Carson moved. It hurt, but he forced his battered body off the bed. Weak from all the abuse he had endured over the last weeks, Carson ended up falling to the floor in a heap.
“Please…” he silently begged everyone in the universe and beyond. “End this nightmare.”
“Carson, where are you?”
The voice was so very far away, but Carson heard his name being called. What a beautiful sound that voice was. It reminded Carson of rich, dark molasses.
“Carson, can you hear me?” The voice was closer now. Carson was sure if he surrounded himself with its opulent essence his battered soul would be healed.
“Come back to me, baby.”
Carson listened hard. He had heard someone call him baby before.
“You are safe with me, Carson. I will protect you, baby.”
The evil of Sammie’s savageness started to fade.
“You’re doing so good. Keep trying, baby.” That voice contained goodness and warmth. Carson craved to be warm again.
Carson opened his eyes. A thick black and gold comforter replaced the stained, blue-green hotel bedspread. Carson knew the black was soft and the gold was shiny. He enjoyed sliding his fingers over the material.
“Are you with me now?”
Carson blinked and lifted his head off his knees. Sitting on the floor and leaning against the bed next to him was Isaiah. The frown lines over his troubled green eyes weren’t an expression of anger but of concern.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up. I didn’t mean for you to be frightened.” Every word held sincerity.
For a very long time, there hadn’t been a moment Carson wasn’t afraid. His mind tended to block out a lot of stuff, or it could be the medication Dorian had given him to keep the anxiety manageable. Right now the constant simmering of fear was tamped down by the warmth of Isaiah’s strong presence.
Carson wasn’t sure what to say, and the silence lengthened.
Just when his nerves were stretched to the point of breaking and Carson’s heart began to speed up, Isaiah asked, “Would you like to take a shower?”
Carson looked down and saw he was wearing an oversized brown T-shirt and drooping sweat pants that were now wrinkled and damp with sour sweat. Thinking back, he realized his last shower had been while he was in jail. By the time he had finished getting clean, he had been almost comatose from the terror. Dorian had to come and lead him back to the infirmary.
“Let me help you, Carson.” Isaiah held out his hand.
Isaiah was a big man with big hands. Carson didn’t want to think about any of Isaiah’s other attributes that could be larger than average. That thought had all of Carson’s jumbled thoughts screeching to a halt. After all he’d been through, there shouldn’t be the slightest hint of sex in his thinking.
It didn’t seem to matter what he should or shouldn’t be feeling. When Isaiah was near, Carson’s world revolved around Isaiah.
“What’s going on behind those pretty blue eyes?” Isaiah’s voice washed over Carson as if it were liquid heat.
Carson looked at that big hand still held out to him. Absently, he observed Isaiah’s palm was a lot lighter than the skin on the back of his hand. Carson glanced up at Isaiah. For the first time, he noticed Isaiah had a stud in the right side of his nose. The old Carson would have snickered at a grown man piercing his nose. Now he wished he had the guts to touch it.
“Why am I here?” Carson blinked. Where had that question come from?
Isaiah’s smile was gentle. “Let’s get you into the shower, and while I help you, we can talk.”
Carson’s mind kicked in. Isaiah wanted to him to be naked in a shower. Oh no, no, no. Thick bands of alarm grabbed ahold of Carson, and, in desperation, he tried to push away with his legs. He ended up being brought up short by the wall behind him. Crossing his arms around his body, he began rocking.
“Please, baby, talk to me,” Isaiah pleaded. “You need to tell me how to help you.”
“You can’t… I can’t…” Carson’s throat closed up, and he hid his face against his knees.
“I pushed too much, didn’t I?” Isaiah’s self-disgust laced every word. “I’m sorry. I would do anything to be able to hold you. That’s why you’re here. I just want to be near you, talking, laughing, and being together.”
Carson stopped moving and looked at Isaiah. “A man like you has needs. I can’t…” Carson rubbed a hand over his mouth before saying, “I’m ugly, inside and out. I’m scarred.”
“The scars are symbols of your courage, symbols that you survived.” Isaiah rested his hand on the floor, palm up, tempting Carson to trust. “Someday, I’m hoping you will be able to look past the scars and see the man I see. A man named Carson, who I can’t wait to spend every day discovering new things about.”
“I’m just a boring cowboy.” How Carson missed those days of riding a horse out on the range. He even missed the cows stepping on him while he tried to help them have their babies. And manure. He missed the smelly stuff clinging to his boots and taking forever to clean off.
“Ah, you see.” Isaiah’s greens eyes lit up when he smiled. “I just found out you were a cowboy.”
Carson wanted to laugh, but the laughter wouldn’t come. “I think you already knew I worked on the ranch Jimmy and Tristen grew up on.”
