Max Hall sat on the end of the bench in the booth where the crowd from The Paint Store was celebrating their court victory over serial litigator Mitchall. The man had tried to persuade the judge that when he made a legitimate complaint about a faulty paint roller one of the staff had viciously broken his finger.
Since Ainsley was able to produce photographs of Mitchall’s finger marks on her thigh, and he had no evidence his finger had been damaged, his case was thrown out of court.
It had been Max’s job, as a builder as well as part owner of The Paint Store, to give evidence that the paint roller was perfectly marketable. Mitchall hadn’t wanted them to see the roller and when Max had insisted, it was obvious why he’d hidden it. The so-called ruined wall had only the tiniest evidence of any unevenness of the paint application on it, and that could be blamed on the skill of the painter rather than the quality of the roller. Max had taken pictures of both the wall and the roller as well.
Fortunately the judge had agreed with them. But even better than that, the entire incident had caused him to meet Detective Nicholas O’Hare. Nick had seen the pictures of the opening of the store in the local newspaper, and had wandered in to have a look for himself on his day off. He’d arrived at absolutely the right time for The Paint Store staff. He’d seen Mitchall lean over Ainsley, grip her thigh, and scream at her.
The judge had believed him absolutely when he’d said that anything that might or might night have happened to Mitchall’s finger was self-defense.
“Personally I wish she had broken it. That might have taught the idiot a lesson,” Nick had said to him as they walked from the court to the bar for their drink.
“Yeah, me, too. But mostly I’m just glad it’s all over,” Max said, ensuring he was sitting next to Nick. The detective looked even sexier today in his prim navy blue suit and pale blue shirt than he’d looked in jeans and a faded blue T-shirt the first time they’d met. Watching him loosen his navy necktie made Max wonder what it’d feel like to kiss the man’s slightly stubbled cheek.
Max had always been attracted equally to men as to women, yet he’d never had a relationship with a man before. It was rather embarrassing to realize that he was thirty years old and his male cherry remained unpopped. But that was something that he planned to fix real soon. Maybe even tonight.
He’d known he needed to accept his sexual orientation after spending an hour in Nick’s company on the day Mitchall had come to the store. It was just that he hadn’t been able to think of an appropriate way of going about it. The store had the detective’s cell phone number, but what was he supposed to say? “I’ve decided I’m gay. Will you pop my cherry?” was hardly a good enough pick up line. Tonight was his only chance. There’d be no logical reason to speak to the man ever again after tonight. So somehow he had to arrange for them to leave together. But how?
* * * *
Detective Nicholas O’Hare hadn’t spent two years at the Police Academy without learning to read body language, and he’d known from the very beginning that the attraction he felt toward the big builder was reciprocated.
He sipped his craft beer and pretended to be looking down the table at Roland, who was speaking, while he actually watched Max out of the corner of his eye.
The builder was six foot four, and solid with it, muscles bulging beneath his sports coat and business pants. Nick had never loved such a big man before. Usually he preferred smaller, slender men like the interior designer, Basil. But apart from the fact that Basil had eyes for no one except the staff member, Edward, it was Max who Nick was drawn to. Max was huge and assertive on the outside, but Nick had a strong feeling that he’d be a great, big, soft, cuddly teddy bear in bed.
Well, time would tell. He planned to make a move on the man tonight, and see what might happen.
It was fascinating watching the four owners and staff members interacting like this, relaxing after the pressure and drama of the day in court. Each owner was very different from all the others, but they seemed to understand and make allowances for each other’s personalities.
On the outside Max was very much a man’s man. A big, tough person with definite ideas. He teased Basil by calling him Baz, which the designer clearly disliked, and he and Basil both called Cuthbert, the accountant, a bean counter in quite a derogatory way, which Cuthbert waved off. Yet underneath the teasing Nick sensed their bond was strong.
Roland, the business manager, was the final member of the group and he looked and sounded as staid as Cuthbert, yet had some quite radical ideas at times.
The three full-time staff members were also a close-knit group—Edward, Robyn, and Ainsley, who’d shown such courage against the bullying Mitchall. Henry, the final staff member, was clearly in awe of everyone else, yet had staunchly supported them all. Nick was as certain as a nonmathematical person could be, that The Paint Store was on solid ground as a business.
What wasn’t on such solid ground was whether or not Max would split off from the group and come somewhere with him so they could get to know each other better.
