[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Werewolves, Romantic Suspense, HEA]
For over a year Jamie has been running from his abusive ex. It seems no matter what city or town he is in, Stranton always finds him. After hitching a ride to Willow Point, Jamie finds a job working at Kent’s Café. As soon as he meets the café owner, Jamie feels the chemistry between them. It was an attraction like nothing he’s ever felt before. But with trouble on his heels, Jamie tries to keep his distance from his sexy new boss.
Kent knows the guy ordering coffee has something to hide. It’s in his amber eyes. When he sits down to talk with Jamie, he is stunned to discover the human is his mate. Kent tries to be there for Jamie, but all Jamie wants to do is push him away. When a single rose shows up outside Jamie’s motel door, Kent knows his mate is running from someone, and Kent will do everything in his power to stop Stranton from taking Jamie away from him.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
The heat of the day was oppressive as Jamie stepped into Kent’s Café and looked around. He curled his fingers around the straps of his backpack and prayed this place was hiring. It was the fifth business he had tried in Willow Point, and so far, he hadn’t had any luck.
Hopefully that would change here. Jamie inhaled the aroma of coffee and something sweet baking. The scents permeated the air and filled his lungs as he stepped in line to wait his turn, enjoying the feel of the cool air on his heated skin.
The café seemed almost intimate, unlike those chain stores. There were tables for people to sit, as well as a few overstuffed chairs. It was a business one would expect in a small town. The word cozy came to mind.
When Jamie reached the counter, he took a step back. The guy staring at him was tall, muscular, and fierce looking. Jamie tried to get his voice to work, but all that came out was a rush of air.
“Can I help you?” The barista smiled, and Jamie’s insides clenched. Whoever this guy was, he was simply gorgeous. His hazel eyes sparkled as he looked at Jamie expectantly.
“I…uh…” Jamie swept his gaze across the overhead board, trying his best to get his heart to slow. He noticed how the barista looked him over, probably wondering why Jamie wore long sleeves on such a hot day. “Small coffee,” he finally managed.
“Coming right up.” The barista’s voice was as sinful as chocolate.
Jamie pulled his wallet free and, by habit, reached for his credit card. Then he remembered why he couldn’t use it. Instead, he dug out the ten he had and handed it over when the guy returned with a cardboard cup.
After Jamie paid, he took a seat in one of the overstuffed chairs toward the back. He’d meant to ask if this place was hiring, but seeing the giant behind the counter had thrown him.
Jamie hadn’t expected to be so attracted to a stranger, not when his life was falling apart. Being interested in someone was the last thing he needed right now. His life was in chaos, and hopefully he could stick around this town longer than the last one.
Life was movement. Jamie had learned that the hard way. If he kept bouncing from one town or city to the next, Stranton couldn’t find him. That was Jamie’s thought anyway. A couple times had been close, too close for Jamie to breathe. All he had to do was lay low, keep his head down, and go unnoticed.
And not leave any kind of paper or electronic trail.
He’d already booked a night at Point Inn, the local motel in Willow Point. Jamie had paid cash, which was why he had only ten bucks in his wallet.
He slowly sipped his coffee, watching the people who came and went, getting his bearings and telling himself that Stranton had no idea where he was.
When the rush slowed to a trickle, the gorgeous man with hazel eyes came over to Jamie and sat across from him, which made Jamie frown. “Can I help you?”
“I’m Kent.” The guy stuck out his hand. “The owner of this café.”
Jamie looked around then drew his attention back to Kent. “I’m Jamie.”
Fuck. He hadn’t meant to give his real name, but Kent, with his massive presence, had thrown him again. What is wrong with me?
“Just thought I’d get off my feet for a moment.” Kent stretched out his long legs, crossed his ankles, and settled his hands on his washboard abs. “Had a barista quit. Anton was a good kid, but he decided to go to college. Now I’m hustling behind the counter myself, and I’m looking for a replacement.”
Jamie wasn’t sure why Kent was telling him all this, but it was like luck had dropped into his lap. He sat forward, giving a smile he didn’t feel. “I was waiting for the rush to end so I could talk to the owner about a job.”
More like he’d chickened out, but now he was looking a gift horse in the mouth.
Kent’s eyes sparkled. “Are you serious?”
“Talk about fate.” Kent’s chuckle was deep and resonated through Jamie. “Do you have any experience?”
Coffee shops were a breeze for Jamie. He’d worked at a few of them over the past year, and he liked the atmosphere. He just hoped Kent didn’t ask for references. Jamie didn’t want the guy calling his last job. He’d had to run when he’d seen Stranton in town, and since he hadn’t given his previous boss any warning that he was leaving, Jamie probably wouldn’t get a good reference.
“Yes.” Jamie took a sip of his coffee as his stomach clenched. “Since no one is in here right now, I can show you. Tell me what you want, and I’ll make it.”
It wasn’t a traditional interview, but Jamie wanted to avoid calls to his previous boss. If Kent told Amanda who he was and what town he was in, Stranton might find out. How? Jamie wasn’t sure, but why take the chance?
No. That was a lie. Jamie knew how Stranton was tracking him, and it made him want to vomit.
With his legs still stretched out in front of him, Kent studied Jamie. The look was so intense that Jamie had to glance away. Why wouldn’t the guy say anything? Jamie’s nerves were stretched thin, and he wanted this over with.
