Promises Part 2
Genre: Gay Contemporary Romance
Length: Novel ~ 229 Pages
Published: March 20, 2016
Publisher: Via Star Wings Books
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Editor: Tina Adamski
Roman “Quick” Webb is one badass bounty hunter on the crime-filled streets of Atlanta. He’s fearless when it comes to carrying out his dangerous job alongside his longtime best friend and business partner, Duke. However, there is one thing that has begun to cause Quick concern and it’s the dreadful thought of living out the rest of his life alone. Seeing his best friend and his son fall in love and sharing the special connection that only true soulmates can, has made him all the more aware of what’s lacking in his life.
Love. Dr. Cayson Chauncey has been wildly attracted to the big, tattooed hunter for almost a year, ever since he performed the surgery that saved Quick’s best friend’s life. Cayson must’ve mistaken Quick’s gratitude for something more, because the one time he tried to make his desires known, he was harshly rebuffed and left on the man’s doorstep feeling stupid for hitting on an obviously very straight man.
Cayson never dated a man who was willing to come out of hiding and be with him. Now at almost forty, Cayson is intent on no longer being anyone’s dirty secret. Having experienced countless disappointments, and having taken a stand not to fall for any more tricks, Cayson is more than a little skeptical when Quick comes around asking for a second chance to prove himself. The gorgeous man had already made it clear he was definitely uninterested in Cayson… or so he’d thought.
Dr. Chauncey stirred up Quick’s suppressed, most carnal desires from a place deep down inside of him. He’d reacted so badly the first time that now his sexy surgeon wanted nothing to do with him. It was going to take a fair amount of patience and a whole lot of wooing involved as Quick sets out to convince Cayson that he’s worth another chance and that he is the brave lover who Cayson has been looking for.
With a scorned ex and a very dangerous job thrown into the mix, Cayson’s happiness and all of Quick’s promises may not be as easy to keep as they’d hoped.
(Parts 1 and 2 of this series can both be read as a standalone. NO CLIFFHANGERS.)
“Stop knocking on my damn door like that!” Quick shouted from the second landing. He was trying to navigate the short distance between him and the front door, but was moving slowly. Using his leaf blower in the yard earlier today probably wasn’t a great idea, but he’d never been one to sit around and wallow in pain. He came from a long line of tough men. His father worked their farm through every ailment he ever got, so did his grandfather. Surely, Quick could do the same.
When he unlocked the bolt, he twisted the knob and was almost knocked back off his feet when he saw Dr. Chauncey – um, Cayson – standing there on his porch with his large medical bag at his feet. He had on a puffy, mid-thigh, black North Face parka with the large hood trimmed with tawny brown fur. He looked adorable all bundled up and rosy cheeked from the brisk temperature.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to knock like I’m the police. I got a little worried when it took a while. I came… um… Duke told me… he said maybe I should come by. Totally his idea. I promise I’m not just swinging by. As a matter of fact, I think it’s rather rude to stop by unannounced, but Duke said—”
“Cayson, would you like to come in and get out of the cold for a bit?” Quick smiled, pulling the door open wider. The man was blabbering like a silly fool. But Quick new exactly why Cayson was nervous about coming into his home again. He’d make sure the man felt welcome this time. He wasn’t typically an asshole, especially to nice doctors who saved his best friend’s life, but damn if Cayson didn’t catch him off guard that afternoon he’d come home to find the sexy doctor in his personal space. He was supposed to be there to check up on Duke and Vaughan’s recovery, but Cayson was examining everything but his patients when Quick had come in wearing his bounty hunting gear. Those focused, blue eyes brazenly surveyed him like he was a piece of USDA prime rib in a butcher’s window. He could see Cayson’s chest rise and fall with his elevated, lustful breathing. But to do it right in front of his son and Duke, that wasn’t cool. He was a private man. If the doctor was interested in him, then he should’ve approached Quick privately and asked him out like a real man, not used trickery.
