Dylan's entire body froze, including his breath. He was afraid to breathe for fear the leopard would see his chest rising and falling. The cop his uncle had spoken with said that no wild beasts lived in these woods, at least not close to the residential homes. So why in the hell was there a leopard staring him down?
Was this leopard the reason he'd felt the forest warning him? What if the cat had attacked Omar and was now here to tear Dylan apart? Why had the cop lied to them? The man had given his word that the forest was safe.
He looked feverishly around for something to defend himself with. There was a large branch a few feet away. Could he make it in time before the leopard attacked? The nature channel argued that Dylan would be a fool. He'd sat there and watched specials from whales to wildcats to wolves. Dylan knew the leopard would be on him in seconds.
Then what should I do? If he gets his mouth over my head, I'm screwed. His canines will sink into my skull. But he'll mouth my throat first, suffocating me. Dylan unconsciously rubbed his throat and swallowed loudly. The cat began to move up the path toward him with slow, measured steps, as if the dang thing didn't want to frighten Dylan. A bubble of mad laughter escaped. He was losing his mind. The leopard wasn't treading carefully. It was getting ready to pounce.
I'm so screwed.
He started to shout for his uncle, but if Dylan couldn't see the house, he doubted his uncle would hear him. Besides, Kendrick was busy with the movers. The noise alone would prevent him from hearing anything in the backyard and in the woods.
Dylan was on his own.
As the cat moved up the path, its paws soundless against the packed earth, Dylan moved with caution toward the branch. The leopard seemed intent on coming after him so going after the branch shouldn't change that fact—although it might speed up the process if the cat figured out what Dylan was doing.
When he slowly bent to pick the branch up, the leopard stopped and sat on its haunches. Dylan curled his fingers around his weapon and stood, holding onto the branch for dear life. Why had the cat stopped? Dylan gazed over its sleek body and soft-looking fur until he reached the creature's eyes. They were amber and…no, no way. The cat's eyes were not filled with intelligence. That was just Dylan's mind begging this not to be real, for the cat to be friendly.
Something crashed out of the bushes to his left and Dylan raised his branch, swinging it wildly. Omar yelped and dropped to the ground as the branch cut through the air where his head had been seconds before. Dylan dropped the branch and pulled Omar to his feet, hugging him fiercely. “What the hell were you thinking?” Dylan's heart was beating so fast that it actually hurt. “Where were you when I called out for you?”
“I didn't hear you call me,” Omar argued as he wiggled to get free of Dylan's grasp. “I was exploring.” The boy seemed miffed that Dylan was so upset. He struggled some more and Dylan finally released him. “I told you there was nothing to be afraid of. It's just woods.”
Dylan suddenly remembered the leopard. He spun to see the cat still sitting there, watching them. To his amazement, the cat's head was tilted sideways, as if it could understand what they were saying.
“Hey, another one!” Omar turned toward the leopard and began to move forward. Dylan grabbed the boy and yanked him back.
“Are you crazy? That's a wild leopard, Omar. It'll kill you and eat your heart out.” Dylan began to move backward, keeping his eyes on the sitting cat as he pulled Omar along, ready to get out of the forest and away from the wild beast.
“No, he won't.” Omar yanked at his arm. Dylan had to grab the boy around his waist to keep him from running away. “The other one was friendly. It even let me pet him.”
“The other one?” Dylan's eyes widened slightly as he looked around. There was more than one leopard out here? Dylan felt his stomach roll. “You pet the other one?”
“They really are friendly, Dylan,” Omar said as he pushed his glasses back up his nose. “If they weren't, that kitty would have attacked us by now.” His little brother pointed to the leopard still sitting there watching them. “He'll let you scratch his tummy.”
“Right.” Dylan had an image of him tickling the cat's belly and then the leopard eating his hand. “I think your imagination is tricking you, kiddo.”
“It's true!” Omar stomped his foot as he glared up at Dylan. “I'm not making it up. The cat did let me pet him!”
Dylan believed that Omar believed that he'd petted the cat. His brother sometimes mixed reality with his made-up worlds. Maybe Omar desperately wanted to play with the cat so his mind made him believe that he had. Regardless, they weren't going anywhere near the leopard. “We're going to walk slowly and carefully out of the forest, Omar. I don't want you making any sudden moves and scaring the leopard into attacking us.”
“But he won't attack!” Omar insisted as he looked up at Dylan with hurt in his blue eyes. “You think I'm lying.”
“No,” Dylan said gently. “I don't believe you're lying. But if you did pet the big cat, then you just got lucky. We need to leave them be. We're in their home so we need to go back to ours. Besides, Uncle Kendrick will notice we're gone and come looking.”
“Do you know how badly I want to fuck you?” Paine whispered into the shell of his ear. “How badly I want to bury my cock inside of you? You are such a sweet temptation.”
