Sammi slipped between the shadows of the houses that bordered the avenue. His heart thudded as he pressed his back against the rough brick, and with a quick movement he swiped away the hair that fell over his eyes. There was no way he was going to return to Donovan.
Enough was enough.
With his teeth clenched so tightly they ached, Sammi watched for the black Town Car. Donovan and his thugs would be searching for him again tonight. Sammi doubted he could survive much longer on the streets of Houston before Donovan picked him up and dragged him back to the penthouse. For someone with no money, no identity and no friends, being homeless could be deadly.
The bar was just half a block away.
If he ran, he could be inside before the traffic light at the corner changed. He bent, coiled to spring from his position, when Donovan’s black Lincoln slid around the corner and, like a shark hunting for prey, cruised toward him.
With a quick gasp he straightened back against the wall and disappeared into the shadows.
The car slowed, pulled to the curb, and stopped in front of the bar.
Sammi exhaled. Three breaths later the passenger door opened. Donovan’s muscle Moretti pried his massive body from the seat then disappeared inside the nightclub. Moretti would be getting some odd stares, but it wouldn’t be the first time the big goon had cruised gay bars looking for boys for his boss. That was how he’d found Sammi.
Edging closer to the corner of the house, Sammi dared to peek around it. Moretti had been in there for several minutes. Probably scanning the place. Maybe even barging in on the back rooms to see if Sammi was giving some pick-up head or a hand job.
Fifteen minutes later, and Moretti would have caught Sammi.
Moretti’s timing sucked tonight.
The club’s door opened and Moretti exited. With a shake of his cue ball head, he wedged himself back in the car and slammed the door shut. The Town Car pulled away from the curb and headed toward Sammi, hidden in the shadows. Holding his breath, terrified he’d give away his hiding place, he slipped the small folding knife from his pocket and flipped it open. He’d rather die than go back to Donovan.
His only hope for safety lay inside the bar. Once there, he’d open his mind, find a willing partner, and get off the streets for the night.
The car stopped at the light. Sammi let out a slow breath. The light changed and the traffic began moving. With another four deep breaths, he watched as the Town Car disappeared in the heavy traffic of Montrose. He closed the knife with a click and shoved it back into his jeans.
Sammi broke from the shadows and raced to the bar’s entry.
* * * *
Mitchell sat at the bar and nursed his scotch. All around him, music pulsed and men moved in and out of the shadows. The dance floor seethed with bodies. Couples danced, some with tentative touches and gentle caresses, while others gyrated, their hips in sync with the rhythm of the pounding bass. Still, some danced alone, feeling the freedom of movement and no necessity for a partner or a shirt.
What the hell am I doing here?
He wasn’t going to pick up anyone. Not tonight. Not any night. He’d sworn off the fast life.
Who was he kidding? He was the king of denial.
Mitchell scanned the men.
Even if he saw someone he liked, and he hadn’t in a very long time, he wouldn’t break his rule and take anyone home. It wasn’t safe. There was no telling whom he might bring to his house. Time was he only worried about serial killers, but these days, he had to deal with gay bashers.
Besides, he really hated that awkward parting in the morning. Should he serve breakfast or just put the guy out? A kiss goodbye, or lie and tell him he’d call?
A quick blow job in the back rooms of the bar would avoid all that trouble.
If he was looking. And he wasn’t.
His gaze raked over several younger men standing at the end of the bar. Tight leather snugged over tight asses, dark liner around their hungry eyes.
He liked younger, but tonight there wasn’t a flicker of arousal from between his legs. Not even half-mast, much less fully flying the colors. What was wrong with him? There were some very handsome men here tonight and if he put forth the effort, he could pick up one of them and head to the back.
His heart and soul just couldn’t stand another empty fuck.
Sammi leaned against the wall of the bar and closed his eyes. Opening his mind, he listened. The music faded away and indistinct voices floated in blackness, pieces of soft conversations, snips of laughter, a few suggestive words—all faint whispers in the night. All he had to do was pick one out, focus on it, and make his move.
