Danny Carmody has lived life privileged but lonely. He has always sacrificed his own needs to meet the demands of his family. Now he is faced with an arranged marriage intended to reunite the Carmodys and the Dwyers, the city's two most powerful families. Out of his sense of duty, he agrees. But always a romantic at heart, he secretly nurtures hopes of finding love within this sterile business arrangement. Once he meets his intended groom, Evan -- a talented, attractive architect -- those hopes soar.
Evan Dwyer has grown up reviled by his family. Before he was even born, his mother was blamed for breaking up a planned marriage between the Carmodys and the Dwyers. As a result, both Evan and his mother have lived their lives in virtual exile. But now he has suddenly been deemed of use to the families, and they are blackmailing him into participating in the arranged marriage.
Furious, he reaches out to the FBI for help and finds only more complications. Too many people want to use him to advance their own agendas. By the time Evan realizes Danny might just be the safe harbor he's looked for all his life, it may well be too late. Evan has set in motion forces that threaten to destroy any hope they have for a future together.
Back at his apartment, he handed Danny clean towels and the antibiotic ointment and sent him to off to shower. Evan poured two glasses of orange juice and sat at the kitchen counter to wait for him, determined to apologize.
Danny came out of the bathroom looking more like himself with his normal even temper restored.
Evan handed him a glass and stood up, facing him. "Look, Danny, I need to apologize for springing that on you. You didn't deserve that, and I'm sorry."
Danny drank the juice and dragged his tongue across his lips, chasing a drop that had pooled in the corner of his mouth.
Evan's cock twitched.
Danny shook his head and said, "Well, maybe it was a good thing. Even though I saw it, I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around it. That's really the best option city kids have? It's appalling."
"Yeah, it is. And I'm sorry you got hurt, too." Evan smiled and reached around Danny, gliding his hand lightly over the wounded buttock.
Danny shivered. He set the glass down, bent his head and whispered, "I forgive you."
He watched as Danny kept slowly moving towards him, giving him every opportunity to turn away, right up until their lips met. Danny's kiss was soft, and light, his mouth just barely open and inviting.
Evan gladly accepted the offering and let his tongue explore. The sweetness of orange. The smooth ripple of strong teeth. He nipped gently and soothed the spot with his tongue. Pulling Danny closer, he breathed in the scent of freshly-washed, aroused male. It sent a rush of blood straight to his cock. God, what was it about Danny he found so irresistible? Within seconds, Evan was hard, jamming himself up against Danny. His brain kept trying to contact him, telling him he needed to regain control. He needed to slow this down. He needed to stop wondering how many steps it was to the bed and if the sheets were clean. Everything was too complex already without adding sex into the equation. Wasn't it?
Permitting himself one last caress of that tender bottom, Evan broke off the kiss. He steeled himself to ignore the tiny whimper of loss that rose from Danny's throat. Moving a step back, Evan struggled for composure. And for breath. He looked up at Danny.
Those beautiful eyes, dark brown, swirled with flecks of honey gold--eyes that could radiate warmth and kindness. And right now, they were needy, blown wide with passion. They were nearly Evan's undoing. God, that man was made to be laid down and taken. Thoroughly.
But this wasn't fair to Danny. With the help of the FBI, Evan would soon walk away from all things Carmody. And he wasn't going to let Danny feel any more used than he already did.
He cleared his throat. "Danny, uh ... that was ... well, wonderful. But I think we should slow down."
Danny straightened and took a deep breath. "Yeah. Yeah, you're right." He ran his hands through his hair -- a gesture Evan was beginning to recognize as Danny's signature reaction to stress. "I should be going anyway."
"You're not mad, are you?"
Danny smiled and shook his head. "Of course not. Just a little ... I don't know…dazed? It's been quite a day and it's only ten o'clock. I mean, first you kick my ass at running. Then you skewer my ass with a wooden stake. And now you nearly knocked me on my ass with that kiss."
"Well, be sure to take care of that ass. I rather like it."
"Thank you. My ass and I have a lot to think about, so I'll just say goodbye now. I'll take care of Mother's list of wedding errands today by myself so you can have the day off."
Despite his good intentions, Evan couldn't resist placing a feather-light good-bye kiss on those swollen lips before he pushed Danny out into the hall.
Leaning against his closed door, Evan's whole body slumped. "Oh, hell," he murmured. "How am I going to walk away from that?" But the reality was that after the FBI charged in, he wouldn't have to walk away -- he'd be pushed. He sighed and headed down the hall to the bedroom.