When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now.
Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more.
The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences could change everything for them all.
The wooden cabin situated across the sloping meadow was a decent-sized dwelling, with two curtained windows on either side of the door. A covered porch stretched across the front with two old-fashioned rocking chairs and a new SUV was parked to the side.
Movement on the grass in front of the cabin confirmed the place was indeed inhabited. Colin halted in his tracks at the edge of the tree line, his breath on hold, wary of making his presence known. He squinted to get a better view of the two men walking close together. One was sleek and elegant, dressed in dark clothing. He towered over the other smaller, more familiar, figure in a sky-blue T-shirt.
Even from that distance, there was something recognisable about the upward lift of the chin of the shorter man; the way he held his body and the way the breeze ruffled his dark hair.
Yes, thank God. That’s got to be Shaun.
Colin snuck behind the nearest tree and peered from around the trunk, not wanting to be seen nor to interrupt them. Not yet anyway. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to make himself known. If he was mistaken and it wasn’t Shaun after all, he could slink away and return home without disturbing them. If it was him, Colin wanted answers. He wouldn’t be able to leave without finding out what the hell Shaun was doing here. With this stranger.
The stranger placed his hands on Shaun’s biceps and leaned in closer. He raised an arm, gripped Shaun’s jaw and pushed him backward.
Colin’s stomach clenched.
If he hurts Shaun… Colin patted his penknife, a comforting weight where it nestled in his trouser pocket. He’d lost count of the number of times just carrying the knife had given him the confidence to stand up to thugs who thought it was okay to call him out on his sexuality. Colin was proud he could hit most targets with it and had his father to thank for his accurate throwing skills. He was proficient enough to frighten this guy.
The cabin stood on the far side of a wild grassy expanse leading down to a small lake beyond. It was a picturesque setting with early spring flowers peeking through here and there. The sun glinted off the dark surface of the lake, and a rowing boat lay overturned at the water’s edge. Normally, Colin would have taken shot after shot with his phone to capture the charming view. But not today. This was not a sightseeing trip. It might even be a matter of life or death. For Shaun, for himself, maybe for them both considering how the taller guy unsettled Colin. If Shaun was being held captive, it would be up to Colin to rescue him.
A pained groan filled the quiet of the meadow; louder than the songbirds and the insects humming in the air.
Colin shuddered all over. His skin prickled with the fear rippling through him.
He slowly eased the penknife from his trouser pocket. The handle felt cool in his sweaty palm. Running his thumb over the edge of its sheathed blade, he itched to flick it open. It would take a second to expose the knife and throw it. If only he were a little closer, he’d be sure of hitting his target spot on. He’d need to be accurate if he wanted to rescue his buddy from his captor.
Colin held back a growl. He’d do everything in his power to help Shaun. His body was strong and muscled—too big, Colin worried sometimes. Shaun was slender and wouldn’t stand a chance against this imposing man.
The man steered Shaun towards the large stump of a felled tree, and pinned him onto his back. Shaun didn’t struggle or fight, only crying out when the man lunged towards him.
What the… are they kissing and making out?
The powerful man nuzzled on top of Shaun: licking, nipping, and sucking on his neck. Submitting and not resisting, Shaun allowed the man to take what he needed. A sludge of sickness rolled through Colin’s gut, making him want to puke, like it often did whenever Shaun hooked up with another guy.
Swallowing the bitter-tasting bile, Colin crept over the ground to the adjacent tree, placing his feet gently, trying to make himself light, so as not to disturb the entwined couple. A twig snapped beneath his cumbersome weight and he froze.
The two men remained engrossed in each other. Neither of them glanced his way. Sweat trickled down Colin’s back. His skin burned. He wiped the moisture from his brow and stepped closer, gripping the knife so hard his knuckles cracked.
What the hell is he doing to Shaun’s neck?
A chill ran over Colin’s damp skin. Shaun had mentioned a possessive date who’d bitten him at a nightclub a week or so before he’d disappeared. In fact, it was after that encounter Shaun had started acting out of character. Colin had been worried enough to persuade him to get the bite checked out by his doctor, in case it got infected. Could this be the same sick fuck who was currently grinding his hips against Shaun, trying to get himself off as he latched onto his neck?
