4 STARS "With a title like this, it is best to have a tissue box ready. Ms. Dalton brings to us another loving tale of heartache and no win situations. There are always two sides to a story. In VULNERABLE, one would think the story is all about Leo and his clingy ex-wife who refused to let him go. For most people, when they hear just the highlights of a man who comes out as gay and wants to divorce his female wife, they think "good riddance". Honey, let the man go because there is nothing you've got that he wants to physically enjoy. Why doesn't Eva just move on? If she so desperately needs a man, she can just find another one who wants a woman to love, not a man. As we learn more about Eva, it becomes clear there is more to why she does not want to let Leo go. Leo is her strength to stand up against her parents. He's the one who protects her. Without him, she may not be strong enough. At this point, some may think, why doesn't she just grow a backbone? Leo's friends are not thrilled with Eva and they take an adversary attitude. And when Leo tries to move on with someone new, Jesse, they encourage him to spend less time with her. When Leo is not able to protect Eva, startling facts come out and it's not pretty. The emotions elicited from this book are strong. I feel sorrow, anger and an overwhelming desire to kill. If I was a vengeance demon, my work in this situation would require overtime. Ms. Dalton does an excellent job of changing it on a reader to see Eva's side. The way Tilly responds to Eva is not too different than how I would respond. This is what makes Ms. Dalton's writing so good. She is able to generate intense feelings in the reader and most can relate to the situations. This makes a reader feel more connected to the book. This connection is so good and I ended up with a book hangover after this one. Between Jesse and Eva, I did not know who needed more loving. Thankfully, Leo is a man with a very large heart. The happily for now ending is satisfying. It also makes a reader want to read the very next book. Fortunately, I waited until I had both books in my hot little hands before I read this one. On to the next book in this fabulous series. Recommended to kinky readers who enjoy messy relationships that work." -- BookAddict, The Romance Reviews
They saw each other every night that week. On Friday, the plan was for Leo to let Jesse know where to meet them as soon as he knew. Jesse nervously waited with his cell in hand until Leo’s call came in.
As Leo had predicted, it was sushi.
With a grin, Jesse bounded down his stairs and hopped in the car, determined to beat them there. In fact, he was waiting outside when he spotted Leo’s car pull into the parking lot.
Leo walked a gorgeous little girl with long, curly brown hair and blue eyes the same color as Leo’s across the parking lot. He held her hand and she wore a Hello Kitty backpack.
Leo looked as nervous as Jesse felt. Jesse desperately didn’t want to fuck this up. He knew how important Laurel was to Leo, and he wanted the little girl to like him. Behind his back, he held a small present he’d picked up in preparation for this moment.
“Laurel, this is my friend, Jesse Morrow. Jesse, this is my daughter, Laurel.”
She stared up at him, wrinkling her brow before extending her free hand to him. “Pleased to meet you, Mr. Jesse.”
He shook with her, giving her a little bow. “Pleased to meet you, too, Miss Laurel.”
She laughed. “I like you.”
“I like you, too. Your dad told me you like Hello Kitty.” He handed her the small shopping bag.
She let go of her dad’s hand and gasped. “Daddy! It’s a Hello Kitty coloring book and crayons!” She flung herself around Jesse’s legs, nearly taking his knees out and almost knocking him off balance. “Thank you!”
“You’re very welcome. I’m glad you like it.”
“Are you my daddy’s boyfriend?”
Jesse froze and stared at Leo.
He was a little relieved to see Leo looked as stunned as he felt.
“Um,” Leo said.
“If you are, it’s okay. But maybe I shouldn’t call you Mr. Jesse then, because that’s too formal.”
“Uh…” Jesse said.
“How about Uncle Jesse?” Leo suggested, diverting the topic slightly. “Is that okay?”
Laurel seemed to puzzle it over. “I think so. Is that okay with you, Uncle Jesse?”
“It’s perfectly fine with me.”
“Good.” She headed for the door. “Let’s eat. I’m starving, and there’s a California roll with my name on it.”
Leo didn’t even respond. He held his hand up for a silent high-five, which Jesse returned, before the men followed her into the restaurant.
* * * *
Later that night, once Laurel was safely asleep in bed, Leo called Jesse for a debriefing.
“Holy fucking crapballs,” Leo said. “She was in fine form tonight.”
“She was adorable, but is she always like that?”
“No, that was out there, even for her.”
He loved the sound of Jesse’s laugh. “Did you tell her to call me Mr. Jesse?”
“No. See, that’s what you missed,” Leo said. “The conversation all the way from Eva’s to the restaurant, once I told her you were joining us and she started her version of the Spanish Inquisition, only without the fun and games for all ages. You’d have thought I was under cross-examination.”
“I’m glad she liked the coloring book.”
“You totally rocked that selection, dude.” They fell into a comfortable silence. “You have no idea how glad I am she liked you,” Leo said. “She can be very fickle. She’s at this weird stage where she either immediately loves or immediately dislikes people when she meets them, no in between, get-to-know-you stage. It’s one or the other.”