“What the hell am I doing here?”
Sammi jumped as the words shouted in his mind. His eyes flew open and Sammi scanned the darkened room for the man who’d thought them. Like the wicked, sharp blade of his knife, the voice had sliced through all the chatter as if it were butter, set his body quivering and brought his cock to rigid attention.
“I’m better off alone.”
With minimal effort, he locked onto a man sitting at the bar. It had never been that easy before. Usually, he had to strain out the chatter, using his mind like a sieve. Sammi’s heart hammered at the chance he’d found him.
The one the old crazy woman Lizzy had told him about when he’d lived under the overpass with a few other homeless people. Sammi had told her of his secret talent and she’d nodded, as if she understood. “Never you mind, child. You’ll find him. And he’ll hear you and you’ll hear him. When you do, your souls will bond.”
His soul bond.
He’d laughed at her. In his entire life, he’d never found anyone who heard his thoughts. No one he’d even consider creating a bond with, a connection so deep they would feel it in their souls, like Lizzy had said as she’d poked her bony finger into Sammi’s chest.
This man would be like the others. Sammi would hear his thoughts, then talk him into taking him home and off the streets. Nothing more.
Because after all this time and everything that had happened to Sammi, he no longer believed in finding his soul bond. Lizzy had just been a crazy old lady, too long off her meds.
He shook his head, took a deep breath to quell his growing excitement, and stared across the dark club at the man whose voice had risen above all the others, pushing them into nothing more than background noise, mere static on the constant radio playing in Sammi’s head.
Long legs clad in faded blue jeans. A white T-shirt peeked from under a brown leather jacket. Loafers, no socks. Dark wavy hair, broad shoulders. Early thirties.
Sammi drew closer, weaving in and out of the gyrating dancers as he crossed the dance floor. Unable, unwilling, to take his eyes off his mark.
A young man slid onto the chair next to Mitchell. Male musk enveloped him as if the guy were shooting off pheromones meant for him alone. Nice.
The bartender walked over. “What can I get you?”
“I’ll have what he’s drinking and put it on his tab.” A soft, yet damned sexy, voice filled Mitchell’s ears, shot through his body, and landed in his cock.
He turned to look at guy who’d given him an instant hard-on.
The bartender reached for a glass. “That okay?”
“Yeah. It’s fine.” Mitchell didn’t take his eyes off the stranger.
The young man faced him, pushed the long forelock of straight dark hair from his eyes, and their gazes locked. As if he’d leaned too far over the top rail of a skyscraper, Mitchell plummeted into endless dark eyes. Aware of the sudden pounding of his heart and the tightness of his jeans, he swallowed, afraid to speak. Afraid he’d chase away this remarkable creature.
He was the sweetest thing Mitchell had seen in a long time.
“You think I’m the best thing you’ve seen in a while.” He offered a soft smile and placed his hand on Mitchell’s thigh. The gentle touch seared him and he caught fire.
“Yeah.” Mitchell gave a grunt as his gaze raked over the dude’s body. Young, maybe mid-twenties, lean but muscled. Despite the dead-sexy mop of bangs that fell over his face, his hair was cut short on the sides and back.
What did Mitchell’s rules have to say about this?
Damn, he couldn’t recall a single one, but he knew he’d be breaking most of them before the sun rose. “What else am I thinking?”
“That you want to break all your rules with me.”
Mitchell’s foot slipped on the rung. Almost falling off the chair, he reached for the edge of the bar to hold himself upright. How the hell did this guy know what he was thinking? Was this some kind of parlor trick?
“Look, I don’t know what game you’re playing, but…” Mitchell growled, his body tensing along with his fists.
“No game.” He shook his head and the bangs swayed, giving Mitchell a peek at those eyes again. “Are you always such a hard ass?” A touch of a smile teased the corners of the man’s lips.
Placing his knees between Mitchell’s, he leaned closer. He laid his smaller hand over Mitchell’s tight fist, and it relaxed beneath the touch like butter on a summer day. The guy’s other hand slid along Mitchell’s thigh, trailing fire.