Colin’s heart thudded, his blood heating with a mix of anger and jealousy. He mustered all his strength, and his nostrils flared when his next breath filled his lungs.
He strode towards the rutting couple, but Shaun’s groans of arousal slowed Colin’s pace.
“Yes, Zach, that feels good.” Shaun’s passion-filled voice drifted across the meadow.
Was his friend in any real danger? Had he been drugged and was being held against his will? It didn’t seem like it. Fuck, what should he do? Goddamn Shaun, he’d worried the hell out of Colin, and here he was having some sort of debauched make-out session with this creep while Colin had been traipsing the hillsides looking for him.
Colin gritted his teeth. Whatever had happened to Shaun, he needed to find out what the hell was going on. He continued his steady approach.
Surely these guys must know he was standing not ten feet away from them by now, but Shaun’s eyes remained closed, his lips parted, a look of ecstasy on his face. The guy on top sucked on his neck like there was no tomorrow. He’d have a massive hickey later, and Shaun didn’t seem bothered by it.
Colin’s dick twitched, and he huffed at its traitorous response. How many times had he witnessed other lithe young men rubbing against Shaun like this in clubs and he’d wanted to take their place? And he would have too, if he’d thought for a second he was the kind of guy Shaun wanted.
Right now, Colin should haul this leech off Shaun and drag his friend back home, back to work, back to where he belonged.
And still the guy feasted on his neck, sucking and lapping as if his life depended on it. And Shaun was getting off from that. His erotic purrs and moans captivated Colin. Damn it, his dick hadn’t been this hard in weeks. Why couldn’t someone… Shaun… suck on him like that?
Shaun’s eyes fluttered open, and on catching sight of Colin, widened.
“Stop, Zach,” he said, pushing him away.
Had they not heard his approach?
His neck-sucking friend—Zach—turned leisurely. He raised an eyebrow in challenge, wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, and stared with a self-satisfied smirk at Colin. Had he known Colin was standing there all this time?
Cocky bugger. Granted, he was a good-looking cocky bugger. Lean torso and long legs, with smooth, pale skin, yet his eyes were dark and mesmerising. His features appeared almost sculpted, his nose was perfect, and his clean-shaven square jaw made him so very handsome.
Don’t get distracted. He’s dangerous.
Shaun rose to a sitting position on the tree stump. Blood trickled from two round marks on his neck. He raised a hand and covered the injury.
Colin blinked. Zach had bitten into Shaun’s neck and hurt him. The reality slammed into Colin. He shook his head, trying to clear away a fuzzy feeling, and flicked open his knife. He held it poised, ready to throw. He still wasn’t sure if this was consensual or if Zach was a nutter who’d done something to overpower Shaun.
“Step away from him,” Colin ordered, making his voice deep and commanding, his arm steady with the knife. “I’m taking Shaun home with me.”
Zach shook his head slowly, but he stayed put. Shaun rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on Colin. He held his hands out in a calm down and take it easy posture.
“I mean it, sunshine. One sudden move and I’ll throw this blade at you. I’ll make you bleed.” And Colin meant every word. He was prepared to take this guy out to rescue his friend.
“Hey, Col. You’ve got it all wrong. He wasn’t hurting me.” Shaun took a step closer to Zach instead of Colin.
And that action hurt Colin more than a solid punch in the gut.
“Yeah, Col. Listen to him.” God, Zach was smooth, with a sexy drawl of a voice. His dark, imposing gaze shifted between the knife and Colin’s eyes. And still his body language screamed be wary of me. He couldn’t be trusted. He was going to pounce any second, Colin just knew it.
With a flick of his wrist, Colin tilted the knife, and before he could sound off another warning, it was Shaun who leaped forward, snarling. His clothing shredded and scattered into the air and, out of the blur of movement, before him stood a pale grey wolf baring its teeth.
Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page.
Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.