“I’m glad I fell into the loves category.”
“Me, too,” Leo said. “Because I love you.”
He heard Jesse sigh. “Love you, too.”
Another moment of easy silence. “Look,” Leo said, “you’re going to be starting your classes in a few weeks and working less hours, right?”
“I stopped by the apartment manager’s office today. I’d put in for a larger unit if one became available. This was all they’d had when I moved in that was two-bedroom. It’s only two hundred more a month, and it’ll be available in two months. Now, I can swing that much by myself. But I’d like to put it out there that if we’re still feeling this good about each other when I move, if you’d like to move in with me then, we could talk about it. No pressure, though. We could share expenses. Two hundred a month, and help with groceries and utilities. That would help you out, right?”
“Okay,” Jesse said. “Yeah. Let’s keep that option on the table. What about Laurel? Would she be okay with that?”
“The question is, will you survive weekends clothed?”
Jesse let out a playful, melodramatic sigh. “If it’s for the greater good, I suppose I could endure wearing the bonds of my servitude to make my Sir and his adorable little kidlet happy.”
“The bonds of your servitude?”
“Hey, I’m brain fried. That wasn’t bad for me tonight.”
“I’m not going to lie. I’m scared.”
“I’m scared, too,” Jesse said. “But I have a safety net. I know if we do this and it doesn’t work, I can move back into Kel’s for now. What’s your safety net?”
“I can afford the apartment.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
Leo knew what he meant. “I don’t know how Eva’s going to react or if the divorce will even be final by then.”
“I don’t want to cost you your child.”
Leo knew he was in love with the guy, especially after that comment. “You won’t. This will work out.”
“Even if we need to put Laurel first and not live together until after the divorce is final, I’m okay with that. We have weeks together when she’s not with you.”
Holy crap, if Jesse had tried he couldn’t have said anything more perfect. “I want us to have the goal of living together.” Leo dropped his voice lower. “When she’s at her mom’s, Sir will enjoy his naked boy’s ass all I want.”
“Holy fuck,” Jesse hoarsely said. “Now you made me horny, Sir.”
“You have my permission to rub one out without me tonight. But I should get off here.” He hesitated. “Love you, boy.”
“Love you, too, Sir.”
Leo hung up and stared at his phone.
He really hoped Eva didn’t drag this out any longer than necessary, but he’d find out next week.
Probably Monday night.
Because if Eva was going to go off the deep end again, that would be when it happened, when she’d had a chance to grill Laurel about the weekend.
How much more slack am I supposed to give her?
So far, he’d kept it away from Laurel as much as he could. But there would eventually hit a point where Eva would totally burn him out emotionally and he would have to slap her down legally the way Ed Payne had been begging to for months and bring it to a final, harsh close.
And Leo was afraid if it came to that what would happen. He wasn’t even afraid for Laurel.
He was afraid for Eva.
Once Jesse had comfortably worked three fingers into Leo—and with Leo asking him to wait a couple of times so he could breathe his way through not exploding—Jesse grabbed the butt plug and started working it into him.
“If you have to use more than two gentle fingers of pressure to get it in, don’t force it,” Jesse said. “It shouldn’t take more than that.” He slowly fucked the toy into Leo’s ass, this time not using a hand on his cock, knowing Leo was too close to the edge for that.
It felt…amazing. Leo gasped a little as it slid all the way in past its widest point and then settled home. He remained on his hands and knees for a moment, head down, trying to get used to it. It was pressing against his prostate and he wasn’t sure he could move without coming.
“You okay?” Jesse asked.
“Yeah…just give me a minute.”
He heard Jesse strip off the glove. Then the man’s hands stroked his back, his ass, his legs. He knelt between Leo’s legs and folded himself over the man, much as he’d done to Jesse after their scene. Jesse’s hard cock pressed against Leo’s ass and he couldn’t wait to feel the man’s cock inside him.
“Just because you’re my Sir,” Jesse said, “doesn’t mean I can’t make you feel good, too.” He nibbled and kissed his way down Leo’s spine. “Serving my Sir means taking care of all of my Sir’s needs.”
He raked his nails down Leo’s arms, up again, down his back, his thighs, up to his ass, where he grabbed Leo’s hips and ground himself against him. “It also means if my Sir needs a good fucking, I give it to him. Because I’m a good boy.”
Leo lifted his head and looked over his shoulder. It felt like he’d been dropped right into his best sexual fantasies. “Where’s your cuffs and collar?”
“In my bag.”
“Go get them. Do you have snap clips?”
“Bring them. Do not put them on yourself.”
Like a shot, Jesse was out of bed and bolting from the room. He returned less than a minute with the items in his hands.
Leo carefully got out of bed, mindful of the butt plug in his ass. Dammit, it felt fucking good.
He snapped his fingers and pointed at the floor in front of him. Jesse’s knees folded and he dropped like a rock.
Leo took the cuffs, collar, leash, and snap clips from him. He put everything except the collar on the bed. The collar he fastened around Jesse’s neck, remembering which hole to use.
I’ll need to get him a collar of my own.
