[Sire Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Alternative Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MM, shape-shifter, werewolves, HEA]
Desperate to get out of a bad situation, Corey flees the city only to find himself in some small town. Brac Village is a hidden gem, an oasis for Corey to figure out his next move. Or so he thought. For two days he slept in his car, unable to find a place to rent, until luck strikes and he overhears some guy whining about needing a roommate. Corey feels as if his life is finally turning around, until he meets his roommate’s uncle. Lord help him.
Jake has been given an undercover assignment from his boss back in Chicago. Find the partner of the dirty cop and take him down. Everyone on the Brac Village police force is a suspect, and Jake is determined to catch the killer. What he hadn’t expected was to find his mate. But Corey’s not easy to pin down, not when he’s hiding secrets about a past he’s running from.
Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.
Being free didn’t seem to be all it was cracked up to be. Corey hadn’t known that finding a house or apartment to rent could be so hard. Two days now he’d been living and sleeping in his car with no prospects yet. The only thing he’d managed to accomplish was buying a new cell phone.
It was morning, and the sun was just rising as Corey woke and adjusted his seat so he could sit up. He felt like crap, his back and neck hurt from sleeping in the awkward position, and he needed a toothbrush.
And a fresh cup of coffee.
And most definitely a hot shower. What he wouldn’t give for a shower right about now. He’d considered getting a room at the local bed and breakfast, but Corey had looked up the website. The cheapest room was one hundred and sixty dollars a night, so he’d decided his car was a much better option.
Until he secured a decent job, he needed to hold on to his cash. It was funny how people took the most basic needs in life for granted until they no longer had them at their fingertips—a shower, coffee, a bed, and a bathroom.
Speaking of, his bladder was full.
Corey got out and did a full-body stretch, and the burn of muscles felt good, too. He was parked in front of The Café, and thankfully it was open. Otherwise, he would’ve had to urinate on the side of the building, and the way his luck had been running for the past two days, he would’ve gotten arrested for indecent exposure.
He stepped onto the curb and then waited as a few people exited the coffee shop before going inside. Corey prayed he didn’t smell too funky as he moved through the shop and glared at the long line at the counter.
As he made his way toward the bathroom, he heard the guy in the back of the line say into his phone, “Bitch, please. I need a roommate, not a sugar daddy. I might be struggling to pay these bills on my own, but I’m not gonna be indebted to anyone, especially some brute who thinks he can tell me what to do just because he’s giving me money.”
Corey’s ears perked right up as he spun around and got into line.
“It’s not like roommates drop out of the sky,” the guy complained.
How did Corey say he wanted to be the guy’s roommate without revealing that he’d been eavesdropping? Did he really want to live with someone else? Not really, but he might not have a choice or this opportunity again.
He tried to work up the nerve as the line moved forward. If he didn’t open his mouth, and soon, the guy would get his drink and walk away, and Corey would be forced to spend another night in his car.
The guy’s short burst of laughter made Corey smile. It was light and airy, with a touch of sweetness laced through it. “You are so bad,” he said into his phone. “You’re lucky I’m in public, or I’d tell you what I really think. But seriously, I’m gonna get off the phone because talking on it while ordering my drink is just plain rude.”
He said a quick good-bye and then hung up. There were two people in front of him, and if Corey wanted a place to live, he needed to grow some balls and speak up.
His heart kicked up a notch as he tapped the dark-haired stranger on his shoulder. Corey yanked his hand back and forced a smile when the guy turned around and raked Corey with his stunning gray eyes. “Yes?”
Wow. The stranger had gone from a cheerful smile to wearing a sneer. Corey started to say never mind, but he really needed a place to live. He shoved down his insecurities, swallowed a few times to moisten his dry throat, and said, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. I…uh…you need, and I need…that is to say…”
The guy cocked his head to the side and slapped a hand on his waist as Corey made a complete ass of himself. “Baby doll, can you spit it out? I have to open the shop, and Heaven will have a fit if I’m late.”
“You need a roommate, and I need a place to stay.” There, Corey had gotten it out, even though he was now sweating bullets. But once he opened his mouth, he couldn’t seem to shut it. “I’m a clean person, responsible to an insane level, you’ll hardly notice I’m there, and I’m a great cook. I was practically raised in the kitchen, not that my mom kept me in there for the free child labor, but—”
The guy squinted at him. “Are you on medications?”
“What, me? No, I don’t do drugs. But if you do, no big deal. I don’t judge.” Why the fuck couldn’t he stop shaking his head? Stop shaking your damn head! He probably looked like a crazed lunatic and was blowing his chances. His head just kept twisting back and forth like a cork being pulled from a bottle, and his head would come off his shoulders at any second and roll across the floor.
“I’m usually very cautious about who I let into my apartment, but seeing as how I’m pretty desperate right now, I guess we can talk. But it’ll have to wait until after work.” He moved closer to the counter. “I can’t be late, so meet me back here, say, around five?”
“I’m Corey.” He stuck out his hand. “Corey Hall.”
“Hi, Corey Corey Hall.” The guy wore a devilish smile. “I’m Francis Licari, and no, you can’t call me Frannie or Fran. It’s Francis.”
This time Corey’s head bobbed in the opposite direction. “Got it, Francis.” Corey snorted a nervous laugh and inwardly cringed.
Francis smirked. “Look how trainable you are.”
The atmosphere felt relaxed as Corey took a seat on one of the stools by the open counter. “How did you get such a nice apartment?”
Jake winked. “I know a guy who knows a guy.”
“Really?” Corey wished he had connections.
“Nope.” Jake chuckled. “I just lucked out.” He started the coffeemaker and turned, folding his arms over his broad chest as he gazed at Corey. “I got lucky with quite a few things since moving here.”
Corey wasn’t sure if Jake was talking about him and was too shy to ask. He didn’t want to make a fool of himself if Jake wasn’t. Corey also wanted Jake to make a move on him because he was dying to taste those lips again. His gaze went right to Jake’s, and he found himself licking his own as hot need filled him.
“Are you okay?” Jake asked in a knowing voice. “You look a bit flushed.”
Corey fanned his face, staring at Jake’s chest, unable to look him in his gorgeous eyes anymore. “It’s a little hot in here.”
When he looked at Jake’s lips again, the guy was smirking. Corey had known the score when he’d agreed to come over here, but his insides were all tingly and his palms were sweaty as he sat there trying to think of something to talk about besides the temperature of the room.
Ben had liked a quiet house, and Corey never had to think about things to say. He just had to watch what he said because he never knew what might set the bastard off. With Jake, true, Corey was nervous, but he didn’t feel that chaotic energy of fear that he’d felt around Ben.
With Jake, Corey felt excitement zipping through him, felt safe whenever the guy was near, and craved Jake’s touch all the time. It was as though Corey had stepped into an entirely different universe when he’d come to this town.
Corey sucked in air as Jake rounded the counter. He held his hand out, and Corey took it. Jake pulled him off the stool and curled Corey into his arms, smiling down at him. “I have an overwhelming need to kiss you.”
Corey’s lips parted as he gazed up at Jake. “Then kiss me.”
And once again, Corey felt a deep connection to Jake, as though they’d been doing this forever. Corey had no idea why he felt that way, but he liked it. He liked the pounding of his heart, the dry throat, and the butterflies in his stomach.
He licked his lips seconds before Jake’s descended on them. “I want to feel you in my hand,” Jake whispered against Corey’s mouth.
Corey’s heart pounded wildly. They were alone, with no chance of interruption. They were gonna go all the way this time, and Corey was a nervous wreck as Jake unzipped his pants and curled his thick fingers around Corey’s cock.
A groan escaped as Jake spun him, placing Corey’s back to the man’s chest. He tilted his head forward as Jake kissed him along his nape, making Corey’s body roar to life. Easing back, Corey ground his ass into Jake’s groin, feeling the man’s hard cock press between his denim-covered cheeks.
It was on the tip of his tongue to beg Jake to fuck him, but Corey didn’t want to break the spell. Jake’s hand began to move faster, pumping up and down the hard flesh as he bit gently into Corey’s nape, but he didn’t break skin.
What Jake was doing to Corey was pleasure and torture in equal measures. Corey wanted to be fucked, but his thoughts scattered as he threw his head back and let out a strangled cry as he came. He moaned as Jake continued to stroke him, gentler this time, bringing Corey back down to earth.
“That was just round one.” Jake nibbled at his neck.
Corey was too boneless to reply. He felt weak in the knees as he used Jake to keep him upright.
“You’re so beautiful.” Jake kissed the shell of Corey’s ear.
Corey shuddered as Jake grabbed the hem of his shirt and tore it over Corey’s head. His hand smoothed down Corey’s chest, tweaking his nipples as Corey whimpered. He’d just come, yet he wanted more. Even his cock agreed because it jerked, as if struggling to come back to life.
“What…what do you want from me?” Corey had been with Ben for so long it was as though he’d forgotten what foreplay was, forgotten what real, exciting sex was all about. Ben had never made Corey this amped up, ready to do anything the guy had asked.
But he was willing to do anything Jake asked of him, just as long as this night never ended. Being with Jake was as easy as breathing, while being with Ben had hurt to breathe.
What amazed Corey the most was how much he loved being with Jake. His heart felt lighter, and he couldn’t stop smiling whenever he was with him.
“Your lips, handsome.” Jake spun him, and their lips collided as Jake ran his hands down Corey’s back and cupped his ass. He gave a light squeeze before breaking the kiss and pressed his lips to Corey’s ear. “I want to fuck you, Corey.”
Corey’s breathing became labored as his fingers gripped Jake’s biceps. “Okay,” he said between hard pants.
Jake kissed him thoroughly as he picked Corey up and carried him to the bedroom where he laid Corey on his bed.