Kane refrained from pacing his office as he waited for Nex’s arrival. He’d sent a driver to fetch the man and bring him here. What he had to discuss with Nex was not something to be done over the phone. He sat in his big boss office chair and spun around in it, trying to focus his thoughts.
This company had taken Styx and him years to build, and now, to save it, he needed Styx’s twin brother. He’d figured that out a day or two after the funeral, when things stopped being all hazy and blurry and the headache lessened. He’d figured out why Styx had used his one minute of consciousness to ask him to find Nykki. Sneaky bastard. Sneaky, brilliant bastard.
Kane stopped the chair and rubbed his temples when he heard the door open downstairs. He went out of the office, onto the staircase, and saw Nykki and his driver standing in the entrance hall. With a nod, he dismissed his employee.
“Big place,” Nex commented, looking up to meet his eyes.
“Styx chose it. Said it needed to fit our egos.”
Nex groaned. “You lived together?”
Kane shrugged. “I don’t know if you know that he--”
“He was manic. I know.” Nex looked around the entrance hall, gaze flitting over the framed old movie posters on the high walls before settling back on Kane. “You looked out for him.”
Kane raised an eyebrow. “You’re quick.”
It was Nex’s turn to shrug.
“Care to come up?” Kane said.
“After you already dragged me all the way here? Sure, why not?”
Once back in his office, Kane pointed to the chair in front of his desk. Nex sat, an expectant look on his face as Kane settled into the more comfy swivel chair. Leaning forward, he took in the man’s lean body once more. Not all that bad. Of course not. Nex looked like Styx. On the short side, but not scrawny. Lithe. Now, how to convince him to help?
“You’re staring,” Nex said.
“The way you carry yourself. It’s different from Styx.” His friend had never been as guarded around Kane.
Arms crossed in front of his chest, Nex looked aside as if he were interested in the bookshelves that lined the eastern wall of the office. “We’re twins,” he said. “Not carbon copies. Sorry to disappoint.”
“Oh no,” Kane said. “I prefer it this way. I told you, I’m not looking for a replacement. And before you assume again: no. Styx and I were not in love.” That would have required at least one of them to believe in that shit. Kane wouldn’t have risked his friendship with Styx for the silly notion of love.
“But you fucked.”
“You know what kind of company we built,” Kane said. “We took some things for a test drive.”
“Sounds like a fun job.”
“Mostly. We’ve had some rough spots with the banking crisis last year.”
“Why are you telling me all this?”
Kane chose his next words carefully. “Because I need your help.”
NEX LOOKED AT Kane. Had he heard that right? First the man made him come all the way here, no questions asked, and now, he wanted help?
“I came here because I thought you could help me,” Nex admitted. Kane had mentioned finances before.
“I can.” Kane’s gray eyes gave away nothing as he regarded Nex from his oversize office chair.
Nex leaned back in his own chair, arms still crossed in front of his chest. No reason to be intimidated by Kane’s muscular build. He’d taken on tops bulkier than Kane. “But you’re not going to do it out of the goodness of your heart.”
“I want to offer you a job.”
“I already have a job.”
“I pay better.”
Nex bristled. Kane couldn’t know how much his current job paid. And yeah, maybe pay at the coffee shop was sucky, but the atmosphere and his colleagues were pretty awesome. “What kind of job?” Nex asked, only because it never hurt to know your options, and he had promised Ty to take care of the rent problem.
“Become part of my research team.”
“Your research team,” Nex repeated. “As in, your sex-toy research team.” He gave Kane a long hard look. Okay, maybe the man did hide a hell of a body under that Armani, and maybe Nex would have been all over that under different circumstances, but who the fuck did Kane think he was? “I don’t eat my brother’s sloppy seconds.”
If Kane was taken aback by that comment, he didn’t show it. “I assure you, I’m nobody’s sloppy seconds,” he said, a challenging look on his face as if he dared Nex to come and take a bite.
“You fucked my brother,” Nex said. “My identical twin brother. And now you’re hitting on me two weeks after his death? Seriously?”
“All sex between me and your brother was strictly professional.”
“Yeah, keep telling yourself that. You loved Styx. I saw the way you looked at him in the hospital.” It was exactly the way Nex had always wanted someone to look at him
“I didn’t love him that way. We were friends. I told you, there was no romance between us.”
“I’m guessing there’s a special place in Narnia for people like you.”
Nex had no desire to make out with anyone who had been in love with his brother. Even if that person was kind of hot and offered to pay him for it. There were certain lines he wouldn’t cross.
“Believe what you will, Nex. But Styx and I were both Doms.”
Nex blinked at Kane. What was that? What kind of sex toys did Innuendo, Inc. produce again? Handcuffs, leather, and floggers came to mind. Something pulled inside Nex’s stomach, and he had to shift a little in his chair.
“I thought he would sub like me,” he blurted out before he could think about what he was saying. Congratulations, Nex, well done.
The look Kane regarded him with was scorching. Hot damn. Nex had to look away if he didn’t want to walk out of here with a boner. From one second to the next, Kane had turned from sexy to damn near irresistible. He’s a Dom.
Sweet Jesus. He’d gotten to Nex with that stupid, simple comment, and Nex couldn’t let him know that. No matter what his dick said, this was a bad idea.
“I’m gonna show you something,” Kane said.
Turning back to Kane, Nex watched him get out of his office chair and walk to the door. Look at those muscles.
How would those feel on top of Nex? Naked? Nex swallowed as he got up. Blank face, blank face!
This was so not how he’d imagined this visit to go.
“Follow me,” Kane said. He led them out of the office and down the hallway, passing a few doors. How many rooms did this house have, anyway? Finally, Kane entered one at the end of the hall.
They found themselves in a large bedroom. Bookshelves lined one side of it, just like the ones in the office. A desk, a wardrobe, and a king-size bed, all made out of light wood, took up most of the rest of the space. A fluffy orange carpet decorated the floor at their feet.
“This your bedroom?” Nex asked, frowning. Was that “something” Kane wanted to show him going to be his dick?
Kane approached him from behind. He was so close now that if Nex had taken one step back, he would have bumped right into the arrogant bastard. It made the hairs on Nex’s neck stand up, just thinking about Kane’s hard male body. Thinking about Kane who seemed to have quite a thing for sex toys and quite a thing for Nex.
“Look around a little more; anything else you notice?”
Nex’s gaze found a hook in the wall above the bed’s headboard. He stood completely still for a moment, the implications of his discovery going through his mind.
“What do you think goes through there?” Kane asked, coming a step closer, that small step that made him press into Nex. Nex took a deep breath to help him calm down, but instead he got a lungful of Kane’s scent, leather and spice, and that didn’t help at all.
“Chains,” Nex said.
“You seem to like the idea.” Kane raised his hand, stroking through a lock of Nex’s hair, sending a shiver down Nex’s spine and into his groin area.
Was there any point in denying it? As much as Nex hated Kane’s arrogance, his dick didn’t seem to mind. “You’ll find I’m not as submissive as some like,” Nex said.
“You’ll let me find out?” Kane tugged at Nex’s hair, tilting his head back to make Nex look up at him.
Ana J. Phoenix