In all the time he’d spent around this guy, Emilio had never looked this closely at Jake. He tried not to. He was always afraid he would corrupt the innocent man. But the closer he inspected Jake, the more he noticed that there were many more layers to this guy.
How did he get his scars? Emilio had seen the ones on Jake’s arms, the one’s the guy tried to cover with tattoos. He set the cloth aside and lifted Jake’s shirt. His breath caught in his throat when he saw that the jagged scar ran from collarbone to navel. What the fuck? There were a few, much smaller scars on Jake’s abdomen. Emilio was tempted like a motherfucker to roll the guy and check his back, but he wasn’t going to stare at the man’s shame without Jake’s permission. He’d already gone too far.
Lowering the shirt, Emilio picked the cloth up and felt the rage burning inside of him. Who had done this to the guy? And here Emilio had thought Jake some innocent man who lived an okay life. From what he’d seen of the man’s body and his current state of unconsciousness, Jake’s life wasn’t all that great.
It just went to show that sometimes the book cover didn’t match the content. Emilio had thought Jake an easy read, but that was far from the truth.
Jake’s eyes flew open before he jackknifed, swinging wildly at Emilio. His hand connected with Emilio’s jaw before Emilio could stop him.
“Jake, stop!” He wrapped his arms around Jake like a snake, holding him tightly to stop the human from hurting either of them. He dug his fingers in, keeping Jake in place as Jake floundered around, spitting and fighting. “Jake, it’s me, Emilio.”
Emilio had no clue what to do as his heart beat wildly and his stomach turned into knots. Jake arched his back, screamed, and then went limp in Emilio’s arms, unmoving. Emilio shoved his fingers against Jake’s neck, unable to find a pulse.
He straddled Jake’s waist and began CPR, praying the whole time that he could bring the man back to life. He should have taken Jake to the hospital. What had he been thinking bringing the guy to a shitty motel? Emilio could hardly breathe as he continued to pump Jake’s chest and blow into his mouth. This could not be happening.
Jake inhaled sharply, sputtered, and then turned his head, vomiting on the worn carpet. Emilio had never been so relieved or terrified in his life. He had to get Jake to the ER.
“Get all that poison out of you,” he said. As much as he hated to do it, Emilio shoved his finger down Jake’s throat, trying to help the man puke the drugs out of his system. Hell if he knew if it would work, but it was the only thing Emilio could think to do.
Jake continued to dispel the contents of his stomach as Emilio wiped his finger clean on his jeans and grabbed his phone, dialing his cousin.
“Did you forget that we were supposed to meet up?" Santos asked when he answered.
“No, but I ran into Jake and he just fucking died on me.” Emilio ran a shaky hand over his hair. “I had to perform CPR.”
Santos cursed. “Where are you?”
“I’m at Paradise Motel and Lodge. I’m about to take him to the emergency room.” Emilio rubbed Jake’s back until Jake rolled over, his eyes closed but his breathing steady.
“I’ll meet you there,” Santos said before hanging up.
Emilio shoved his phone into his leather jacket and then tossed Jake over his shoulder before moving quickly to his truck. After he dumped Jake in his seat, the human began to cry, covering his arms over his face as if Emilio were going to strike him. Jake did this for several seconds before he passed out again.
What in the hell had happened to Jake to throw him over the edge like this?
Once they were both in the truck, Emilio drove like the devil was on his heels, continuously reaching over to the check the man’s pulse as he navigated through the city streets. A lead weight settled in his stomach, his shoulders tight as he gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white.
Emilio skidded the truck to a halt in front of the ER entrance, leaving it running as he pulled Jake from his seat and carried him inside. “I need help!”
Some hospital worker dressed in blue scrubs rushed forward with a gurney. Emilio hated to let Jake go. He was afraid that if Jake left his sight the guy would have another attack and die.
“What’s wrong with him?” the guy asked.
“He’s taken some sort of drugs. He crashed, and I had to perform CPR to restart his heart.”
“Do you know what kind of drugs?” the man asked as he raced Jake down a hallway. Jake hadn’t woken since Emilio had placed him in the truck.
“No, I found him passed out and tried to help.”
“Do you know him?”
“He’s a friend,” Emilio said. “Recent friend. I don’t know his family history.”
The guy nodded before he wheeled Jake through a set of double doors. Emilio stopped, staring at the gurney until it was out of sight. He stood there in a daze, his heart still not returning to its normal rhythm. Emilio’s mind was a chaotic mess.
Jake had died in that motel room.
He turned his head, glancing around, a sense of utter disbelief grabbing hold as he took a seat in the waiting room. Twenty minutes later, Santos walked in.
“How is he?”
Emilio shook his head. “I haven’t heard anything yet.” His throat tightened when he gazed at the double doors. He was tempted to go back there and check on Jake but kept his ass planted in the hard, plastic chair. He wouldn’t be helping Jake if he got in the doctor’s way.
