way.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
The moment Dominic walked through the door of the diner Julian couldn’t take his eyes off the man. It wasn’t just because Dominic was a towering figure with broad shoulders and a chiseled jawline, although that certainly didn’t hurt. No, it was something more than that. Something that Julian couldn’t quite put his finger on.
Every time Dominic came to the diner—which was every day—Julian felt a weird connection to the guy, like he’d known the sheriff his entire life, which was crazy since Julian had been in Midnight Falls for only a month and had yet to have a decent conversation with him.
“Um…hi,” Julian said as he walked over to the table where Dominic had taken a seat. “What can I get for you today?”
“Just a cup of coffee for now, Julian,” Dominic said, his voice deep and smooth.
If the guy just wanted coffee, why hadn’t he gone to Bluebird Café? Not that Julian was complaining. He’d never complain about having an opportunity to drool over the sheriff.
“Of course.” Julian poured the coffee with slightly shaky hands. He tried to keep his cool around the sheriff, but it was getting harder and harder each time Dominic came into the diner. There was just something about him that made Julian feel like he was going to explode with desire.
As he poured the coffee, Julian glanced at Dominic. Their eyes met for just a moment, and in that moment, Julian felt something shift inside him. It was like a jolt of electricity running through his veins.
“I couldn’t help but notice you seem a bit distracted,” Dominic said, his tone playful but with a hint of suggestion. “Is everything all right?”
Julian blushed furiously, but he couldn’t deny the chemistry between them. “Oh, yeah. I’m fine,” he stammered. “Just…uh…lost in thought, I guess.”
Dominic chuckled. “Well, don’t let me interrupt. What were you thinking about?”
“Nothing important.” Julian shook his head. “Just…stuff.”
Like how many flat surfaces were in the diner for Dominic to bend him over. Like how it would feel to kiss the gorgeous man. Like how it would feel to have all those muscles wrapped around him as Dominic pounded into his ass.
Julian hurried away, cursing himself for turning into a mindless boob whenever Dominic was near him.
God, shoot me now.
Julian hurried to serve the customers at the other tables, but he felt Dominic’s gaze following him everywhere. When Julian moved to Midnight Falls over a month ago, he’d been down in the dumps because of a bad breakup, but he never thought a hunk like Dominic would flirt with him.
Not in a million years.
Julian knew he wasn’t bad looking, but Dominic was at least a freaking ten, while Julian hovered around a four or five. He had no clue why the sheriff flirted with him, and damn it, that flirting always flustered him.
He sucked at flirting, sucked at casual conversations with hot men, and from what he’d seen so far of the town, tons of hot men lived here. None had paid Julian any attention, and he liked that. Julian liked fading into the background. He wasn’t one of those people who needed to be seen.
But Dominic saw him.
Julian was so lost in thought that he’d spaced out.
Oh shit! He was pouring a cup of coffee for a customer, his mind on Dominic, and the cup of hot liquid had overflowed.
“Julian!” Roman, his boss and the owner of Deep Dish, shouted for him.
This wasn’t Julian’s first mess-up. Before coming to this hidden gem of a town, he’d been a laborer in countless factories. He hadn’t known a thing about bussing tables and taking orders, but Roman had given him a chance.
The guy was probably regretting that decision.
After grabbing a rag and cleaning up the spill, Julian rushed over to the counter. The look of frustration on Roman’s face didn’t bode well for him. He really needed this job. No other place had been hiring, except for the Fearless Fox, but slinging drinks was even less appealing than waiting tables.
Not only did Julian know zilch about drinks, but his former boyfriend had also worked at a bar, had cheated relentlessly on him, and working at a place like Fearless Fox might have brought back too many painful memories.
It was just best to forget Rob existed and move on.
“Um, yeah?” Julian braced himself, expecting Roman to fire him.
“Stop drooling over the sheriff and pay attention to what you’re doing,” Roman warned.
“I was not!” Julian argued.
“Paying attention?” Roman asked. “Yeah, I could see that.”
