Excerpt time! Devour is the fourth book in our Unbreakable Bonds series and it’s due to release this month on the 28th! We’re getting close, guys!
Remember, you can pre-order Devour these places:
So… are you ready to read a little Ian and Hollis?
Ian spotted Hollis leaning against his blue Chevelle despite the bite of the bitter cold night air. It would have been smarter to sit in the car, protected against the brisk wind as it swept over the flat farmland, but the taut lines of his body told Ian he was probably too anxious to sit still. Once they’d decided Hollis would stay with them, the detective certainly hadn’t been thrilled about letting Ian out of his sight, but he backed off when both Rowe and Noah promised to keep him safe.
Ian had to hand it to Andrei. When the man had called with directions to the little brick ranch house, he’d warned them that it was out in the middle of nowhere and it truly felt like that. The drive here had taken longer than he’d expected, but the winding two-lane road curved up one side of a mountain before plunging and curling down another while trees crowded close to the road on both sides. Black ice had crept up in the unyielding darkness, briefly stealing away control and threatening to send them crashing through the metal guardrails and down the side of the mountain.
The darkness had only been broken to reveal small houses and rolling fields that were home to either cows, horses, or likely corn in the summer months. Everything about the trip out to Morning View left Ian feeling isolated and alone despite the fact that he had two other people with him.
A knot tightened in his stomach and he couldn’t get it to ease. He felt like he’d abandoned his restaurant, his employees, his wonderful customers. He felt like he’d abandoned Lucas and Snow, leaving them to deal with Jagger alone when the nagging voice in his head argued that he should have stayed in town and helped to track the damn man down. No matter how anyone phrased it, this all came down to one true fact.
This was his fault.
The guys would have left after figuring out what that first bad party at Boris Jagger’s was and would never have had to deal with the man again.
Logic said that Andrei was right. If they’d all stayed in Cincinnati, then Jagger would have more opportunities to get at them. But logic held no sway with his exhausted brain. Midnight had come and gone.
Jagger wasn’t going to give up. He had to be pissed now. And when he lost control of a situation or lost his temper, he became utterly ruthless, killing with the disregard most had when stomping on a bug.
Memories rose like phantoms, hungry beasts that hovered in the back of his mind at all times, ready to devour his positive thoughts. He closed his eyes and counted slowly until they backed down. It was a trick he’d learned from a therapist he’d seen for a couple of years. When he opened them again, it was to find Hollis watching him.
Hollis was the perfect distraction. Damn, he was gorgeous. Ian let his eyes sweep over the man’s big body as he leaned against the Chevelle. He was back in his beat-up leather jacket that stretched across broad shoulders, and there was a hole in the knee of his jeans. His hair was still dyed dark and though he looked hot, Ian missed the usual blond mess.
Normally he’d be wary of someone Hollis’s size, but something in Hollis rang a bell of safety inside Ian, and that drew him in like a cat to catnip. He’d loved tall, broad men from the first time he’d realized he was gay, and Ian had been sure Boris Jagger had ruined that for him for life. But this cop standing in Lucas’s penthouse one morning awoke all Ian’s old desires, had them rising to the surface and gasping for air. He was terrified to try being with him and terrified not to.
Hollis, as always, immediately locked eyes with Ian and held, unblinking.
Ian suddenly wished they were staying alone.
Even then, he broke out into a sweat thinking about being so close to him here. Sleeping with a mere wall between them. If Ian let himself sleep. The last thing he wanted Hollis to see was him skulking around the strange house on all fours. He frowned. He hadn’t even thought about that when they’d set this up.
“It’d probably be best if we parked the cars inside the garage,” Rowe murmured as he hit the remote that opened the door.
Ian’s attention was pulled back to Rowe and he watched as Noah, who had his arm stretched across the back of the seat, gently stroked his fingers over Rowe’s shoulder. He wanted that—wanted what these two had found together. What all his friends had found. He glanced back outside to find Hollis still watching him. Could Hollis Banner be that man? Ian wanted him, wanted him something fierce. But he didn’t know if Hollis would be able to work with his hang-ups.
Because Ian sure as hell had them.
Rowe waved Hollis back into his car as he opened the garage so they could both pull in. The rumble of Hollis’s Chevelle was loud in the tight space, made tighter by the size of Rowe’s truck. There wasn’t enough room for Ian to get out on his side of the truck and he couldn’t crawl across the small back seat because he was wedged next to a lot of grocery sacks. He shrugged at Hollis, then chuckled when the cop rolled his eyes and got into his car to pull it back out.
Rowe jumped from the cab, opened the tailgate to let the dogs free, and Noah whistled for them to follow him into the backyard. The three-hundred-plus pounds of fur and slobber paused in their brief and excited inspection of the new place to charge around the garage with Noah, their barking and Noah’s laughter breaking the silence.
Hollis knocked on Ian’s window, his eyebrow going up, and Ian felt red creeping along his neck as he realized he’d been sitting there staring at the point in the darkness where he’d last seen Noah. He turned as Hollis opened the door.
“Yeah.” Ian cleared his throat. “Just checked out a second. Sorry we took so long to get here. We stopped for food.”
“I brought some groceries, too.” He touched Ian’s arm, almost as if he couldn’t help himself. “Again, I’m sorry he got away. Sorry you have to leave your restaurant and stay out here.”
Ian’s lips tightened. “It’s not your fault. It really isn’t. The escape route must be new. It wasn’t there when I was.” He had to look away when Hollis’s expression darkened. His stomach cramped as shame landed like a heavy tarp over his shoulders. He hated that Hollis knew about his past. Hated it.
Hollis must have picked up on some of what he was feeling. “Hey,” he whispered as he clutched Ian’s chin to turn his face back to him. “I can’t help getting upset about that. But I’m trying.”
Uncomfortable, Ian stared for a long moment. This…thing they had was just weird. They’d never even been on a date, and the connection was so intense, so strong. He thought back to that kiss in his office a few weeks before and his gaze dropped to Hollis’s mouth. He wanted that talented mouth back on him. Badly.
“You need to share where your mind just went,” Hollis murmured, stepping closer, his hand landing on Ian’s thigh.
They stared at each other so hard, Ian jumped when the dogs’ barking suddenly sounded closer as they ran from the backyard to the front yard. He shook his head, feeling the heat in his cheeks, then reached for a grocery bag to hand Hollis. “Here. Make yourself useful.” He jerked again when Hollis surprised him with a quick kiss on his lips. He blinked up at him.
“You are so damn cute,” Hollis murmured as he reached around him and hauled out another bag. “And I know exactly what you were thinking about.” He sauntered off and Ian turned and stared at the next bag, thoughts scrambled. His dick was also half-hard. When Rowe opened the door across from him and leaned inside, he bit his lip at the wide grin on his friend’s face.
“I think maybe there’s something you haven’t told me because that didn’t look like a first kiss.”