[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Romance, Contemporary, Alternative, Western, Paranormal, Shape-shifters, Romantic Suspense, MM, HEA]
After surviving an abusive relationship, Mercy takes refuge at his stepbrother’s ranch. He has been living there for three years, trying to put his life back together. In walks Ford Bowers, a stunning man who makes Mercy’s heart race. But he doesn’t trust men, not even when Ford comes to his rescue for a flat tire. Not even when Ford fronts Mercy the money to start his own business. Some things are just too hard to get past, especially when Mercy’s ex-boyfriend shows back up in town.
Ford knows Mercy is his mate from the moment he steps from his truck. The problem is, Ford is working undercover to catch a maniac vampire. He’s been hired at the ranch, only because Ford doesn’t want to draw any suspicion to himself. He isn’t even sure he wants to stick around. He’s lived his life as an Ultionem mercenary and setting down roots isn’t in the cards for him. Only, the longer he’s around Mercy, Ford isn’t so sure he can simply walk away.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“I’m off to run my errands,” Mercy said from the hallway outside his stepbrother’s office. “Was there anything you needed while I’m out?”
Mercy rolled his eyes when he saw that Lincoln had Red pinned against his desk, the two making out like horny teenagers. They’d been that way since Red had finally given Lincoln a chance, and the two had been hard to separate since.
Lincoln had also made Red his new tech guy, which Mercy had talked his stepbrother into doing. Red’s talents had been wasted as a ranch worker.
Now the books were digitally caught up, and Lincoln was a happy man instead of threatening to throw his computer out the window.
“Do you mind?” Lincoln asked when he came up for air.
“If you wanted privacy, you should’ve closed your door,” Mercy huffed. “I’ll be back later. Try not to suffocate each other while I’m gone.”
Of course Mercy was a bit jealous that he didn’t have someone pawing him like that, but after his last boyfriend, he wasn’t ready to jump back onto the dating wagon. He wasn’t sure if he ever would be.
It had been three long years since he’d come to Wheeler Ranch to recover from what Lloyd had done to him, and Mercy was still struggling with the physical, emotional, and mental abuse he’d suffered through.
Lloyd Carrington had been the epitome of cruelty, and even to this day Mercy still had nightmares about his past with his ex. He had a hard time trusting men when it came to his heart, and sadly, Mercy didn’t think that would ever change.
He stepped outside to the bright afternoon and waved at Brett, a guy who had been a simple ranch worker but was now the new foreman. The last one turned out to be a psycho twat who had tried to kill Red.
Thank goodness Red had survived. Mercy couldn’t say the same for Adam.
Mercy paused when he noticed strangers next to Brett. He knew Lincoln had told Brett to hire new ranch workers, but Mercy had yet to meet them.
His gaze zeroed in on the one to Brett’s left. The guy was what wet dreams were made of. He was thick with muscles, and from where Mercy stood, he saw the stranger had a head full of blond hair. Mercy was dying to see him up close but quickly turned away and headed for his dark green Jeep, which held a few rust spots here and there.
It was still in great condition, so the body didn’t really bother him. Mercy wasn’t one of those people who had to have the latest, the greatest, and expensive things.
As he walked across the yard, his gaze drifted back to the new hires.
He wasn’t going to lust after a hired hand. Mercy wasn’t going to lust after anyone. He was perfectly happy cooking and cleaning, safe in his little bubble.
He bit his lip and forced himself into his Jeep, ignoring the hot stud standing not twenty feet away. Nope. Mercy wasn’t going to ogle the handsome man. He was going to keep as much distance between them as possible.
He pulled out from where he’d parked the night before and drove down the long driveway, refusing to look in his rearview mirror. Jesus. Of course Mercy missed sex. Three years dry was enough to make any man turn into a scowling, bitter person, but thankfully he hadn’t.
Still, Mercy wasn’t the type to have one-night stands. He was a forever kind of guy, and since Lloyd had left a nasty taste in his mouth, Mr. Sexy could tempt someone else.
Mercy yelped and gripped the wheel tighter when he heard a loud pop and the Jeep veered toward the woods. He managed to get himself to the side of the road, though at the moment, there wasn’t another vehicle in sight.
“What the hell?” He got out and walked around his Jeep, groaning when he saw the flat tire. He’d known for some time that the tire needed replacing. A bubble had begun to form on the wall. But Mercy had put off getting it replaced, telling himself he would do it tomorrow.
That had been a month ago.
That was what he got for procrastinating, a flat tire on a country road with no traffic and no passersby who could help him.
Mercy took out his phone and called Lincoln. He wasn’t even sure Lincoln would answer his phone. His face was stuffed against Red’s, and he might not hear the phone.
“Forget something?” Lincoln asked when he answered.
Mercy nearly crumpled with relief. “I got a flat tire. Can you drive down Route 10 and change it for me?”
What did Mercy know about cars? Not a dang thing. He didn’t even know how to change a tire. How pathetic was that? Toss him in a kitchen and he would shine. Hand him a tire iron and he was lost.
“How many times did I tell you to have that tire replaced?” Lincoln sighed. “Okay, help is on the way. Are you out of traffic?”
Mercy looked up and down the road. Not a single vehicle was in sight, though he saw some buzzards circling overhead some distance away. “It’s getting congested out here, but I think I can manage not to get run over.”
Just as long as those buzzards stayed where they were. If they started circling over his head, Mercy was making a run for it.
“Okay, just sit tight. Let me make a call.” Lincoln hung up.
Why did he have to make a call? Wasn’t he coming himself? He would probably send Brett.
Mercy tucked his phone into his pocket and leaned against the back of his Jeep. He would’ve walked back to the ranch, but he’d already driven a mile, and in this heat, he would turn into a pile of goo before he even got home.
Ten minutes passed before he spotted a truck heading toward him. Mercy didn’t recognize it, so he went back to staring at the buzzards. If Brett didn’t get there soon, they would be circling over him. God, it was hot.
Sweat was already trickling down his face and back. Fanning himself was a joke, and now he was thirsty.
The maroon truck pulled over to the side of the road. Mercy’s head shot up as he squinted, and then his eyes rounded.
Lincoln had sent the new guy. Mr. Sexy. Mercy was going to kill his stepbrother in his sleep for this!
He was caught off guard when Ford took his hand as they walked. Lloyd had never showed any public displays of affection, so Mercy wasn’t used to it.
But he liked it.
“I think you picked the perfect location for your bakery,” Ford said. “This street seems to have a lot of traffic.”
“Lander Avenue has a lot of businesses and the park, which everyone loves to visit.” Mercy also felt as if he’d picked the right place for his bakery. He was surprised the building hadn’t been snatched up before now. It was a prime location.
“That’s right,” Ford said as if he’d just remembered. “You’re supposed to be my tour guide.”
“Maybe some other time.” Mercy was too anxious to get their food and go back to their apartment to take his time and show Ford around.
They entered the drugstore, and Mercy felt no shame in purchasing a bottle of lube as Ford grabbed toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash. When they met at the counter, his mate arched a brow but didn’t say anything.
They made it back to Cresting Moon, grabbed their food, and went back to the bakery.
“So, I was thinking…” Ford said as he laid the containers on the coffee table. “We should move in here tomorrow. I’m here already during the day, and to be honest, it makes more sense that you move into town sooner rather than later.”
Mercy sat on the couch and flipped open the lid to his container. Fuck, the smell of the wings had his stomach growling. He hadn’t been hungry before, but now he was starving.
“I was thinking the same thing.” Mercy shoved a fry into his mouth. “I just didn’t want to rush things.”
When Ford sat, their legs touched. He grabbed the remote off the table and turned the television on. Mercy was thankful the place had already been furnished. It was one less thing he’d have to worry about.
“I’ll work off your timeline, Mercy. Whatever you want to do.” Ford took a sip of his drink.
Ford knew of Mercy’s past, of his hesitation when it came to relationships. His mate was being accommodating, and damn it, Mercy had already been catching feelings for the guy. But when Ford said things like that, he endeared himself to Mercy even more.
“I’m just nervous,” Mercy admitted.
