[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Alternative, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA
Fed up with his abusive boyfriend, Lacey Shooman headed to Blue Ridge for a job as a housekeeper at a guest ranch. From the moment he met Holton, things were chaotic between them. They fought like crazy, and Lacey didn’t think they would ever get along. Now someone was out to get him. What Lacey thought was a simple car accident wasn’t. And now the person is growing bolder, putting Holton’s life at risk as well.
From the moment Holton Diamond laid eyes on Lacey, he knew the guy was trouble. Holton just couldn’t understand why Lacey got under his skin so much. Lacey was free to date whomever he wanted, but when Holton suspected Lacey and Owen of getting closer, he lost it. Now not only does Holton have to show the human that he wants to be with him but protect the guy from a crazed person out to end Lacey and Holton’s lives.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Holton was tired after the long day he’d spent breaking in a new horse. He was still trying to figure out who had bailed them out of debt and paid for the repairs of the stables when the building had succumbed to arson four months ago.
His brother had stopped inquiring about the anonymous donor, but on the down-low, Holton was still trying to figure it out.
He stepped into the house and stopped. The smells from the kitchen were wonderful, filling his senses with what smelled like pot roast and potatoes. He was glad Danni had agreed to cook for them. He and his brothers no longer had to go into town to eat.
“Danni just told me dinner is ready,” Henry said as he came down the stairs. “You better go wash up. You know how he feels about dirty men at his table.”
Holton gave Henry a warm smile. He’d known the guy since Henry was a small boy. He used to come to Diamond Ranch all the time until he and Damien had had a fallout. Holton was glad they’d patched things up and now had a beautiful daughter.
“I’ll be right in,” Holton said. “Let me wash up in the downstairs bathroom.”
“Okay.” Henry walked into the dining room while Holton made his way down the hall. He envied Damien and Keene. They were both mated with children. Danni had given birth about a month ago to a handsome boy. They’d named him Dash, after their grandfather.
Dash Diamond. That name still made Holton smile. He’d loved his grandfather deeply and missed him now that he was no longer with them. He’d actually passed about ten years ago, but it still felt like yesterday.
Holton stopped when a stranger walked out of one of the rooms and looked around, as if he were casing the joint. After what had happened over the past four months, Holton wasn’t taking any chances, especially since there were cubs in the house.
He stormed down the hallway and slammed the stranger against the wall, using his forearm to press into the bastard’s neck. “Who the fuck are you, and why are you in my house?”
The guy flailed as he tried to get Holton’s arm off of him.
“Holton, no!” Danni raced toward them, trying his best to yank Holton away. “He’s the new guy at the guest ranch. He just got here today!”
Fuck! Holton released him and took a step back.
The guy gasped for breath as he clutched at his throat. “You’re a fucking moron! All you had to do was ask who I was. You didn’t have to turn into a barbarian!”
“What were you doing coming out of that bedroom?” Holton asked.
“I got lost. Danni told me the bathroom was down this hallway, and I picked the wrong door. Sue me!”
“Holton, this is Lacey,” Danni said. “He’s gonna help out if he doesn’t declare us insane and leave.”
Shit. Holton remembered Keene telling him about hiring a guy for the guest ranch, but Holton hadn’t expected him to be here in their house. “I’m sorry about that. After everything this family has been through, I couldn’t take any chances.”
“Screw your apology.” Lacey narrowed his electrifying blue eyes. “Consider yourself lucky I don’t kick your ass for doing that to me.”
Holton frowned. Lacey was around five feet eleven inches, but he was as skinny as a whip. There was no way he could put Holton on his ass. He was just wise enough not to point that out. “I said I was sorry.”
“You’ll have to excuse him,” Danni said as he wrung his hands. “This family truly has been through the wringer. The last stranger to invade one of our homes turned out to be a serial killer.”
Lacey’s eyes widened. “Are you for real?”
