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Turn Up the Heat
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First impressions fool recently dumped Rory into thinking Shannon’s a walk on the wild side and the perfect way to get over a failed relationship. Shannon’s not about to argue. Not when Rory coaxes him into some of the hottest, roughest sex of his life. But who is Rory falling in love with? A fantasy lover or the real man?
Fighting to keep Rory happy, longing for romance as well as the steamy sessions that leave them bruised and breathless, Shannon’s got a lot on his plate even before family and friends complicate matters further.
There’s only one solution. Turn up the heat, and hope it doesn’t burn their relationship to the ground.
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Shannon sighed as he waited for the light to turn green. With the truck idling, his exhaust rattled, meaning at least a new muffler if not more repairs in the near future. His buddy Earl would do the work in exchange for a six-pack, so it wasn’t the cost that was the issue, but the timing. Shannon hated knowing the whole works might drop off the bottom of the Chevy on his way to work next week. Ongoing issues were the price of falling for a classic, though he didn’t regret his choice. Last year he’d put more than a grand into body work, and it’d been worth every penny.
The light turned, and he cranked the radio’s volume as he stepped on the gas, neatly covering any suspicious sounds the truck made. Unfortunately, it also covered the sound of his phone’s GPS telling him to take a right onto the next street a moment later. He swore when he realized and corrected course, then slowed down and looked at the house he’d been directed to.
The motorcycle he’d come to see was in the driveway behind two sedans, so at least he knew he was in the right place. Shannon shut off the truck and got out. The front lawn was more weeds than grass, the only green near a leaking hose at the side of the house. It had been a hot summer, followed by a dry start to fall, and the bushes were brittle and brown. The paint on the stair railings had peeled away in long strips, revealing rotting wood, and oil spots darkened the blacktop. The place had an air of neglect, not that the houses nearby were in much better shape.
None of it was promising, but he was here for the bike, not the house.
He didn’t see any signs of anyone, so he wandered over to take a closer look at the bike, but before he’d done more than crouched down next to it, the front door opened with a screech of rusty hinges, then slammed shut.
“Hey. Shannon, right?”
Dragging his attention away from the bike with an effort, he turned his head to acknowledge the greeting. “Yeah. Rory?”
The guy nodded and held out his hand. Polite. Well, he knew his manners too. Shannon rose and shook it, conscious of a smear of oil on his knuckles and the roughness of his palm. Rory’s hand was smooth and clean. Good grip, though. Solid.
“Thanks for being on time.”
“You said you have a thing later.” Shannon didn’t remember if Rory had said what it was, and it didn’t matter. “You don’t live here?”
Rory looked surprised; he probably didn’t have a poker face. “I didn’t say that.”
He didn’t match the house, so he didn’t need to. A man wearing a button-down shirt white enough to make snow seem grubby and pressed suit pants with polished black leather shoes wouldn’t put up with this level of neglect. Though Rory’s sandy hair was appealingly tousled and the shirt was open at the throat, so he wasn’t a total neat freak. Maybe where he worked had a dress code.
“Who’s taking peeks at us through the blinds?” Shannon didn’t like being spied on, and the shadow of a watcher, face pressed against the slats of a blind sagging down on one side, made his skin crawl.
Rory didn’t turn his head. Either he didn’t mind being stared at, or he couldn’t take his eyes off Shannon. Gray eyes, with a hint of green to them. Unusual. Shannon didn’t go around studying eye color, but Rory stood close enough to make it easy. Rory triggered reactions of a more pleasant type when he licked and bit his lower lip before replying, leaving it shiny, inviting attention.
Yeah, take a long hard look, pretty boy. Like what you see? With an inward snort, amused by the porn-movie dialogue spooling through his head, Shannon dragged his imagination out of the gutter and focused on Rory’s answer.
“That’s Neil. He’s a friend of my brother’s. This is his house. Well, he rents it.”
A more curious man would have asked half a dozen questions. Shannon wasn’t that man. “But the bike’s yours?”
“Yeah. I don’t have a garage, so I store it here.” Calling the falling-down shack a garage was overly generous.
Shannon turned his attention back to the bike. “Six grand?”
“It’s worth a lot more.” He knew he shouldn’t say that; if he wanted a good deal, it made more sense to claim the price was too high, though the words would’ve stuck in his throat. “Something wrong with it?”
“No.” Rory sounded hesitant, dragging the word out as if lengthening it made it true.
Shannon frowned at him reprovingly. “You’re a shitty liar.”
Rory smiled, a quick flash of humor Shannon responded to without knowing what he found so appealing. “True enough. Look, my name’s on the title, and I have every legal right to sell it, but I don’t know anything about motorcycles. I couldn’t tell you if it’s in perfect running condition or ready to fall apart. All I did was type in the make and model number on the Kelley Blue Book and post the listing based on what it said. If you want to take it to a mechanic and have it inspected, we can arrange that. As long as we arrange it fast; I need to sell it soon.”