Stopping where thigh met hip, he glanced down between Mitchell’s legs. “This is the only thing that should be hard.” His thumb brushed over the lump in Mitchell’s too-tight jeans.
Mitchell’s cock twitched in happy greeting to the hand that touched it and his balls pulled in so tightly he thought they’d disappear. Not in a bad way. But in a way that said oh yeah, this would be a fuck he’d never forget. A fuck he wanted more than anything on earth. More than his next breath. And he wanted it right now.
“I know you want me. You know it’s going to be good. Let’s go to your place.” That voice sent delighted shivers down Mitchell’s spine. Damn, he was fucking helpless against it.
“What’s your name?” He didn’t know what else to say.
“Sammi, with an ‘I’. What’s yours?”
Sammi purred as he slid off the chair and into the space directly in front of Mitchell. Mitchell stood, rising a head taller than Sammi. Gazing down into liquid brown eyes, Mitchell grabbed the young man’s narrow hips, pulled him to his body, and ground his hard-on against Sammi’s belly.
“Well, Mitchell, I think we’re on the same wavelength.” Sammi tilted his head back and offered his lips.
“Fuck yes.” Mitchell leaned down, took the kiss and broke his rule about not kissing strange men he met at bars. Soft at first, then as Sammi flicked his tongue against Mitchell’s lips to ask for admittance, Mitchell opened to him. They deepened the kiss.
Damn, Sammi was sinfully delicious, a blend of vanilla and sugar cookies with a chocolate aftertaste. What would his skin taste like? Or his cock? A firestorm erupted inside Mitchell. He didn’t want to wait until he got Sammi home to find out. He’d do him against the bar right now if he could.
This was insane.
He had rules, didn’t he? Where were they now?
He wanted Sammi and Sammi wanted him. That message came through to Mitchell loud and clear, as if Sammi had spoken the words, whispered in his ear. Of all the men the guy could have, and Mitchell knew Sammi could take his pick, he’d picked him. Why was he so damned lucky?
“You’re the only man in this place worth a damn.”
Wait. Did he really hear that? Hear Sammi’s voice in his head? No way. He was just so horny and hot, so excited, he’d closed his eyes. Right. But his eyes were open now.
Sammi’s eyes grew wide and he cocked his head to the side as he stared into Mitchell’s face. “Did you just—?”
Mitchell shook his head, not wanting to believe what he’d heard. “That’s a great trick, Sammi. You’ll have to show me how you do it.”
“Later. Let’s get out of here.” There. Sammi’s lips moved as he spoke.
Fuck. There went the rule about bringing strangers home. What the hell was going on? What was wrong with him? Who the hell was this guy and why did Mitchell respond so aggressively to him?
“Because you’ve never met anyone like me before, Mitchell. And you never will again.”
How the hell did he do that? Know what he was thinking?
The bartender returned with the two shots of whiskey. Sammi picked his up and downed it, throwing his head back, then shuddered as he put the empty glass on the bar. Mitchell did the same, placing his glass next to Sammi’s. He wrapped his hand around Sammi’s neck and dragged him in for a deep kiss, just so he could taste the whiskey on Sammi’s tongue.
“More.” Fuck, was that Sammi in his head?
“So much more.” There it was again.
How the hell? Their lips were locked together, tongues searching mouths.
Sammi broke the kiss, his unblinking gaze boring straight into Mitchell. They clung to each other, and Mitchell swore Sammi was as shaken as he was.
“Take me home.” Sammi rested his forehead against Mitchell’s chest, holding on to his jacket as if were the only thing to keep him on his feet.
Mitchell dug into his pocket, peeled off some bills and tossed thirty bucks on the bar. The bartender grinned and scooped up the money and the glasses.
He took Sammi’s hand and led the way to the door, pushing past sweaty men dancing to the thumping beat. All he wanted was to get out of here and go home with Sammi. They reached the door and Mitchell jerked it open and stepped out, towing Sammi behind him into the cool night air.
“I live just up the street and around the corner.”