The moment he said the words, a vision of his horse, Tucker, flashed before his eyes. Heartache strangled Carson.
“What are you thinking?” Isaiah asked. “Tell me why you look so sad.”
“The last straw was Tucker.” Carson looked up into Isaiah’s face, wishing he would understand. “When I lost him, I thought I had to get back at Jimmy and Tristen. Revenge was wrong, but he was all I had.”
With his hand secured in Isaiah’s strong grasp, Carson followed the big man into their bedroom.
“You aren’t angry with me, are you?” Never in a million years did he want to gain Isaiah’s ire.
Isaiah sat on the bed and pulled Carson onto his lap. Carson could forgive him for the whole not-using-the-chair sitting in the corner thing when fingers began caressing the back of his neck.
“I’m not mad,” Isaiah said, bringing Carson back to the conversation. It became tough to concentrate when Isaiah found a spot that made Carson want to arch his back as though he were a cat in heat.
“I had no idea when you left that Jimmy planned to go get Tucker,” Carson managed to spit out.
“Maybe next time you could find a moment to leave me a message so I know where you are and if you’re okay.” Isaiah’s warm lips brushed Carson’s temple.
The room spun as Carson found himself lifted into the air. The next moment his back was pressed into the soft mattress of the bed and Isaiah’s lips began exploring the side of his neck. Sucking kisses sent goose bumps over his skin. Carson shivered. What were they talking about?
“Um… sure.” That seemed to be the right answer. Carson tipped his head to the side, exposing more of his neck. Isaiah started licking the base of Carson’s neck where sensitive skin met his shoulder.
Isaiah hit another hot spot, and Carson forgot the conversation. His hips began to tremble, and blood filled his dick.
Long dark-skinned fingers pushed up Carson’s shirt exposing his nipple. The excitement of what Isaiah was doing to him had his nip tightening into a dark pink pebble.
Carson arched back when lips circled his nipple and Isaiah began licking all around and over the nerve filled nip. Zings of desire raced to his dick and Carson hardened even more.
“Is something happening here, baby?” Isaiah placed his hand over the bulge of Carson’s pants and pushed down. Holy moly, what Isaiah did to him. Carson couldn’t breathe. He clasped onto Isaiah’s shirt and looked at him, trying to tell…
“Come, baby. You are so sweet.” The words were easy and the smile warm.
Carson’s body took over, and a red haze covered his vision. As hard as he was shaking, Carson was sure he might propel off the bed. But, as usual, Isaiah kept him safe.
Carson’s body stiffened and cum shot from his dick. Carson held his breath as wave after wave of spunk pulsed from his material trapped dick. A part of Carson longed for Isaiah’s hand to be wrapped around his throbbing organ urging it to release every last drop.
Lips pressed against the side of his ear. “Your passion is beautiful.”
Carson groaned, “Isaiah.” More cum was pulled from his body, until he collapsed into a mushy goop.
Gentle hands pulled his shirt off. Carson looked down at the growing wet spot on his jeans. Dark-skinned hands moved into his line of vision, and he watched Isaiah open his pants.
This was it. They had been playing around and rubbing each other off over the last few weeks, but they’d never had penetrating sex. Would it hurt? The doctor’s said he had to take it easy the first time. What if he ripped again?
Hands lifted from his pants and cupped his cheeks. Isaiah looked deep into his eyes. “I will never hurt you. We stop if you are uncomfortable in any way.”
“You need to go slow,” Carson said, trying to make Isaiah understand. “But don’t go slow.”
Isaiah frowned. “I’m not sure I understand.”
Carson shook his head and looked down at the wet spot again. Finally, he tried again. “If you… thinking too much…I…” He wanted to run.
Isaiah’s fingers worked quickly and his pants, socks, and shoes disappeared in seconds. Once Carson was naked, Isaiah took his own clothes off before again settling down next to Carson.
“Trust me, baby,” Isaiah murmured and trailed his fingertips over Carson’s quivering stomach.
“I should wash up,” Carson confessed, memories of demands of the past starting to intrude.
“I don’t think so.” Isaiah lifted Carson’s leg to the side and settled in between his thighs.
All Carson saw was the top of Isaiah’s gray cap as a tongue dipped into his belly button. Reaching down, Carson pulled the hat off and tossed it. Isaiah’s face tipped up, and startled green eyes gazed at him.
“That’s better.” Carson ran his fingers though Isaiah’s soft waves. Holding on to the little courage he had, Carson touched the small diamond stud at the corner of Isaiah’s nose and said, “I like this too.”
Isaiah glanced down in a cute display of shyness, but Carson could tell he liked his compliments. Carson’s breath caught when a wet tongue started following his treasure trail down until it reached the base of his dick.
“Holy…” Carson breathed.