Levi spotted Tristan when Tristan walked through the door of the Silver Spur Saloon. They had had a brief affair a couple of years back. Levi hadn’t been looking for a relationship then, and neither had Tristan. Although there had been passion between them, they had mutually ended their affair.
Levi had never been so attracted to a man. Everything about Tristan called to something in him, but he had refused to put a name to it. He had often wondered if Tristan had felt the same stirrings, then decided he had not. If he had, there might have been a reason to keep their relationship going. He shied away from wondering why Tristan’s need to hook up with so many men over the years bothered him.
From his vantage point at the end of the bar, Levi was able to watch Tristan as he sat alone at a small table near the edge of the dancefloor. The band was playing and people were dancing without a care in the world. It was a fun place to hang out. The food they served was good, too. Both were reasons why Levi tended to find himself at the saloon when he wasn’t in the mood to cook or to be alone. He had several good friends, men he had served in the military with, as well as those he had worked with over the years, but they weren’t joined at the hip. The thought made him smile. They were a bunch of loners.
When Tristan happened to glance in his direction after a server brought his beer, Levi nodded in what he hoped was a casual, friendly manner. Locking his gaze with Tristan’s had sent a bolt of sexual awareness shooting through his body. It struck him in the groin, forcing him to break eye contact and to take a deep, calming breath. He lifted the glass to his lips and sipped the beer in it, staring at a spot on the wall behind the bar. So, he still felt something for Tristan. He wasn’t actually surprised, but he didn’t know if he wanted to do anything about it.
A half-hour after Tristan arrived, he left the saloon. Levi watched him go. He was tempted to follow, but decided against it. They’d had their chance and nothing had come of it. There was no doubt that sex between them would be damn hot. It was the hollow feeling afterward that Levi didn’t want to experience. Sex for him was happening less often. It wasn’t because he wasn’t getting offers, because he was. He just figured he was at a point in his life that meaningless hookups weren’t something he wanted any longer.
Levi knew it wasn’t just him. Most of his friends, the ones he had known for years and hadn’t yet found someone, were going through the same thing. Although they didn’t get all chatty about touchy-feely things, they had occasionally discussed the topic of wanting to find someone special to share their lives with.
Sighing, Levi left the saloon and headed toward the center of Silver. It was a nice night for a walk before going to bed. It was chilly, but the wind had died down. He pulled the collar of his coat up to his ears. It was one of those times he wished he was in the habit of wearing hats. After wearing helmets for years, he hated anything on his head.
Crossing the street, he began to walk along the sidewalk around the green. The trees were losing their leaves. Small white lights glittered in the limbs. He loved the charming town. He had come here several years ago to help a friend out with a protection detail and had never left. He had felt at home the moment he arrived. Another reason not to leave was because he didn’t have any family. All his friends lived in Silver, so for him, it was the place to be.
After circling the green three times, Levi headed home. He lived in a small house on the outskirts of town and close to the mall. Though there were a lot more businesses in that area, Silver’s leaders had made certain that very strict guidelines were followed. The buildings had to reflect the character of the downtown area. There were no huge signs, billboards, or those tacky portable signs that could be parked on the edge of a parking lot. What it boiled down to was that there was little visual clutter. The exceptions were the large trees and the replica antique iron streetlamps lining both sides of the street.
Levi let himself into the house and shed his coat. He hung it up on a peg beside the door and headed for the kitchen. He made a turkey sandwich and poured a glass of milk. After he was finished with his snack he went for a shower and was in time to catch the nightly news by the time he finished.
As he went off to bed afterward, he thought of how he was falling into the same routine his parents had had for years. He smiled. He missed them. They had both died of cancer within a year of one another.
The loneliest time for Levi was when he was in bed. It would be nice to have someone to sleep next to, he thought as he plumped his pillow to get it just the right shape. Although he hadn’t spent many nights sleeping beside a lover, he believed it was something he wanted now. An image of Tristan came into his mind. No others, just Tristan. He didn’t try to visualize anyone else sleeping in his arms and he wondered about that.