He’d been attracted to men in the past – very deep past – but he’d married a woman and had dated a couple more after the divorce. Now, this handsome, sexy, slightly nerdy in a charming way surgeon was rapidly igniting embers that hadn’t burned in a long time, and Quick had handled it badly, scaring Cayson off. He’d promised Duke and Vaughan that he’d fix it. He’d call the doctor and apologize, make things right, but he hadn’t. He’d copped out. Nerves. Anxiety. Maybe even fear had gripped and held him fast.
“Actually, I wouldn’t mind coming in. Thank you.” Cayson took a breath between ramblings and hefted his large bag to step across the threshold.
Quick immediately noticed Cayson scanning his chest as he walked by, but he didn’t take offense this time. The man was a doctor and Quick was riddled with bruises. It was clear Cayson had been sent by his son or Duke to check him out. “I already know why you’re here. Thank you for coming.”
Cayson was in the process of pulling off his thick coat. He looked a little shocked, and Quick suppressed a grin. Seeing the doctor confused and uncertain was quite entertaining. “I thought I’d have to wrestle you down to examine you.” Cayson closed his eyes and grimaced at his choice of words, but this time, Quick couldn’t hold in his chuckle. “That’s not what I meant. I just… I thought… I wasn’t sure, I mean, if you’d let me examine you. I swear I can be professional. I won’t make you uncomfortable. I really think we got off on the wrong foot last time I was here.”
Quick went into the living room and didn’t stop until he was standing close enough to the doctor for him to smell his aftershave. Cayson hastily diverted his eyes from Quick’s, like he was being extra careful how he looked at him, and he began to nervously dig in his bag, coming up with a device that looked like a twelve-inch tablet.
“And that is?” Quick hadn’t moved. He knew he was flustering the doctor with his proximity, but he had a purpose for doing it. He hadn’t called Cayson because he wasn’t sure the man would be willing to forgive him for being a massive asshole, especially after everything he’d had done for his family. However, he was here. He’d come, regardless that Quick had yet to apologize.
Cayson was doing everything to keep from looking directly at Quick. Now he was desperately searching for an electrical outlet for his machine. “This is a radio portable X-ray. It uses digital imaging technology to compact the images so I can immediately see any broken bones, fractures, or whatever other abnormalities may be there. It’s very accurate and eliminates having to go and wait in the radiology department. Or for patients who can’t get to a hospital.”
Quick smiled. Damn, the man was so smart and sweet. “You brought this over here for me?”
“Well,” Cayson said slowly. “I brought a few things. I wanted to be sure to check you over real good.” Cayson’s cheeks flooded with color when the words left his lips. He scrunched his brow and waved his hand in the air. “You know what I meant. Would you mind lying down in your recliner? It’ll be easier for me to move around you… unless you were busy… like about to put on more clothes or something.”
Quick’s smirk was fuckin’ sinister before he slowly walked over to his large, brown leather recliner, which was positioned in front of his big screen television, and pulled the handle until he was lying almost flat. He could easily sleep in his chair. He lifted his arms, making sure his biceps flexed along with the movement, and linked his fingers behind his head. “Nope. I’m all yours. Examine away.”
******** Cayson ********
What the fuckin’ fuck? Quick was practically naked. Okay. What kind of game was this? Screw with the horny, gay man’s willpower. Did Duke know that Quick walked around his house like this? In various stages of undress? Why wasn’t he warned? Fuck the fact he wasn’t wearing a stich of underwear under those thin-ass cotton pants that hung low enough to show his enticing trail of damp, sandy brown hair along his stomach and above his pubic bone, but he was shirtless and still smelling heavenly from the shower Cayson must’ve interrupted. Even Quick’s long hair was still dripping small beads of moisture. Oh, but that large chest was so hard to ignore. Muscles, bulges, and vibrant tattoos were everywhere, and damn if the bruises didn’t make Quick look like the bad boy Cayson had heard he was.
