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by Ally Blue
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: Scott and Keegan have both known their share of manipulation and abuse. Can they rise above the heartaches of their separate pasts and build a future together? Part of the Hearts from the Ashes collection Scott Jasper needs a change in his life. Stuck in a dead-end relationship with a man who manipulates and uses him, Scott wants out but hasn't found the one thing to motivate him to leave. Until the night his partner takes him to local gay swinger's club Ganymede's Grotto, where Scott meets the man who might just be The One. Keegan Rourke--a.k.a. "Eros," the most popular stripper at Ganymede's Grotto--has been burned before. Determined never to let another man rip his heart out, Keegan doesn't let anyone get close enough to love him. Until Scott comes along, offering Keegan the gentle, unconditional love he's always needed but has never experienced. For Scott and Keegan, the road to lasting commitment isn't a smooth one. A lot of roadblocks stand in their path--Scott's trepidation about his own dominant tendencies, Keegan's abusive past and resulting fear of intimacy. Can they can rise above past sorrows and find their happiness in each other's arms? Product Warnings Warning: this title contains explicit male/male sex.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2007
eBookwise Release Date: December 2010
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [131 KB]
Reading time: 79-111 min.
Laughing, Keegan shut the office door and strolled out to the bar. Charlie was tending, leaning across the bar on his forearms and talking with a couple of the regulars who'd stayed the night. Not many members came to the club before five or six o'clock, but there were generally a few who wandered out from their overnight rooms to the bar as soon as it opened.
Keegan stopped in the shadows for a moment, drinking in the sight of the man perched on the barstool. Scott looked even better than he had the night before. Low-slung black jeans clung to his slim hips and hugged the tight curves of his ass. The muscles of his arms and chest strained against his snug red T-shirt, big enough to make Keegan's heart thump without crossing the line into freakish. Keegan licked his lips.
As if sensing his scrutiny, Scott turned and pinned Keegan with an intense dark-eyed gaze. Keegan grinned and walked toward Scott, hoping the man couldn't see how flustered he felt.
"Hi Scott," he said, relieved when his voice came out nice and steady. "Earl said you wanted to see me?"
Scott smiled, that sweet lopsided smile that lit up the room. "Yeah, I did. I hope I'm not bothering you or anything."
"Not a bit." Keegan stepped closer and leaned an elbow on the bar. He was close enough to smell Scott's cologne, something soft and spicy that made him want to bury his face in the man's neck and just breathe him in. "What can I do for you?"
"I'm afraid I forgot to pay my tab last night. I came back to pay up." Scott let out a tense little laugh. "So, I guess I need to sign the credit card slip, huh?"
"Mm-hm," Keegan mumbled, not really paying as much attention as he should. Scott's voice, deep and rumbling yet almost touchably soft, was doing terrible things to his concentration. "I left it in the cash register."
Keegan scooted closer under the pretense of shifting his weight to his other foot, and was rewarded by a rosy blush rising in Scott's cheeks. "Okay," Scott said, a bit breathlessly. "Should you...um...go get it? The slip? For me to sign, I mean."
"In a sec." Keegan stuck his hands in his pockets, thinking Scott might not appreciate being felt up right then. "Look, I know it's none of my business, but I like you and I feel like I need to tell you the truth. Last night after you left, Logan--"
"Don't bother," Scott interrupted, his smile fading. "He didn't come home until two-thirty. I'm betting he didn't spend all that time at the church confessing his sins."
"I'm sorry, Scott," Keegan said softly.
Scott shrugged. "I shouldn't be surprised anymore, really."
"You mean he's done this before?" Keegan had no trouble believing that.
"He usually just flirts, but I've caught him kissing other guys a few times. This is the first time he's cheated on me with two at once, though." Scott grimaced. "Aw, hell. For all I know he does it all the time and I'm just too stupid to notice."
Keegan knew he probably shouldn't ask, but he couldn't help it. He had to know. "Why do you stay with him? What could he possibly have to offer that would make you willing to put up with all that shit? You could have anybody, you could--"
The look on Scott's face stopped him cold. A wild-eyed, hunted look. As if Keegan had hit upon a truth that Scott wished wasn't there. He stared up at Scott, trying to figure out what he'd said wrong.
"Scott?" he ventured. "I shouldn't have asked that, it's none of my business. My mouth just gets ahead of my brain sometimes. Sorry."
Scott's eyes wouldn't quite meet his. "Don't worry about it. So, um, the credit card slip?"
Keegan turned and hurried behind the bar to the cash register. He felt Scott's gaze on him like a physical weight. His fingers trembled a little as he opened the cash drawer and pulled out the slip he'd saved in the event of Scott's return.
"Here," he said, sliding the paper and a pen across the bar.
Scott scribbled what Keegan assumed was his signature on the line and handed the slip back to Keegan. "There you go."
Silence fell. Keegan pushed his lip ring back and forth with his tongue, a nervous habit he thought he'd broken years ago. Something about Scott put him off balance in a way he couldn't pin down. And damned if he didn't like it. A lot.