Authors: Riley Hart
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian, #Literature & Fiction, #erotica, #gay, #Romantic, #Romance, #Gay Romance, #Lgbt
A Crossroads Novel
Copyright © 2016 by
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Printed in the United States of America.
All products/brand names mentioned are registered trademarks of their respective holders/companies.
Cover Design by X-Potion Designs
Cover Image by Alejandro Caspe
Edited by Prema Editing and Hope Vincent. Proofread by Jessica de Ruiter and Judy’s Proofreading
Formatted by Angel’s Indie Formatting
Thank you to Riley’s Rebels members Joy and Shanen for letting me use your names.
To Rod Batterman. Thank you for your friendship, your support, and all the laughs. I can always count on you to make me smile.
Rod Nelson really wanted to fuck the man browsing the lube aisle.
This wasn’t the first time sexy Brown Eyes had been there. More like the third visit in the last three weeks, and every single one of them he spent in lubrication.
Obviously, he was having a whole lot more sex than Rod was lately, which had him slightly cranky. Who knew that starting his own adult store would keep him so fucking busy?
But then…people liked sex, so it made sense that traffic at the shop stayed steady. Rod liked sex too, hence the whole reason an adult “romance” store worked so well for him. Sure there was always the Internet, and a good chunk of his sales came from there, but he realized a lot of people liked to buy their sex toys in person. There was something special about checking out the product rather than clicking a button. Plus, three quarters of his business came from spontaneous couples who wanted to add a little spice to their night. Drinking helped with that.
He watched as Brown Eyes grabbed a bottle of Easy Ride—apparently his preferred brand—before making his way to the counter. As he approached, Rod straightened from his slouched position over the counter.
Don’t hit on customers; don’t hit on customers; don’t hit on customers.
Please let the customer hit on me.
“Will that be all for you today?” Rod asked, as Brown Eyes set his lube on the counter—one bottle a week, just as he’d done before.
In a gravelly voice, the man said, “Yep. Just like always,” and then he winked—fucking winked one of those sexy brown eyes at him. Great. Obviously the guy was a sadist and wanted to torture him.
Brown Eyes glanced at Rod’s nametag and then chuckled. “Rods-N-Ends has a whole new meaning now.”
He’d had the name picked out before he even applied for the loan for his new shop. It was smaller than where he used to work, but this place was his, and that was all he cared about. “I have a good sense of humor. What can I say?”
Brown Eyes nodded. He had long, thick, dark lashes, and equally dark eyes. They were mysterious which sounded like a fucking cliché, he knew, but it was true. He was taller than Rod himself, with lean, hard muscle that didn’t come from the gym. Another cliché, he guessed. But Jesus, the man was pretty in a rough, masculine way that prompted those kinds of clichés.
He shook his head, making the dark brown hair that hung over his forehead move. He looked to be older than Rod was, but only by a few years or so.
“The place is yours, huh?” he asked, and Rod realized he was staring. He’d always had a weakness for pretty, rugged men, and this guy was exactly that.
“Yeah, it’s only been a few months. I used to work about half an hour away from here, but some friends of mine talked me into trying to get a place of my own, and here we are.” He hated to admit Nick and Bryce had been right. In a lot of ways, Rod would have been completely comfortable floating by working for someone else, but he was twenty-five and being a clerk at an adult “romance” shop probably wouldn’t keep him afloat forever. So he’d decided to be a clerk at his
adult shop because that was a whole hell of a lot different.
Rod let his eyes scope out the aisles of the store. There was a couple in the back, but other than them and Brown Eyes, the place was empty. “What about you? What do you do?” he asked.
He held up his hands. They were beat up, but strong hands with veins running the length of them, callouses on the pads of his thick fingers. Looking closer, he noticed what looked like grease around his cuticles. It fit with his faded, slightly low-slung jeans with a hole in one of the knees. He wore a T-Shirt he’d obviously been working in as well. “Some kind of manual labor obviously. Mechanic?”
Brown Eyes smiled. “Yep. Motorcycle.”
“Shut the fuck up!” Rod said and when the other man’s eyes got bigger, he clarified. “No, don’t really shut up. It’s just that my friend, Bryce, is a motorcycle mechanic. It was Bryce and his boyfriend Nick who talked me into this place.” This was too big a coincidence. He glanced around waiting for Bryce to pop up from around a corner laughing his ass off. It was something he’d do—dangle a gorgeous guy with sexy eyes and faded jeans in front of Rod before playing some elaborate joke on him.