Damnit, now he was getting hard. He knew better than to ogle Quick like that. Did he want a repeat of the last time he was here? Shit, shit. “Um. I’m gonna go wash my hands.” Cayson darted down the hall, making a hasty retreat behind the bathroom door. He washed his hands three times before splashing cool water on his face. He needed to calm down. He just wasn’t sure how. He had a walking, talking, wet dream waiting for him to give him a complete exam. He counted backwards from twenty twice while he composed himself. He noticed that Quick had changed the wallpaper in his bathroom since the last time he’d been there. It was good that Quick took so much pride in his home. If Cayson had ever been officially invited, he’d probably feel more welcome to explore the nice space, but he didn’t get that feeling when he was here. He wasn’t quite sure what welcome even felt like. He definitely wasn’t welcome at Joe’s house.
The portable X-ray device was already fully charged, but Cayson had plugged it in anyway, to put some much-needed breathing room between him and his new patient. That’s right, be professional. He’s a patient, not a lover. He could do this, right? He could professionally examine Quick as a favor to a friend. He’d done countless favors for others. This was no different. He’d performed mouth to snout on a dog before; surely, he could handle this. Cayson unplugged the tablet and shook his head at his own weirdness. Where’s the correlation between helping a dog and fawning over Quick?
Huffing softly and sending up a fast prayer for strength, he powered up the device and stood next to Quick’s outstretched chair. He cleared his throat a couple times before he was able to speak. “You can put on a shirt if you want. The device can be used over several layers of clothing, actually.” Cayson tried to appear unfazed, but he had a feeling he was failing, because Quick wasn’t budging to cover himself.
“Nope. I had a really hot shower, so I’m trying to cool off,” Quick said easily.
“Oh, okay. Of course. You should be comfortable in your own home.” Cayson cursed under his breath and turned around to let the device finish booting up the software. He noticed the tablet screen moving annoyingly as he tried unsuccessfully to punch in his identification and password. He was shaking. Shit. Stop it. Stop it. Be cool. Otherwise, he’d find his ass back on the curb again. Roman “Quick” Webb was just another patient. The thought was barely formed before Cayson was telling himself how much of a lie it was.
“I’m not making you uncomfortable, am I?” Quick asked, running his large hand across the top half of his chest, his nipples responding immediately. That voice. Fuck. Deep and sensual. He imagined Quick whispering in his ear. That decadent, gravelly baritone could probably bring him to the brink of orgasm without him even being touched. How he’d love to test that theory.
“No. I’m fine,” Cayson lied, swallowing a huge lump of nothing in his throat. He dropped back down and fumbled through his bag again. Gloves! He’d put on gloves to limit the skin on skin contact. Start with the basics. Still urging himself to stay calm, Cayson took out a traditional blood pressure cuff and slid it up Quick’s corded forearm and over his tattooed biceps. The cuff was barely large enough. Cayson probably squeezed the bulb harder than needed, but he appreciated the distraction for his hands. The Velcro crackled and popped as it inflated, but Cayson masterfully adjusted the valve and was able to get a good reading on the gauge. He recorded the numbers and jotted a couple notes down on a small pad. He’d record the details properly in a file later.
Back down on one knee next to Quick’s plush armrest, Cayson continued his thorough exam. With his stethoscope secured around his neck and the ear pieces snug in his ear canals, he gently placed the diaphragm over Quick’s lungs, applying a little pressure on the bell. He whispered softly, “Breathe deep for me, Roman.” Sharp green eyes focused on his every move as Quick’s chest rose and fell with his breaths. He usually didn’t mind being scrutinized, he was too damn good at his job to be nervous, but Quick’s undivided attention had him shaking like a leaf. Cayson listened for any wheezes or crackles, satisfied after a minute or so that Quick didn’t have any constrictions or fluid in his lungs. He listened longer to the lub-dub sounds of Quick’s heart, noting no murmurs. Last was his abdomen. Cayson angled his face away from Quick’s eyes and tried to calm his hands, but when he moved down Quick’s torso, he became too aware of how sexy his body was. Just examine him like normal. Cayson gingerly placed the bell of his stethoscope over the fine, straight hairs covering Quick’s rippled stomach. Even through his gloves, the hair was silky and smooth to the touch. Cayson groaned inwardly. No matter how much he tried to avoid touching, his wrists and forearms continuously grazed Quick’s belly while he listened. He needed to focus on the distinctive gurgling of the stomach, not how much hair was below that low-riding waistband.
