Series: Collared - Book 3.
Genre: Male/Male, BDSM, Erotic Romance
Length: Novel (40,000 words)
General Release Date: March 2013 - Available Now
Here's the blurb:
Edward Nolan lowered his book and glanced at his watch. There was no good reason why anyone should knock on his door that close to midnight. Hell, there wasn’t even a bad reason for anyone to call on him at that time. Rising from his chair next to the fireplace, he slipped his glasses into his book to keep his place and made his way out of the lounge.
His footsteps echoed on the tiled floor as he strode purposefully across his front hall. He’d already locked up for the night. He glanced through the narrow window alongside the door as he took his keys from his pocket. Two figures were discernible in the gloom.
He pulled open the door. The light from the hall shone over his shoulder, illuminating two familiar faces.
Edward looked from Denton Greenwood to Jerry, from the young dominant to the even younger submissive, then back. The possibility of them being there because something was wrong occurred to Edward, but it was quickly dismissed. A man didn’t spend so many years on the leather scene as he had, without learning to read body language and expressions.
He studied each of his visitors in the full and certain knowledge that they were up to something. Denton did a marginally better job of hiding it than Jerry, but even so—if they’d been in the dock, no jury with sense would have hesitated to find them guilty.
“We have a favour to ask you for,” Denton began.
Edward narrowed his gaze, but he nodded once, granting him permission to continue.
“It’s a slightly delicate situation, sir,” Denton hedged, with a not-so-subtle glance past him into the house.
They’d earned that much for their friendship over the last two years. Edward stepped back to let them through.
“Would you mind if we brought someone in with us, sir?” Jerry asked, blinking big blue eyes at him. “It’s just that it’s a bit cold to leave him in the car, sir…”
Edward glanced over Jerry’s shoulder, into the 4 x 4, parked by the kerb at the end of his drive. A figure sat huddled in the back, but the tinted windows didn’t allow him to make out any kind of detail.
Edward’s curiosity got the better of him. “You may.”
A tilt of Denton’s head sent Jerry to the car. He opened the back door to reveal a well-built young man with dark, spiky hair. He certainly wasn’t dressed suitably for the cold. His T-shirt was long-sleeved, but the fabric was ridiculously thin—the stiff wind blew against it, and the lines of muscle on the boy’s torso were clearly outlined through the material.
He evidently worked out, a lot. He carried serious muscle, and he obviously wasn’t above showing that off in the clubs. His leather trousers clung to his crotch and legs, putting all his assets overtly on display. The only place he could have gone dressed that way, and not have looked like a cheap rent boy, was a gay nightclub.
The boy’s attention remained on the ground while he walked towards the front door. With his hands pushed awkwardly into pockets, his shoulders hunched up, causing him appear to be a turtle that would much rather retreat into its shell. He allowed Jerry to lead him forward, not attempting to take charge of the situation, even with someone as instinctively compliant as Jerry. Edward’s rapid assessment put a tick in the box indicating that the boy was a submissive.
A bit closer and Edward distinguished the silver piercing in his guest’s eyebrow. When the boy stepped into the light, the tissue-thin nature of his shirt let it be obvious that his nipples were pierced too.
Edward was well aware that Denton studied his appraisal of the boy. If this was another one of their matchmaking attempts, they had at least changed tactics. If the last seven submissives they’d thrown at him had all been carbon copies of his previous submissive, Frank, then this boy was the exact opposite of all those pretty, delicate little blonds.
“Mr Nolan, with your permission, I’d like to introduce Mark Howells to you. Mark, this is Mr Nolan.”
Mark kept his head down, making it difficult for Edward to see his face. Edward held out his hand. There was a quick flash of brilliant green eyes as Mark peeked up before dropping his gaze again.
A few more seconds passed. Edward kept his hand where it was.
Finally, Mark gave in and put his hand in Edward’s grip. The brief handshake was enough to inform Edward that the boy was nigh on freezing.
“Come in,” he ordered. “There’s a fire in the lounge. You’ll find it far warmer in there.”
“Yes, sir.” The words were so mumbled as to be damn near incoherent.
Edward bit back an automatic instinct to correct. It wasn’t his place to comment on the boy’s elocution. Instead, Edward opened the lounge door. The warmth from the room immediately seeped into the hall.
“If we could have a word with you in private?” Denton murmured, with a less-than-subtle glance at Mark.
Edward didn’t miss a beat. “Mark, make yourself comfortable. There’s a television in the farthest cabinet and a fair selection of reading material on the coffee table. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something to interest you.”
Another mumble was all he received in reply.
Edward pulled the door almost closed but left it open an inch, just in case anyone needed to call from room to room.
A few moments later Edward, Jerry and Denton were all in his study on the opposite side of the hallway, the door similarly ajar.
“You mentioned requiring a favour,” Edward prompted, indicating the chairs with a wave of his hand.
“It’s about Mark,” Denton began, rather redundantly.
More out of habit than anything else, Edward took up a position behind his desk. “Oh?”
“We wondered if you’d be willing to take him under your protection. Purely on a temporary basis, of course.”
Edward leant back in his well-cushioned chair as his friends faced him across the large expanse of his desk. “May I ask why?”
“He’s had a run of really bad luck with…” Denton shook his head. “I don’t even want to call them dominants… With a string of men who have no right to call themselves anything other than clueless bastards.”
“The last man he submitted to disowned him tonight, sir,” Jerry added, softly. “We were in the club and, just like that, he took away Mark’s collar and abandoned him. He doesn’t have anything but the clothes on his back.” If Jerry had attempted to hide how distressing he’d found the sight, he’d failed spectacularly.
Denton silently placed his hand on Jerry’s shoulder, and Edward noted the way he stroked his thumb up the side of Jerry’s neck, reminding him that his own collar was still there, that he was still safe.
“I’ve known him for four years, sir. He’s a good person. He’s just can’t seem to pick the right dom. I couldn’t leave him on the street.” Jerry glanced up and met Edward’s gaze. It couldn’t have been easy for him to hold a dominant’s eye that way, but, apparently, the favour was that important to him.
“We thought you might be able to help him get back on his feet, and restore his faith in good doms at the same time,” Denton finished.
I have no interest in having a stranger in my house.
Surely you know someone else who is more suited to rescuing your friend.
Edward sighed slightly, knowing that there was no way he’d say no to Jerry and Denton, but also well aware that inviting an unknown boy into his house was bound to disrupt his established tranquillity.
His heart beat a little faster at the idea—no doubt down to well-justified annoyance. “Yes—on a purely temporary basis,” he finally allowed.
“Thank you, sir!” When Jerry smiled, he looked so much like Frank had when he and Edward had first met, so many years ago. A fist tightened around Edward’s stomach as he forced a smile in return—it was at times like this when he felt as if Frank had been gone for two days, rather than two years.
“We’re both very grateful, Mr Nolan.” Denton held out his hand. Edward stood and shook hands with him. “I really didn’t know who else to ask. I’d have invited him to come home with us, except I don’t think it would be good for Jerry to share the house with another submissive.”
“Very sensible,” Edward agreed, mentally running over all the things he’d have already done by now, if he’d had even five minutes’ notice that he’d be entertaining any house guest, let alone one who’d arrive with nothing more than the shirt on his back.
Edward glanced over his shoulder. It was on the tip of his tongue to order Frank to see to it all. Frank had always been good with things like that. Unfortunately, Frank was also well and truly gone. Ignoring that fact wouldn’t bring him back.