“Really?” the man asked. “Small world. If he’s hiring, tell him I’m looking. I moved here about a month back and it’s been a little harder to find work than I thought it would be.”
Rod thought, which probably made him an asshole because the guy was telling him he was out of work and Rod was thinking this could be a way in with him. “You’re going to have to give me your phone number then…you know, so Bryce or I can get ahold of you….”
This is where you give me your name and phone number.
“Landon, and you’re good.”
“Oh, honey, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Rod winked at him, but then he remembered he didn’t really know for sure if this man was gay or not. “Are you gay?”
“Me either. What a coincidence.”
Landon’s forehead wrinkled and then Rod said, “I’m giving you shit. I’m as gay and proud as they come and you’re fucking with me too. I know these things.”
Before Landon could reply, the couple walked up and Rod wanted to tell them to go away. That wasn’t the best way to run a business so he grinned at them. Landon walked away, and he pretended he didn’t want to tell them they were fucking with his game. He rang up their purchase—edible underwear, massage oil, and whipped cream—and they were on their way.
“Where were we?” Rod asked.
“You were ringing up my order.”
Damn it. Maybe he had been wrong about the guy. He hadn’t thought so, but it was a possibility. Either that or Landon just wasn’t interested in him.
Rod scanned Landon’s Easy Ride, the whole time mentally chastising himself for hitting on a customer. “Ten sixty-five. And listen, I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean—”
“I’m bi. Do you hit on customers often?”
“No, but they’re usually not as sexy as you. The last ones who were ended up being two of my closest friends though…you know…Bryce, the dude who works on bikes like you.”
Hint, hint. I have a hook up.
Landon laughed a light, earthy laugh that made Rod smile. He liked it. He wanted to hear it again.
“No,” Rod corrected. “Just a hard worker when I want something. I don’t give up. That’s a good quality, or so I’ve been told.”
“It can be.” Landon handed Rod a twenty, and waited for his change. “I have to be honest with you…I find people a whole lot messier than lube and my hand. I’m not really looking for anything more than that right now. Friendship is okay though.”
Awesome. First Landon had to put the mental image of himself jacking off in Rod’s head and then had to go and tell him that he was only looking for friendship. “I can do friendship. But I have to tell you, I wasn’t looking to marry you.” All Rod had been thinking about was a quick fuck. He quite enjoyed fucking his way through life.
Landon nodded at him, obviously not planning on changing his mind about fucking Rod senseless.
“So what’s your phone number, friend?” Rod asked.
Landon smiled, and heat pricked across Rod’s skin. Damn it. Even his smile was sexy. First Nick and Bryce had to torture him with something he’d never have, and now Landon. He really had to stop meeting gorgeous men in adult stores who only wanted to be friends.
Landon Harrison never expected to find himself in Virginia again. If he was being honest, he hated it here. Too many memories of fighting parents, which went from the plural to singular when his dad walked out on them, leaving behind a depressed mom who waited for him to return.
He’d never felt like he fit in when he was a kid. He’d hidden the fact that he liked both men and women. Now, he didn’t give a shit. If someone had a problem with it they could kiss his ass as far as he was concerned. It had taken leaving to get to that place.
The second he could, he’d been out of Virginia, leaving his mom and his sister, Shanen behind, but now he was back. Shanen was getting married, and she’d told him their mom had been acting strange lately. She was worried about her, which caught his attention. Depression had always been something his mom struggled with on and off. She’d broken down when his dad left. She didn’t handle big changes well and he figured since Shanen had stuck behind when he left, it was his turn to help out.
And he was going out of his goddamned mind. Living at home after twelve years away made him feel like he’d stepped into a time machine and woken up as that eighteen-year-old kid who felt trapped and angry.
He was bored. He needed a job, freedom, friends. He wouldn’t mind throwing sex in there as well, which brought him back to thinking about the pretty guy who owned Rods-N-Ends.
He didn’t need three bottles of lube in three weeks, but hell, he was attracted to the man. Rod had short, dark hair, a round face that made him look a little younger than the people who typically attracted him, but that goddamned ass of his had done Landon in. As soon as he’d walked into the store the first time, Landon had wanted him. He’d definitely be a better time than Easy Ride and his hand, but then Rod went and mentioned the job. If he could possibly help Landon work on bikes other than his own again, he really didn’t want to screw things up by fucking the guy.