“Jake,” Emilio said in a low, halfhearted warning. “You need to rest.”
Just touching Emilio made the ache lessen, the knot in his stomach ease. Jake wanted to bathe in the man’s masculine scent that had his cock growing hard, needy. Nothing in his life made sense. Nothing but Emilio.
“I don’t need sleep.” Emilio let his hand slide down Emilio’s chest, the hard ripples under the pads of his finger exciting him. Emilio’s eyes scanned the room, gazing over toward the windows, and then settled on Jake.
“This can’t happen, Jake. You’re not in the right frame of—”
“I’m fine,” he argued. “Tell me you’re going to turn me away.”
“That’s exactly what I’m going to do,” Emilio said as he gripped Jake’s wrist, stopping Jake from descending any lower.
But Jake was determined.
Punches, gunshots, terror, escape, running…running…running.
If Jake didn’t vent soon, he knew he would use. It didn’t matter if Emilio was the one to relieve the pressure. All Jake knew was that the steam had to be released. His mind was fragmenting, and Emilio was his anchor.
But he said none of this out loud. Maybe he should. Maybe he should tell Emilio what was going on inside his head, but Jake didn’t want a pity fuck. Not with Emilio. That would kill him. He wanted Emilio to look at him with desire, nothing else. His skin was so tight, itchy. Jake felt the pressure reaching, growing higher and higher.
“We can spend the rest of the night talking,” Emilio offered, never releasing Jake’s wrist.
It was like a slap across his face. Jake yanked his arm free, taking a step back. The dark storm inside his head gathered clouds, the rejection like lightning, cutting across his mind and stabbing him in the heart. There would be no anchor tonight. There would be no safety in the man’s arms. Most of all…there would be no escape.
Jake lowered his eyes to the floor and turned, needing desperately to get out of there.
“Jake, wait.” Emilio grabbed him, turning Jake around. “It’s not that I don’t want you. It’s just…” Emilio let go of a rough sigh. “I don’t want to take advantage of your fragile state.”
A bitter laugh ripped from Jake’s throat. “Fragile?” Maybe he was, but letting Emilio believe that was a blow to his ego. “Who the fuck said I was fragile?”
“Damn it, Jake.” Emilio pulled him closer, trying to hug him. Jake didn’t want to be hugged. He wanted to be fucked. He shoved Emilio away. “I’m not your baby brother. I don’t need coddling. I need your dick in my ass.”
The cracks were growing bigger. The pressure building.
“Screw you, bitch.” Jake turned, heading out of the living room when Emilio grabbed him around the waist and threw him onto the couch, onto his hands and knees. Jake gripped the back of the couch as Emilio blanketed his back.
“What did you call me?” The anger was tangible, alive and sizzling in the air all around them. Jake felt as if he had a predator pinning him down, a dangerous creature that he shouldn’t push.
Instead of repeating himself, Jake ground his ass into Emilio’s groin, moaning, aching to feel something, anything. “Please…Emilio…please.”
The heat of Emilio’s body trapping him, the scent, the need, had Jake ready to cry in frustration.
Jake had no idea what Emilio was talking about. His need to be fucked? The need to get high? The need to escape? Those two words could have applied to any number of things. Jake’s throat was growing tighter, his stomach cramping. He answered, “Yes.” Though he still wasn’t sure what Emilio was referring to.
And he didn’t care.
Jake shivered when Emilio brushed his hair aside, biting down gently on his shoulder as he unfastened Jake’s pants. He could feel the tears gathering in his eyes, the relief at knowing Emilio was going to do something about the pressure threatening to send him over the dark, dismal edge.
He bucked, and Emilio pressed his weight harder into Jake, letting him know that Emilio wasn’t going to let him go. He didn’t want the man to release him. Sheltered under Emilio, trapped between the man’s hard body and the couch, Jake—for the first time in a very long while—felt safe, able to breathe, felt as though the monsters couldn’t get to him.
Emilio whispered his name, and the sound was a flap of wings soaring high above the clouds, a fantasy, a raw, primitive call. Jake let out a whimper as Emilio’s hand wrapped around his cock, the strong fingers like a branding iron on his skin.
“One step at a time,” Emilio said before he began to stroke Jake’s cock.
Jake ground his ass harder into Emilio’s groin, feeling just how hard the man was. His fingers curled into the cushions as Emilio softly bit his shoulder again.
The rioting currents swept through Jake. A pressure was building, only this time it didn’t feel self-destructive. He felt a delicious agony. He could barely breathe, barely pull air into his lungs. His ass begged to be filled and his body shook, but Emilio made no move to fill Jake. He only stroked Jake’s cock. The frustration and pleasure mingled until Jake wasn’t sure he’d survive. His breath caught when Emilio began to tease his neck with his tongue, his warm breath tickling over Jake’s skin.