His asshole twitched with the memory of that long, thick flesh stretching and filling him as Levi pushed into his aching channel. Tristan turned on the water in the shower and grabbed the bottle of waterproof lube from the top shelf in the cabinet before stepping into the spray directed at his body by multiple spray heads. He might not want to get involved with Levi again, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy a fantasy or two about him as he jacked off.
Coating his palm with the lube, Tristan didn’t waste any time. Leaning against the tiled wall, he wrapped his fingers around his stiff cock and began to stroke. His eyelids slid shut and he tipped his head back. The fantasy popped into his brain. There was Levi, so tall, so delicious from head to toe, so many places on his body for Tristan to investigate. He wanted to lick Levi all over, beginning with the rippled abs covering his abdomen, and then work his way back up. He would get to the man’s cock soon enough, but he had other things he wanted to nibble on first.
Levi’s brown nipple hardened against the tip of Tristan’s tongue. Tristan circled his tongue around it before he sealed his lips around it and began to suck at it. Levi’s groan of pleasure reached his ears. He released it to kiss his way across to its twin. As he did so, a large hand began to caress the mound of his ass. The palm and finger pads were rough with calluses, scraping slightly as they slid over his skin. Tristan inhaled sharply as he felt the caress in his mind, as if he was experiencing it once again. He began to stroke his cock faster, his grip a little tighter.
Tristan moaned as he felt the tingling at the base of his spine. A few seconds later, his balls began to tighten. Damn, he hadn’t even gotten to the good stuff yet, he thought, his back arching as he came. Ropes of pearly cream jetted from his cock. His heart thundered in his chest and his breathing became ragged as he took a ride on a wave of ecstasy.
Sagging against the wall, it took a moment for Tristan to recover. When he did so, he rinsed off his hand and reached for the soap. He washed his body leisurely. He didn’t have the energy for quick movements. He washed his hair and rinsed. With his shower finished and his body feeling replete, all Tristan wanted to do was sleep. He knew he would be expected downstairs for supper, however, so he dried off and went to get dressed.
As Tristan did so, he wondered why he didn’t take up the standing offer of living at the ranch, instead of keeping a place in town. It would make a lot more sense. The drive to and from Silver was a long one. The rent wasn’t cheap. Neither was eating out almost every day. Yeah, he was really going to have to reconsider it. Either that, or find another roommate. He could be putting all that money in the bank.
Levi was standing in the hallway when Tristan left his bedroom. He gave the man a look that said it all. He didn’t want a babysitter. Levi shrugged those broad shoulders of his and gave him a crooked smile that Tristan found just a little too endearing. How could a guy that looked like he could kill without a conscience look like a beagle puppy, too? It was definitely a conundrum.
“We need to go over a couple of rules,” Levi said conversationally as they walked along the hallway.
“Rules for what? Making me your prisoner?”
“As exciting as that sounds, I was thinking more along the lines of keeping you safe. Until we know where your father is, and what he’s up to with his crazy-ass buddies, you and your brothers will be guarded. It’s unfortunate, but that doesn’t change the facts.”
Tristan’s hands curled into fists. He was so angry with his father, at the circumstances, and the man walking beside him that he wanted to hit something. Rationally, knew none of this was Levi’s fault. Nor was it Colt’s for wanting to protect him. He also appreciated all of that.
But being held captive by his father, being a victim without control, had taken away something very precious to him. His love for his parents had been stripped away, along with the security they had provided, and the knowledge that they would always be there to kiss the boo-boos in life. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever even considered that his parents would become the biggest threat to his safety and sanity.
If it wasn’t for his grandparents fully supporting his brothers and him, Tristan didn’t know if he would have ever been able to recover from what had been done to him. Eugene and Estelle Crandall made a point of visiting their grandsons and great-grandchildren several times a year. They had told Tristan, Alex, and Avery the only reason why they hadn’t moved to Silver yet was because they were monitoring Benson’s activities. Tristan thought it was very sad that they felt they had to do so, but no matter how much they argued with their grandparents, they couldn’t convince them that it wasn’t necessary. They could see how much emotional pain the older couple was suffering, but their grandparents were determined to do it for their grandsons.
“I know that,” Tristan told Levi. “I just don’t feel it’s necessary for you to check for monsters under my bed, follow me around, or walk me to supper.”