[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Alternative Paranormal Romantic Suspense Romance, MM, shape-shifters, HEA]
Shane wanted nothing to do with Levi. He and his dry spell were doing just fine without Levi's crude behavior. That was until Shane walked into work to find the guy standing in line. Levi was there to make amends, but Shane didn’t trust Levi's intentions. Unfortunately Levi wouldn't take no for an answer, so Shane promised him dinner, never intending to go. His plans fell apart when Shane's ex-boyfriend forced his hand, and Shane jumps into Levi's Bronco to escape Carlos.
Levi planned on taking Shane to dinner, maybe getting lucky, then going home. He wasn't looking for any strings to get attached. When he shows up at Shane's place, he finds the apartment has been broken into. He stays the night to make sure Shane is fine, only, he never intended on forever. Not until he discovers that Shane is his mate and his ex-boyfriend is determined to get Shane back.
Shane was already in a pissy mood because of his dry spell, but it didn’t help his mood when his roommate, Dustin, and Dustin's boyfriend, Tap, had kept him up all night with their sex noises from the next room. He didn’t need to be teased with sex so close, yet all he could do was listen.
He felt like a straight-up pervert for pressing his ear to the wall, but Shane didn’t care. And what was with those strange growling noises he'd heard?
Tired and grouchy, Shane opened the door to Spotos, and rolled his eyes as he entered. The last person he wanted to see when heading into work was that jackass Levi Lancaster. Not because Levi had been crude when he'd come into the coffee shop not too long ago and tried to order some dick. But because Shane was so damn horny he just might offer his to Levi. The guy was a real-life walking wet dream, even if he was an asshole.
But God, he was such a sexy asshole. Shane couldn’t understand why he was always attracted to bad boys. And Levi was definitely bad. He was immature and probably didn’t have a monogamous bone in his body, but Shane was at the point where he didn’t care. He was in need of sex, not looking for a life partner.
A one-off wouldn’t hurt.
God, I really must be desperate. Shane ignored Levi as he headed to the break room. He wasn't going to let himself get tangled in that mess. Levi looked like he had drama written all over him.
Shane paused at the door when he saw Stephen sitting at one of the tables. The guy had been attacked about a month ago and was just now returning to work. Thankfully he didn’t see any scars on Stephen, but just because Shane couldn’t see them didn’t mean his friend didn't have them.
"Hey, Stephen." Shane stepped farther into the room. "How're you feeling?"
Stephen held up a hand. "Please don’t pity me. That's the last thing I need. I just want everything to go back to normal, not feel like I'm a fragile piece of glass."
Shane nodded but saw the truth in Stephen's eyes. His life was far from normal right now. The haunted look about him made Shane want to hug him, but Shane doubted he would welcome it.
"Normal it is." Shane grabbed his work shirt from his locker and slipped it on over his T-shirt. He looked horrible in green, but that was the color his boss had forced his employees to wear.
He left Stephen in the break room and walked into the work area. Don’t look for Levi. Ugh, Shane looked for Levi. He wasn’t sure if he was irritated or glad when he spotted the sexy beast over by the door talking with Matt.
Shane was so fixated on Levi that he walked into the wall.
"Be careful," his coworker, Bruce, said. "Walls have a tendency to jump right in your way."
Shane scowled. He needed to get his head out of Levi's ass and throw himself into his work. Maybe he'd find a hookup later and relieve his blue balls.
Levi looked his way. He grinned at Shane and gave a little wave. Shane flipped the fucker off.
"We do not give our customers the middle finger."
Shane grimaced as he turned to see his boss standing behind him. Horace looked ready to blow a gasket as he glared at Shane. His face was ruddy and his eyes were narrowed. Shane tried to think of a reason to give Horace for flipping Levi off, but his mind went blank.
"And this is the third time this week you've been late." Horace hadn't whispered. A few customers looked their way, and Shane wanted to melt into the floor. God, he hated the bastard. Horace had no qualms about putting someone's business out there for all to hear. The rank asshole could have taken Shane into his office and chewed him out in private.
"Won't happen again," Shane grumbled. He stopped himself from flipping Horace off as he moved to the counter and started taking orders.
When Shane looked toward the door, he saw Levi watching him, a smirk on his handsome face. Levi had clearly gotten a kick out of Shane being yelled at.
"Someone's interested in one of the Mercury Rising men," Bruce teased. "But from what I hear, their business is a joke. You'd be better off fawning over someone who makes a decent living."
