[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Contemporary, Alternative, Paranormal, Romantic Suspense, Shape-shifters, MM, HEA]
Layne Buchanan has been in love with Nash O’Brien since he was a teenager. Too bad Nash was interested in females. Even so, when he left town, Layne’s heart was completely devastated. He never really got over Nash, pining for a man he couldn’t have. Ten years later when Nash returns to Kendall, Georgia for his aunt’s funeral, Layne is blown away at how much the guy has changed. Nash has more muscles than Layne’s eyes can feast on, and he’s no longer the carefree boy Layne once drooled over.
Nash returns to Kendall not only for his aunt’s death, but in hopes of rediscovering himself. He’s carried a heavy burden for the past few years, demons that haunt his dreams. When he runs into Layne, something inside Nash changes, but trouble isn’t too far behind him when someone from his unit is out to end Nash’s life. But Nash is just as determined to live, especially with a baby on the way.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Watching him walk through the sliding automatic doors stirred something in Layne’s heart. How long had it been since he’d laid eyes on the magnificent stud? Ten years? All he remembered was that, one by one, the O’Brien men had left town to pursue their lives, while Layne had stayed stuck in Kendall, Georgia, working the same job he’d had since graduating high school.
At his parents restaurant. Don’t get him wrong. The food was to die for and his mom’s pies won every year at the county fair, but he still felt as though there was more out there than waiting tables.
Layne wanted action, adventure, and romance. Oh hell. Now he sounded like one of his mom’s trashy romance novels. If he wasn’t a realist, Layne would dream of some big, buff stallion sweeping him off his feet. The only sweeping in his life was with a broom and dustpan.
But back to Mr. Stud. Layne’s gaze traveled over Nash’s body, noticing how the tall drink of a man had filled out, how his muscles had formed and turned him into a sex god. His faded jeans were ripped at the knees, his black T-shirt hugged his luscious frame, and his barely-there facial hair made him appear more rugged, manlier than Layne remembered him being.
Now this was a man Layne could sink his teeth into.
Back in high school, Nash had been kind of gangly but not anymore. Layne stood there with his fingers white-knuckling the handle of his squeaky-ass shopping cart, stuck on stupid as he watched Nash walk around register one and head down an aisle.
Layne was pretty sure at this point he was drooling.
“Was that Nash O’Brien?” Stevie dropped a package of gluten-free cookies into their cart as he nudged Layne’s shoulder. “I see he still has that same effect on you.”
Layne wistfully sighed as he pushed the cart down the snack aisle, the front left wheel shaking so badly you’d think he was on a brick road instead of a smooth floor. What he wouldn’t give for a single night with that stud. But Nash had acted as though Layne hadn’t existed in high school, and Layne doubted the guy would acknowledge his presence now.
“I think that might’ve been him.” Layne played it off, pretending disinterest. Nash had crushed his very soul back then when he’d dated the head cheerleader. Wouldn’t Sissy McBride be thrilled to learn Nash was back in town?
Too bad the death of Nash’s aunt was the reason for his return. He would probably take off after the funeral, leaving Layne’s heart devastated once again.
Nope. Layne wasn’t going to allow himself to chase after Nash. He wasn’t going to find an excuse to go to Nash’s house only to humiliate himself. That wasn’t going to happen.
“Stripping naked while you shop might get his attention,” Stevie said.
“And get me arrested. He’s not even gay. He dated girls in high school, remember?” Layne pushed along, ignoring his dysfunctional cart as he looked over the chip selection. But his mind kept wandering back to the aisle Mr. Stud had gone down. He was dying for one more glance of the man who had stared in many of his dreams over the years.
“Give me the list.” Stevie snatched the paper out of Layne’s hand. “Clearly your mind is in Nash’s pants. I’ll get the rest of the things while you go stalk him.”
Layne looked at Stevie and then toward the end of the aisle. “I’ll be right back.”
“See you in an hour,” Stevie called out in a singsong voice as Layne hustled away, hoping to catch another glimpse of Nash before he left the store.
And there he was standing in front of the meat selection, staring down at the chicken as though he’d never seen any before. His blunt brows were pulled down into a frown, and he had one hand on his hip.
After mustering up a stroke of confidence, Layne marched right over to the guy, pretending interest in a whole chicken. He was happy he had because they were on sale. Maybe that was what Layne and his roommates would have for dinner.
His throat went dry, and his heart fluttered as he asked, “Do you need any help?”
Nash turned his devastating gray eyes on Layne, and Layne nearly passed out from their sheer beauty. Nash smiled warmly down at him, the kind of smile that probably got the guy laid a lot. “How much chicken do you get for a gathering?”
As welcoming and friendly as his expression was, there was no recognition in his eyes, yet Layne’s entire body felt like it had caught fire. He was suddenly sweating at the mere sound of Nash’s deep, sensual voice. “Depends on how many people will be there.”
Nash gave a slow shrug. “I have no idea. My brother just told me to go get some food.”
Which brother? Nash had three of them. Quinn, Keller, and Nomad—Layne never knew Nomad’s real name. That was what everyone had just called the second eldest O’Brien in high school. Layne was pretty sure that wasn’t the name on Nomad’s birth certificate, and he honestly didn’t care. He just wanted to get closer to Nash, to inhale his earthy, leathery scent, and to feel the man’s body heat next to his.
Clearly Layne was into self-torture.
With Nash’s robe securely around him, Layne crawled into bed. He no longer had an appetite. Not after the heated confrontation in the kitchen and the temptation lying next to him. He actively avoided looking at Nash’s sculpted body. If he looked, he just might cave to his body’s cravings.