“No, I meant drooling over…well…I wasn’t.” Julian tossed a hand in the air as if it was an absurd idea. “Just because he has amazing facial angles, pretty mocha skin, bedroom eyes, a well-groomed beard and mustache, and is built like a bull doesn’t mean I was drooling over him.”
Roman frowned. “You just listed every reason why you are flustered by him. Pay attention so you don’t burn someone’s balls off with that hot coffee.”
Unfortunately, Roman was right. Julian needed to get his mind off of Dominic and back on his work. At least his boss hadn’t fired him. Julian shuddered at the thought of having to live in his car if he lost his job. His paychecks barely paid his bills, but he did have a roof over his head and food in his fridge.
When Julian turned, he saw Elijah snickering. His coworker thought the situation funny, and if roles were reversed, Julian might have thought the same thing.
Julian groaned when he saw Dominic trying to wave him over. He was half tempted to send Elijah over there, but it was his table, so Julian made his way to the sheriff.
“I’ve decided on breakfast,” Dominic said.
Great, that meant the guy would be at the diner longer. As much as Julian loved ogling the sheriff, he didn’t need another screwup. And if Dominic stayed, there would definitely be screwups.
“What can I get for you?” Julian pulled out the little handheld device he’d been given on his first day to take orders. It enabled Roman to get the orders on a screen in the kitchen, which meant orders came out faster.
Right now it was pretty dead, but most mornings were chaotic.
“I’ll have the Cinnabon French toast, sausages, bacon, eggs over medium, wheat toast, and a side of grits.”
Julian looked Dominic up and down. “And where do you plan on putting all that food?”
True, Dominic was a towering guy. Julian guessed he was around six-five, and he had to weigh close to three hundred pounds. Three hundred pounds of pure muscle.
“I have a ferocious appetite.” The way Dominic looked at Julian, the innuendo hanging between them, made Julian’s face catch fire.
“Is that sausage patties or links?”
“Both.” Dominic patted his flat gut. “Need the calories if I’m going to serve and protect.”
“More like eat and nap,” Julian teased then curled his lips in. “I’ll get that to you as soon as it’s ready.”
He ran away from Dominic before he said something else stupid.
Julian wasn’t sure why he was so excited about the sight of snow. The fat flakes were softly falling, creating a sort of wonderland with the pine trees that surrounded the house. He’d been looking out the window for Dominic’s return, and when he’d spotted the snow, Julian had run to the kitchen like a little kid and made hot apple cider.
There had already been apple cider in the fridge. Julian just warmed up some. He also made a fire in the fireplace.
He was hoping that the warmth of the fire and the sweetness of the cider would help him forget about his worries for a little while. Julian settled onto the couch, holding his mug with both hands, and watched the snow falling outside.
Then he spotted Dominic lumbering back toward the house. The bear stopped, shook off the snow from its fur, then trotted toward the porch. Julian remained in awe of the majestic animal and was still baffled as to how anyone could shift into a bear—he refused to think of all the other shifters in town and their different species—let alone a bear that size.
Julian got up and went to the window, his mug still in his hands as he watched Dominic shift into his human form. Sweet baby Jesus, the guy had a rocking body. Julian noticed the way his muscles rippled under his skin, and he felt a little flushed. He quickly turned away, hoping that Dominic hadn’t caught him staring.
They were mates and had been intimate with each other, but it was still creepy to watch someone unaware as they stood there naked, getting dressed.
“Hey,” Julian greeted him as he entered the house. “How was your run?”
“Good,” Dominic replied, a small smile playing on his lips. “The snow was a nice touch.”
Julian held up his mug. “I thought it would be nice to have some cider by the fire. I hope it’s okay that I did that.”
Dominic rolled his eyes as he pulled Julian close. “I keep telling you that my home is your home.”
There had been a point, in the first three days that Julian had been there, that he thought he’d have to duct-tape Dominic’s mouth shut because the guy had said that so much. “It’s still polite to ask.”
Dominic chuckled, the sound vibrating through Julian’s body. “Fair enough,” he said. “But you don’t have to ask for anything.”
