Nicky Love’s Lover
Just my luck, the first man to spark my sexual interest in months, and he was gay. Like Patrick.
I dragged my unruly hair into a tight ponytail as if trying to drag thoughts of Stone, and my ex, out of my head. In the past few months, I’d barely thought about Patrick. Maybe him ending our engagement had been a good thing. He hadn’t been the biggest supporter of my writing, always complaining it took time away from him. Of course it was just fine and dandy for him to stay up half the night playing whatever it was on his PlayStation, but when it came to my writing—the career I’ve been building for two years—well, to hear him tell, it was no more than a hobby. A waste of time that would never pay the bills.
Every time something major happened to me via my book, Patrick was suddenly overwhelmed by his consulting work. His business crises mysteriously coincided with my promotion deadlines, which meant he was unexpectedly at home, taking over more than his fair share of the home office when I needed peace and quiet to concentrate.
If it wasn’t a work crisis, it was me “doing God knows what on the computer” instead of connecting with him. I swear, he had PMS more often than I did. He even once said we needed to dialogue about our feelings.
Dialogue our feelings? Who said that stuff?
In fact, we hadn’t had all that much in common to begin with. Maybe I’d been complacent because, in retrospect, our relationship was boring. Patrick wasn’t even my type: physically—weedy—mentally—needy. I couldn’t remember getting all that turned on by him sexually, and most of my orgasms during the course of our relationship . . . well, let’s just say I was a do-it-yourself type of gal. I wanted a man who knew he was a man, who didn’t need to dialogue about his feelings, one who knew how to take action.
One who could get me off.
That certainly hadn’t been Patrick.
Stone, on the other hand . . .
The greenish-gray bedroom eyes. The body, his broad shoulders, his smile—just this side of naughty. The fedora hat—to quote Janice, swoon—thetat on his chest. I’d almost fallen over when he’d opened his door.
He’d stood there dripping wet in just a towel, one that certainly wasn’t big enough to cover all the essentials. And boy, oh boy, did he seem to have a lot of essentials. I’d never seen such a perfectly sculpted torso in real life. The sight of Stone almost naked made me breathless.
I couldn’t make him out. First he was gentlemanly, helping me sort out my overturned boxes and suitcases in the lobby. Then he was an asshole when I’d thanked him for seeing me to my room. Sometimes he was protective of me, so I felt safe with him. Other times I could swear there was something sexual in his unguarded stare.
Oh dear Lord, Leelee. Get a grip. One trip around the I’m gay block was plenty. I didn’t need a repeat performance with the enigmatic, very manly Stone. No, he is definitely not my type. Just like Patrick.
I finished changing my clothes. I tried to locate my iPhone. I swore I’d just tossed it . . . somewhere. Looking in dismay at the stacks of books and business cards and postcard flats, I gave up. I called my cell from the hotel room phone. When it rang, I searched through the mountains of clothes piled on the spare bed.
Now how the hell had it gotten there?
With the phone, my armband, and earbuds in hand, I headed to the hotel gym to avoid the dreaded lobby crowds and clear my head. Once I swung through the door, the sight that confronted me almost made me drop my bottle of water.
Stone. In the flesh. In the nearly bare, very sweaty, rippling, flexing flesh. Those hazel eyes took in my decidedly un-convention-like outfit. From the way he stared, I got the distinct impression he didn’t mind me in spandex instead of a dress and heels. And I certainly wasn’t complaining about his clothing, or lack thereof. All he wore was a pair of low-hanging nylon shorts.
“So, what brings you here?” He gave me one of his delicious smirks.
“The gym’s a great place to hide. I only started workin’ out when I began coming to these things. You know, me and crowds.” I rolled out my yoga mat and began stretching. I tried to avoid his gaze. He had me flustered already. I should’ve walked straight back out the door again. The man was walking, talking temptation. Or he would’ve been, if he were straight.
“Yeah, I’m hiding from those vicious writers too.” When he grinned he looked positively rakish, almost dangerous with his teeth flashing in the well-maintained, dark blond stubble.
