Prologue

Adam

Las Vegas

I sink into the cushions of the chaise lounge as I eye the backyard. Trimmed hedges line the brick fence, and towering palm trees rest in the corners of the yard. Wicker patio furniture with bright blue cushions sits under the covered patio and, to round it off, the infinity pool overlooks the Las Vegas skyline.

Nestled in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the western edge of the valley, it’s perfect. Sometimes, I have the urge to pinch myself because I still can’t believe this is my life.The sun warms my skin, soaking into muscle and bone, relaxing me to the point of senselessness. I look over the top of my mirrored sunglasses as a big body breaks the surface of the water. Seth’s lithe form cuts through the water, smooth and deliberate. His last strokes shorten as he nears the side. Instead of turning for another lap, he places both palms on the edge and lifts himself out.

I can’t help but stare, even when I know his body as well as I know my own. I’ve caressed every sinewy inch, memorized every peak, kissed every valley, but I’m still in awe of all things Seth Cody.

He walks toward me, unblinking, chiseled jaw clenched, and I have to fight the urge to fidget under his gaze. He doesn’t stop walking until he’s right in front of me. Lowering, his solid body settles near my hip, and his soft, cool lips brush along the whiskers on my jaw in a slow tease before moving across my mouth.

“Seth,” I say in warning as I turn slightly, dislodging his lips from mine. Even the briefest touch of his lips against mine makes my blood rush through my veins and my body hum with the need for more.

More skin.

More touches.

More everything that after today will no longer be mine.

Seth leans into me. The beads of water glistening on his tanned skin roll forward to splatter on my chest and arms. His nimble fingers remove my sunglasses, and I stare into sad, whiskey-colored eyes. His hands move into my hair as he angles my head, licking up the center of my lips, asking permission.

“Kiss me,” he says.

But I shouldn’t.

Last night we had spoken like two sensible adults, no yelling, no cursing, no tears. I made it clear I don’t do relationships. Even when every fiber of my being is begging me to reconsider. I let him know I have no intention of picking up the mantle and becoming a representation for gay men anywhere, let alone in the music industry. Regardless of the fact, when I look into his eyes, I see forever. I told him that being in Las Vegas, trying to get custody of my little sister, and being the leader and the glue for my band is more important than our fledgling relationship. Although the idea of never touching or kissing or simply being with him—really connecting as two human beings who can lust for and love one another—kills me.

I try to turn my head away from the sweetest temptation, but his hand in my hair hampers my half-hearted escape.

“You want me, Adam. I’m right here.” He nibbles on my bottom lip. “Right in front of you. Take me,” he pleads. This time when our lips meet, my heart whispers, “one more time, please” and I let him in. He tastes like chlorine and summer, tangy with the bitterness of unrealized hope. I revel in the pressure of his mouth and the heady taste I get when his tongue finally breaks the barrier of my lips to twist with mine.

I ache for this man. Always and only for him.

I groan into his mouth and curl my hand around the back of his neck, pulling him into me. If this is the last time, I might as well make it count, right? That’s why he woke up in my bed, was swimming in my pool, and is currently kissing me with sad acquiescence. Letting him go is its own kind of torture, but not allowing us these last couple of hours to say good-bye . . . ?

 

My brain can’t even comprehend that, even if it’s asking for trouble.

When it comes to Seth, I’m greedy. I want to be the object of his desire, and the vessel for his lust. So, I take what he’s offering and plunder his mouth. I kiss him like it’s the last time because it is. I kiss him like he’s precious, and like I’ll miss him because he is, and I will. I own his mouth the way I want to own his body—deep and sweet with the sting of pain.

We part on a breath, and I look into those pretty, pretty brown eyes and, for the first time since I told him we were over, I regret it.

He deserves better than me.

He deserves a man who can love him out loud and in front of the world. One he can build a life and a future with.

I chose my path at seventeen and claiming a man for my very own has never been part of the plan. I have the music and my band—my family. I always knew fame would demand its due. It’s the way this world works.

I trail my fingers across the thin, red material of his swim trunks. His shaft twitches under my touch and air hisses from his mouth at the contact. I smile because I love that his body is so expressive and reactive to the softest touch. I work my hands under the waistband of his shorts and pull them down his hips. I see nothing but unfettered inches of honey-kissed skin and a long, thick dick lined with veins tapered to a flared crown as I slide down the cushions. My lips brush across the sensitive skin of his ribs and the divots of his abs.

