Here’s an excerpt from Small Miracles, available from Dreamspinner Press on April 17. Pre-order now!
He could have fallen asleep, so easily, in a minute. He’d done the same in many less comfortable places. But with his eyes closed, with the silence nearly complete around him and warmth and comfort swallowing him up, Cal still wasn’t sleeping. The low buzz of the TV in the room down the hall bored into his brain as surely as it would if it had been sitting right by the bed. He turned over, pulled a pillow over his head. Nothing helped. Life and light were just a few steps away, and he couldn’t ignore them. More than food, more than sleep or warmth, he was hungry for a connection. Matt had awakened that hunger in him, and he couldn’t turn away from it now.
A few minutes later, having thrown a T-shirt loosely across his chest, he was squinting and shuffling down the hall toward the living room. The blinds were drawn, and instead of city lights twinkling in the distance, the dull glow of the TV illuminated the dark room. Matt didn’t hear him coming, and as Cal moved into the room he could see Matt’s silhouette—head and shoulders and one arm stretched over the back of the couch—against the backdrop of nondescript TV news. An anchorwoman was speaking in vaguely uninterested tones about the stock market and the tech sector, and as Cal crept up behind Matt, she handed the day’s news over to the weatherman. He began pontificating about the deluge. Cal rounded the couch and sat down.
Matt met his gaze and started to speak. Cal shook his head and offered a smile before turning his attention to the TV.
He didn’t really hear anything the weatherman was saying. His whole focus was on Matt beside him, Matt’s eyes taking the measure of him, sweeping up and down his body as sure as a touch. Cal’s resistance was faltering in the face of that gaze, steady as it had been since the moment he’d entered the bar earlier, and no less reverent for the hours it had spent appraising him. How could he refuse? The reasons he’d given himself all night long were dim and distant in the face of the constancy of Matt’s interest.
A commercial came on, rocketing the volume of the TV up, and in the moment of surprise when it stole Matt’s attention, Cal edged closer and laid his head on his shoulder.
Now neither of them was paying attention to the screen. Commercials blared, light reflected off the walls and ceiling and their bodies, but even with his eyes open Cal was tuned in totally to Matt’s body. The tension in Matt’s shoulders peaked and then dissipated; a moment later he curled an arm around Cal’s shoulder and pressed his fingers into Cal’s upper arm, squeezing as if to make sure Cal wouldn’t crumble under his grasp. Cal had never felt so warm. He didn’t know how to fight this, and even if he did, he wasn’t sure he would want to.
Matt’s chest expanded as he inhaled, and Cal felt it lift him like a wave. As Matt’s shoulder lowered, bringing Cal down with it, he let the tension in his own body slip away.
He lifted his head, turned it, and found himself a bare breath away from Matt. They breathed in and out in unison, looking at each other in the dark. Matt had been so confident, but here in this moment he was hesitant, glancing at Cal’s mouth and waiting for something—permission, a sign, something. Cal inched closer. He swallowed and tilted his head up, craving that promised kiss openly. Please, he was thinking, now. Now, before I lose my nerve or think better of myself. I need.
Matt exhaled onto his mouth. Warm breath. Cal opened his mouth slightly to drink it in. Matt’s lips parted too. Cal thought he could feel them brushing….
A roar went up from the television. The news had switched to sports, and a commentator was shouting in high-pitched excitement as a football player ran down the field. Matt’s lips curled into a smile, and he reached away for a moment, going for the remote control. As he found it and turned the TV off, Cal drank in the sight of his craning neck. Solid, long, gorgeous. Skin even and toned.
A blip, and the light from the television winked out. Now only the ambient light from the outside filtered in. Matt’s face was cast into shadow.
Cal might have learned forward looking for a better view, or he could have seen Matt coming. One way or another, their lips collided; a streak of heat went through Cal and he tried to worm forward, but Matt took his chin firmly in one hand, holding him in place as they kissed. The points of Matt’s fingertips burned tiny stars into Cal’s nervous system. He leaned into him, sliding out the tip of his tongue and tasting Matt’s lips, a soft sound coming from somewhere deep in his chest. Matt’s lips were soft and patient, sucking and sipping at Cal’s mouth inch by inch, then sliding in a long, slow sweep that drove Cal crazy. His hands were on Matt’s shoulders, trying to pull him closer. He’d never in his life felt so desperate for anything. His breaths were coming short, each rasp echoing in his own ears. And still Matt held him at bay, kissing him deliberately, not reaching out even to touch him beyond the one hand on his jaw.
“God,” Matt breathed into his mouth. “God, Cal. I—”
Cal tried to cut him off, pressed forward for kiss after kiss. It was as though he’d been let free after a lifetime in captivity. He didn’t want to talk, didn’t need words or protestations or disclaimers. He needed the heat of Matt’s mouth on his, needed Matt’s lips to part and let him in. His tongue licked, bolder, along the seam of Matt’s lips, drawing out a frustrated moan and then—joy!—yielding the wet taste of the inside of Matt’s mouth as his lips opened. Cal thrust in, finding Matt’s tongue and the wet softness beneath it, tasting and feeling, making wanton noises he didn’t care to hold back. He clawed one hand into Matt’s hair, gripping his arm with the other and hauling him forward until Matt toppled with a cry and landed on top of Cal, pushing him down into the couch.
Yes, Cal was thinking. Yes. That. That weight. More of that. That’s what I need.
For more, pre-order Small Miracles now! More excerpts to come…