Definitely a man. A man’s man all the way.
I appreciated him trying to put me at ease, but all he did was unsettle me, excite me, make me want something I could never have with him.
After nodding at me, he continued with his workout. I started to do my yoga warm-up. He moved around the room, doing one-arm pull-ups, sit ups, bench presses. My favorite was the squats.
The muscles in his thighs bulged. Stone’s shorts bulged in the middle. His shoulders bunched and his biceps swelled. His abs clenched and contracted. He looked up, and met my eyes. Instead of glancing away, his gaze openly meandered down my body, over the stretchy material of my sports top. His eyes lingered on my breasts and my breathing sped, not because of my strenuous yoga pose.
Stone replaced the barbell and turned to face me.
Oh my! I thought his shorts were going to fall off. They kept dipping lower on his pelvis as he mopped his face and chest with its soft-looking smattering of hair that thinned into a line and trailed all . . . the . . . way . . . down.
Down, where I figured out exactly what was keeping his shorts in place. That would be a very prominent . . . member. An erection. Good God, Leelee, you’ve got no problem writing cock and pussy and all manner of sexual terms. Call it what it is. His cock. Stone’s cock prevented his shorts from simply slipping off the twin grooves of muscle at his hips.
I gasped. My eyes flew up to be snagged by Stone’s. My cheeks felt like they were on fire and I had the uncontrollable desire to giggle. I pressed my lips together and his sandy eyebrows arched.
My, my, my. Stone certainly was well endowed. Suddenly I felt perverse, openly ogling Nicky’s lover. But then he swiveled to the rear of the room, doing some adjustments to his front, and dear God, his butt. Yes, that was an ass that wouldn’t quit.
As he turned back to me, I saw what he’d been doing when he faced away. He’d arranged his tank top from his waistband so it hung over his . . . cock. He returned to those damnable squats and I completed a few more positions.
During this whole time we’d only exchanged our greetings. Apparently Stone did not need to dialogue shit out, which I appreciated, but I needed him to stop the squats before my eyes fell out of my head to join my tongue on the floor.
Or before he burst out of his shorts.
Approaching him, I asked, “Spot me?’
He brought the barbell down then stood to his full height in front of me. Well over six feet worth of stacked muscle and the heady scent of man teased me.
“What?” he asked.
“Could you spot me?” I motioned toward the bench press.
His slow perusal marked my body almost as thoroughly as his large hands could. “Sure.” His deep gruff voice sent shivers through me.
I calibrated the weights on the metal bar. He stood behind me, close enough his heat felt like a caress along my back and buttocks. When I lay down on the bench, I watched his throat bob. He licked his lips.
This might be my worst idea yet because Stone loomed above me, and I had a bird’s eye view up the length of his legs and abs and chest. His chin lowered to his chest as he carefully watched me. One corner of his firm-looking lips lifted. I trained my eyes on the ceiling, willing myself not to peek up the gaping leg of his shorts to find out if he really was hard as stone everywhere.
I didn’t like being this affected by him. I disliked being on uneven footing with him even more. I silently started my presses. The last time I’d seen him, I’d given him a copy of my novel. I decided to tease him about it.
“Did you get a chance to check out Ride?”
“Yeah, a little. Not bad.” He lifted a hand to rub the back of his neck.
Oh really? We’d see about that. After another few reps, I motioned for him to take the weight from me. When he had it safely anchored above me, I sat up.
“Not bad?” I took a little swing at his ribs. His damp skin and unyielding flesh made my knuckles burn, but I didn’t wince.
He looked anywhere but at me. “The guy-girl thing doesn’t cut it for me, ya know?”
I really didn’t know. I wasn’t sure. Around Stone I was confused, amused, intrigued. He pissed me off. He turned me on.
Jesus, Leelee. He’s gay.
I knew it. I was going to die an old spinster cat lady surrounded by steamy romance books with no romance in my life whatsoever.
I was not going to fall for Nicky Love’s lover, dammit.
LOVE:Preorder now! Coming December 11, 2014