Julian smiled up at Dominic, feeling a sudden surge of desire coursing through his veins. He couldn’t help it. The man was just too damn sexy. “Thanks,” he said softly.
“Come on,” Dominic said, taking Julian’s hand and leading him toward the couch. “Let’s enjoy the fire and the cider. I still owe you a Lifetime movie.”
Julian loved that Dominic was willing to watch a movie he wasn’t interested in.
He allowed himself to be pulled along, because who wouldn’t want a sexy man guiding them around? They settled onto the couch, Dominic’s arm draped over Julian’s shoulders as they sipped from their mugs. The silence between them was comfortable, filled only with the sound of the crackling fire and the soft patter of snow against the window panes.
But Julian couldn’t ignore the heat building inside of him. He turned his head toward Dominic, watching the way the firelight danced off his face. He saw the same desire reflected in his mate’s eyes, and suddenly they were kissing, their lips hungry and fierce as they explored each other’s mouths.
So much for watching a movie.
Julian barely had the wherewithal to set his mug aside. Dominic’s had fallen to the floor.
Julian moaned into the kiss, grinding his hips against Dominic’s, and his mate growled in response. Julian felt like he was on fire, his body burning with need. He wanted Dominic like he’d never wanted anyone before.
They broke apart, gasping for breath. Dominic stared at Julian with intense eyes, his voice low and husky. “Bedroom?” he asked.
Julian didn’t hesitate. “Yes,” he breathed.
Dominic’s lips descended on his, hot and insistent, as he lifted Julian up and carried him to the bedroom. Julian was lost in the sensation of Dominic’s mouth on his, his hands roaming over his body as though he couldn’t get enough.
Dominic’s big hands were moving over Julian’s chest, his belly, and Julian moaned as those big fingers found his nipple. His cock was already throbbing with need, and he could tell that Dominic was getting just as hard.
Julian reached down and gripped Dominic’s cock through his pants, eliciting a groan from his mate. He was going to explode if they didn’t get out of their clothes soon.
Julian stripped off his clothes, while Dominic quickly kicked off his own. They both stood there for a moment, admiring each other’s naked bodies, before Dominic grabbed Julian, pressing him up against the wall.
He kissed Julian deeply, his hands wandering down to cup his ass and pull him closer as he ground his hips against Julian’s. Julian could feel the hard length of Dominic’s cock pressing against him. The sensation was almost too much to bear.
Dominic pulled away from the kiss and looked into Julian’s eyes. “I want you,” he said.
Julian smirked as he said, “I would never have been able to tell if you hadn’t said anything.”
A bark of laughter escaped Dominic. “Cheeky.”
He lay Julian down on the bed and hovered over him. “Let me show you how much I want you.”
“You never explained the honeymoon period to me,” Julian said, though he was having a hard time stringing two words together. He wasn’t even sure why he was talking right now.
“I’m showing you.” Dominic wiggled his brows. “I’ll be showing you for the next two weeks what it’s all about.”
“Oh.” Julian dragged the word out. Now he understood, and he loved the idea of having hot, sweaty, desperate sex with his mate for the next two weeks.
And for many, many years to come.
His mate grabbed Julian by the hips then flipped them. Now Julian was on top, but Dominic shook his head. “Turn fully around.”
Julian caught on to what his mate wanted. He slipped off Dominic’s body, turned, then straddled him again. Now Dominic’s cock was in Julian’s face and vice versa. Julian’s eyes damn near crossed when Dominic engulfed his cock.
Then he devoured Dominic’s shaft, taking the length all the way down his throat. Dominic grunted and moaned, and Julian was tantalized by the way his mate’s body shivered with pleasure. He wanted to make this moment last forever, and it seemed that Dominic felt the same, because he reached for Julian’s hands and clutched them tightly.
The pleasure and intensity of the experience was almost too much, but Julian kept going, wanting to give as much pleasure as he could. A few times he pulled his hips forward, dislodging his cock from between Dominic’s lips just so he could hold back his orgasm.