Devlin And Garrick
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by Cameron Dane
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Devlin Morgan and Gradyn Connell have one thing on their minds when they meet in a bar one Friday night in San Francisco. One good, hard fuck. After the hell he's been through, Gradyn knows the young man sitting at the end of the bar--with his sweet nervousness and beautiful face--is just what he needs. And Gradyn has absolutely no problem getting up to say hello. Devlin knows inviting muscle-bound, tattooed Gradyn to his motel room is the riskiest thing he's ever done, but there's something in the man's warm green eyes that tells Devlin everything will be all right. One explosive encounter in Devlin's motel room is the plan. Only, it turns out one hot fuck isn't enough for either man. Dinner afterward leads to another round in bed, and what follows is a weekend together that stirs more emotions than either Devlin or Gradyn ever expected to feel. Fast forward five years. Devlin has never forgotten Gradyn but he has moved on with his life. That is, until he walks into his sister's workplace and comes face to face with the man from his wild weekend in San Francisco. Except, this man is calling himself Garrick Langley. This man is a shell of the man Devlin remembers and hardly looks like the same person. And the biggest kick in Devlin's gut? This Garrick Langley pretends he doesn't know Devlin at all. No. Fucking. Way. Devlin doesn't care what this man looks like or that he has a new name. Garrick Langley is Gradyn Connell, and they both know it. Devlin is a lot more secure in his own skin now, and he wants answers. This Garrick had better look out because Devlin won't stop until he uncovers every one of Gradyn's secrets.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: September 2010
82 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [404 KB]
Reading time: 267-374 min.
"If you sit there in silence for one more second, I'm going to assume that you fucked him."
Devlin Morgan jerked out of his daydreaming and landed a narrow-eyed glare on the young woman sitting across from him. The words "you fucked him" had registered in his head--in his little sister's voice--and dragged Devlin back to reality with a shudder. He did not talk about sex with his sister. Especially not in the middle of a diner during lunch hour.
Especially when you're not having any, Devlin added to himself silently.
Maddie smirked at Devlin from the other side of the booth. She pushed her long dark hair behind her ears. "Yep, I thought that would get your attention." Light gray eyes that matched his twinkled with laughter one second and then softened in the next. "I'd say you're allowed to brood and keep quiet all you want, except you're the one who invited me to lunch."
"I was getting a little stir crazy sitting around the apartment," Devlin answered. "I hate that I can't go back to work yet." In performing his duties as a firefighter, Devlin had injured himself while carrying a man out of an apartment building. One month of rehabbing his leg and lower back now under his belt, he still had a few more weeks before he could get back on the job. "I have PT in a few hours but I needed a change of scenery before I started rearranging the walls with my bare hands."
"Ahh." Maddie nodded, but pursed her lips and gave him the stink eye at the same time. "And here I thought you might finally want to talk about your date."
Darren. The guy was one of only a very few openly gay men in Redemption that Devlin wasn't related to by blood or civil ceremony. The two he claimed as kin were Aidan and Ethan. Aidan was Devlin's brother and Ethan was Aidan's partner. Disgustingly happy as a couple for three years now, they made forever look attainable and inviting. Devlin loved hanging out with them, but the twist of envy that came with seeing them in a successful partnership drove home exactly how far away he was from finding someone himself.
He just couldn't get excited about Darren, though. When Devlin thought about what Aidan and Ethan had, a longing for the same constricted his chest, and he couldn't hold back the memories of looking into bottomless green eyes, of gripping thick, wide shoulders, and of gasping for breath the first time another man sank his cock deep into Devlin's virgin ass.
Stop it! Devlin slammed closed a thick metal door on the rest of that picture. Gradyn is long out of your life. For good.
"Earth to Dev." Maddie snapped her fingers in Devlin's face and yanked him back to the diner again. "Don't make me say the word fuck again."
Devlin shot his sister another pointed glare. "You just did."
"So you hadn't drifted that far away this time," Maddie said as the devil came back into her eyes. "In that case... Your second date with cutie Darren. When is it going to happen?"
Incessant chatter from his first date with Darren still rang in Devlin's ears. "We have something set up for tomorrow night, but I think I'm going to cancel it."
"Really?" Maddie sat up straighter. "He's attractive and I always remember him being a sweetie in school. What's not working for you?"
Maybe that was part of the problem with Darren. His age. Maddie could remember him being a sweet kid because she actually went through high school with Darren not that long ago. Devlin opened his mouth to say so when a shadow crossed their table.
