“So, Paolo, wow me.” Leo joined his fingers before him while he sat at the side counter in the kitchen, grinning.
Paolo laughed. “This is going to take some time.”
“Not a problem. My whole afternoon is free.”
“All right.” He pointed to the fridge. “So I can use anything in there?”
Leo nodded. “Of course. Use whatever you need.”
“Thanks.” Paolo opened the stainless steel doors. His eyes widened in amazement. “It’s huge in here!”
“Yeah, Mike got the deluxe model.” He paused then said, “So, Paolo, tell me about yourself.”
“There is not much to tell. I lead a boring life.”
“Oh, I doubt that very much. There’s nothing boring about you, Paolo.”
Paolo’s cheeks heated once again, but he didn’t draw away. Leo’s enchanting blue-green eyes had him captivated, and his sultry lips, the way they moved whenever he spoke, made Paolo want to draw closer. He had the impish desire of touching them, feeling their heat and suppleness on his.
No, no! What’s wrong with you, Paolo? Leo is your boss’s brother. You’re playing with fire. Just stay away. You need this job.
Finally mustering the determination, he swung his gaze to the fridge’s contents. “Thanks.”
“Okay, Paolo, are you going to tell me about yourself or is your personal life off limits?” Leo’s voice traveled from around the massive fridge’s cover.
He grabbed the stainless steel braided basket and began placing eggs, mascarpone, milk, cream and everything he needed to make tiramisu and a pizzelle dessert he invented filled with custard, whipped cream, and dark chocolate.
“No, not at all. Well, I’m twenty-four years old. I have a younger sister named Greta. My parents were born in Calabria, Italy, but moved to the States after they were married. My dad died about four years ago. My mom used to be the head chef at Ristorante la Buona Cucina, like I told you before. But then she got very ill and had to retire. So I live with her and my sister,” he said as he set the basket on the cutting and prepping table.”
Glancing up at him while he cracked eggs, he hedged, “How about you, Leo?”
Leo leaned over, resting his chin on his meshed fingers. “I’m also twenty-four and the middle child. My parents died a few years back and left my four brothers and me their cattle ranch. We all work on the ranch as partners, except for Mike, since he decided to open this bistro.”
Paolo’s ears perked and his eyes broadened with awe. “You’re a cowboy?”
Leo appeared amused and seemed to become more enthralled with their conversation and where it headed. “Yes, I am. Why do you ask? You seem surprised.”
“It’s just that you don’t look like a cowboy.”
Leo threw his head back. In a humorous Southern drawl, he jeered, “What, you were expecting someone in a Stetson hat and boots with spurs, wearing leather chaps?”
Paolo’s gaze dropped to the cutting marble board. He had sounded so dumb, because he did in fact think of the typical spaghetti western attire just now. “No, ah, it’s just well, ah…” Now he was tongue-tied, too. Great, he was starting to look more like a moron by the minute.
As if sensing Paolo’s distress, Leo interjected, “Don’t worry. I’m just kidding. So tell me more about yourself. Are you married or engaged?”
“No way!” Startled at Leo’s directness and his own reaction to it, Paolo laughed at the same time as he breathed in, which came out like a loud hog’s snort.
He wished that nauseating sound had never escaped his lips just now. He cleared his throat and focused on filling the espresso machine with freshly ground coffee. “H–how about you?” he stammered, not daring to look Leo in the eyes.
“I’m as free as a bird. But that doesn’t mean I’m not looking. Actually, I met someone recently who has definitely caught my eye.”
This was it, the big come on. Paolo’s whole body began to tingle with anticipation and excitement. He could hardly believe it. This gorgeous shifter, with the blue-green eyes as beautiful as the sea was coming on to him.
No, he was dreaming. Gorgeous men like Leo Brooks went after models or hunky, muscular athletes, not clumsy and awkward wannabe chefs like him.
Yet the sparkle in Leo’s eyes that lassoed Paolo’s attention and his sexy, warm smile that made Paolo’s heart drum faster and faster said that Leo was indeed interested. Why?
Totally immersed in his baffling thoughts, Paolo filled the measuring cup he held under the espresso machine with both hands to overflowing. He drew his hands away only after the boiling liquid had seared his skin for several seconds.
Before he realized it, Leo had sprinted from his side of the table over to him. “Here, let’s get these under cold water.” He quickly guided him to the double sink, lifted the faucet’s single handle with his elbow, and dunked Paolo’s hands under the ice cold jet stream.
The mounting pain seemed to stabilize while Paolo stared at his slightly inflamed hands resting in Leo’s. Being so close to the super-tall, muscularly lean shifter had his whole body acting wonky. His legs felt numb, his knees wobbly, as if they’d bend involuntarily backward any second, toppling him to the ceramic floor. His Adam’s apple throbbed with the pulse of his heartbeat, and his eyes refused to look up at Leo.
He could feel Leo’s intense gaze heating his face, but he didn’t have the courage or the strength to look at him.
“Would it frighten you if I transformed in front of you?” Leo asked.
Paolo sighed, turning his gaze away. His reaction caused Leo dismay. The wolf was as much a part of Leo as his human side. If Paolo wouldn’t ever want to see that side of him and love it too, then this relationship he so desperately wanted didn’t have a leg to stand on.
When Paolo’s gaze returned to his, he confessed, “I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never seen a shifter transform, so I don’t know how I’ll react.”
Sensing his worry, Leo grasped his hand, kissing it. “I always have control over the wolf, even in my animal form, so there’s nothing to fear.”
“I didn’t know.”
In a soothing voice, Leo said, “I can show you now if you’d like to see me.”
Paolo didn’t speak. He only nodded.
Leo rolled off the bed and knelt on the floor. Never deflecting his gaze from Paolo’s alert and attentive eyes, he began the transformation. He made sure to breathe deeply and evenly. The more relaxed he remained, the smoother the transition.
His skin began to tingle as hair sprouted. His nose stretched and widened, and his teeth became bigger and pointier. He felt his vision sharpening while his eyes shifted to blue wolf eyes.
When he had fully turned, he rested his head on the bed and stared at Paolo. With his acute vision, he could see more details of Paolo’s beautiful light brown eyes and the fine pores on his skin. Even in this magnified view, Paolo was breathtaking.
Paolo pushed himself closer. He gently stroked Leo’s head and back. “Your fur is so silky and soft.”
Leo closed his eyes, absorbing Paolo’s caresses. Reopening his eyes, he noted Paolo’s face was now mere inches away from his. He kissed Leo’s mouth while he gazed into his wolf eyes. “Well, you are so beautiful both as a human and a wolf.”
Leo’s heart warmed. Paolo hadn’t recoiled. He found him beautiful, all of him. He began to transform back to his human form. It was always easier and faster to reverse the process.
Coming to lie down beside him, Leo peered at him. “So was it what you expected?”
Paolo shook his head. “Nope, not at all. It was spectacular to watch you change. I couldn’t draw away.”
Leo cupped his face with his right hand while he rested his head on his other hand. “I can’t draw away, either. Your eyes keep me captivated. All I want to do is kiss you, especially after what you said before, that you find me beautiful both in my human and wolf form.”
Paolo edged forward, his mouth opening. When their lips met, the energy that their contact produced not only made Leo’s heart skip several beats, it also made his lust rise dramatically.
He had put a damper on his sexual yearnings when he saw Paolo’s apprehension, but now that they crossed that barrier, there was nothing holding them back. Not now, not ever. It was time to really show Paolo how good they could be together. How fantastic the sex and the love they’d participate in. Leo’s cock pulsed and stretched with eagerness. It longed to sink deep into his intended mate’s ass and fuck him hard and fast.
Paolo’s tongue snaked into Leo’s mouth, twirling and teasing his. His breaths became frequent and shallow while his curious hands quickly roamed over Leo’s arms and chest, down to his abdomen. It was as if they desperately searched for sexual contact by their own accord, moving faster than Paolo willed them to. When they approached Leo’s cock, it jerked on contact. He couldn’t contain his desires any longer. His inner wolf got the better of him and he growled pushing Paolo gently on his back. “I want you so bad, I’m burning up inside,” he professed.
He pressed his lips over Paolo’s and let his own hands do their magic on Paolo’s heavenly body. They followed the flow of his taut muscles, each ripple and curve of his anatomy. His ripped abs contracted and Paolo’s cock grew under Leo’s attention. Every stroke made it bend forward as if it wanted him to guide it to pleasure. Goose bumps and a sheen of sweat formed on Paolo’s scorching hot skin as he panted. “Ah fuck, Leo. You’re driving me crazy.”
“Soon, baby, we’ll have our pleasure. Not just yet. I want you ripe,” Leo promised. He rubbed the sparse hair on Paolo’s muscular chest while Paolo flexed his pecs shouting his frenzy. Wanting to taste what his fingers felt, Leo decided to explore the rest of Paolo with his mouth and tongue.
He kissed his earlobe, licked his neck and shoulders while Paolo threw his head back and combed his fingers through Leo’s thick locks of hair.
“Now, I want to taste your cock.” Leo reveled in the moment when he bent down to lick and suck Paolo’s penis. His own cock was hard and beyond erect. It felt like it would explode.
Paolo thrust forward when Leo opened his mouth wider. His hungry gaze locked on Leo’s. A bellow from deep inside his chest rose to the surface. “Fuck me now, Leo, please.”
Leo howled his pleasure and consent. Words weren’t needed, nor could they describe what he felt. He moved upward to nip Paolo’s lower lip then twirled him around. He focused on Paolo’s fine, tight ass, salivating. He bent to kiss and rub it. “Perfect.”
Paolo moaned. “I have lubricant in the top drawer of my dresser.”
Jumping to his feet, Leo slapped his ass cheek before heading to it, which made Paolo gasp in surprise. He looked at Leo, his eyes doing the talking for him, along with his lips as he licked them.
Leo hurried to find the lubricant, but when he saw paddles, a whip, a cock ring, and a few more BDSM toys, his eyes flew wide open.