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Splinter (Significant Brothers #1)
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After zero-gravity heroics left astronaut Nicolas Rogers injured, his new job as a park ranger seems perfect. Being a caretaker of his corner of the Smoky Mountains makes him almost okay with having to be on Earth. More importantly, this deep in the woods, Nico’s practically a hermit at a remote ranger station. Sure, he has good friends in nearby Knoxville, but he’s otherwise free from petty drama and broken hearts… until Deen enters his world.
Caught in a compromising position by relentless paparazzi, rock star and international playboy Deen Jayse barely escaped with his career intact. He needs image rehab and a break from fame. His manager strongly suggests a stint in the Smokies, promoting national parks and being wholesome. Which would be a lot easier if Nico weren’t there in his sexy park ranger uniform.
Nico already has his hands full with arsonists at the park without Deen adding to his workload. He thinks he has to babysit a spoiled celebrity, but when he catches a glimpse of the man behind the persona he sees something he can’t resist. They’ve both experienced the isolation of fame, and while their loneliness brings them together, their worlds threaten to tear them apart. Deen can’t just drop everything to go live in the mountains, and Nico can’t abandon them… After a taste of being together, how can they possibly face a future apart?
Splinter is a standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger. Book #2, Grasp, will be available August 22nd!
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“Harder, Deen! Oh, fuck!”
They were face-to-face. Fans usually preferred it that way, so they could stare him in the eye.
He was Deen Jayse, rising rock star and the instant center of attention in every room he entered.
The guy he was balls-deep in, squirming and gasping his name like the fans in the front row did between sets, was… Grey? He thought it might be. It was something weird like that. Grey had batted his eyes at the VIP afterparty, and who was Deen to say no to a pretty face like that?
Grey looked especially pretty with his legs wrapped around Deen’s waist, his back against the rough stones of the alley wall.
Grey had invited him outside for a smoke, and though he didn’t smoke, he’d said yes. As he’d expected, he’d wound up with Grey’s sinfully pretty lips wrapped around his cock instead.
And now he was fucking Grey into the wall, enjoying every wide-eyed gasp of pleasure that fell from his blowjob-swollen lips.
The guy was scrawny. It was ridiculously easy for even Deen to pin him against the wall for a better angle. And when he did, he felt strong. In control. Needed.
Deen didn’t stop as Grey fumbled with his shirt pocket, pressing open-mouthed kisses against his neck. He didn’t kiss on the lips, but he’d drag his stubbly jaw along theirs, or suck skin until their knees buckled.
Men, women, or nonbinary—Deen didn’t care about boxes. Little could surprise him by now, but Grey managed it by flashing the vial of white powder in his hand.
He knew damn well what it was, but he played dumb. Last thing he needed was to get busted by some undercover cop. Usually they flashed the goods before he was balls-deep in them.
“A little extra-special something from one of my buddies.” Grey was breathless, one arm looped around Deen’s neck as he fumbled to open the bottle. His hand jerked, spilling some white powder on Deen’s shoulder.
Deen’s eyes widened as Grey pulled the strap of his tank top off his shoulder. Grey tapped the vial lip against his collarbone to form a bump on the thin ridge of bone. “What the fuck?”
“Perks of being skinny. You can do body lines off me. Anytime you want, Deen.”
Deen slid out of Grey and set him on the ground. He was throbbing and so fucking close it ached, but something about all this smelled wrong. He yanked the condom off and tossed it in the bin next to them. He could keep his distance as he jerked himself off—maybe both of them, if he wanted to get close enough to Grey.
Keeping his arm down so as not to spill the powder stuck to his sweat-slick skin, Grey laced his fingers of the other hand in the back of Deen’s head. He tried to pull him in for a kiss. “I thought you’d like it. It’s good stuff. It’s great. Makes you feel so much.”
Movement at the end of the alley, and camera flashes.
“Police. Keep your hands where we can see them.”
Behind them, the paparazzi. And, like he’d been waiting for this second, Grey leaped on top of the dumpster. He scrambled into a second-story window like a goddamn ninja.
Leaving Deen alone, his rapidly softening dick hanging out of his jeans, his hands over his head. He couldn’t see in the sudden, blinding glare of cop car headlights. Was this what rock bottom felt like?
Shit. I’ve done it now.
The stars stretched out overhead from horizon to horizon—well, treetop to mountaintop. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the eponymous mountains were never more than a thicket away from sight.
“Anyway, next time, you help chase down the little assholes. I didn’t even get a glimpse of them. But it’s gotta be dumbass teens. The picnic bench was still burning when I got there. They can’t be that far away, but… they were gone.”
Nico tore his gaze from the sky and clapped his friend and fellow ranger’s arm. For all his complaining, Jeff enjoyed the thrill of the chase. They hadn’t succeeded in finding the pyromaniacs who had been plaguing the park for the last few months. Give Jeff time—lots of time—and a Jeep and he’d do it. Eventually.
“Sure,” Nico teased. “Like you’d give up the chance to use a bullhorn. Come out with your hands up. Like a fucking park cop,” he elbowed Jeff. Neither of them were—as ordinary park rangers, it wasn’t their job to arrest the twerps.
Jeff flashed him the middle finger. “It might fool them one day.”
Nico snorted with laughter. “Keep telling yourself that.”
They were all a little tipsy after the evening’s get-together. Swapping stories and talking to the boss about their current duties every week or two was about all the social interaction Nico needed.
It was a pretty sweet gig for someone who loved nature and didn’t particularly like people. Most of Nico’s time was spent by himself working on conservation. A fortunately low percentage of the time, he supervised park guests. His home turf didn’t include the most popular trails—so Jeff wound up chasing down the idiot teens and he got to stretch out on a hammock and stargaze.