Lucas had to admit, Paul had thrown one hell of a party. He turned up his collar and picked up his pace. The air was heavy with typical Louisiana humidity, and he knew a rain cloud when he saw one, even if it was midnight and dark as pitch. It was more what he couldn’t see—the stars or the full moon that should be out—that gave away the clouds, and it just…felt like rain was coming.
He turned down a path that would take him through the park. The crunch of his footsteps sounded loud as he hurried along the shortcut toward his apartment.
As he scurried through the dim light of the streetlight illuminating the picnic area, someone called out behind him. “Hey! Lucas, isn’t it?”
Lucas didn’t recognize the voice but stopped and turned toward the spot where it had originated. A shadowy figure stepped into the light. Lucas didn’t recognize the man and took a step back. He turned his head, quickly scanning both directions down the path. Empty. He shivered. How had the man known his name?
The man spoke again. “Yeah, you’re him. You were at Paul’s party.”
Relief flooded through Lucas, and he put a hand to his chest. Paul knew the guy. Now that he mentioned it, Lucas did remember seeing him earlier on at the party. The man had left soon after Lucas had arrived, though.
“How’d you know my name? We weren’t introduced.”
The man smiled. “Asked Paul about you.”
“Thought you were cute.”
Cute? Fuck that. “Cute” wasn’t exactly the look he was going for. The guy cocked an eyebrow, waiting for Lucas to speak. “Paul didn’t mention it.”
“I told him not to.” Why? Apparently, the look on Lucas’s face asked the question for him. The stranger laughed. “Wanted to surprise you.”
“Surprise me? Here? In the park?” Lucas took another step back. “How do you know Paul anyway, and what’s your name?”
“Work, Josh, and calm down babe, I don’t bite—well, not unless that’s what you’re into.”
“Babe” wasn’t going to get this guy any further than “cute.” The fact that Lucas was horny as fuck and Josh was hotter than hell might, though. “Not into biting.” Figured he’d get that cleared up right away.
Damn Josh had a killer grin, but Lucas managed to suppress his inner gasp. “So what are you into?” Josh asked.
“With assholes who waylay me in the park at midnight? ’Fraid that’s one scenario I’ve never encountered before.”
“Too bad. It’s fun.”
“Didn’t say I wouldn’t consider it. Just haven’t done it before.”
“How ’bout we just keep things simple then.” Josh cocked his head, beckoning Lucas toward the darkness.
Lucas gnawed his lower lip. Josh was a friend of Paul. But still….
His hesitation didn’t go unnoticed. “I promise I won’t bite.”
“How about strangle or stab? I’m not into those either.”
“Jesus, I didn’t bring a resumé, but you can call Paul if you want.”
Fuck it. Lucas shrugged it off. “Never mind, it’s cool.” Hopefully he’d live to not regret that decision to let lust rule over reason.
Lucas tried to look confident as he closed the distance between them. Josh took his hands and leaned toward his ear to whisper, as if he’d read Lucas’s thoughts. “You won’t regret this, Lucas. You’ll think about it…relive it in your mind…but you’ll never regret it.”
Josh’s warm voice sent a shiver down Lucas’s spine despite the oppressive pre-storm heat. The lure of potential danger—while knowing deep down, that due to Josh’s connection with Paul, he was safe—was heady. Josh squeezed Lucas’s hand and led him through the picnic area, reaching out to take something off the wooden table as they passed by.
At the edge of a little grove of trees, just outside the circle of light beaming down from overhead, Josh stopped, turned, and bowed. Now what?
Standing straight again, and grinning a quirky little smile, Josh presented him with a single rose bud. A flower of all things. Nobody had ever given him a flower before.
“Thank you.” Lucas took the blossom and sniffed it. It smelled…well, like a rose bud. Probably. How would Lucas know? It was probably a mistake to add to the sensory overload that was short-circuiting his brain, but he was already mesmerized.
Josh leaned over and softly kissed Lucas’s lips while brushing his fingertips along Lucas’s jaw. “Told you I wouldn’t bite.”
Lucas smiled. “I might not object to a nibble or two.”
Josh laughed and tugged him toward the trees. “Good. I’ll keep that in mind.”
They stopped just a few yards inside the tree line, and Lucas found himself backed up to the rough bark of a tree. Lucas couldn’t see anything, but he could feel Josh’s body pressing in hard, and he could taste the salt on Josh’s skin as he ran his tongue along the man’s jawline.
“Will I see you again?” Lucas asked. “Or are you just into setting up random crazy rendezvous like this?”
“Oh, I’d like to see you again. You’re a good sport.” Josh wiggled his eyebrows. “Paul got your number?”
“Good. I’ll call you.”
Then Josh stepped back into the darkness and was gone. Lucas swung his head side to side, searching. “Josh?”
Where the hell had Josh gone? Fuck, Lucas was standing there alone in the dark wearing sticky pants with a sticky damned hand and sweat dripping down his back.
Lucas sighed and bent down to pick up his flower. He sniffed it then walked back to the path. The first fat drop of water fell from the sky and landed on his nose. “Great.” He sighed and shifted to a jog. If his luck held, maybe he’d make it home before the deluge.