Like a dog follows its master, like summer follows spring, Sammi followed Mitchell. If Sammi had had a tail, it would have been wagging. He was definitely panting in anticipation.
He couldn’t believe it, but this just might be the man, the one. He didn’t want to let his heart hope, because he’d been disappointed before. Hope meant waiting for the letdown. It always had before, why would this be any different?
But it was different.
Mitchell’s voice had captured his heart the first time he’d heard it in his mind, and it had gone straight to his soul and to his dick. And when he’d touched Mitchell, he’d burned with a desire he’d often faked but had never known in his short, tormented life.
But he couldn’t stop thinking this guy was the one. Another soul like his.
He’d gone into the bar in hopes of swapping his body for a night’s brief protection from the bastard who owned him, just as he’d done the last five nights. No expectations, only to spend the night, stay safe, maybe eat. Instead, had he found his destiny?
Mitchell. He’d heard Sammi’s voice, but he’d denied it. No surprise there. Not many had Sammi’s gift, or curse, and Sammi was lucky Mitchell hadn’t freaked out.
Finally, the one person who could hear Sammi as well as Sammi heard him. No words would be needed between them, only thoughts and emotions. If they made love, gave themselves to each other, the connection between them would be forged. Lizzy had said so.
Strong. Lasting. Unbreakable.
A bonding of souls. Of men with the same gift.
They hurried through the night. By the time they’d turned the corner, they were running, hand-in-hand, down the street to Mitchell’s fourplex. They flew up the stairs to the second-floor apartment and Mitchell slammed into the front door.
Sammi giggled, nearly out of breath from their run.
“Fuck! My keys.” Chest heaving, Mitchell dug them out of his pocket, fumbled with the lock, then pushed the door open. He stepped inside, then reached out, grabbed Sammi by the shirt and pulled him in.
Sammi tumbled against Mitchell in a lust-driven rush to get to his body. Mitchell kicked the door shut and stripped off his jacket. Frenzied, two sets of hands pulled on belts, unsnapped buttons, slid zippers down, and jerked jeans open as lips kissed, teeth nipped, and tongues sparred, trying to get there first.
He pushed Mitchell against the door. His head thudded and he groaned.
After falling to his knees, Sammi pulled Mitchell’s cock free. He wanted Mitchell to fuck him, but first, he wanted Mitchell in his mouth.
Every pleasure zone in Sammi’s body tingled at the glorious sight of it, thick and long. Velvet-headed, brown-sheathed, his heavy balls pulled tight to his body, Mitchell’s cock was every fantasy Sammi had ever closed his eyes and jerked off to.
Sammi laved the engorged head, digging into the slit with his tongue.
“Oh, fuck!” Mitchell cried out and fell back against the door, burying his hands in Sammi’s hair as Sammi wrapped his hand around the base of Mitchell’s dick.
This was the other part of his curse.
Sammi didn’t need any words, he felt Mitchell’s pleasure, pouring off him like a fountain. Sammi opened himself to it and drank it in. It filled Sammi’s cock as he licked, sucked, teased and taunted Mitchell’s magnificent cock and swamped his pleasure centers. Near madness, Sammi gathered Mitchell’s pleasure and folded it into his own.
Mitchell held nothing back and Sammi took everything he was given.
“Fuck, I’m coming.”
“Not yet.” Still on his knees, Sammi ringed the head of Mitchell’s cock with his thumb and forefinger and squeezed, cutting off the impending orgasm.
“Shit,” Mitchell groaned.
Mitchell’s pain, pleasure, and frustration at not coming filled Sammi. Using all his talent, all his experience, all his passion, he’d give Mitchell the best orgasm of his life.
It would rock both of them.
It would bond them together forever.
It would free Sammi from Donovan.
“Fuck me,” Sammi begged.
“Oh, yeah,” Mitchell rasped.
Sammi had been doing the most incredible things with his tongue to Mitchell’s cock and having to stop nearly killed him, but the pain was fucking delicious.
