[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Alternative Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MM, shape-shifter, HEA]
Jeremy Longing has been mourning the loss of his wife for two years, drinking to dull the pain. He refuses to leave the house, except on booze runs, until Moose talks Jeremy into going into town for breakfast. Jeremy isn’t sure what to think or feel when he meets the owner of the diner. Cyril Anson. He’s tall, sexy, and flirtatious, and seems to have his sights set on Jeremy.
Cyril knew the moment Jeremy walked into his diner that the human was his mate. He also knew Jeremy has demons he’s trying to drink away. Cyril has to take things slow, to coax his mate out of the misery he’s been living in for the past two years. When Jeremy’s brother-in-law shows up, Cyril doesn’t trust the man. He’s sure Alan has ulterior motives. But Cyril has his hands full when one thing after another puts his mate in danger.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
“You actually did it,” he said as he sat. Moose had to push the table toward Jeremy for room. “I’m proud of you, Jeremy.”
“I figured it was time to turn over a new leaf.” He sipped his coffee and set it down. It was still a bit hot to drink. Now that Moose was here, the tension in Jeremy’s gut eased.
“Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re here.” Moose waved to the waitress, and she brought her carafe with her. She poured Moose some coffee and winked.
“You know it,” Moose said. He looked at Jeremy. “What’re you eating?”
“I haven’t decided yet.”
“Bring him a blueberry waffle,” Moose told Heather. He looked back at Jeremy. “You’ll thank me.”
That saved Jeremy from having to struggle with choices, which he was not very good at. He had wrecked the past two years of his life. If it hadn’t been for his wife’s life insurance money—he felt a crushing pressure in his chest when he thought about her—Jeremy would have been destitute by now.
Not that he had wanted to take the money, but Jeremy had, and most of it still sat in the bank. It was amazing what little a person could live off of when they no longer cared about their quality of life.
“Have you thought about counseling?” Moose sipped his coffee. The cup looked dainty in his hand. The guy’s size always amazed Jeremy. He had never come across someone so mountainous before, yet Moose was the kindest and most caring man Jeremy had ever met.
“I don’t…I’m not ready…I’m thinking about it.” Spilling his soul to a stranger didn’t appeal to Jeremy. He was a private person, and the thought of opening up to a shrink made him feel sick to his stomach.
Moose slid a piece of paper across the table. “I’m not saying you have to go, but that’s the address to a group who meets once a week. It’s a survivors group, Jeremy. You’d be around others who are going through the same thing you are.”
Jeremy slid the paper back across the table with a little too much force. “What good can come from listening to others talk about what they’ve lost? Why would they care about my loss? I’m sorry, but I’m not going.”
Jeremy wasn’t ready for all of this. He wasn’t ready to face the world sober. He got up to leave, but Moose grabbed his wrist.
“Okay, just breakfast. No more talking about you getting help. At least not this morning.”
Jeremy didn’t want to stay. He wanted to run and hide. But Moose had been a good friend to him, so he relented and sat back down just as Heather brought their food.
They thanked her and began to eat. Moose had been right. The blueberry waffles were amazing. They had just the right amount of sweetness, and the blueberries were real.
“So, did you take the deputy job?” Jeremy asked as he took another bite of his waffles. He must have been hungrier than he thought because he was devouring them.
“Nope,” Moose said. “I had my friend Darren talk to Grayson. He lives about a mile down the road from me. He was happy to have something to do with his time. His boyfriend is gonna be working at the coffee shop. You should meet Lenox. He’s a really sweet guy.”
Jeremy started to tell Moose that he didn’t want any new friends right now, but a tall lean guy with an even longer beard, which was braided, approached their table. He had on an apron and was wiping his hands on a towel. “How’s the food?”
Jeremy slowly let go of a deep breath. Desire lashed through him as he stared up at the gorgeous guy. Who was this sexy creature? When he realized what he’d been thinking, Jeremy looked away, ashamed that he’d been attracted to someone who hadn’t been his wife.
But you need to move on. Maybe or maybe not. Jeremy wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do anymore. What he did do was sneak another look at the tall god. Goose bumps slid along the back of his neck as his heart rate picked up.
Moose stuck out his hand. “How’s it going, Cyril?”
“Pretty good, my man.” Cyril had a deep baritone voice, as though he could sing in a rock band. He also had pretty gray eyes as he smiled at Jeremy. That smile knocked the wind from Jeremy’s lungs. He forced himself to blink as his fork hovered in midair.
“How’s your waffle?” Cyril asked.
Jeremy opened his mouth to reply, but the only thing that came out was a weird squawk. He cleared his throat and tried again as Cyril’s smile deepened. “My f-food is good,” Jeremy said. “This waffle is the b-best I’ve ever tasted.”
Pull yourself together!
“I’m glad to hear that.” Cyril kept staring at Jeremy strangely, his smile still in place, but a strange look had entered his eyes. He patted Moose on the shoulder. “I’ll let you two eat in peace.”
When Cyril walked away, Jeremy asked, “Who was that?”
“Cyril?” Moose asked. “He’s the owner of this joint. If you ask me, he should be cooking in a five-star restaurant. His food is more of a creation than just for eating. He makes everything from scratch. That’s why I’m so in love with him.”
Jeremy frowned.” You are?”
A bark of laughter escaped Moose. “Oh my god! I’m kidding.”
“Oh.” Jeremy bit his lip as he looked toward the kitchen door where Cyril had disappeared.
When Heather passed by their table, Jeremy asked for a glass of orange juice. She brought it right away, and Jeremy was shocked at the taste. “Is this fresh squeezed?”
Heather smiled. “Sure is.”
She walked away as Jeremy polished off the rest of his waffle. Every few minutes he looked toward the kitchen and saw Cyril past the window. The guy looked Jeremy’s way, but Jeremy quickly turned his head, wondering why he felt so fascinated with the guy.
And he was definitely fascinated. No one since his wife had piqued Jeremy’s interest so intensely. He had to swallow a few times to relieve the dryness in his mouth from it hanging open.
“You can talk to me about anything,” Cyril said. “I promise I don’t judge.” He leaned back and looked Jeremy in his eyes. “Do you want to talk about her?”
It was as if a dam had broken. Jeremy started talking and didn’t stop until well past midnight. He even told Cyril about how Lily had made most of the decisions, how her smile had lit up his entire world, and how psycho she could be when pissed off.
Cyril had listened to every word, laughing a few times but hugging Jeremy even more.
“She sounds like she was a wonderful woman.” Cyril kissed Jeremy on his forehead. “I’m sorry you lost her.”
“Thank you.” Jeremy gave Cyril a shaky smile. “And I’m sorry I kept you up so late.”
“Sweetheart, I enjoyed every second of our conversation.” This time when Cyril tried to kiss Jeremy’s forehead, Jeremy tilted his head back, dying to know how Cyril’s lips felt on his.
A desperate hunger began to rise up in him as Cyril stared into his eyes, his sultry voice skimming over Jeremy’s body. “Are you aiming for a kiss?”
Jeremy wrapped his arms around Cyril’s neck as the man tilted his head to the side, eating at Jeremy’s lips just as desperately as Jeremy was sucking at his. He wrapped his slim legs around Cyril’s waist, trying to get as close as he could.
Cyril gripped his sides and shook his head. “Not while you’re this vulnerable.”
“Shut up,” Jeremy growled as he kissed Cyril again, more passionately this time. He wanted to forget about his loss, to drown himself in Cyril’s scent, to feel the man’s body pressing him into the mattress.
It had been two years since Jeremy had had sex, and his body was desperate for relief.
Cyril hesitated for a heartbeat before he spun them and laid Jeremy on his back. The kiss deepened as Jeremy pulled at Cyril’s underwear, trying to get them off.
But Cyril grabbed Jeremy’s wrist and pinned his arms to the bed. The kiss was messy, desperate, and so damn agonizingly delicious that Jeremy was ready to beg the man to fuck him. He hissed when Cyril pulled at his hair, his skin buzzing as a shiver raced over him. His cock was so hard and full right now that Jeremy only wanted release.
“God, I want you,” Cyril moaned before he nipped Jeremy’s lower lip, sending a spark of heat shooting down to his groin.
Jeremy shook when Cyril brushed his hair aside, biting down gently on his shoulder as he unfastened Jeremy’s pants. He felt the tears gathering in his eyes, the relief at knowing Cyril was going to do something about the pressure threatening to send him over the edge of darkness.
He bucked, and Cyril pressed his weight harder into Jeremy, letting him know that he wasn’t going to let him go. Jeremy didn’t want the man to release him. Sheltered under Cyril, trapped between the man’s hard body and the bed, Jeremy—for the first time in a very long while—felt safe, able to breathe, and as though the misery wasn’t crushing him.
Cyril buried his face into Jeremy’s neck, sniffing him, inhaling his scent. “Tell me to leave your bed. Tell me you don’t want any part of me touching you.”
“But I want you, too.” Jeremy knew Cyril was giving him an out, but he didn’t need one. This was exactly where Jeremy wanted to be. This was what he wanted, needed, was desperate for.
He moaned when Cyril’s nails scraped along his side. Jeremy was on the verge of an orgasm, and he was ready to beg the man to ease the growing storm inside him.
Jeremy helped when Cyril yanked at his clothes. In a matter of seconds he was just as naked as Cyril was. Except Cyril was still wearing his boxers. Jeremy wanted to see the man’s hard cock, wanted to taste it, too.
One of Jeremy’s hands slid lower, his fingers searching for and finding the heated length of Cyril’s cock that was trapped in his boxers. Thick and iron-hard, throbbing beneath his touch, the silken flesh was like a flame in Jeremy’s hand.
“Oh god.” Cyril closed his eyes as a purr rumbled through him. His hips arched against Jeremy’s fist as Jeremy began to slowly stroke his lover’s heated flesh. Cyril gave a low growl as he tugged at Jeremy’s hair again, and Jeremy hissed as pleasure surged through him.
They were all hands and lips and tugging and stroking, and Jeremy loved every goddamn second of it. He loved feeling so alive again and liked the fact that someone wanted him.
He shoved aside the thought that he and Cyril were mates. Jeremy slammed a lid on the idea as he slid his hands up Cyril’s powerful sides, bucked underneath him, and gripped Cyril’s cock even tighter.
Then Cyril leaned to the side, pulled the nightstand drawer open, and retrieved a bottle of lube. Jeremy wasn’t going to ask why there was one in the guest room.
He didn’t care. He just wanted to hear Cyril purr again.
Cyril slicked his fingers, tossed the bottle aside, then spread Jeremy’s legs. Their mouths fused as Cyril drove his fingers into Jeremy’s ass.
Holy fuck! Jeremy hissed before his mouth fell open and strange noises emerged.
Cyril chucked into the kiss. “That long?”
“What do you think?” Jeremy asked.
“Then you need to dive back in.” Cyril bit Jeremy’s lower lip. “It only gets better from here.”
“I’ll hold you to that promise.” Jeremy closed his eyes and rolled his head back, arching his back as Cyril’s fingers rode in and out of his ass.
It had been extremely rare when Lily topped, but god, Jeremy missed feeling something in his ass. He missed the pleasurable burn, the anticipation, the heart-pounding raw need to feel a cock inside him.
Then his fingers were gone. Jeremy opened his eyes and looked into Cyril’s as Cyril lined the head of his cock to Jeremy’s hole and drove inside him.