“I’m gonna kick Keller’s and Quinn’s asses tomorrow. Those were my favorite jeans.” Nash turned onto his side, facing Layne as Layne lay there stiffly, battling the heat coursing through him.
“You can rest, kitten. I’m not going to touch you unless you want me to.” Nash tucked an arm under his head and closed his eyes, but not before Layne had seen the struggle in their gray depths.
Nash was just as affected by the scent Layne was giving off as the others. His muscles were coiled tight, and his hands were curled into fists.
Layne wasn’t unaffected. His nerves were on edge, and his cock throbbed so badly that he needed some kind of relief, anything that would untie the knots in his stomach.
He didn’t think about the consequences or the end results as he squirmed closer, pretending he was stretching and yawning. Real subtle, moron. You’re like a freaking teenager trying to make out with smooth moves.
Nash popped one eye open. “Yes?”
Layne bit his lower lip and toyed with the belt. He wasn’t a virgin, but he was also shy when it came to making the first move. He couldn’t get the words past his lips—the words that would bring them together.
Nash closed his eye. Layne lay there trying hard to work up his courage. He blew out a breath and tried again as waves of heat engulfed him. It wasn’t just the fact that he was shy. This was Nash Freaking O’Brien lying next to him. Layne never thought in a million years this would happen, and to be honest, it was an intimidating moment.
This time Nash opened both eyes. His powerful gaze rendered Layne speechless. He cleared his throat, but that didn’t help. Layne opened his mouth then closed it, frustrated that he couldn’t articulate what he wanted.
“Never mind.” Layne rolled over, but Nash rolled him right back. His hand felt hot to the touch, scorching Layne’s arm. His thumb made slow, lazy circles on Layne’s skin, driving him even more insane.
“Do you need me to take care of your needs?”
Layne wrinkled his nose. “That’s one hell of a way of saying it.”
A heart-stopping smile spread across Nash’s face. “Sorry.” His smile faded, and he’d yet to move his hand away. “Until the heat subsides, my body belongs to you.”
“And after the heat?” God it was hard to think. Layne’s breathing was growing fast and shallow, and fuck, why wasn’t Nash all over him by now?
“My body still belongs to you.” His gray eyes became heavy-lidded. “Do you want me to touch you?”
“God yes!” Layne ignored the fact that he’d damn near shouted those words, ignored the fact that he’d told himself that he could resist Nash. He’d craved this man since forever, and now Layne was about to have his dream—and fantasies—come true.
Nash locked an arm around Layne and pulled him close. Their lips touched, brushed across the other’s with the softest pressure, as if Nash was teasing him with the pleasures to come.
Layne planted his lips firmly, thoroughly against Nash’s. He slid his arms around his mate’s neck, tugging him closer, devouring Nash’s mouth.
A purr rumbled through Nash, reminding Layne of the deadly cat hovering over him, but he wasn’t afraid. The sound sent ripples of pleasure through him.
Nash took his time, his hands and lips exploring Layne as he grunted and groaned into Layne’s mouth. The heat rose and crashed and became all consuming.
“I need,” Layne whimpered against Nash’s lips.
“I’ll take care of you, baby.” Nash nudged Layne’s legs, and Layne curled them around Nash’s lean waist. “I’ll give you whatever you need.”
That was a promise Layne had dreamed of his whole life. Well, since he’d fallen in love with Nash, which felt like his whole life. He’d fantasized those exact words, this exact moment, so it almost felt like a dream come true.
Layne arched his back as Nash’s tongue delved deeper in teasing swirls, taking away Layne’s very breath. In the back of Layne’s mind he knew he could conceive, and that thought frightened him, but not enough for him to pull away.
Not when this felt so damn right. Not when he was finally with the man he loved. Layne had never experienced this kind of passion before, not on this level, and he felt drunk from it.
Nash tweaked one of Layne’s nipples, sending shocking waves of pleasure through him. He groaned and gripped Nash’s short hairs, driving his hips upward.
“Please,” he panted.
Nash nipped his jaw as he pressed the blunt head of his cock against Layne’s quivering hole. Then Layne felt a spurt, something wetting his ass. Did Nash seriously come with his own natural lube?
Layne gasped and then moaned as the thick length of Nash’s cock entered him, stretching him, sliding in deep. Nash started moving his hard length in and out of Layne’s hole and latched onto his mouth.
Layne couldn’t believe that he was finally with Nash. This seemed so unreal, all those years of pining for the guy, of trying to piece back together his broken heart when Nash had left town, of comparing every guy he’d dated to the man he truly loved. They’d all fallen short because Layne’s heart was already taken.
Nash slid an arm under Layne and spun until he was on his back and Layne was sitting atop him. He pressed his hands into Nash’s chest and looked down at his mate, blushing profusely as Nash smiled up at him.
A smile that obliterated Layne’s heart. He noticed Nash’s canines were showing, and fuck, that was a beautiful sight. Layne thought of when Nash had bitten him, and for some crazy reason, the spot on his shoulder ached to be bitten again.
Nash winked. “Gotta try every position with you.”
Nash gripped Layne’s hips and punched upward, damn near knocking Layne off. Layne laughed and went down to his forearms, staring Nash in his mesmerizing gray eyes. “If you’re gonna turn into a bronco bull, give a guy some warning. I didn’t even wave a red flag.”
Nash slid his hands up Layne’s sides and down again, that rumbling purr returning. “Your body is the waving flag. Every time I look at it I want to charge full steam ahead.”