Danni nodded as Holton looked the guy over to make sure he hadn’t done any permanent damage. Lacey was talking just fine, so Holton hadn’t done anything too serious.
“He got fixated on me,” Danni went on. “He even kidnapped me, but Keene saved me.”
Holton cleared his throat.
Danni patted Holton’s arm. “As did Holton and Damien.”
Lacey looked at Holton, his eye narrowed. “You still could have asked. If I wanted to be manhandled by a quarterback, I would have joined a team. Those muscles should be registered as lethal weapons.”
Holton wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or an insult. “How many times do you want me to say I’m sorry?”
“Until I’m no longer pissed at you.” Lacey walked toward the dining room, and Holton’s gaze fell to the guy’s nice backside, which swayed from side to side.
“He’s, um…different,” Danni said. “Just make sure you don’t try to kill him again.”
Holton grunted. He’d just been trying to protect his family, and that was the thanks he got. His brothers weren’t going to let him live this down, especially Owen.
He headed into the bathroom and washed his hands before joining everyone in the dining room. Lacey shot daggers at him from where he sat.
Holton chose to sit on the opposite side, and at the opposite end.
Owen winked at Holton. “I invite the new help to dinner and you try to crush his throat. Nice. I got rope and a shovel if you want to finish him off.”
“I actually like you,” Lacey said to Owen. “Don’t get on my shit list, too.”
Holton ignored the youngest Diamond brother. That would only encourage Owen to take it further, and that was the last thing Holton wanted.
“Damn.” Damien chuckled. “You know how to introduce yourself.”
“All right. Get it all out. Let me hear all your jokes.” Holton reached for a biscuit in the center basket as he waited to hear what else his brothers had to say.
“I’m truly sorry for his behavior.” Keene glared at him. “Holton was dropped on his head as a child. I promise you that won’t happen again, Lacey.”
“His name is Lacey Shooman,” Owen said. “Let that sink in.”
Keene slapped Owen’s arm and turned his glare on him. “Knock it off.”
“Since when are you the mature one?” Henry asked Keene. “If I recall, you were right there with Owen almost every time he got into trouble.”
Keene shrugged. “A man has to grow up sometimes. I’m a father now, so I have to set a good example.”
Holton noticed how Lacey looked between Keene and Danni, as if trying to figure out how they had a kid together. Someone must have told him that Keene and Danni were together. Knowing Owen, it was him.
Let Lacey sit on that one. Holton wasn’t going to be the one to tell him that bear shifters existed and that men could have children. He was going to stay as far away from Lacey as possible.
Holton’s arm tightened around Lacey. “Darlin’, you don’t have to play coy. I would never reject or deny any of your advances. You could scratch my beard or run in front of me naked, and both would turn me on.”
Lacey frowned. “It’s that easy to please you?”
Holton shrugged. “I’m not a complicated man. My asinine actions with you aside, I’m pretty laidback.”
“You’re laidback now.” Lacey wiggled his eyes. “Right here on my bed. We could make good use of our time.”
Holton gave a little growl. “Oh yeah? Have anything in mind?”
Lacey tapped his chin, the side of his mouth quivering, like he was fighting a smile. “We could watch videos on my phone or play cards or share embarrassing stories.”
“Or make out,” Holton added.
“Or see who can find the most freckles on the other’s body.” Lacey turned so red that his face should have caught fire. Instead of shying away from what was happening to him, Lacey pointed to his face. “See, I suck at seduction. My face feels like I stuck it in an oven.”
“You’re like a breath of fresh air, Lacey Shooman.” Holton pulled Lacey up until their faces were inches apart. “Yep, I can feel the heat coming off of it in waves.”
“Hot enough to fry an egg on it,” Lacey said in a breathy voice. “Should we test that theory?”
“How about I kiss you and see if my lips don’t burn right off?”
They’d just been teasing each other, but Holton wanted to make sure that was what Lacey really wanted. His left eye was bruised all to hell, and not only did he have a cut on his head that had needed stitches but Lacey had a small one on his left cheek where the glass from the window must have gotten him.