“I know.” Ford leaned over and kissed Mercy’s cheek. “Like I said, this is your timeline.”
Mercy turned his head, catching Ford’s lips before his mate could turn away. It had been an impulsive move, but Mercy refused to back away.
The kiss started off slow, simmering, making Mercy’s body come alive.
Ford laughed as he gripped Mercy’s sides. He tugged, and Mercy landed on the man’s lap.
“Someone is pretty impatient.” A growl sounded at the back of Ford’s throat, but Mercy was too needy to care. “I love it.”
Talking wasn’t something Mercy wanted. Naked. He wanted them both naked, sweaty, and covered in each other’s cum. “I can’t think right now. Not enough to hold an intelligent conversation.”
Mercy had lost the ability to talk, or even function. Sex was the only thing his brain could comprehend right now, and if Ford didn’t show him some action soon, Mercy just might attack the man.
Ford had Mercy flipped and stripped in a matter of seconds. The guy was good. Mercy had never gotten out of his clothing that fast before. Now he sat there on his butt, waiting to see what Ford would do.
Gone was his fear of dominant males. Gone was Mercy’s hesitation when it came to trusting Ford.
“We’re going to slow down,” Ford said. The guy stood by the couch and rid himself of his clothing. Mercy’s eyes bulged at the revealed muscles. Ford was nothing short of a chiseled statue, a god, someone to be worshipped and be licked from head to toe.
Mercy blinked a few times, trying his best to get his brain to reboot. His gaze traveled from the top of Ford’s head down his torso, fixated on his fine-ass cock, and then down his sculpted thighs. “There’s no way you’re real.”
“I’m real, sweetheart.” The man flexed, and Mercy felt drool pooling in his mouth.
Ford bent to retrieve the bag with the lube inside. Mercy gazed at the man’s nicely rounded ass and had to squeeze the base of his cock in order not to explode. When Ford stood, Mercy’s gaze zeroed in on his mate’s long, thick erection. His mouth watered for a taste, but that would have to wait. Either he was about to get fucked or Ford was going to be murdered.
Mercy was too wound up for full-blown intercourse not to happen.
“On your hands and knees.” Ford spun Mercy on the couch, making Mercy grip the back as his knees sank into the cushion.
“What do you want me to do?” Mercy asked. He was a bit lost just sitting there.
Ford pressed his hands flat against the back of the couch, fencing Mercy in. “Grip the edge and spread ’em, hon.”
Mercy hadn’t turned yet. He was too busy staring at Ford’s broad chest and large biceps. He pressed his palms against the man’s heated skin, rubbing the pads of both thumbs over the peaked nipples.
“Damn it, Mercy.” Ford hissed and moaned. He leaned forward and licked a path up Mercy’s lobe. “Turn your body around so I can fuck you.”
Mercy wasn’t able to move until Ford eased the crush of their bodies. They’d been perfectly aligned, and Mercy hated when the mountainous man moved back an inch.
Ford nipped Mercy’s earlobe. “Tell me, sweetheart, do you like it rough and messy or slow and steady?”
Mercy’s pulse skyrocketed. His breathing became erratic as he tried to decide how he wanted to get fucked.
“What are you in the mood for?” It had been three years. Mercy would take it any way he could get it. If Ford wanted to go slow, that was fine with him. If his mate wanted to split Mercy in half, that was even better.
“Hon, either way is fine with me. We can go slow, or I can fuck you to the other side of this couch.”
“Oh hell.” Mercy’s mouth went dry as his cock became impossibly hard. “I think I like the second choice better.”
Two wet fingers worked inside of his aching hole. Mercy hissed and fought against the hard burn. Ford’s fingers were thick as hell.
“Tell me if you need me to slow down,” Ford said against the shell of Mercy’s ear. “I know it’s been a while for you.”
How did Ford know that? He looked over his shoulder and gave his mate the best sensual smile he could muster. “Unleash yourself on me.”
Mercy winced and tried to relax, tried not to think too hard about the pain. He wiggled around as Ford stretched him, adding a third finger.
“Be careful what you ask for.” Ford nipped his shoulder.
Mercy shivered and bucked. “I know exactly what I want,” he said.