Damn, he wanted more of Sammi. He pulled Sammi to his feet and kissed him, driving him across the hall. They thudded against the wall and sent a picture crashing to the floor.
Sammi climbed Mitchell as if he were a mountain, legs wrapped around his waist, arms looped around his shoulders, his smaller body easily held in Mitchell’s arms.
Still rigid, his cock stood painfully trapped between Sammi’s body and his own belly. Raining kisses on Sammi’s face, Mitchell carried him down the short hall to his bedroom.
Once in the room, Mitchell peeled Sammi from him. “Take off your clothes or I’ll rip them off.”
“No, wait! They’re the only ones I have.” Sammi broke away long enough to undress, while Mitchell kicked off his shoes, shucked the rest of the way out of his jeans, and pulled his T-shirt over his head.
He scooped Sammi into his arms, then tossed him on the bed. Sammi rolled and came up on his knees. “I know what you want.”
“Good.” Mitchell climbed onto the bed and pushed Sammi down onto his back. Stretching over Sammi as if he were about to do a set of pushups, Mitchell held himself suspended in air.
Their gazes locked. Mitchell lowered himself. Skin met skin. Desire caught and ignited. Heat scorched them. Both men gasped as the flames of their pleasure danced over their skin, raising the fine hairs on both their bodies.
“Do you feel that?” Sammi stroked Mitchell’s back.
Mitchell pulled Sammi on top of him. “Oh, God, yeah. Like nothing I’ve ever felt.” Mitchell cupped Sammi’s firm ass and tugged it against him. Sammi’s cock ground into Mitchell’s belly.
“How the hell do you do that? It’s so fucking intense with you.”
“What?” Mitchell paused in his attack.
“This is how it could be forever, with us.” Sammi turned his head and, not breaking his gaze, licked Mitchell’s arm. Mitchell shuddered.
“It’s so good.” And it was. Better than anything Mitchell had ever felt, or dreamed of feeling. How could it be? What the hell was happening?
“Don’t worry. It gets better.”
Now Mitchell knew Sammi hadn’t spoken, despite his eyes being open. A pinprick of fear ran down his spine, but not enough to extinguish the fire burning him.
Sammi wrapped his arms around Mitchell and rolled over, bringing Mitchell back on top. His legs spread open, and Mitchell’s hips and legs fell in between them. Pushing up on one arm as he reached down, Mitchell guided his straining cock to Sammi’s sweet opening, then froze.
“Fuck, no lube and no condoms.” Mitchell rolled to the side, yanked open the nightstand drawer, snatched up the bottle of lube and tossed it on the bed. He scrambled in the drawer searching for a condom.
“Fuck.” His hand came up empty.
“Forget it. Just use the lube and fuck me.” Sammi pleaded.
Mitchell was on the edge of breaking the gay man’s golden rule. No glove, no love. Not to use a condom was insane. It was playing with death. His last test had been negative, but Sammi? Wracking his brain, he remembered seeing some in the bathroom.
“No, wait.” He lurched off the bed and stumbled into the bathroom. After searching the second drawer he opened, he found the condoms. He rushed back into the room with the box raised as if he’d discovered something marvelous and precious then jumped back into bed.
Kneeling beside Sammi, he watched as Sammi pumped his beautiful cock with one hand and stroked the skin behind his balls with the fingertips of the other. Sammi’s pubes had been trimmed short into a neat dark patch and his balls were smooth, free of any hair.
Damn, it turned Mitchell on. Sucking on those hairless globes would be a treat.
“You like watching me touch myself, don’t you?” Sammi purred as he squeezed a dab of lube onto his fingertips, reached lower then bathed his tunnel with it. Slipping a finger into his own ass, Sammi groaned, his stare never leaving Mitchell’s.
Mitchell groaned back. “Yeah.” Could his cock get any harder? As Sammi’s finger slipped in and out of his ass, he had a fuck-me smile on his face, eyes slitted, lips parted, his pink tongue just visible, driving Mitchell wild.