Their attorney, who’d accompanied them all to the bar, left, but the others decided to buy food, so he did the same, aware that now he was the only noncompany person remaining in the group. But he didn’t plan on leaving without Max. Or, at the very least, without a date organized with Max.
nce the food was eaten, Ainsley and Robyn finished their drinks and decided to leave. Cuthbert started saying his good-byes, and Henry did, too. Nick decided this was the perfect opportunity. Under cover of all the conversation he asked Max softly, “How about we continue this event somewhere we can talk? Just you and me.”
Nick’s fingers on his ass felt strong and thick, much more masculine than anyone who’d ever touched him there before. Max relaxed. It really did feel good. He loved the more definite hand on his ass. Nick’s power was controlled, but Max could feel it simmering under the surface and that was as sexy as hell to him—that and the knowledge that he could roll over and pull his lover into his arms for a hug and a kiss, without having to move slowly and carefully in case he bounced Nick off the bed.
That’d almost happened once. He’d flipped himself from lying on his front to his back in a hotel room, and the woman he was with, whose name he couldn’t even remember anymore, had almost been thrown off the bed. He’d had to grab her arm so she didn’t fall.
He thrust his ass up onto Nick’s fingers, impatient to get moving. Nick slapped his butt with a harsh hand. “Chill, Max. This is your first time and you need to be prepared properly or it’ll hurt and that would spoil the fun.”
“So when I get my hand on your ass, it’ll be quicker?” he asked.
“Yeah. I told you I’m versatile. I’m happy to give or to get. Or, like tonight, do both, which is even better.”
“Have you always known you were gay?” Max hadn’t even stopped to think about that before. Something had told him when they met that Nick was gay. Maybe it was after spending time with Basil, who was so outrageously gay, and Edward who was so quiet and unobtrusive yet still clearly gay, that his senses had been alerted to noticing such things.
“When I first started working as a policeman I wasn’t in the closet exactly, but I also didn’t tell people about my sexual orientation. But after a while I knew the police force here was genuinely accepting of difference so I no longer tried to be careful. It’s what I am and what I’ve been for many years now. People can take it or leave it. I don’t really mind. I’m just me.”
Max rolled over onto one elbow. “I’m glad it worked out for you like that.”
“Yeah, me. Too.” Nick slapped his ass again, another heavy-handed thwacking blow, and Max felt his dick grow even longer. Well, that was good to know as well. He’d never thought about spanking before, but he’d certainly be thinking about it in the future.
Nick reached over his body and Max heard the sound of foil tearing. He rolled onto his back and planted his feet flat on the bed, legs wide apart. His gaze was focused on Nick’s cock as he rolled the condom over his long, thick shaft. He liked that Nick didn’t wax his chest hair. He wanted to feel Nick’s rough manliness against his own skin. He wanted Nick, all of Nick, right now.
Nick leaned over Max and kissed him on the lips. It was exactly how he’d imagined it would be, rougher, harsher, more demanding than kissing a woman, and unbelievably erotic. His cock stretched and waved, brushing against Nick’s belly as well as his own. The light touch sent a frisson of delight rippling up his spine. He grabbed Nick’s neck, holding his head in place, and deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue into Nick’s mouth at the same time as Nick tasted him.
Nick used both his hands to hold Max in place as they kissed each other deeper and harder than he’d ever been kissed before, only pulling apart when his lungs had been completely emptied of air. Before he was fully recovered, Nick’s cock was at his entry, Nick’s hands were on his hips, and then his head almost exploded as Nick drove into him, leaving a trail of burning fire.
“I’m in,” said Nick unnecessarily, and with a huge, cheeky grin.
“I worked that out by myself.”
Nick wiggled his body a little closer, and stared into his eyes. “Are you ready?”
Max hadn’t really thought about what he expected. Sex was sex after all. But Nick pumping into his ass was like nothing he’d ever known before. He was stretched wide and his channel burned, yet it was carnal as hell and felt damn good despite the small amount of pain. In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he liked the slight edginess the burn gave him, just as he’d enjoyed being slapped on the ass. Not that he was ready to sign up for BDSM just yet, but some rough sex was looking damn attractive.
Being fucked was not so very different from fucking. Max’s hips snapped up and down in the familiar rhythm and his orgasm tingled at the base of his spine. His cock was cradled between their bodies instead of in a warm mouth or a hot cunt, but it still felt pretty good to be rubbed back and forth in time with their movements.
Max gripped Nick’s hips and slammed up into every stroke Nick made. His engorged, aching dick was jammed between their bodies, but the slippery friction of their sweaty bellies sliding up and down on his hot flesh was erotic so he made no attempt to pull back from Nick. Instead he pressed in closer biting across Nick’s chest and worrying his nipple with his front teeth.
“Go ahead, bite me if you want to,” urged Nick.