Cayson closed his eyes and took a deep breath, trying to will his erection to stop growing, because when he’d braved a look further down Quick’s body, he noticed a pretty prominent bulge through those thin pants. What the hell? Was Quick fucking with him so Cayson would slip up and then Quick could throw him out again? Deciding to ignore it, Cayson yanked off his stethoscope and moved on to the X-ray tablet. He needed to get this exam over with. He’d make sure Quick wasn’t dying and then hightail it out of there before he got his feelings hurt… like usual.
Scribbling hastily in his notepad, Cayson picked up the tablet and pushed the necessary keys to start the imaging. He slowly moved the tablet over Quick’s chest and stomach, paying extra close attention to the clear images on the screen. He noted each bone in his upper torso. Glad his mind was fully focused, Cayson quickly found the small, hairline fractures on ribs seven and eight, but no other signs of breaks or floating segments. That was a very good thing. Duke and Vaughan could rest assured that Quick would heal and be on his way to kicking ass again in no time. He wanted to tell him to be careful. Don’t take stupid risks. There was a shortage of gorgeous, older men in this world, and it’d be a damn shame to lose him or Duke.
Cayson removed the latex gloves with an audible snap before he asked Quick to roll over onto the side without the fractures. He palpitated the area around some significant bruising, but Quick didn’t make a sound. “Any tenderness here?” Cayson asked, pressing a little more firmly around Quick’s kidneys.
“Are you being honest?”
“Of course, I am. I wouldn’t lie to you, Doc.” Quick’s voice was muffled by the thick cushions of his recliner, but the tone was suggestive. Cayson couldn’t have been imagining this, but he wouldn’t take the bait. He couldn’t trust Quick, he was confusing and unpredictable.
He moved up and around Quick’s spinal column with both hands, observing Quick for a painful reaction or sound. Instead, all that came were grunts of what sounded like pleasure. Cayson was nervous to even ask. What kind of exam was this? He should’ve been asking more questions, but goddamn Quick’s voice and that long expanse of beautiful tan skin along Quick’s back. “Any soreness along your spine?”
“No. Just on my side.” Quick pointed right to the fractures.
“Yeah. You have a couple simple fractures, sometimes called hairline fractures, right there where you have your hand,” Cayson informed him.
“That’s explains why it hurts some when I take a deep breath,” Quick said.
“Yep. I know you’ve had them before, so you know the pain will subside with time. No additional treatment is necessary. But I’d say you’ve got about a good couple weeks of tenderness.” Cayson was still rubbing up and down Quick’s back while he spoke softly, carefully grazing over the bruises. He didn’t even realize what he was doing until he heard Quick exhale slowly before moaning a rough, masculine sound. Pulling his hands away as if Quick had burst into flames, Cayson tapped him on the shoulder. “You can turn back over.”
Why’d he say that? When Quick was flat on his back again Cayson couldn’t’ve stopped the gasp if he’d been forewarned. Quick was full-on hard. His cock spiking a massive teepee in his pajama pants. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Why was this happening to him? He was trying so hard to be professional. This shit had to be a joke, but he wasn’t laughing. He stood all the way up and tossed his few tools back inside his bag. Swallowing the saliva pooling in his mouth, and fighting his wood again, he couldn’t help but chance another inconspicuous look at… at… Oh, god. There was plenty of hair around that hard cock. He could see it as clear as those X-ray images. Quick had to be at least eight or nine inches of mouthwatering firmness. Cayson’s hole clenched with need. He needed all that firmness pushed deep in his—
“As you can see, the equipment still works fine,” Quick whispered, winking at him as he uselessly pushed his hand on his own cock in an effort to force it down… but it didn’t work. It kept springing back up like a proud soldier.