Shane envisioned slamming Bruce's face against the counter. The guy was a pain in the ass, had a nasally voice, and tattled to Horace just to gain brownie points. If Shane didn’t need his job, he'd tell Bruce and Horace to go screw themselves.
"I have no idea what you're talking about." Shane took the next order and punched it into the screen. "You need to worry about getting these orders taken care of before Horace yells at you."
Bruce's face fell, as though the thought of their boss shouting at him made him want to cry. Shane rolled his eyes and took the next order as Bruce hurried to get the first one started.
Stephen finally joined them wearing the fakest smile Shane had ever seen. He looked like he was fighting not to let his lips touch his teeth as he helped Bruce.
Shane really didn’t want to be there. He wasn’t in the mood for Horace's shit or Bruce's teasing. More like Bruce's harassment. Thankfully Shane was scheduled for only four hours. Normally he would bitch about the short workday, but today he was grateful. All he wanted to do was go back home and try to get some more sleep.
Levi stepped to the counter. Shane scowled. "Sorry, we're all out of dicks, unless you want my boss."
Bruce gasped as Stephen snickered.
"Actually, I wanted to apologize for being an ass."
Levi's apology caught Shane off guard. Still, he didn’t trust Levi's olive branch. With Shane's luck, it wouldn't be an olive branch, but a bush filled with poison ivy.
"You need to go before you get me into trouble." It was probably too late. Bruce looked like he eager to run to Horace. How had Shane's life turned out so crappy? Working at Spotos hadn’t been his life's dream. But—
"Hey, are you going to take his order or daydream?" the man behind Levi asked.
Levi snarled as he turned his head. "Wait your fucking turn. I'm still deciding what I want."
The guy glared at Levi but didn’t say another word.
"Please, just go," Shane begged in a whisper.
"Agree to have dinner with me and I'll be happy to leave."
Shane frowned. "Why would you want to have dinner with me?"
"I have no idea," Levi said. "I'm still trying to figure that out, but until I have an answer, have dinner with me."
"You're insane, you know that?"
"Got the paperwork to prove it." Levi winked. "So, what do you say?"
The line was backing up and Shane had a feeling that if he didn't agree, Levi wouldn't leave. "Fine, I get off at six."
Levi leaned in closer and whispered, "You'll get off all right."
Shane curled his fingers around the cup Stephen set in front of him, tempted as hell to toss the strawberry drink in Levi's face. He narrowed his eyes. "Get out of my line."
Levi gave him a lazy salute. "See you at six."
Shane smirked. He actually got off at five and would be long gone by the time Levi returned.
Shane went back to his room and noticed he hadn’t drawn the curtains. Crap. Well, hopefully he hadn’t given anyone an eyeful. He closed them and went to the bathroom, set his beer on the sink, and sank into the hot water.
As soon as he closed his eyes, someone knocked at the door.
You've got to be kidding me.
Nope, he wasn't getting out of the tub. It was probably his neighbor wanting to borrow sugar.
But you don’t know any of your neighbors and no one has ever borrowed anything from you.
Shane growled. He didn’t care who it was. He wasn't budging from his peaceful bubble bath. When the knocking didn’t come again, he sighed and sank deeper into the water.
One eye popped open when he heard a faint rattling sound. Had he really heard it? He could have sworn he had.
He strained to listen, but the only noise in the apartment was the low sounds of jazz playing from the stereo.
Shane closed his eye, letting his worries drain away as the hot water soaked into his bones, making him sleepy as he yawned.
A floorboard creaked.
Shane shot up. The water sloshed around him as he stared at the open bathroom door, wishing he hadn’t turned on the stereo. The music made hearing what was going on in his apartment harder.
The floorboard creaked again.
Shane's heart thundered as he eased out of the tub and grabbed the towel on the back of the door. He wrapped it around his waist and pressed his back into the wall next to the door. His breathing was shallow and low and his heart thumped so hard that whoever was in the apartment should have heard it.
At least Shane did. It pulsed in his ears as he looked around the bathroom for a weapon. The most lethal thing he saw was his toothbrush.
Shane grabbed the doorknob and started to close the door, but stopped when the hinges squeaked. He winced. Shit. That sound had been loud. He held his breath and waited for someone to rush through the door, grab him and choke him to death, but the apartment was silent except for the saxophone floating down the hallway.
