Shannon was already at Neil’s house when he got there. “Cat’s back, but I learned my lesson.”
“Glad to hear it.” Rory made an effort not to ask about the scratches on Shannon’s arm, but in his attempt not to look found himself gazing at the man’s thighs instead. Solid, muscular, encased in denim that was a little bit too tight, they were worth a look. Jesus, he was staring openly, and from Shannon’s smirk, he’d noticed.
“Like what you see?”
“Don’t be an asshole.” It was meant as a mild admonishment, and fortunately Shannon seemed to take it as such. “Sorry I’m late. My mom makes a big Sunday lunch after church, and I never get out of there as quickly as I think I will.”
“Church?” Shannon pulled a face.
“Yeah. I don’t go—nothing against religion, it’s just not my thing, but my mom’s pretty into the whole social side of things. Bake sales, discussion groups, stuff like that.” It didn’t surprise Rory that Shannon was dismissive about church. Too much of a rebel for anything organized, he guessed. “I found that paperwork. Let me grab it for you.”
By the time he came back from the car with the folder, Shannon was kneeling on the driveway next to the bike, his driver’s license balanced on the seat as he checked the air pressure in the tires with a small portable compressor. “Figured you’d want that,” he said. “Since you’re gonna let me drive it and all.”
Rory still wasn’t crazy about the idea, but chances were good anyone interested in buying a motorcycle would want to test-drive it first, and there was no way he was starting over with another prospective buyer if he didn’t have to. He picked up the license and looked at it, noting the M
and the older photo of Shannon with shorter hair. “Nice picture.”
“In the one before that, I had a mustache. No beard. Not sure what I was thinking.” Shannon stood and held out his hand for the license. “Unless you want to keep hold of it until we get back.”
“I assumed you’d want to come along for the ride.”
Rory shook his head. “Um, no. That’s okay. You go ahead, and I’ll, uh, hang out here until you get back.” He didn’t want to explain he’d never been on a motorcycle, or that his first experience with one had been watching a friend of his dad’s lose control while riding and crash into a telephone pole. The man wasn’t seriously hurt, but the sound of the impact had freaked Rory out pretty thoroughly, and he’d never been able to forget it.
“It’s more fun with two. Like other activities I could mention.”
The way Shannon’s lips twitched told Rory he was holding back a grin. Deciding to attack, not retreat, he said, “Promise not to punch me for asking, but am I reading all this innuendo right and you’re gay?”
Shannon stepped in close and brought up his hand, curling it into a fist and grazing his knuckles across Rory’s jaw. Light-headed with arousal, Rory stood his ground, aware of his quickening breath and flushed face. “Yeah.”
“You promised not to punch me.” God, every word out of his mouth sounded like an invitation for Shannon to fuck him.
“No,” Shannon corrected him. “You asked before I said anything one way or another. So I taught you a lesson in patience.” He rubbed the back of his hand against Rory’s cheek, an open caress this time. “In exchange for an honest answer, I want your ass on the seat behind me. I’ve got a spare helmet and leather jacket you can borrow. Luis won’t mind.”
Rory swallowed heavily. “Who’s Luis?”
“Roommate. His bike was in the shop a couple of weeks ago, and he borrowed my truck. His stuff’s been in the backseat ever since.” God, Shannon smelled good, like incense and clove cigarettes. “I’ll get it. You have the keys?”
“Uh-huh.” Rory watched as Shannon walked over to the truck, studying the way his body moved instead of digging the keys out of his left-hand pocket. Shannon had to lean into the cab to find the helmets, and it afforded Rory a clear view of his ass. His jeans were definitely too tight, not that Rory was complaining.
They put on their helmets, and Shannon kicked over the engine. Rory mounted the bike, feeling uncoordinated and out of his element. He wrapped his arms around Shannon’s waist and held on when the motorcycle jolted forward. It was possible a small squeak escaped him, but he hoped Shannon missed it over the sound of the engine. Maybe the helmet muffled the noise. The sensation of moving without the safety of a car’s frame around him was terrifying at first, and he couldn’t force himself to loosen his grip on the man in front of him.
Shannon must have realized something wasn’t right; he made a second turn before slowing the bike to a stop and shifting half around to ask, “Okay?”
“Yes,” Rory managed.
“That’s not convincing.”
“I know. I’m—a little freaked out. But I can do this.”
“Hold on to me, that’s okay, but I need to breathe.”
“Sorry.” Rory hadn’t let go of Shannon when they stopped, but he did now. He smoothed his hands over his thighs, willing the tremor in his legs to subside.
Shannon raised the visor on his helmet with a flick of his wrist, and Rory did the same, grateful for the fresh air. “Move with me.”
“What?” The helmet made his head seem heavy and wobbly. He adjusted it to a more comfortable position. “I don’t understand.”
“You’re stiff as a board. When I lean, you lean, got it? Relax against me. The more space there is between us, the more unstable we are.” Shannon grinned. “Cuddle up close and let yourself go, Doc.”
Protesting the nickname would be pointless, but Rory pulled a face anyway and saw the grin broaden. “Fine. I’ll plaster myself to your back and cling like a limpet. But I’m not enjoying this.”
“You will.” Shannon closed his visor and revved the engine. “Ready?”