“Fuck you,” Cayson murmured, confident he wasn’t heard since his back was still to Quick as he closed up his bag. He saw the syringes and knew he still needed to take a couple vials of blood to test that all Quick’s organs were functioning fine, but he was actually fighting doing the right thing. He wanted to say screw it and leave Quick to be responsible for his own health care. Cayson always had everyone else’s best interest at heart, constantly neglecting his own. It was his life story. His whole life, people made him the brunt of very bad jokes and pranks, but this took the title by far. He was here as a favor. Taking time out of his life – never mind that it was boring as fuck – to do an exam for free outside of his work hours, and this is how they treated him. It was such an unoriginal storyline. Straight hunk tempts the lonely gay man into confessing his feelings, only to take offense to it right after. Classic one. Ignoring the rising anger inside him at his own inability to even come close to compromising his oath, he took out the tourniquet, syringe, an antiseptic wipe, and two vials. Putting another pair of gloves on, cursing himself for touching Quick’s bare skin in the first place, he knelt down next to Quick’s still-reclined chair, doing everything in his power to avoid the large tent in the room.
“You gonna stick me with that? Will it hurt?” Quick asked, amused, but Cayson failed to see the humor.
Keeping his eyes downcast, his cheeks burned with humiliation. His cock was still half-hard, despite his irritation, and that made him angrier still. As he fought his most basic desires, tiny beads of sweat began to pop up on the back of his neck, dampening his hairline, before they ran down his spine, causing him to squirm uncomfortably. He saw Quick push at his own dick again, drawing Cayson’s attention to the action. Couldn’t have been Cayson making him so aroused. He hurriedly tied the tourniquet and wiped the alcohol pad across the crease in the middle of Quick’s arm. He opened the needle – and like always – took a calming breath before he stuck his patient. He wouldn’t be an ass and stick him hard, when Cayson knew how to do it without the patient feeling the slightest pinch. Instead, he angled the syringe like he’d been taught during his pediatric internship and gently pushed the tip, easily breaking the skin and entering the vein.
“Wow. I didn’t even feel it.”
“Mmm hmm,” Cayson replied halfheartedly, staying focused on the job. He clicked on the couple of vials, filling them just enough to run the tests, before removing the needle. He handed Quick a gauze square for him to put over the pinprick. He knew his tone was forced and clipped, but he couldn’t help it anymore. “Hold it here for a few seconds.”
He was hurting now. Still not bothering to look Quick in the eye, Cayson pulled out the three-container storage unit and properly placed the labeled vials in the container. “I’ll have the test results by tomorrow afternoon. If I don’t call, that means everything is good. No news is good news from a doctor.” Cayson finally rose to his feet and made sure he had the dock charger for the X-ray tablet in his bag before he closed it. He didn’t bother saying anything else. He had Quick’s email and mailing addresses. He’d send him some pamphlets on healing ribs later. Right now, he had to get the hell out of there before he lost it. He was embarrassed, sweating, and he felt like a fool. He knew he was on rocky terrain with Quick, but he’d at least thought Duke and Vaughan were his friends. Guess I was wrong. Again.
“I think you should call anyway,” Quick grunted, sitting back up. Quick slammed the recliner down and stood up, stretching his long torso, in turn making those loose pants slide down to an obscene level. As soon as Cayson’s eyes diverted, Quick noticed it and chuckled at him. “You like?”
Cayson narrowed his eyes and just barely refrained from taking a swing at Quick. He was furious, not suicidal. But, that bastard. Did he like? Was he serious? Cayson had showed his “like” before and Quick had a shit fit that time. What the hell was going on now? “You know what. Grow up, Roman.” Cayson hefted his bag on his shoulder and raced for the front door. He was across the spacious living room and yanking on the door handle by the time Quick realized what was happening and called out to him, but he wasn’t stopping.
“Cayson, wait! Don’t leave. I wasn’t—” Quick couldn’t move as fast as Cayson because of his tender ribs. “I’m sorry.”
Ignoring the words, Cayson was so happy when he was finally outside Quick’s playhouse and safe. It wasn’t until he shivered trying to get his key in the car door that he realized he’d left his good parka behind. He looked up and saw Quick wearing a confused expression. Probably wondering why his trap didn’t work. Fool him once, shame on you.