Dylan moaned and ground his ass into Paine's jean covered erection. He could feel pre-cum wetting his underwear. Dylan was five seconds away from yanking his own jeans down and giving the man what he wanted.
He hissed and groaned when Paine's finger slid down the crease of his ass. His body was on fire. His brain had long since left him. The pressure was mounting and his balls were growing tight.
Before he could think better of it, he said, “Upstairs. In my bedroom. Not down here.”
His back left the wall and the next thing Dylan knew, Paine was racing up the stairs.
“Third floor,” he murmured as Paine nipped as his ear. The finger at his crease moved lower and some part of his brain wondered how Paine could still touch him like this when moving up stairs. But Dylan didn't care. All he could think about was naked flesh and carnal pleasure. He didn't even care if Paine would respect him afterward.
His bedroom door slammed shut and he heard the lock engage before Paine kicked the mattress that had been leaning against the wall over. It landed on the floor with a soft thud before Dylan's back hit it. Paine leaned back and tore Dylan's shirt from his body, a look of pure satisfaction crossing through the man's eyes before he took his own shirt off.
Dylan had been right. The guy's body was nothing short of perfection. All ripped lines and sinewy muscles. Paine's washboard abs drew Dylan's attention and he couldn't stop his fingers from running over the rigid planes.
“Release your legs.” Paine moved from Dylan's body, taking the warmth with him. Dylan shoved at his jeans as Paine stood and kicked his shoes off and shucking his jeans off his body. He stood there gloriously naked and Dylan damn near drooled. His sex experiences weren't that extensive, but he'd never been with a guy who looked this damn good.
Dylan craned his neck and gazed at the labeled boxes. He began to feel as if he would never find the box when he spotted the one marked “baseball cards”. He pointed to it.
Paine smiled. “Nice.” He walked over and tore the tape away and then dug inside. One of his brows rose as he looked back at Dylan.
Dylan's cheeks felt flush when he thought of what else was in the box. He'd marked the box as such so no one would get nosey.
Paine grabbed the lube and sauntered back over to him. Predator. That was what came to mind as he watched Paine walk closer. Dylan quickly tossed his shirt aside and wiggled out of his pants, throwing them on the floor next to the mattress.
Paine dropped to his knees next to Dylan and ran a hand over Dylan's backside. “Get on your hands and knees, kitten.”
“Stop calling me that,” Dylan said as he flipped to his hands and knees. But his protest was soon forgotten when Paine nipped one of his cheeks. Dylan jerked and then moaned and within seconds, lubed fingers were probing at his hole.
He lowered his shoulders to the mattress and closed his eyes. I shouldn't be doing this. I just met the guy. My family is downstairs. I've never acted this needy before. Why am I letting—”Oh, god,” he groaned when Paine's fingers slipped inside of him.
“Relax,” Paine whispered as he blanketed Dylan's back with the strong wall of his body, kissing the nape of Dylan's neck. “You're so tight, so tense.”
Dylan took a deep and steady breath as Paine stretched him. His cock was erect and pulsing, pointing directly at the mattress. Dylan reached underneath and wrapped his fingers around his heated flesh, but Paine's fingers circled his wrist and gently pulled Dylan's hand away.
“In due time,” he said. “Let's not rush this.”
Dylan curled his fingers into fist as he fought against the consuming need that was drowning him. He didn't want to wait. Dylan wanted relief. His cock was so hard that it hurt.
Paine kissed along Dylan's bare shoulder as his fingers worked magic. When Paine grazed over his prostate, Dylan cried out and spread his legs wider.
“I can't–please…now,” Dylan begged. “Please, I need it now.”
Paine gave a soft chuckle as he pulled his fingers free. “I'm going to have to teach you stamina.”
Which meant this wouldn't be the last time they had sex. Or it was simple sex talk. Did he care which? No. Not really. All Dylan wanted was to feel Paine's cock pounding inside of him.
Paine moved slightly and Dylan felt the blunt head of the man's cock nudge against his hole. He pulled in a deep breath and bit his lower lip when the pressure at his backside began to mount and burn. Paine moved slowly, yet Dylan couldn't seem to relax.
When the head popped inside, Paine covered Dylan's fists with his strong hands. “You have to relax. I can't go any deeper if you stay rigid like this.”
Paine pressed his lips to Dylan's ears. “You're not a virgin, are you?”
“No,” Dylan answered. “Just been a while.”
One of Paine's hands began to pet Dylan down his side and over his chest. His lips trailed over the side of Dylan's neck as he pushed inside another inch. Dylan forced his muscles to unclench, to relax, even though it felt as if Paine was two sizes too big.
“That's it, kitten. Let me inside of you.”