“Adam, it doesn’t have to end here. We . . . ahhhh—”

The words die on his lips as I open my mouth wide and moan around his length as it slides along my taste buds to the back of my throat. His hands cradle the back of my head, while his hips involuntarily roll with pleasure.

I suck him down until he launches forward, and my nose settles in the soft hair at the root of his dick. I suck him until the muscles in his thighs shake and his shaft becomes impossibly hard and pulses.

“Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop,” he pants, twisting his hands in my hair, pulling to the point of pain, and pumping into my mouth with stilted, jagged thrusts of his hips.

Stop? Stopping isn’t an option. We’re too far gone, too lust-drunk and needy. There is no stopping. There is only us. His body taking what he wants from mine.

It’s primal.

Possessive.

Abso-fucking-lute.

I’m not stopping until his essence floods my mouth, until the memory of me sucking him deep and taking him to the edge of ecstasy is scorched on his retinas.

“I’m almost there. Just a little . . .”

I grip him in a tight fist working in tandem with my mouth. His eyes never leave mine as he shudders and releases deep in my throat.

Seth pulls himself free with a groan and those pillow-soft lips immediately find mine. We kiss until our pulses slow and our breaths even out, until his lips on mine is little more than skin meeting skin. The quiet is somber. The ache of two breaking hearts replaces our shared passion with unspoken sadness.

When he pulls back, his eyes are glassy with unshed tears as he studies me.

“So, this is good-bye then?”

“This is good-bye,” I parrot with hard finality that leaves little room for what-ifs or maybes.

A couple of tears leak from the corners of his eyes, but he squeezes them shut, cutting off the flow.

“Aw, baby,” I say. I swipe my thumb over the ridge of his cheekbone. You’re breaking my fucking heart. He leans forward again, kissing me one last time before he stands. His movements are slow and methodical. There is a slight tremor to his hands when he pulls up his shorts. I see him start to morph into the ideal bodyguard—the elite soldier. His eyes lose their innate softness, and his jaw sets in an unforgiving hard line. He pulls in all that emotion and stuffs it somewhere far away from the surface. A little part of me hurts that I’ve caused this.

“Seth . . .” I say, guilt coating his name in my increasing misery.

I can’t do this.

I can’t let him go.

“Don’t,” he says, rubbing the back of his neck. “No explanation necessary. I understand. I do. Let’s just . . . Let’s just take it for what it is . . . I mean, was.” He won’t look at me as he speaks. When I sit up, naturally leaning toward him, I attempt to rest my hand on the back of his knee. It is an automatic gesture. He skirts my touch, immediately backing away. The rejection, however slight, however deserved, guts me.

“I gotta go. Sin gets in today. I have to get to the hotel and make sure everything is ready.” He continues to refuse my gaze as he steps into the house, slipping quietly through the door.

I drop back on the chaise lounge with a thud. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuuuuuck! I punch my hands into the air and thump my head on the thick padding of the chaise. I’ve never been a romantic. That’s my best friend, Sin, not me. Dammit, just this once I wish I was. I wish I had it in me to give him an epic kind of love. The kind that fills the pages of a notebook and inspires hit songs.

Fifteen minutes later, I catch a glimpse of Seth through the sliding glass doors. He’s dressed with a backpack slung over his broad shoulder, radio piece in his ear, and a gun clipped to his belt. Those gorgeous brown eyes are covered with dark sunglasses and those soft lips I kissed are pressed tight into a thin, stoic line. The sound of his boots beats a steady cadence on the wooden floor as he passes in the hallway.

I stand just outside the open door, my hands pressed on either side of the metal frame.

“Seth?” I whisper.

His footsteps pause halfway to the front door, but he doesn’t turn around.

“I’m . . .” Terrified that when you walk out that door, you’ll take a piece of me. A giant piece I’ll never get back.

“I’m sorry,” I say instead. His shoulders rise and fall with one big heaving breath before he continues toward the door. He doesn’t look at me or acknowledge my unbefitting apology.

I let my head hang heavy and the muscles between my shoulder blades pull tight. I can’t watch him walk out. Even though it’s the right thing—possibly the best thing—I can’t watch it. I won’t. My heart beats faster as his footsteps move away. I hold my breath when the door opens, and when it closes, I exhale a long-frustrated stream of moist air.

So, this is what a real good-bye feels like? Like someone just placed my heart in a blender and pulverized it.

Good into chapter. My only suggestion is to add more emotion from Adam. We need to know what Adam will be missing. How he really feels more internally, not just that he’s going to miss Seth physically.

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