From the way the car had looked when Holton had arrived at the accident scene, Lacey was damn lucky he hadn’t sustained more severe injuries.
“Then let me see how deep I can blush before we try our experiment.” It was Lacey who closed the small distance, brushing his lips over Holton’s. It didn’t take long for the chaste kiss to turn into a fire, and not from Lacey’s blushing.
Holton rolled to his back, draping Lacey across his chest. He cupped the guy’s face, tracing his thumbs over Lacey’s heated cheeks as he took the kiss deeper. It was Lacey who wrapped his legs on either side of Holton’s waist, which surprised him.
How could the guy say he didn’t know how to seduce when he was enticing Holton in ways that made him want to make love to Lacey for hours? Lacey’s ass was perched right on top of Holton’s groin, and once again the little vixen was grinding into him.
“If you don’t stop, I might not be able to control myself.” Holton pressed his hands against Lacey’s face, kissing him, nipping his lips, and feeling as if he couldn’t get enough of him.
“Who said I wanted you to stop?” Lacey pulled away and slid down Holton’s body.
He held his breath and watched as Lacey shoved Holton’s shirt up and attacked one of his nipples. Holton hissed, gripped Lacey’s sides, and ground his hard dick into the guy’s denim-covered ass.
This guy was dangerous for Holton. He didn’t seem to have any control around Lacey, and the more he learned about the guy, the more Holton wanted to know. But right now the only thing he could focus on were Lacey’s lips and the way the guy writhed on top of him.
“Last chance to back out,” Holton said through gritted teeth. “Last chance before I strip you naked and have my way with you.”
Lacey sat up, licking his lips as he pulled his shirt over his head. There was a very faint mark across his pale chest where the seat belt had stopped him from flying out the windshield. Holton traced his fingers over the mark, thanking whoever was listening that Lacey hadn’t been hurt worse. If that guardrail hadn’t held, the guy would have gone careening down the steep embankment.
“I could win a beauty prize right now.” Lacey frowned.
“You’re perfect.” Holton looked up at him. “You’ve been perfect from the moment I laid eyes on you.”
“You don’t have to butter me up,” Lacey teased. “I’m already going to sleep with you.”
“It’s the god’s honest truth.” Holton jackknifed, careful not to knock Lacey off of him, then removed his own shirt. When he lay back down, he tapped Lacey’s hip. “Kind of hard to get my pants off with you sitting there. Although, I have to say, you look real good on top of me.”
Lacey slipped off of Holton and stood by the side of the bed, stripping the rest of his clothes off. Holton watched him carefully for any signs of dizziness, but Lacey kept his feet steady under him.
As soon as he knew the guy wouldn’t fall over, Holton lifted his ass and kicked his jeans and underwear off, peeling his socks off, too.
Lacey stood there staring at him.
“What’s wrong?” Holton asked.
“Fuck, you’re gorgeous,” Lacey whispered. “You really are built like a bear. I don’t mean hairy, but thick.”
Holton made his pecs bounce. He was peacocking and didn’t care. Lacey smiled as he slipped back onto the bed. “Showoff.”
“For you, yep.” He placed his hands on Lacey’s hips when the man straddled him again. “Did it work?”
Lacey winked at him. “Oh, I’m very impressed, Mr. Diamond.” He wiggled his ass, driving Holton insane. “Especially with that beast between your legs.”
The guy knew how to stroke an ego. He slid his hand around Lacey’s nape and pulled him down for a sloppy, possessive kiss. Now that the barrier of clothes was gone, when they touched, it felt ten times more intimate. Holton glided his free hand around Lacey’s hip and rested it just above his ass.
Lacey wiggled his butt, as if telling Holton to do more than rest his hand there. So he slid his finger down the crease between his pale globes, enjoying the sound when Lacey sucked in a quick and shallow breath.
Holton went even lower, tapping at Lacey’s hole.