To others, Liam Stokes is a confirmed bachelor, content with his job as a foreman and satisfied with his quiet life. Liam's friends and family don't suspect that under his calm surface a storm is gathering.
Liam has had it with living a lie, but can't summon the courage to come out as gay until faith takes charge of that. One morning, his back gives out and Liam is forced into getting a massage.
Inked and pierced, Kieran is a young massage therapist with a healing touch and audacious smile. From the moment he sets his hands on Liam, Liam knows this will be unstoppable. But as their relationship evolves, both men are surprised at how much they have in common despite their age difference.
Could this be more than a physical connection? And if so, how far can they take this love before someone else tries to end it?
“I'm sorry about that,” Kieran said, shutting the door behind him. He leaned over him once more and Liam couldn't help staring at Kieran's hard stomach through half-shut lids.
Kieran wore a white leather belt and the buckle was one word: INDEPENDENT.
“Do you want me to talk to you during our sessions, or do you prefer silence? Last time, you passed out before I could even ask you.”
“You can talk to me as much as you like. It's okay.”
Kieran's breath smelled like watermelon bubble gum. How delicious his mouth would taste. He leaned in closer, using his weight to apply more pressure on Liam's shoulders. “You're not gonna do that today. Trust me.” There was a hint of pleasure in his musical voice.
Liam tensed up. “What do you mean?”
“I'm not gonna go so easy on you.” Kieran poured more hot oil into his hands. “I'm gonna have to go deeper to work on this adhesion. We'll try it for half an hour and see how much you can take. Then I'll finish off with a gentler massage. Like the one I gave you last time. Sound good?” Kieran's knuckles were already kneading into his aching muscles. “You're gonna feel some pain, but you need to tell me when it gets too uncomfortable.”
It had been less than three minutes, but Liam was sorer than a boxer after a nasty match. When Kieran's energetic hands rippled down the small of his back, the pain dispersed in every possible directions and Liam groaned. “Oh, shit, that hurts.”
Kieran paused. “You're wound up so tight.” Kieran's breath was short from the effort. “I'm gonna apply some pressure on your lower back, using my forearms, so I need you to relax, all right? This isn't gonna hurt. I promise.” Kieran set his hands on his skin again. “See, that's better,” he whispered. “I already feel the difference under my fingers.”
The subtle sensuality in Kieran's voice and the way his fingers caressed the back of his neck, caused Liam's cock to harden under the towel. He shifted, grateful to be on his stomach. All he wanted was some mindless clatter, anything to keep his hungry body in line. “So, how long have you been massaging people?”
That sounded so wrong.
“I've been a licensed massage therapist for four years.”
Liam picked up on the pride in Kieran's voice. “You started really young.”
“I've been on my own for a while. I guess I'm just precocious.” Kieran's warm fingers were crawling up Liam's spine, like well-trained soldiers.
Liam felt the hardcore resistance giving way under them. When Kieran reached his shoulder blades, Liam couldn't help moaning with pleasure.
“That feels good, huh?” Kieran was now rolling his thumbs up Liam's deltoids.
Liam was going to fall asleep again. His eyes were getting heavy.
“You can sleep if you like,” Kieran whispered. “You look like you need it.”
“I've been struggling with a bout of insomnia lately.” Liam's voice was thick with drowsiness.
“After this, you're gonna sleep like a baby.” Kieran was tunneling his fingers into Liam's hair, massaging his scalp, sending blissful chills down Liam's back. “Maybe you could ask your wife to massage your head like this a bit. People underestimate how pleasurable it is.”
Liam's heart gave a thud against the table. “I don't have a wife.”
“I have a dog,” he added spontaneously.
Kieran laughed, but his fingers never stopped sliding in and out of Liam's hair. “A dog, huh? What kind?” He pinched Liam's earlobes between his thumb and index, rubbing them carefully.
“An old German Shepherd.”
“Nice. What's his name?”
Liam's eyes were shut tight and he could smell Kieran's skin and clothes.
“Are you sleeping?”
Liam opened his eyes. “His name is Faulkner.”
Kieran's fingers paused. “Like the writer?”
“My own strange homage to him.”
“Cool. I wouldn't have pinned you as the type of guy to name his dog after a writer.”
“No? Why not?”
“I guess because you work in construction and—”
“And all we do is eat salami sandwiches, drink diet coke and yell obscenities at the girls.”
Kieran's fingertips now merely grazed Liam's skin, teasing him.
And what would you do if he slipped his hand into that towel?
“You're right,” Kieran said, after a moment. “That's a prejudice. But few people surprise me.”
“Well, you're lucky. People shock the hell out of me most of the time.”
Kieran giggled. “I see.”