He couldn’t take this. The apprehension, his heart beating so hard it started to hurt, and his nerves coiled so tightly Shane could barely breathe. His fingers gripped the knob so hard the color had fled from his skin.
Shane was so freaked that Levi's voice, at first, hadn't registered. The flood of relief had him sagging against the wall. "I-In here."
Levi appeared in the bathroom doorway, a deep frown on his gorgeous face. Levi looked at him as though he wasn't sure he was seeing Shane. "I came to your door and it was ajar. I thought—"
Judging by the worry in his pretty brown eyes, what he'd thought was apparent. "You thought someone broke in and hacked me into tiny pieces."
Levi rolled his eyes. "My mind hadn’t gone that dark, but yeah, I thought something fucked-up had happened."
Shane told him about the noises he'd heard. "For real, man. I thought someone was in my apartment."
When he raised his hand to run it over his hair, it was shaking. He needed to pull himself together. He was fine and Levi was here. Whatever threat had been here was now gone.
"Maybe you didn’t close the door all the way when you got home."
They both knew that was a damn lie.
Levi left the doorway, and Shane followed him to the stereo. Levi cut it off and the apartment went silent. Shane wasn’t going to wig out about this. He wasn’t going to allow himself to think the worst because then he would be afraid to be home alone.
And he enjoyed having the apartment to himself too much to let that happen.
"It's cool. I'm cool." Shane knew for a fact he'd closed the door, though he wasn't so sure if he'd locked it. And those creaks from the floorboard had been in the hallway. Shane was positive.
He'd have to remember to lock the numerous locks next time.
Levi's gaze dropped to the towel around Shane's waist, interest and lust filling his eyes. After being scared, Shane had forgotten he'd been in the tub. He suddenly felt exposed.
And horny as hell.
"Are you sure you didn’t leave the door open as an invitation to me?"
Shane crinkled his nose. "I didn't even know you were coming by. Why are you here, anyway?"
"To see if you wanted to talk about dessert." Levi ran his finger over the edge of the towel, touching Shane's skin. Shane shivered as goose bumps scattered all over his body—which was hard to hide since most of his body was naked.
He slapped Levi's hand away. "You buy me dinner and now I have to pay for it?"
Fury entered Levi's eyes. "I don’t roll like that. I bought you dinner because I was making up for being an ass, and now you're acting like one."
"How am I acting like an ass?" Shane argued. "I don’t even know you. What am I supposed to think?"
He really didn’t know Levi. What if he'd been the one to break in, then acted like the hero, expecting Shane to thank him with a blowjob? Shane had met some pretty shady characters, and he wouldn’t put it past someone to try a stunt like that.
"You need to leave."
Levi tilted his head to the side and studied Shane. "I don’t even know why I'm so wrapped up in you, anyway. You're an uptight jerk who obviously thinks everyone has a motive."
"Because everyone does."
Did Levi just confess to being wrapped up in him? Seriously? No, that didn’t matter. Shane wasn't taking a chance that Levi was just as demented as Carlos.
Still, regret filled him as Levi walked out the door and slammed it behind him. Shane thinned his lips as he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. What if he'd been wrong about Levi? What if he should have given the man a chance?
Too late now.
He'd stepped to the door to lock it when it swung open. Shane squeaked as Levi grabbed him and gave him a dominant kiss that was so spicy he groaned and melted again the man's hard chest. Levi jerked as he kicked the door closed.
When he pulled back, his features were dark. "I don't give a rat's ass if you dig me. I dig you and I want you. Tell me no and I'll walk out, but we both know this is what you and I want."
Shane gripped the back of Levi's head, and his hair laced through Shane's fingers as Shane pulled him back down for another scorching kiss. Levi growled into Shane's mouth—which was the same animalistic and sexy sound Shane heard in the room next to his when Tap and Dustin were fooling around.
They got as far as the couch. Shane's legs hit it and he fell backward, Levi coming down with him. Levi yanked open the towel, and Shane cried out as Levi’s warm, strong hand wrapped around Shane's hard cock. Shane lay over the arm of the couch, arched and panting as Levi pulled back and lowered to his knees.
He spread Shane's legs, and Shane clawed at the fabric of the couch as Levi took his shaft into his mouth.
"Oh fuck!" Shane's hips shot upward and Levi didn’t complain. He sucked the hard cock down his throat, using his teeth to gently scrape Shane's sensitive flesh.