Karidon stilled when he heard something in the living room and then remembered that Quad had spent the night. Had Karidon shouted in his sleep? Had he cried? Had Quad heard anything?
A bunch of the guys had come by last night to get drunk, and Quad had been too wasted to leave. Now Karidon wished he’d called the guy a cab. He didn’t want anyone to witness him fresh from a nightmare.
“Didn’t have enough last night?” Quad asked as he sauntered into the kitchen, his dark brown eyes landing on the bottle in Karidon’s hand. “I think I’ll have a simple cup of coffee.”
Karidon jutted his chin toward the coffeepot. “Help yourself.”
As he watched Quad prep a pot of coffee, Karidon tried to calm his nerves. His fingers gripped the bottle tight as he hoped Quad hadn’t heard anything. The Enforcer moved slowly as if Karidon would flip out at any sudden moves.
Had things gotten that bad that his friends tiptoed around him? His friend Coop already treated him like spun glass, and Karidon hated that. At least with Coop he understood. The two had been best friends since forever, and Coop had been there on more than one occasion when Karidon's father had beaten him beyond recognition. His best friend knew his shame. The other men could only guess at Karidon's issues.
“I can throw together some breakfast if you want,” Quad offered as he poured himself some coffee. As he sipped, the guy studied Karidon over the rim of his mug.
Karidon shook his head. Food didn’t sound appealing to him. “It’s too early.” He tried to chuckle, but even to his own ears, it sounded false.
Quad opened the back door and looked out over the darkened backyard. The scent of honeysuckle wafted into the kitchen on a warm summer breeze. The sun wouldn’t rise for another hour, yet the morning seemed so serene compared to Karidon’s nightmare.
“Why don’t you grab a cup of coffee and sit out here with me?” Quad opened the screen door and stepped outside.
Karidon glanced at the bottle in his hand. He’d never been a drinker, but over the past few months, he’d damn near drank Stillwater dry. His gut rolled, and his mouth tasted as though he’d licked the bottom of a trashcan.
After exchanging the bottle for a hot cup of coffee, Karidon padded outside. He took a seat on the back deck that he and a few of the Enforcers had built a few summers ago.
“This is my favorite time of the day,” Quad said offhandedly. “The birds are tweeting, and the breeze is rustling through the leaves. No car horns or the intrusion of life. Just you and nature.”
Karidon wished he could be at peace. It wasn’t for lack of trying. Since the incident at the paper mill, his sleep had been for shit. Fatigue rode him hard but the fear of falling asleep stopped him from getting a good night's rest. He’d tossed and turned last night and had gotten only two hours of shut eye.
As he sat there, Karidon watched the leaves dance across the grass and listened as the wind rustled through the trees. The tranquility of nature began to lull him, though he fought to keep his eyes open. They sagged and when Karidon blinked them open, the sky had brightened from the rising sun.
Turning his head, he noticed that Quad had left and it was Ollie who sat there now. His hands were tucked between his knees and his blond head tilted slightly to the side. “You snore.”
Karidon slowly rose to a sitting position and wiped his mouth before setting his cup of coffee on the table next to him. He couldn’t believe he had dozed off. He also couldn’t believe that he hadn’t dreamt.
“What are you doing here?” he asked as he cleared his throat.
“Aunt Mya wanted me to invite you over for breakfast.” Ollie waved toward Karidon. “When I found you asleep, I didn’t want to wake you.”
Shards of sunlight refracted in the man’s green eyes, making them sparkle like uncut diamonds. Karidon became momentarily drawn to them, before he glanced away. He remembered the kiss he’d given Ollie when Coop’s daughter was born—a kiss that he shouldn’t have given. The last thing he wanted to do was lead Ollie on.
“Let me shower and then I’ll be over.”
“Good, then I don’t have to give you Coop’s threat,” Ollie said with a low, light laugh.
Arching an eyebrow, Karidon asked, “And what threat would that be?”
“That if you didn’t come over he was going to send Aunt Mya to come get you.”
Although Karidon liked Mya, he didn’t want her over. She was too wise, and he didn’t want to hear any of her advice this morning.
Karidon once again was pulled in by the sight of Ollie. The guy wore tight jeans and a tank top, showing off flawless skin that Karidon wanted to touch, craved to caress. His cock began to thicken while he gazed at the leopard’s slim body. The man’s hair seemed to grow paler in the sun as he continued to smile at Karidon.
Such a sweet, innocent smile. A smile I would shatter if the guy knew what truly troubled me.
“Give me twenty.” Karidon stood and walked inside. He needed to put some space between them. Though he knew Ollie was smitten with him, Karidon was haunted by too many demons. Ollie deserved better than a guy handicapped by nightmares and excessive drinking. He didn’t need someone who drowned himself in a bottle to try and outrun his own fucked-up mind.
Karidon snatched the bottle from the counter and finished it off before he made his way to the bathroom to get his day started.
Before Karidon could step farther away, Ollie reached out and grabbed the man’s cock. “And this is for me?”