Then Kent did the strangest thing. He leaned forward and sniffed Jamie. What an odd thing to do.
Something moved behind Kent’s hazel eyes before he smiled. “Let’s check out your skills.”
“There are predators everywhere,” Kent said. “Don’t let my ability to shift fool you. I was still young and frightened. There are more terrifying things out there than me.”
Jamie had been so caught up in what Kent was saying that he hadn’t noticed how he’d pulled back. Now Kent had a perfect view of his body.
“I’m sorry I jumped to conclusions about you. For some reason I had it in my head that you had the perfect life.”
“Most people are like that.” Kent sat on the edge of Jamie’s bed. “They let you see only what they want you to see. I’m a neat freak, I obsess over the café, and there are times when I’m a complete asshole. No one’s life is what it ever seems on the outside.”
Jamie sat next to Kent. “For someone who isn’t even human, you seem so down to earth to me.”
Kent chuckled. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Heat crept over Jamie’s face. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I just never met someone who isn’t human.”
“Are you sure?” Kent arched a brow. “Are you sure the person bagging groceries isn’t a shifter? The guy driving a bus or the asshole starting a barfight? One of your previous landlords or the woman walking down the street next to you?”
Jamie pursed his lips. “Okay, I get it. Never take anyone for granted.”
Kent slid an arm around Jamie’s shoulders, and Jamie wasn’t unaffected by the touch. He laid his hands in his lap, over his towel, trying to hide his flourishing cock. Kent stirred something inside of him, a need so deep that Jamie didn’t understand it.
Or he did, if Kent was to be believed. Jamie still wasn’t sure if he believed in mates, but there was no denying his intense attraction to Kent.
He turned his head to look at Kent and inhaled sharply to find Kent’s face so close that he could see streaks of black in the hazel of his eyes.
“I want you, Jamie. I want you with a madness I’ve never felt before.”
Jamie’s walls crumbled. He wasn’t sure about any of this, if he was ready or if he could trust Kent or what in the hell was going on with his life, but the one thing he knew for certain was that he wanted Kent. He vibrated with the need.
“You purposely brushed against me all day,” he said in the smallest voice, his eyes locked onto Kent’s lips.
“I did,” Kent admitted. “Not being able to touch you drives me crazy.”
No one had ever been that desperate to touch Jamie. Not ever.
“I want to touch you now.” Kent hovered, their lips inches apart, as if waiting for Jamie to close the distance.
Jamie did and was rewarded with a mind-blowing kiss. He slid his arms around Kent’s neck, groaning as Kent took the kiss deeper, his hands skimming over Jamie’s arms and back, over his chest, as his tongue probed at Jamie’s lips.
He opened for Kent, and the man’s tongue swooped in, taking possession of Jamie’s mouth. Jamie’s cock pounded heavily between his legs, painfully, as his body came alive.
Jamie’s jumped a little as Kent’s hand slid up his thigh then brushed against Jamie’s balls.
“You’re hard for me,” Kent growled against Jamie’s lips. “So fucking hard.”
Jamie arched his back, wishing Kent’s fingers would go higher, wishing they would curl around his cock to give him some kind of relief.
Then Kent’s hand did go higher. Jamie whimpered into Kent’s mouth.
“So hard for me.” The repeated words came out in a soft growl.
When Kent leaned back, taking them both toward the mattress, Jamie didn’t fight it. The thought of not giving in never even crossed his mind.
He bucked against Kent’s hand, even though Kent was stroking him so slowly that Jamie thought he would go crazy. He needed more, but it seemed Kent was content with torturing him.
Kent nibbled Jamie’s earlobe, his warm breath skittering across Jamie’s skin, making goose bumps rise. “I want to do things to you,” Kent whispered. “To your body, to your mind, sweetheart. I just need you to tell me I can.”
Jamie was dazed with lust, but Kent’s words made him freeze. “What kind of things?”
“Pleasurable.” Kent nipped at Jamie’s bottom lip. “Things that will leave you begging for more. Things that will make you hard whenever you look at me.”
That wasn’t a problem since Jamie seemed to keep an erection around Kent. He shivered when Kent crawled over him, crouching there, staring into Jamie’s eyes as if Jamie was his forever. “Tell me I can play with this gorgeous body.”
Slowly, Jamie nodded.
Without breaking eye contact, Kent kissed and licked his way down Jamie’s chest to his stomach and then laid a kiss on each hip. The head of Jamie’s cock tapped Kent under his chin, but damn it, Kent wouldn’t go any lower.
As if reading his frustration, Kent smiled. “Patience.”
“I don’t think I have patience right now. It’s been over a year for me, and I feel like I’m going to explode the second your lips get anywhere near my cock.”
Kent chuckled. “I’ll just have to get you hard again.”
Oh, the promise in Kent’s eyes was devastating in the good kind of way. Jamie had no doubt he could do that. He squirmed, telling Kent without words to get on with it.
Their eyes still locked, Kent moved his body back and took the head into his mouth. Jamie hissed and bucked, reaching for air as he watched Kent worship his cock. The man dined on him as if Jamie were his favorite meal. He used the flat of his tongue to swipe up one side then down the other, sucking the hard flesh before swallowing him.