KC Kendriks has created another sizzler in her outstanding Southern Cross series. TAMING TRITON, book two, is a strong compelling story and written with heart.
Southern Cross series Book Two
Amber Quill Press - Amber Allure
Austin Michaels accepts his brother’s standing invitation for a Caribbean vacation at his island resort. Some time in the sun is just what he needs to map out a plan for his future. He gets lucky and meets a handsome teacher willing to have a little vacation fling with, as long as they can keep things fun.
Steve Guthrie’s secret longings have haunted him all his life. It’s time to face his questions and find the truth of who he really is beyond a staid college professor. His love of the sea prompts him to take a vacation at a Caribbean hide-a-way for relaxation and reflection. A sexy stranger with a tattoo tempts Steve to abandon his plans, enticing him to share a vacation romp.
Now Steve’s the student in a high stakes class of one, and to pass the course, he has to tame his very own Triton.
“You’re early. I need to get a shower.”
Austin's grin widened. “I’ll come wash your back, Steve.”
I put my hands on my hips and stared him down. “You’ll go get something to open that bottle later. It won’t take me long to get rinsed off.”
He set the bottle on the table, opened a drawer, and held up a corkscrew. “They think of everything at the Southern Cross.”
“I’ve known you six hours, and you’re not climbing in the shower with me, Austin.”
His gaze locked with me, gluing my feet to the floor as he stepped in front of me. “Me thinketh the lad protesteth overmuch.”
My heart stuttered, then beat faster. I wondered if he could hear it. “I’m not protesting. I’m taking a shower.”
His right hand reached out, coming to rest on my shoulder, briefly, before his fingers slid into my hair. The breeze coming through the open window cooled my heated face and brought the light scent of his aftershave to me. No musk for Austin, the fragrance was clean and icy crisp, like snow.
My knees started to shake as he leaned closer to me. His eyelids fluttered closed as his warm breath caressed my cheek. A drumbeat pounded in my ears, deafening me, as his mouth touched mine.
I wrapped my arms around him and held on tight.
There was a soft knock on the door. I didn’t need a rocket scientist to tell me who it was.
What did I want from him? An explanation? Or did I want to tell him to go have a nice life? I opened the door and took in his worried face. Austin stared at me, and his expression shifted to wariness.
“Steve, what’s wrong?”
Men lie to men all the time. Well, not me. I wasn’t sliding into that gutter. Ever.
“I saw you being very cozy with Colby Denton’s boyfriend.”
He flinched at the accusation, at my sharp voice, but his hand snaked out and grabbed my wrist.
“It’s not what you think. Let me come in…”
“Men lie to men--isn’t that what you said? Should I let you in so you can lie to me?”
“Babe, you should let me in so the neighbors on their terrace don’t get a good laugh, or call the front desk and complain.”
I hesitated a half-second too long, and Austin pushed past me into my suite. “Call Colby and tell him what you saw. Go ahead. Let him tell you didn’t see Theron and me sneaking around.”
Austin jumped as I slammed the door shut behind him. I rounded on him. “I fucking saw what I saw, Austin!”
“Yeah? You saw my brother give me a kiss. Is that really a big deal to you?”
The hot rage of his betrayal died in my belly, cooling as if it had never even existed. His brother? He’d mentioned a brother. My knees threatened to give out on me and I plopped down on a dinette chair. Austin took the seat next to mine and held out his hands, palms up.
“Steve, I’m sorry. I’d have gotten around to explaining how I know Theron and Colby tonight. I didn’t think…I mean I didn’t see any reason to tell you my total life story right away. There’s a lot we don’t know about each, and most of it won’t make any difference while we’re having vacation fun.”
I wanted to believe him, I really did. “So tell me about your brother now, and don’t leave anything out.”
That wary look he had teased at his features, a clear indication he had something to hide. If this Theron were his brother, there shouldn’t be any problem, but the trapped look on his face said more than words ever could. Anger licked at my guts again.
“Lie to me, Austin.”
He shook his head. “No. I won’t. Theron is my foster-brother. Let’s walk over to the main building and you can ask him to verify it. Just don’t cross-examine him because you don’t have the right, and his nerves can’t take it.” Austin reached out and took my hand. I yanked away.
Damn him. “Let’s just go our separate ways, Austin. I can’t trust you.”
Very slowly, he reached for my hand again, wrapping his fingers around mine. This time, something in the earnest way he looked at me, his posture, kept me from pulling back. He took a deep breath.
“I don’t remember my mother. She’s just a name on my birth certificate. I was put into the child welfare system early. So was Theron. We ended up with the same foster family, one that understood gay teens.”
“That’s the real short version, isn’t it?”
To his credit, he didn’t deny it, merely nodded. I had a choice to make. Accept his explanation, or ask him to leave. I knew I didn’t have the right to know every detail of his life story based on our short acquaintance, sex or no sex. The other side of the coin--I’d not told him anything about my life, either. I looked down at our hands. His grip tightened for an instant.
“Okay. So I’m an ass to jump to conclusions and have a little fit.”
Austin’s other hand gripped my knee. “No, you’re not. Theron and I are pretty close. The first time I came for a visit, I thought Colby’s head was going to explode when he caught us…You don’t wanna know yet.”
“The hell I don’t! You’d better spit it out now, Austin.”
“We, um, got a little drunked up. Colby came up to my suite and found us flopped on the bed together, giggling like fools, talking about old times.” Austin flashed me a sheepish look. “Babe, he was not pleased.”
A thought formed, growing stronger as a flush stained his cheeks. I closed my eyes, then opened them slowly. "Jeez, Austin, you and Theron were each other's first, weren't you?"
He didn't attempt to deny it. It wouldn't have worked on me if he had.
"Steve, it was a long time ago. We were two lonely teenagers with the same big secret-we were queers. Somehow the universe gave us to each other to take care of and made us brothers. He and Colby are all the family I have."
I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. “I get it, Austin. I really do. I’m sor…”
His fingers pressed to my lips. “Don’t say it. Not for this. You don’t know me, so you’re right to question me.”
“For what it’s worth, I just learned a lesson about jumping to conclusions. Never too old, right?”
He leaned forward and kissed me, a tender pressing of his lips to mine. I kissed him back, more relieved than I should be.
This was a vacation thing. I needed to keep it that way.
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Sweet as Honey...Hotter than Hell