Helmet closed, Rory edged forward and slid his arms around Shannon’s solid, muscular body. With a desire for payback rising, he ground his crotch against Shannon’s ass as he settled into place, then moved his hands lower, fingers splayed, framing the promising mound of Shannon’s cock, before returning them to their original position.
Shannon took his hand off the throttle and rested it against Rory’s, linking their fingers and squeezing before bringing their hands down to cup the hidden swell. The intimacy of the gesture and the unexpected gentleness confused Rory, but a responsive tingle ran through him. He wasn’t used to such a swift, direct approach from a virtual stranger, but recklessness flooded him. Why not take what was being offered? Walk on the wild side for once?
God, he wanted to. Letting himself press the heel of his hand to Shannon’s growing erection, he closed his eyes and did what Shannon had told him—moved with him. For Shannon to start the bike moving forward again with Rory groping him was dangerous, something he wouldn’t normally go along with, but in that moment, it felt natural. Shannon drove the bike, and Rory drove Shannon, touching him as much as he could given their positions and the fact the man was fully clothed. He could imagine what that cock would feel like without the layers of fabric in the way, hot and eager, maybe even slick at the tip.
With every passing moment, the wind tore away another layer of his inhibitions, revealing his fantasies. Cool air; hot dreams. He allowed his fantasies to gain ground, filling his mind so completely, there was no room for doubt. Had he ever felt so exhilarated, so free? Ever been this hard, his body ready to act out every one of the lurid images swirling in his head?
The streets they drove along could’ve been mountain roads or a straight route through a desert for all he knew. He closed his eyes, reveling in the images, arms locked around the man responsible for them.
Shannon was rough, dangerous, exciting. His beard would leave Rory’s face chafed after a few kisses; his calloused hands would catch on Rory’s skin. He’d leave Rory marked, and God, how he’d treasure every bruise as a reminder.
The weeks since his breakup with Micah had been empty. He’d settled into a chill state of suspended animation when it came to sex. Shannon had thawed him with a look, heated him with a touch.
He bit at a fold of Shannon’s leather jacket, tasting bitterness, an alien tang that woke his mouth and left it watering. Pressed against Shannon’s back, he saw them fucking, a wild, harsh cry rising inside him that he kept from escaping by grinding his teeth.
Would Shannon refuse to kiss him? Be demanding, even cruel? Uncaring when it came to Rory’s pleasure, only interested in getting off? That level of selfishness should’ve been a huge turn-off, but part of Rory craved being used that way.
Once. This once. Overpowered. Overwhelmed. Lost in raw sensuality.
They rode for a few miles, then returned, going around the block and into Neil’s driveway. Shannon shut the bike off. Without the loud rumble of the engine, the spell Rory had been under was broken, his disappointment keen. Could it ever be recaptured? Or had it been a moment out of time, like slipping into an alternate universe before returning to everyday life?
Something about the way Rory climbed off the bike must have communicated his need to Shannon. “Is that it, Doc?” he asked.
Rory took off his borrowed helmet. The cool breeze ruffling his hair was a relief, but it didn’t help him answer the question. It was easier to pretend he hadn’t understood it. “I don’t know. Was that enough to tell you if you want to buy it? You can take it for a longer ride if you want to.”
Taking his helmet off, Shannon studied Rory. “It’s okay. I brought cash.”
“You brought six thousand dollars in cash?”
Shannon shrugged. “Didn’t know if you’d trust a check, and why make you wait for it to clear?”
“I guess, though it would have been safer for you. It’s a lot of money to carry around.” And yet that was what he’d end up doing when Shannon handed it over. He could take it to an ATM, but that seemed fraught with danger. Suppose someone came along and saw him stuffing the bills into the envelope? No, better wait for the bank to open tomorrow.
Some of his indecision must’ve shown on his face because Shannon said casually, “Why don’t we ride over to the nearest ATM so you can deposit it now, then get a drink together?”
More time on the bike? He’d come in his pants like a horny teenager. With the sense of being swept away, he shook his head, needing to assert some control over the situation. “That sounds good, but I should go in my car and meet you there.”
He expected an argument, but Shannon accepted his decision. “Fine by me. Which bank do you use?”
“HSBC over on Pleasant, near the grocery store. What about the bike?”
Shannon lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. “I’ll have a friend drop me by tomorrow and ride it home.”
It occurred to Rory that it would’ve been simpler for Shannon to do that today. Why hadn’t he? Had he wanted to keep this meeting between the two of them?
He made the short drive to the bank with his head whirling with thoughts to the point where it might as well have been empty of them because nothing made sense. Shannon stood beside him in the vestibule while he made the deposit, a comforting shield. Seeing his balance made him wince. He’d gone overdrawn without realizing, incurring charges. They were minor, but it was a waste of money, and he hated that.
The vestibule was empty, the air stale. Behind the locked glass doors, the bank lay in semidarkness. There’d be security cameras monitoring them, though Rory didn’t look for them, but he didn’t care. He met Shannon’s blue eyes, aware of the man in a way that left him half-scared, half-eager. “It will be when you take me somewhere we can do more than swap words and looks.”
Shannon blinked, a mildly astonished look crossing his face. “You want to go somewhere and fuck?”
Spelled out bluntly, it sounded awful, but Rory nodded, embarrassment holding him mute, that odd exhilaration stopping him from backtracking.
Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow