“Store policy dictates that you are to be in uniform and appear professional at all times.” He waved his thick hand toward the office and employee lounge that were located at the back of the store. “Now go clean up.”
A few customers had stopped to watch Mr. Dresel’s melodrama as Taylor locked his register and headed toward the back of the store.
Taylor hated authoritarians. He wasn’t a rebel and he respected the chain of command, but not when it was abused. Not when assholes like Mr. Dresel used that power to humiliate others.
And Taylor was embarrassed that Mr Dresel had confronted him in front of customers.
He hated the fact that he allowed people like his store manager to embarrass him, but Taylor had always been what his mother referred to as sensitive. And he hated that fact even more. There were times when he wished he was tough as nails and didn’t let everything get to him.
When Taylor turned to see who was talking to him, he stilled. His lips parted and Taylor found himself staring into the most handsome eyes he’d ever seen. They were green with streaks of deep, warm brown. Hazel. So pretty. So mesmerizing. He couldn’t concentrate on anything but the man’s eyes. It was as if he was falling into them, being sucked under by their spellbinding allure.
“Can you tell me where I can find the seafood? I’m kinda new around here and still learning the layout of the store.”
It was the guy who Taylor had seen coming through the door not ten minutes ago. The good-looking one with the dark-blond hair and amazing body. “Sure.” Taylor pointed to his left. “I get off at five.”
Had he really said that?
The man smiled and a spectacular set of pearly-white teeth were revealed to Taylor. They were straight and perfect, and complimented by two deep dimples. “Is that right?”
Taylor’s entire body heated to volcanic level before he slapped a hand over his face. Could his day get any worse? “I meant it’s in aisle five.”
The guy leaned his arms on the handle of his cart. “I think I like the first answer better. I’m Sam.”
“I’m an idiot,” Taylor replied. “But most people call me Taylor.”
Sam nodded toward Taylor’s chest. His pretty eyes were shining with mirth. “That’s what your name tag says.”
This was not going well. Was Sam really flirting with him? Hot guys like this one never flirted with Taylor. They sneered at him. They poked fun at him. They had even picked on him in high school because he was goth and gay. A deadly combination according to the jocks at Crescent High.
But they never flirted.
Taylor didn’t have height going for him. At five four, he had heard every short joke imaginable. Most of the cheerleaders had been taller than him. Two years out of high school and Taylor still carried a height complex. Sam had to be well over six feet tall. Taylor cursed his small-statured lineage.
He touched his name tag and nodded. “I guess it does. But you had no way of knowing that was my real name.” Taylor wasn’t sure why he was flirting back. It wasn’t like his past had proven he could win a guy like Sam or that he made the best choices in men.
“And what would your real name be?” One of Sam’s dark-blond brows arched. It was the sexiest thing ever. “Billy the Kid? The Duke? Or maybe Neo.”
Taylor ground his teeth. “You don’t have to make fun of me.”
“Actually,” Sam said. “I was naming some of my favorite characters.”
“Who’s Neo?” Taylor asked.
Sam’s eyes widened as he pressed a hand to his chest. “Have you never watched The Matrix?”
Taylor couldn’t help the smile that appeared. “No.”
“Have you lived under a rock?” Sam asked. “It was one of the most badass movies of the late nineties. But if you add in parts two and three, then that would be the early two thousands as well.”
Taylor was being…charmed.
“I still haven’t seen any of them.”
Sam shook his head, his hand still resting on his chest. “No man can go through life being so deprived. It’s….It’s…sacrilege.”
That made Taylor chuckle. “What can I say? Call me Mr. Deprived.”
Sam moved closer and Taylor’s heart beat into his throat. The man leaned in as if he were a double agent giving away a secret. His warm, mint-scented breath skimmed over Taylor’s cheek. “Don’t worry. We can remedy that problem and no one will be the wiser. Meet me at my place around eight and whatever you do, don’t swallow the red pill. At least not until I can take one with you. And then I’ll show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Taylor was totally lost and undeniably infatuated with Sam. He had an urge to lean into Sam, to soak up the man’s heat. Was it wrong that Taylor wanted the guy to turn his head and kiss him? “I promise not to.”
Sam plucked the pen from Taylor’s shirt pocket, grabbed Taylor’s hand, and wrote something on his palm. He held up the pen. “And I’ll return this when you show up. If you don’t come, I’ll have to ransom it back to you.”
As Sam walked away, Taylor stared into the palm of his hand to see an address.
What in the hell had just happened?
Sam wasn’t sure what to say. He wasn’t sure what to do. In the soft hush of the bedroom, he could hear Taylor’s heart beating wildly. The man stood before him, bare. It wasn’t just his nudity but his vulnerability that touched something deep inside Sam.
He closed the distance and bent down, pulling the sheet up into his hand. He brushed a kiss over Taylor’s warm cheek. “My lost little angel.”
When Sam started to wrap the sheet back around Taylor’s shoulders, the man grabbed his wrists, stopping him. Their eyes locked as the room filled with arousal. Sam cupped Taylor’s cheek, searching, trying to figure out exactly what Taylor was asking for.
Taylor backed up, his legs hitting the bed as he pulled Sam along with him. “I’m letting go.”
“I see.” Sam gave Taylor a gentle smile. “But is this what you truly want?”
Taylor grinned. “Just as long as you don’t kick me in the head.”
“Well, I had considered it for a moment, but unconscious people don’t do it for me. I’m too lazy to do all the work.”
Taylor glanced at Sam for a moment and then a spark of laughter lit the man’s eyes. It was a bright and beautiful thing to see as they both stood there on an awkward precipice trying to decide who would jump off first.
Sam was sure that, for years to come, he would swear that he had been pushed over. That was what it felt like when Taylor leaned up and placed a kiss on his lips. The move was tentative and sweet and had Sam growing hard. The shyness in that single move did it for him.
Sam’s heart clenched and his dick throbbed, and he wanted nothing more at that moment than to throw Taylor down and ravish his body.
“I swear not to leave you hanging like that,” Taylor said. The palm of his hand pressed against Sam’s chest, right over his heart—which was beating wildly. He smiled at Sam. “Head injury or not.”
“I could always get us some safety helmets,” Sam said, noticing how low his voice had gone. Taylor tempted him. God knew how tantalizing the man was. Taylor had been a disastrous wreck when Sam found him and now Taylor was the one wrecking him.
Sam’s bear growled and snapped, trying to force him to claim Taylor. But Sam wasn’t going to go that far until they’d talked. The man had already been through enough bullshit in his life. Sam wasn’t going to betray his trust.
Besides, Legend had withheld that information from Gabe and it had almost turned disastrous. Sam wanted to avoid any kind of drama.
Taylor’s smile seemed to light up the dimly lit room. “I hope we can manage without them. There aren’t any horses around so you don’t have to worry about being thrown.”
Their senses of humor seemed perfectly in sync. Taylor got Sam, and he loved that about the guy. No matter what he threw at the man, Taylor caught it and rolled it right back.
Sam focused on Taylor’s smile as he pulled his shirt over his head and tossed it aside. Taylor’s eyes drank Sam in as his tongue flicked out and slid across his lower lip. There was still a hesitant quality about the guy, but Taylor seemed willing to try, and that was all Sam could ask for.
“Are you making fun of my riding skills?” Sam moved closer, the palms of his hands sliding over Taylor’s tight nipples. They were like two tiny rocks under his hands as he ghosted his fingers up and down Taylor’s chest.
“Y–You don’t have any riding skills.” Taylor’s head canted to the side, his eyelids lowering slightly as his luscious lips parted and panted out a long breath.
Sam lowered his head and sucked one taut nipple into his mouth, rolling the bead around between his teeth. When Sam placed his hand on Taylor’s back, the guy jerked, his eyes flying open.
Sam shook his head. “I don’t care, Taylor. I’m not just going to accept a small part of you. I want it all. The entire package.” To show that he was serious, Sam ran his fingers over the raised flesh, sucking at Taylor’s neck at the same time. “Don’t hide one damn inch of yourself.”
Taylor’s arched as his fingers dug into Sam’s biceps. The man’s head fell back as his breathing became shallow. Sam moved Taylor onto the bed, licking and kissing down the man’s chest. His tongue traced the dark trail that led from Taylor’s navel to his groin.
“Wildflowers,” Sam murmured as his tongue traced Taylor’s heavily veined shaft. Taylor’s cock jerked at his touch. Pressing his hands into Taylor’s inner thighs, Sam spread the man wider. He could feel tiny scars on the backs of Taylor’s legs. Sam closed his eyes as he inhaled the man’s scent, wishing to god that he could have saved Taylor from the horrors the man had lived through.
The heat of Taylor’s blush singed Sam’s hands. Sam licked and lapped and groaned as he sucked Taylor’s wrinkled sac into his mouth.
“Oh god, oh god, oh god,” Taylor chanted. His voice was strained as his legs shook. Sam made a low rumble of pleasure in his chest as he reached to his waist and unsnapped his pants. He pushed them off and kicked them aside before moving onto the bed.
They were head to foot, head to foot. He could feel Taylor’s warm breath blowing across the head of his erection. “Only if you want to,” Sam said before swallowing Taylor to the back of his throat.