Karidon’s eyes widened, as if he hadn’t expected Ollie to be so bold. He moaned before he jerked his cock free. “I didn’t say you could touch me.”
“You didn’t say I couldn’t,” Ollie countered. “There’s no use in having a to-die-for body when no one can touch it.”
“Who said no one touched it?” Karidon asked tensely.
Shit. Ollie was blowing this.
“You’re sure as shit not letting me,” he said, hoping he smoothed things over with his obvious disappointment. “If you play, I play.”
Karidon smirked again. “Be careful what you wish for, love. You might be biting off more than you can chew.”
“You won’t know until I bite,” Ollie challenged, proud of his strong voice and confident quips. He might not be able to back up his retorts, but he was going to try like hell.
“Why don’t you suck me off, and we’ll go from there?” The man made it sound so impersonal.
Ollie shook his head. “I want more than oral. I want more than a hand job. Promise me full-on sex, and then we’ll talk.”
Karidon blinked at him. “So passionate about what you want.”
“Freaking needy.” Ollie admitted the truth. “Horny is more like it, and you’re not letting me leave here frustrated.”
“Are you sure?” Karidon challenged.
“Damn sure,” Ollie said, patting himself on the back for being so aggressive, so demanding. “Now, how do we go about this? Do you pay me first?”
Karidon looked shocked.
Ollie laughed. “Just kidding. Lighten up.”
The man didn’t look amused. “Get on the bed.”
The laughter died on his lips as Ollie glanced toward the bed. This was it. Showtime. Put up or get the hell out.
Karidon pressed his broad chest into Ollie’s slim back. He could feel the man’s cock pressing into the crack of his backside. “Scared, gatito?”
“You’re Latino?” Ollie asked in surprise. While Karidon had the exotic looks, Ollie had never put much thought into the man’s ethnicity. It was kind of exiting to know he was getting a hot, steamy Latino lover—or so he hoped.
“I didn’t spray my year-round tan on,” Karidon said. “Nor did I use surgical enhancements for my dark looks. Now answer me.”
“Nervous,” Ollie admitted. “Nordic.”
“Just sayin’. My ancestors were Nordic.” He shrugged. “Since we’re sharing our backgrounds. Though my mother was Irish. But and my twin and I took on our father’s looks.”
He was babbling. Ollie winced. Could he seem more inept?
“Nice of you to share.” Karidon smacked his ass. It stung, but then he massaged where he’d hit Ollie, and the sting turned into heat. “Get on the bed.”
Chewing his lower lip, Ollie climbed over the messy bedding and then settled on his back. Karidon shook his head.
“What?” Ollie asked as he froze in confusion.
“Hands and knees.”
Karidon whirled his finger until Ollie turned over. He felt too vulnerable in this position. Karidon would be able to see his most intimate parts. But wasn’t that the point? Knowing this didn’t help calm his nerves. In fact, they were stretched thin.
Karidon ran his hand over Ollie’s ass, his fingers tracing the crease of his backside. Ollie had showered before he’d come over, but he now wanted to run home and scrub down again just to be on the safe side. No, he only wanted to stall, and he wasn’t going to do that.
“Do you know how sweet you would look with a plug in your ass?” Karidon asked as he kneaded Ollie’s cheeks.
His fingers traced over Ollie’s sac, alternating between massaging and pulling gently. His hands dropped away, and Ollie nearly protested until Karidon began to touch his calves, working his way up Ollie’s thighs. His touch was light as his fingers ghosted over Ollie’s skin.
Ollie had read about plugs online. It had been the source for most of his sexual education. High school had taught him only so much, and his fumbling experiences hadn’t taught him squat. High school sex education had never even broached the subject of BDSM. He was hoping to get a crash course from Karidon.
He didn’t think Karidon’s question required an answer, so he kept quiet. Ollie couldn’t string two words together right now anyway. Karidon’s soft touches were affecting him, frying his brain, making it shut down. His hands were so big on Ollie. Karidon’s fingers covered a good bit of his ass.
Ollie was willing to bet that a good portion of his left cheek was red from Karidon’s smack. Karidon began to knead Ollie’s ass again, and Ollie moaned as he lowered his head into the mattress. He moved his hips, swiveling them, praying Karidon filled him to completeness.
“Are you still willing to give yourself to me?” the man asked.
Ollie heard the snick of a cap and began to shiver. He might not have gone all the way, but he knew the sound of lube being opened.
“Yes,” he said with a moan.
“Very well, gatito. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
Ollie’s mouth went slack when something wet entered him. He wasn’t sure what it was until that something began to vibrate. Ollie’s eyes widened as his hips shot forward. The thing wasn’t that big, but the sensations were mind blowing.
“I must prepare you,” Karidon said, and for some reason, an accent Ollie had never heard the man speak began to thicken Karidon’s voice. “I promise to bring you pleasure. But I will not take you until I think you’re ready.”
Ollie knew there was a good man under all of Karidon’s bluster, but he hadn’t known how caring until now. Karidon might talk a good game when kicking Ollie out, but he was taking his time, cooing encouragements to Ollie as he used the toy to fuck Ollie’s ass.