"Maddie." An older gentleman Devlin recognized as a member of the city council paused at their table. "Just the girl I was hoping to find." The man then smoothly transitioned his attention to Devlin and stuck out his hand. "Hi there. Larry Courtland. And you're Devlin. Correct? How's the physical therapy coming along?"
Devlin had never met this guy in person but figured he must have read about Devlin's injuries in the newspaper a while back. "I'm fine, sir." He shook the guy's hand. "I should be back at the firehouse in a couple of weeks."
"Good. Very good." Larry slipped his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "The council was speaking with your brother very recently about increasing the budget for the fire department. One of the hardships Chief Morgan cited was when his paid staff gets injured and puts you all down a man."
"It's tough, sir." Aidan was not only Devlin's brother, but also his boss. "We could use a couple more full-time people at the house."
Maddie touched Larry Courtland's elbow and deftly brought his attention back to her. "Did you need me for something, Mr. Courtland?"
"I went by the garage and that new guy told me you were here." With his hands still in his pockets, Larry leaned close to Maddie, as if imparting a state secret. "My baby has a funny hum, and you're the only one I trust to treat her right."
"Ahh." Maddie nodded, and her eyes lit up as she tapped her fingers against her lips. "Do you have her with you right now?"
"Right there." Mr. Courtland pointed, and Devlin followed the line of his finger through the window to a cherry-red classic corvette in the parking lot.
"How's your schedule?" Maddie asked, clearly comfortable as hell, and making Devlin all kinds of proud. His sister was one hell of a mechanic. "Do you have time for me to go take a quick listen right now?" She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and slid out of the booth before the man answered.
"That's why I came in." Mr. Cortland put his hand at the small of her back and gestured toward the exit. "Ladies first."
"Be right back, Dev." Maddie squeezed his shoulder as she walked past. "Knock on the window if our food arrives."
"No problem," he told her, but she was already out the door.
As Devlin watched Maddie cross the parking lot to the corvette, he let his mind wander back to his date with Darren. Compact and wiry, with sandy-colored hair, a mouth that ran a mile a minute, and hands that gestured just as fast, Darren brought to Devlin's mind pictures of chipmunks gathering nuts for winter at a furious rate. That image had popped into Dev's head over pasta during their first date, and once there, he could not shake it.
Darren. Darren. Darren. Why don't I want you?
The guy was harmless. He really did seem nice enough. God knew he had pretty blue eyes and a full lower lip that should have Devlin wanting to pull it between his teeth and find his way into that mouth for a deep kiss. Devlin just knew Darren's body kicked ass too; he didn't have to see it naked to get a real good sense of its rock-solid shape beneath the too-snug shirts and jeans he often wore.
Everything about Darren should be right, even for just a no-strings tryst, but Devlin couldn't forget another fling, one that left all others pale in comparison before they even happened...
...Oh God. This is not me. I shouldn't be here.
Devlin kept his head down and nursed his watered-down beer while techno music blasted in the background and a dozen or so young men gyrated some twenty feet away on a dance floor. An equally small group of guys littered the long line of the bar, although most of them had their backs to the wood. They openly admired the view of dancers swaying so closely together Devlin wondered if a group orgy might break out right in front of him. Then he figured the club likely paid the hot dancing men to do exactly what they were doing, and that soon a whole lot more customers would trickle in and spend too much money on cheap drinks so they could stare, hope, and maybe even join in the fun, just like Devlin was supposed to be doing himself.
Except, it all felt so impersonal, and Devlin suddenly didn't think he had anything to prove. He was gay. He had wet dreams about random and not-so-random men on a nightly basis and had been noticing masculine bodies and male smells since he hit puberty. Just because he'd recently turned twenty-three and still hadn't experienced actual full-on sex with another man didn't mean he had to put-up or shut-up and go straight.
Devlin groaned into his drink. Nearly a thousand bucks on a round-trip plane ticket, spending money, and a motel for a long weekend in San Francisco, and now he had the realization that he should have just stayed home?
Real smart, Dev. You're building yourself a nice track record of leaping before you look.
At least now he knew anonymous sex wasn't his thing. And he felt less guilty for booking the cheap motel rather than the expensive hotel. If it was just going to be him, he didn't need anything fancy. Devlin went ahead and decided he wouldn't spend a whole lot of time in the room anyway. This city had plenty of sights to see that didn't have a damned thing to do with hooking up with men. The trip wouldn't be a waste of his hard-earned money. He could do a hundred touristy things before he had to head home to Maine.