Unable to stand it another second, Mitchell ripped open the condom, rolled it on and grabbed the base of his dick. “Take your finger out, Sammi. I have something better to fuck you with.”
“Oh God, yes.” Sammi pulled out his finger.
Mitchell caught Sammi’s knee in the crook of his arm, leaned forward and opened him wider. He found Sammi’s tight entrance with the head of his cock, pressed against it and sank in. Both men cried out as Mitchell filled Sammi.
Mitchell covered Sammi as he shuddered beneath him, and it reverberated through both of them. They hung onto the edge of a cliff, eternity stretching out before them.
Sammi clung to Mitchell, fingers digging into Mitchell’s ass, kneading each cheek as he pulled him closer, deeper.
Mitchell began to pump.
He couldn’t take his gaze off Sammi as his lean, sculpted body writhed on the bed, the sheets now fisted in his hands. Damn, he was achingly beautiful in the throes of pleasure, yet with a vulnerability that tore into Mitchell’s heart.
Sammi’s chest was well-defined and smooth, his belly rippled as if he’d spent time in the gym. Two dark, small, rigid nipples tempted Mitchell, and that wild forelock of dark hair fell over Sammi’s face, cloaking his eyes. His full lips parted as he panted and his pink tongue darted out to moisten them in a slow swipe.
Everything about Sammi drove Mitchell insane with desire and lust, as if this creature had been created solely for Mitchell’s pleasure.
“I was, just for you.”
The voice echoed in his head again. Sammi’s?
As Mitchell pounded into him, Sammi rocked with each thrust. Wrapped in the hot velvet of Sammi’s tight tunnel, Mitchell stroked in and out, sending pleasure shooting straight to Mitchell’s balls.
And something else. Something crazy, yet…
Lost in a haze of arousal, Mitchell experienced both their pleasures, as if he could feel what Sammi felt as well as his own. How was that even possible?
“Do you feel that? It’s wild.” Mitchell gasped.
“Oh God, yes, it’s so good. This is it, Mitch. This is you and me together. You belong to me and I belong to you. Can’t you feel it?” Sammi cried out, his hands clutching Mitchell’s shoulders.
“Shit. This is crazy.” He’d just met Sammi, he didn’t even know him. Mitch shook his head. Had he lost his mind?
“None of that matters. Only this.” “Only us.”
Mitchell held Sammi’s hips and thrust harder and deeper, as if he wanted to bury himself inside Sammi and never come out. Yeah, only us.
Sammi keened deep in his throat as Mitchell fucked him. “Say it. You’re mine. You belong to me and I belong to you.”
“I belong to you.” Mitchell closed his eyes and let all their combined feelings fill him up, pushing him to the brink of coming. You are mine. He growled, his fingers digging into Sammi’s hips as he slammed into Sammi’s ass like a pile driver.
Mitchell lost reason. Lost all sense and, in that moment, broke his ultimate rule.
He fell in love.
Together, they rode a tidal wave that swelled, built momentum, climbed upward, higher than either of them had ever been before. Poised on the crest of that sweet wave, they opened their eyes and locked gazes.
The moment Sammi had waited, dreamed, hoped for.
Without knowing why or how, Sammi opened his soul and stripped his heart bare as he poured his love into Mitchell. Mitchell’s heart answered him as a vortex of emotion whirled around them like a blinding white tornado, sweeping the lovers up in its maelstrom as their souls blended, bonded.
“Sammi? What’s happening?”
“It’s okay, Mitchell. I promised it would be wonderful.”
Burying his hands in Mitchell’s hair, Sammi pulled him down into a soul-bonding kiss. Eyes open, they clung to each other as if their lives depended on it.
From this point on, their lives would be entwined. Bonded together. Feeling each other’s emotions, knowing what each needed from the other, hearing each other’s thoughts.
Building in intensity, their bodies seemed to melt into each other and their hearts beat in perfect synchronization. Sammi’s breath was Mitchell’s breath. They rode the rising crest of a mutual orgasm that promised to open a new world for both of them.
With a final surge, the tidal wave broke over them and they shattered on the rocks.