Derek Sommers is fleeing a bad situation, made worse by foolish decisions from years before. He’d given into his father’s demands once and it had cost him a relationship with his brother, Deke. When Derek’s father demands he marry a certain woman, Derek has had enough. He decides to find out if Deke’s partner was telling the truth and travels to Stone Ridge in hopes of repairing ties with his brother. Except, even from states away, Derek’s father doesn’t want to let him go.
Dillan Shoreman travels to Stone Ridge to visit his godson, Edwin. When he nearly takes out a man jay-walking, he discovers the battered human is his mate. Having been alone a long time, Dillan thanks Fate’s oddly timed blessing. Unfortunately, he discovers that convincing his mate they have a future together will be harder than he thinks. Between a manipulative father, a guilt-tripping mother, and a conniving wannabe bride, Dillan’s mate already has plenty on his mind. Can Dillan convince Derek that he can give him the peace, healing, and strength that his heart so desperately needs?
Picking up the beer, Dillan lined them up on the side of the hot tub. Then, he gripped the zipper of his jeans and carefully lowered it…didn’t want to catch anything, after all. Finally, he pushed the jeans down and off. Half-turning to face Derek as he folded the pants, he looked toward the human.
Dillan spotted the blush on Derek’s cheeks and noted how the human’s gaze was riveted to his hard cock. Hell, he liked that Derek seemed unable to resist staring at him, and he sure wasn’t going to do anything to embarrass him. Instead of drawing attention to his mate’s staring, Dillan tossed his jeans onto the table where the beers had been and climbed into the hot tub.
Groaning in pleasure upon feeling the heat envelope his road-weary muscles, Dillan slid onto a seat. He sighed, grabbed a beer, and popped the cap. After tossing the cap in the direction of his jeans—and feeling proud he landed it on top of the folded fabric—he held up the bottle and waggled it.
“Come on, jay-walker. Get in here and loosen up,” Dillan teased.
Derek moved forward a few steps, looking uncertain.
Dillan beckoned with the beer again, then set it on the side of the tub. Picking up a second bottle, he opened that and did the same with the cap as the first one. Dillan took a long drink from this one. He swallowed, then rested the back of his head on the pad of the seat and waited for Derek to make up his mind. As he eyed the handsome human, he tried to ignore the twitching of his throbbing cock.
“I, uh, don’t have a suit,” Derek objected halfheartedly.
Snorting, Dillan shook his head. “I know you didn’t miss that I don’t either.” He narrowed his eyes and grinned. “If you’re feeling shy, leave your underwear on. It’d be a shame though, because I bet you have a sexy ass.”
Derek’s cheeks turned almost scarlet and he took a step backward. “You’re gay?”
“Bisexual,” he corrected. “I’m an equal opportunities connoisseur of the pleasures of the flesh,” Dillan told him with a wink. “Why limit myself?”
Chuckling, Dillan sobered. “Get in the damn hot tub, jay-walker. I won’t bite unless you ask me to.” He pointed at the beer, then at the seat across from him. “Get undressed and relax, Derek.”
Finally, as if he’d suddenly come to a decision, Derek started moving. He whipped his shirt over his head and draped it over the back of a chair. Next, he unbuttoned his belt and jeans, then stripped them off, too. These he folded and set on a chair as he kicked his socks underneath it.
Derek stood in his navy blue briefs for an instant, the line of his rigid cock showing blatantly leaning a bit toward the left. His face still red, he quickly climbed into the tub and slid into the water. He glanced around the four person tub, hesitating, then grabbed a beer and sat in the seat to Dillan’s left instead of the one across from him.
Pleased with Derek’s choice, Dillan took a sip of his beer. “So, you mentioned visiting Stone Ridge. Are you here to see someone? Just to view the sites? Go hiking?”
After swallowing his own swig of beer, Derek licked a drop of the beverage from the corner of his lip and stared out at the forest. He scoffed. “I’m running away, actually.”
Dillan felt his brows shoot up, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. “Really? From what?” Then, he cocked his head, something about the wistful look on Derek’s face triggering something. “Or perhaps you are running to something?”
“I never thought of it that way, but yeah,” Derek mumbled. He rested the beer on the edge of the tub, still gripping the bottle. He stared at it. “My father ran off my brother, Deke, and I didn’t do anything about it. I was too chicken shit. I’d like to mend things with him.”
Dillan hummed. Interesting. His mate seemed to have some baggage. From the way he stared vacantly, obviously deep in thought, it was obvious these weren’t happy thoughts. Still, if his mate needed to talk about it, Dillan would listen.
“Why did your father run your brother off?” Dillan asked gently.
Derek’s jaw clenched. “Because Deke is gay.”
“Ah,” Dillan replied softly. That explained his question about Dillan’s sexuality. “And what about you?” he probed. “Do you have a problem with those that are gay?”
“No!” Derek snapped. He scowled. “Sorry.” Sighing, he rubbed his free hand over his face, then took a gulp of his beer. Finally, he leaned his head back and muttered, “This probably isn’t relaxing like you’d hoped.”
“This seems like it’s something you need to get off your chest, though,” Dillan purred, lowering his voice to a soothing rumble. “They say sometimes sharing with a stranger is easier than sharing with someone you know.” Trying to lighten the suddenly somber mood, he added, “Why do you think therapists are paid so much?”
Derek snorted. “Right. Like you want to listen to my problems.”
Dillan chuckled. “I have a good ear.”
“Well, talking about how my father is an asshole and bought my silence because he paid off a police officer to get me out of joyriding charges that I don’t even remember doing…yeah, that’s not really going to help me relax.”
“Talking about family does have a way of killing a boner,” Dillan confirmed, smirking.
When Derek’s gaze snapped to him, Dillan grinned.
Yes, got his attention now.
“Oh, come on,” he rumbled. “You saw mine and I saw yours. I can think of a far better way to relax you than talking about family.” He smirked. “Maybe after that, when you’re already relaxed, we can talk about solving all your family problems.”
While Dillan meant his offer about helping Derek solve his problems, he wanted to touch his mate even more. Sitting there, remembering the sight of his mate’s cloth-covered dick, Dillan was having a hell of a time not touching. He wanted to rub up against his wet, sexy human and mark him with his scent. He wanted to please the human, seduce him with pleasure.
Derek sucked in a sharp breath. His eyes widened for an instant as he licked his lips. His breathing sped up. Finally, Derek mumbled, “I’ve never been hard enough for a guy to want to act on it before.”
Before. Dillan liked the sound of that.
Derek peered at him through water-beaded lashes. “What did you have in mind?”