Might as well start now.
"Excuse me." Devlin signaled the bartender before the guy stepped away and strutted his amazing ass down the bar for someone else. The stud looked up at him, and Devlin said, "Can I go ahead and pay my tab please?"
As soon as Devlin got a nod, heat from another source rode his back, drawing a shiver down his spine. Then a voice as smooth as expensive bourbon sank into his ear. "I wondered how long it would take you to ask for the check."
The towering muscular body that went with the deep, rich voice slipped in between the barstools and leaned against the empty one next to Devlin.
"You don't look like you belong here, beautiful," the man said. He looked right at Devlin and nearly stopped Devlin's heart.
Devlin opened his mouth and was surprised his voice didn't come out as a croak. "Neither do you."
Holy shit. That was the understatement of the year. The man wore a leather jacket with a white T-shirt beneath, faded jeans, and biker boots, but that wasn't exactly what had Devlin swallowing funny. Not even close. Indigo colored tattoos that looked almost tribal in design covered part of this man's smooth, bald scalp and went down to a corner of his forehead, around his left eye, over part of his cheek, and down his jaw line to his neck, where the pattern disappeared under his shirt.
"You're right. I don't belong here." The guy answered Devlin's question, drawing Devlin's attention to his sensuous mouth.
The bartender came up right then and slid a credit card receipt and pen in front of Devlin. Devlin added a tip and signed. All the while, every molecule in his being snapped to life and shot to the parts of his body closest to the tattooed man leaning next to him.
Devlin handed the signed receipt back to the bartender with a murmured "Thank you." He said another prayer of thanks when his hands stayed steady. God knew the rest of him shook inside.
"So." The tattooed man stayed on his barstool, allowing Devlin plenty of running room. Fuck, though, his pure green eyes held Devlin captive and made him feel stripped bare right in this techno club. "Do you want to get out of here?" That rich voice slipped into Devlin and infected his blood. "With me?"
"Yeah," Devlin automatically answered. What the fuck is wrong with me? Devlin darted his tongue out and wet the edge of his lip as his nerves skittered into overdrive. "I think I do."
The man dropped his focus to Devlin's mouth. It stayed there as he stood and moved in close. He curled his hand around Devlin's neck, pulled him in, and licked right over where Devlin had just dipped his tongue. Devlin jerked; the small contact shot tingles all the way through his body and moved quickly into his jeans. The guy's fingers dug into Devlin's nape right before he murmured a curse and licked Devlin's mouth again, this time drawing a needful little noise of out of Devlin he could not control.
"Damn it." The man's voice suddenly thicker, he let go of Devlin's neck and grabbed his hand. "We have to get out of here right now. Let's go."
"Wait!" Flashing red lights signaled in Devlin's mind, and he tugged against the bigger man's vise-tight hold on his hand. When the guy looked back, Devlin said, "I don't even know your name."
The man smiled, and it went all the way up to his eyes. He let up his death grip on Devlin's hand, and instead threaded their fingers together in a gentler, but no less sure, hold. "Gradyn Connell. My mom and my sister call me Denny, and most everybody else calls me GC. What's yours?"
"Devlin Morgan." Devlin grinned back. Couldn't seem to rein it in. "Some people shorten it to Dev. Doesn't bother me one way or the other."
"Okay, Devlin, now we know a little something about each other." Gradyn looked down at their linked hands and then came back up to Devlin's eyes. "Or have you changed your mind about leaving with me?"
"No." Oh God. This is possibly the stupidest thing I've ever done. Risky-crazy-stupid or not, something in Gradyn Connell's eyes made everything else that was a little bit scary about him disappear. That green gaze of this man, that didn't waver, kept Devlin's hand firmly in Gradyn's hold when every bit of intelligence he possessed told him this was a bad idea. "I want to go with you."
Gradyn smiled even bigger. Without another word, he pulled Devlin toward the exit.
This time, Devlin didn't fight it...
..."Do I have to say that word again?" Maddie whispered in a diabolical tone at Devlin's ear, drawing him away from memories of someone he'd repeatedly promised himself he wouldn't waste time thinking about anymore.
Five years, Dev. Time to forget that weekend ever happened.
Ignoring Maddie's threat, and shaking off his own disturbing thoughts, Devlin asked, "Did you figure out the problem with Mr. Courtland's car?"
