Early in the morning, Keegan rolled over on the floor and pushed into a sitting position. It had been three days since his release, and still he could not get himself to sleep on the bed. He had grown accustomed to sleeping on something hard, and the softness of the mattress was uncomfortable. Over the years he had gotten used to the bed in his jail cell, even the way it dug into his back something terrible. He remembered by the third night his back had hurt like crazy and his neck was a mess. His spine had gotten pushed out of whack. And one too many people had drooled on the pillow before him. But he hadn't once complained, for he knew it would only fall on deaf ears. They would call him a spoiled little bitch, and the prison “dons” would be on his ass faster than he could even think. The last thing he wanted to do was fight with someone--anyone--over being a coward.
He glanced around the bedroom. Something had awakened him. His alarm clock hadn't gone off, nor had he automatically sensed it was time to get up for the prison's roll call. Something else had pulled him from his slumber.
He pushed from the floor into standing position and walked to the window. There it was, the reason he was awake at that ungodly hour of the morning. A luxury SUV was parked in the front yard of his property with the lights still on. He knew it had to be just a matter of time before the vultures stirred. A scowl appeared on his face. Why could they not understand that all he wanted was to be left alone? He had done his time, was still doing time on parole, and yet they refused to leave him be. Would they push him to do something he didn't want to, just to get him back in prison? As the years slipped by Keegan's temper had gotten shorter and shorter, until very little would set him off. Then he had to learn to hold it--suppress the rage while it vibrated through him. He shoved his hair from his face and grabbed his baseball bat from behind his bedroom door. He descended the stairs with fire in his veins. Shirtless, barefoot, with dishevelled hair, he hauled open the front door ready for a fight.
The man who stepped from the vehicle looked strangely familiar, but Keegan didn't care. The only thing he wanted was for the man to get off his property and go to hell.
“You're trespassing,” Keegan growled. “Get off my property.”
“Your property?” the black male asked.
“Did I stutter?”
“Look, I don't know who you are, but I watch over the place for Mr. MacLamore until his grandson comes home. After his death, I just assumed he wanted me to keep doing it. So you're the one trespassing.”
“Then your services are no longer needed. His grandson is home.” Keegan turned to go back inside, but the man's voice stopped him.
“Hey! Wait a minute,” he called. “You're Keegan MacLamore?”
Keegan faced the man. His patience was swiftly wearing thinner.
“I thought you were doing thirty to life. Did they find the real killer, then?”
“No. Good behaviour. Who knew that because there wasn't anyone around for me to murder, it would be called good behaviour?”
“Don't say things like that.”
“Go away.” Keegan shoved the baseball bat into the house and had the door halfway closed.
“Keegan, it's Jaxon.”
Jaxon's heart began hammering inside his chest. How could this be Keegan? Keegan was so full of life. The man who stood before him was tattooed, messy haired, and angry. But even though Keegan looked like someone had beaten him down, the man was still sexy. Black hair with a few traces of grey with large curls hung long down to his shoulders. He had big green eyes, perfect muscles, and a height that Jaxon adored.
“Jaxon?” Keegan whispered. “I thought the streets got you.”
That shocked Jaxon. Still, he walked into the large house ahead of Keegan. The place had changed a lot. Most of the furniture was changed; the walls were painted a different colour. Now it was the home of the rightful owner. He felt insignificant in the presence of Keegan MacLamore. From somewhere deep, Jaxon found a smile and let it spread across his lips, because that was how it should be.
“Would you like some coffee?”
“Sure.” Jaxon nodded and followed Keegan to the kitchen. “No one told me you were coming home.”
“No one knew I was coming home but Colter.”
“Yeah. He's my lawyer. I told him to give it up and let it go, but he's still fighting to clear me.” Keegan chuckled bitterly. “He still thinks that someone around here gives a damn if I live or fry.”
Guilt tore through Jaxon, but his smile never faltered. “That's a good friend. That's what he's supposed to do.”
Jaxon watched as Keegan flipped on the coffeemaker. For the first time he saw the scars across Keegan's back. He didn't know if Keegan was gay, but he couldn't stop himself from walking over. He stopped behind Keegan and slowly lifted a hand. With a tender fingertip, he stroked down one scar. Keegan tensed, but Jaxon didn't stop. He couldn't. Touching those scars hurt him so deeply that a low moan, then a whimper, left his throat. Still he caressed them, a penance for what he'd allowed to happen.
“Jaxon.” Keegan's voice was barely above a whisper, but it resembled the low rumble of a storm. There was warning in that sound, but Jaxon thought he heard a sexual connotation in it.
“What?” he asked. His fingertip moved low to the waist of Keegan's pants and slid over a scar that lay there.
“Please don't touch me like that.”
Keegan turned and pushed away from him. It was as though Jaxon had suddenly caught the plague. He licked his lips and backed up to his stool. “I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed--”
“That I would be into that?”
“That you...that you were like me.”
He watched the way Keegan's eyes changed at that last answer. “Are you sure you're gay, Mac? Did prison turn you into a fag? When you were younger, you could have simply shrugged it off as experimenting--as something to rebel against. But tell me, are you really?”
“You need to leave now,” Keegan growled.
Something inside Jaxon made him want to bait Keegan--to see if he would rise to it. His mind worked ahead to where they were having makeup sex. Which was stupid because he didn't even know if the man was sure he was gay or if he was just confused.
“Why, Keegan? You don't like the tough questions?” he asked as Keegan stormed by him.
Keegan lashed out, wrapped his arm around the back of Jaxon's neck, and pulled hard. At first Jaxon thought he was in for a fight, but instead Keegan's lips slammed over his with a force that pulled an animalistic sound from his throat. Keegan was rough, exactly the way he liked it. He spread his lips and moaned. Keegan's tongue plunged into his mouth, and Jaxon knew that his little game had backfired--royally.
Keegan had only meant to show Jaxon that he was messing with the wrong man. But once Jaxon's mouth opened, Keegan lost his mind. He pushed Jaxon hard into the counter, trapped his body there, and violently drank from his lips. He moaned, gripping the back of Jaxon's neck. He ground his hard cock into Jaxon and sucked on his tongue. Perhaps it was the idea of his not having had a man for so long--twenty-five years, the whole time he was in prison. Maybe he was just starving for some loving. But for some reason Jaxon was doing things to his body that he had never felt before. Finally, when he thought his body had erupted in nothing but fire, he yanked his mouth back with his heart pounding in his chest and his cock rigid against his pants.
“Who's the fag now, Jaxon?”
“I think you should take me into the bedroom--”
“I can't.” Keegan released Jaxon and stumbled backwards. His mind thawed out enough for him to ask the question he'd wanted to earlier. “What are you the rest of the time when you're not a caretaker?”
“Nothing really--I just try to spend my off-season preparing for the next season.”
“I'm a baseball player.”
“Not my game. You're welcome to stay here if you have no other place to go, but what just happened cannot happen again.”
“But still I'm welcome to stay here? How would that work out? Do you honestly think if I stay here that won't happen again?”
Jaxon reached forward, trailing a finger down Keegan's chest.
“Do whatever you want.” With that said, Keegan yanked his body away from Jaxon's touch and staggered from the room in an aroused daze.