That thought also made his cock throb.
He snapped the leash to Jesse’s collar and dropped it, putting his foot on one end. “Hands,” he said.
Jesse held up his hands and Leo got the cuffs fastened around him. “Behind your back.
He did, and Leo used a snap clip to connect them. Sure, if he had to, Jesse could likely undo the clip himself.
It was the symbolism more than anything.
Leo grabbed the leash and gently tugged. “Up.”
Jesse rose, the glaze in his eyes back with a passion. Using the leash, Leo took several turns of it around his hand and pulled Jesse in to him. He kissed him, sucking on Jesse’s lower lip, fucking him with his tongue. Between them, both their cocks were hard and rubbing against each other.
“I mean it,” Leo said. “I don’t screw around. No lying, no cheating. If this isn’t working out for you, just tell me, and I’ll do the same.”
He bent Jesse facedown over the bed and fastened the ankle cuffs around him. Nudging Jesse’s feet wide apart, Leo held onto his wrist cuffs and ground himself against Jesse’s ass, using the cuffs to hold him in place, the leash taut in his other hand.
“You want me to fuck you like this, boy?” Leo asked as deep, pent-up emotions welled from within him.
“Yes, Sir!” Jesse gasped.
He knew Jesse’s cock was trapped against the bed and the friction had to be getting him close to coming.
Leo stepped to the side and transferred the leash into the same hand holding Jesse’s wrist cuffs. Then he started barehanded spanking Jesse, from side to side, hard, now that he knew what Jesse could take and what he wanted.
Jesse moaned, flexing his hips, arching his back to meet each swat of his hand.
He reached between Jesse’s legs and gently fondled his sac. “Who owns this?” Leo asked.
“You do, Sir!”
He stroked Jesse’s cock. “And who owns this cock?”
“You do, Sir!”
Leo smacked Jesse’s ass. “Who owns this?”
He let go of the leash and Jesse’s wrists and dropped to his knees between Jesse’s legs. Shoving them even farther apart and keeping his hands wrapped around Jesse’s calves, Leo tongued Jesse’s balls, his cock, teasing him and making him moan into the mattress.
“New rule. You don’t come alone without permission. You want to masturbate and we aren’t together, you have to wait until you can get me on the phone and I’ll give you permission to do it while I’m listening to you. Understand?”
Power surged through Leo. This…this was the kind of thing he’d longed for, the kind of control, the willingly given authority he’d always yearned for with his partner.
The kind of power he knew he couldn’t take from Eva. Yes, she was sexually submissive in bed, but it was…different. He couldn’t have shown her the raw, hungry edge like he could now with Jesse. It would have overwhelmed and destroyed her.
“Up on the bed.”
Jesse managed to scramble up onto it, on his knees, shoulders against the mattress. Yes, some day—soon—Leo wanted to fuck him just like that.
Tonight, however, he wanted to be face-to-face with the man when he fucked him.
He unclipped Jesse’s wrist cuffs. “Take your butt plug out and put a condom on me. And lube us both.”
Jesse did, while Leo knelt on the end of the bed, waiting.
He felt Jesse’s hands trembling as he rolled the condom onto Leo’s shaft, all the way down. Then he lubed his ass, and slathered lube all over Leo’s sheathed cock.
Jesse wiped his hands off and looked to him.
Leo grabbed the leash again, pulling him in, kissing him hard as he pushed him back and onto the bed. He kept a firm grip on the leash as he sat up and shoved Jesse’s legs up and back, until his thighs touched his chest.
With his other hand, he lined up the head of his cock with Jesse’s ass. “Tell me what you want,” he hoarsely ordered.
“Please, Sir,” Jesse begged. “Please, fuck my ass.”
Leo slowly pressed forward, afraid of hurting him, constantly watching him as he eased his cock inside.
It felt…amazing. Slowly, achingly slow, especially considering the butt plug in his own ass, he worked his cock inside Jesse’s tight channel, his gaze locked on Jesse’s brown eyes. Wide, gorgeously glazed brown eyes, mocha eyes, amber flecks and greenish hues around the outer edges, eyes he wanted to live for, a look he wanted to get from the man for the rest of their lives.
Once he was all the way inside Jesse, he pulled the man’s ankles over his shoulders and leaned in close. “I might not last long, but don’t you dare come yet,” he ordered.
“Tell me how to fuck you.”
“I want it hard, Sir. You own it, so damn well fuck it like you own it. Pound your cock into me.”
“I don’t want to hurt—”
“You won’t, or I’ll stop you if you do. So do it.”
Leo braced himself against the bed, the leash still taut, and took one long, slow stroke out, until just the head of his cock remained inside Jesse.
“Please, Sir!” Jesse begged. “It’s been a damn long time.”
“Me, too.” He slammed home, carefully watching Jesse’s face but only seeing pleasure there, no pain. Thus reassured, he did start fucking him. Hard, fast, pounding, the kind of fuck he never could have given Eva for fear of hurting her.
The way he’d always wanted to fuck her.
And Jesse begged for more. “Harder!”