"It's not something I can fix in a parking lot. He doesn't have time to drive it back out to the garage." Maddie dangled a set of car keys off one finger, and Devlin would have thought she twirled a diamond ring. "So he left it for me."
Devlin chuckled as he took another glance at the sweet ride outside. "You have the coolest job."
"Yeah," a little smile added to the life shining in his sister's eyes, "I kind of do. I'm going to need you to drive my truck back to the garage, okay?" Maddie had done the driving, and Devlin's car was back at her work.
He snatched the corvette keys out of her hand and held them above his head. "Why don't I drive the 'vette and you drive your truck?"
Maddie surged up from the booth and grabbed the keys right back with a whip-fast move. She smirked for a second but quickly sobered and pocketed the keys. "Mr. Courtland has a heavy foot and hand, and that makes that car very temperamental to handle. You just got the okay to drive again. I don't need it pulling on you, and you driving it off the road. I'm thinking about your safety more than the fact that it wouldn't be professional of me to let you drive it."
"Fine." Four weeks of limitations and no job to rely on as an outlet turned Devlin's tone somewhat surly. "But don't be surprised if you go to watch last week's True Blood and it's mysteriously gone from the DVR."
Maddie snorted and rolled her eyes. "Fat chance. You love that show too much to delete one just to spite me."
"Maybe I've already watched it," he shot back.
"You wouldn't." She didn't even flinch. "Not without me."
That was true. Pathetic and sad, but true. They shared an apartment, and neither one of them dated enough to disrupt any of their routines.
Their waitress breezed to the table right then, just long enough to deposit two plates of greasy food in front of Devlin and Maddie. She offered a quick "Enjoy" before moving on to the next group of customers entering the diner.
"Yeah, all right," Devlin muttered as he picked up his bacon cheeseburger. "Shut up and eat your food."
Maddie flashed him a fast smile and dug into her mile-high club sandwich.
"You should at least consider giving Darren another shot," Maddie said as she joined Devlin next to his car in the parking lot of Corsini's Garage. "I don't remember him being a chatterbox. Maybe you're not doing enough talking and he feels like he has to fill in the awkward silences on his own."
Devlin rolled his eyes. His sister had picked up their conversation from the diner as if she and Devlin hadn't driven across town in separate vehicles.
"I'm going to go now, Maddie." Devlin looked at her from over the hood of his piece of crap Corolla that Maddie kept alive with duct tape and prayer, and delivered a look that matched the firmness in his tone. "I'll see you at home tonight."
"No, wait! Come inside with me for a second. I want to show you something."
"What now?" Devlin didn't move. "I have to get to the hospital for my therapy session."
"You have a few minutes," she answered in a knowing voice. "It's something you might want to consider buying when I'm done restoring it." She sing-songed the information like the Pied Piper from over her shoulder, and Devlin could not ignore the enticing tune.
Devlin jogged and caught up to her side. "What is it?" She knew he hated his car but that he also refused to sink a pile of money into something new that wasn't truly special.
"Just a '77 Trans Am that will have all the interior specs and gleam with shiny black paint and the Pontiac Firebird insignia on the hood by the time I'm done with it."
Shit. "Really?" Devlin used to watch a certain movie over and over when he was a kid, and he had latched onto wanting the damned car like nobody's business.
"Really," Maddie answered. She pushed open the side door to the garage and Devlin followed her inside the big, cavernous building. "It doesn't look like much right now, but give us some time in between the jobs that pay the bills and Garrick and I will have it looking and running better than the original. Follow me." She circled around two cars. "We have it curtained off and under canvas in back."
They rounded the front end of an Accord and came across a pair of long legs encased in Corsini's standard blue coveralls sticking out from under the car.
"Ooh, stay still, G." Maddie tapped her boot against the boot of the guy under the car. "I think I remember the words to a double-dutch game I used to play when I was a kid." Maddie proceeded to skip in a pattern over and between the man's spread legs, all the while singing an old jump-roping song. At the end, she jumped a foot away with a grand "Ta-da! I did it."
A chuckle drifted out from under the car, followed by a smooth, deep voice. "If you're done skipping rope with my legs, Maddie, can you get me a new light? This one just died."
Holy shit. Devlin trembled as the rich tone of that damned voice washed over his flesh. He knew that voice all the way down to his soul.
Devlin planted his hand against the hood of the Accord so he didn't stumble.
He couldn't fucking believe it.
"Gradyn?" This time his voice did croak.