The door opened. Seconds passed. Panicked, Cass shut the bathroom door behind him with a soft click. As if summoned by the sound, a tall, lean man entered the loft wearing a grim expression. He held a gun at the ready in one hand.

His sharp, golden eyes widened as he spotted Cass. Then he closed the door, locking it without a glance. His broad shoulders heaved with an audible exhalation somewhere between relief and frustration. In the space of a blink, he was halfway across the room.

Cass gasped and caught the man’s scent: citrus and spice that cut through the condo’s fetid stench. Warm arms wrapped around him, terrifying and disorienting until Cass realized he’d been caught in a tender hug.

The quiet breathing in Cass’s ear was rapid and shallow, as restrained as the obvious strength of the huge body wrapped around him. Cass clung back, moving on autopilot, conscious only of how badly he needed to be held.

Sometime between entering the room and hugging Cass, the man had holstered his gun. His empty hands roamed over Cass’s back, stroking his damp skin and shoulder-length hair. The man’s skin was calloused and scratchy, but his touches were reverent. Someone was trembling, but Cass couldn’t tell who.

The man’s stuttering breaths turned into whispers of, “It’s been so long,” and, “Please.” He pulled away to look into Cass’s face with naked yearning. His gaze fixed on Cass’s lips, and the man licked his own, his intention unmistakable.

Did this man think Cass was Paul?

It was difficult to imagine how someone might mistake him for his brother. Though they’d once been identical, the Paul who’d greeted Cass at the door had been a stranger. He must’ve made himself scarce if neither the Guv nor this man knew the difference.

But this man had feelings for Paul. How would he react if he discovered Paul was dead on the other side of the bathroom door?

Cass searched the man’s expression. The chiseled face had a strict, lantern-jaw quality like a soldier from Hollywood central casting. His hazel eyes looked hopeful, earnest. Not at all like a cold-blooded killer. This had to be Kilo, the only one he was supposed to trust, the one who could help him…for a price.

God, this was so confusing. He’d gone from mess to mess in the past couple of days. It was still countable in hours. Now his brother was gone, and all he wanted was to escape. Not the man’s arms, but all his problems, the crazy world he’d plunged himself in. Sure, this man was in the middle of it, but at the moment, he wanted to lose himself in this embrace, to ignore that he’d first lost his lover, then lost his brother, and that even standing here was only digging him deeper into this mess.

This man was all he had, and he didn’t much care that he was probably a killer. He was here, begging for more, and all Cass wanted was the fantasy.

In that moment, he became someone other than Castor Manning, boring biochemistry grad student and jilted boyfriend. In this man’s arms, Cass felt sexy and powerful, like access to his body was worth something, and like this man, his personal hired gun, could save him.

Cass pressed a gentle kiss to the man’s chapped lips. Strong arms tightened around him, and Cass whimpered at the unexpected comfort.

The man drew him closer, crushing their bodies together and stealing more kisses. He kissed like someone who didn’t do it often—a little clumsy, more than a little starved for affection. His hands slid down Cass’s back to rest on his ass cheeks, one palm squeezing either side.

Cass’s towel fell to the floor, and the man coaxed him into a deeper kiss. His raw, throaty groan made clear it wasn’t the man’s gun pressing against Cass. He obviously thought Cass was something he wasn’t. Someone he wasn’t.

Cass should stop this. This man deserved to know that Paul was gone. He pulled away to look him in the eyes. His mouth tingled from the hard kisses and the way the man had suckled his lips.

Those eyes were dark with lust, determined, and the man’s fingers brushed Cass’s opening, firm enough to show intent but unmistakably a caress.

Cass hardened, and there was nowhere to hide it. The man’s soft, lopsided smile erased all resistance.

Yes, Cass needed to say something, but instead, he grabbed the man by the nape and pulled him in for another harsh kiss, forced his tongue between those firm lips, and tasted the bitter tang of black coffee and scotch.

The man hooked strong hands under Cass’s thighs and hoisted him until his legs wrapped around the man’s waist. Then he started for the stairs, feet as sure on the steps as if he’d done this a hundred times. Between one thought and another, Cass found himself upstairs on a bed that clearly saw little use. A fine layer of dust coated the nightstand.

After another long, thorough kiss, the man knelt between Cass’s legs. He pulled off his shirt and dropped it beside the bed. His torso was almost as tanned as his face, lightly haired and seamed with faint scars.

He moved fast, settling atop Cass again before he could turn that brief reprieve into an opportunity to do the logical thing. The man above him pressed their chests together, warm and solid, infinitely comforting. Everything about him promised safety.

The nightstand drawer creaked as the man opened it. Faint rustling. A clunk. Cass glanced over to see the man’s gun atop the nightstand with a bottle of lube next to it.

Cass wondered if that was a threat, but he didn’t need goading. He drew his fingers down the man’s back, lingering on the ridges of jagged scars. He wasn’t Cass’s type—Cass always went for intellectuals with glasses and unkempt hair—but he wasn’t Paul’s type either. Though his face was lined and a few silver hairs graced his temples, he wasn’t a daddy.

It didn’t matter. Cass needed to feel anything but the horror creeping around the edges of every thought. Though he’d never fucked a man whose name he wasn’t sure of, Cass pulled open the man’s belt and unfastened his jeans, then slid his hand inside to feel the heat against his palm. The man was packing; his cock was thick and curved, its tip already slick with anticipation.

As Cass touched him, the man sighed with pleasure, his intense gaze softened by heavy eyelids as he watched Cass pull his cock free. Cass lost his struggle with morals and logic and failed to stop the man as he pulled a condom from the nightstand and opened the wrapper. When their gazes met, Cass saw questions in the man’s eyes, but the man didn’t ask, and Cass volunteered no answers.

“Lie back, and spread your legs.” His husky voice sounded devoid of regional accent and accustomed to obedience.

Those calloused hands ran up the inside of Cass’s thighs, urging them wider and pushing him against the pillows. The man’s stare roved across Cass’s body, cataloging everything with such obvious approval that Cass glowed inside. He rolled the condom onto his hard length as he studied Cass’s ass, then reached for the bottle of lubricant and poured some on his fingers.

Cass knew he should stop him, but he didn’t. Then the man sprawled over him, big body heavy and hot above Cass’s trembling frame. The man’s tongue parted Cass’s lips just as his slippery fingers breached his hole. Cass’s body reacted on instinct against the invasion, clenching around them.

How long had it been? Cass couldn’t even remember.

The ache of being stretched subsided as Cass relaxed. The man worked his fingers until Cass surrendered to the expert pressure inside. The man teased him, grim smile curving his lips as Cass fucked himself on the strong digits.

Sweat cooled on Cass’s skin as he wrapped his legs around the man’s waist and encircled that thick neck with his arms to keep him warm. He shifted his hips, brushing his cock against the ripped torso.

This is insane. But he wanted it. He wanted the heat, this solid physique, the calm manner, that authoritarian voice. He wanted this man inside him, making everything else go away.

Copyright © Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid

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