Reno Rocket, bass player for the rock band Dazed, thinks he’s on the straight and narrow but is his girlfriend just a cover for his confused sexuality? When the new lead singer, Tanner Star, walks in, Reno's libido snaps to attention. His attraction to the famous rock star is immediate and disconcerting. Performing with Tanner every night blows Reno’s mind, and the moment Tanner grinds against him on stage, “curious” takes on a whole new meaning. Tanner wants more than a lover. He wants a sub, and he’s willing to guide Reno into the world of BDSM. In turn, Reno wants to be everything to Tanner—lover, sub, and partner—but he fears the ghost of Tanner’s dead boyfriend will come between them. At first they manage to find a balance and life is idyllic… until one rash action by Tanner plunges their new love affair into chaos. Will Reno admit to the world that he’s gay and face the media and his family’s wrath, or will he deny the love and exquisite attention Tanner’s world has brought him?
Blacktown Recording Studio, London, England
“DOWN, lover boy.” Deke leaned against the poster-covered wall and grinned. “You’re starting to drool, man.”
Tanner Star gazed through the window of the soundproofed booth to the delicious young musician putting down an instrumental track. Reno Rocket’s blond hair fell over his face in a silken mass. Immersed in the complicated riff, he let his long, slender fingers caress the guitar strings with a lover’s touch. Man, Reno was one talented dude. Tanner had never met a person who played so many instruments. Reno played bass on stage but lead on all the tracks. Tanner’s gaze drifted over the tempting flesh of his exposed neck and the ragged T-shirt with the brown stain over one shoulder. He grinned. Earlier, his casual bump into the sweet guy had caused a domino effect, ending with Deke spilling his cola down Reno’s back.
The brilliant composition flowed around him, through him, the guitarist giving life to a song Reno and Tanner had created together. Tanner tapped his fingers to the beat of Lenny’s drums. Caught in the magic of the moment, he became one with Reno and the melody. The young man glanced up at the booth and gave Tanner a brilliant smile. Tanner pressed a hand over his heart. “Have mercy.”
“Don’t you think I’d have made a move on him by now if he was available?” Deke pushed his thumbs into the front pockets of his Levi’s. “He’s straight.” He let out a long sigh. “You’re wasting your time.”
“Nah, I don’t think so. I’m guessing he hasn’t come out yet.” Tanner rubbed the back of his neck. “You may have worked with him for the past three years and think you know him, but I’m not fucking blind. Every time Reno stares at me, he gets that look in his eye. Have you seen the way he reacts to me on stage?” He raised a brow. “Man, as soon as I touch him, he blushes crimson and hides his hard-on behind his bass.”
“Ah-huh?” Deke grinned. “Yeah, well… I’d get a hard-on if you rubbed ten inches over my ass too.” He chuckled. “Man, you can rub against me any time.”
Tanner folded his arms over his chest and flicked a glance at Deke. Okay, his friend was attractive, but two Doms together—no way. “Man, the day you rub your hairy balls on me, I’ll go fucking straight.” He licked his lips. “But if Reno rubbed that tight ass over me… oh, baby, come to Papa.”
Reno attracted him with an innocence his Dom side craved to possess. The shy guy had a hard muscular body he wanted to lick all over. An angelic face and full, oh-so-fucking-kissable lips. Reno’s sultry, emerald-green gaze followed his every move on and off stage. The buzz between them hummed with deep-seated intimacy. He noticed the blush on Reno’s cheeks whenever they spoke. Hell, he understood adoring glances. If he had made a mistake about Reno’s sexuality, he would eat his guitar.
“It will never happen.” Deke pressed his hands on the flashing control panel and stared at Reno. “What the fuck would a sweet vanilla boy want with a crazy Dom like you?” He smacked his forehead with his palm. “Christ! You think you can change him over to our team, don’t you?”
Tanner smiled. Deke’s read on him came from a long friendship. In fact, Tanner had drooled over Dazed’s famous bass player from afar for years. What red-blooded gay man wouldn’t find him attractive? Okay, so yeah, he planned to make a move on Reno. The news Reno was straight had thrown him off course for a while, that was all. With a wide grin, Tanner grasped his package. “Trust me, he wants this real bad.”
The music stopped. Tanner waited for the producer to start the playback. Inside the booth, Reno glanced up at him again with a smile that lit up his eyes. Tanner’s stomach went into free fall. He gave Reno the thumbs-up sign. His gaze dropped to Reno’s full lips. He swallowed hard and cupped his aching balls. I want you, sweet thing.
Sure, he had kept his distance at first, but Reno’s “I’m interested” signals had become difficult to ignore. He had decided to take things slow with the shy man. His friendship with Reno had developed over the past month into something special. The talented musician often came to him with ideas for songs, and he enjoyed working way into the night creating magic with him. Tanner smiled to himself. Had Reno become his obsession? True, vivid images of him flittered through his mind every fucking second. He had to admit, he craved the sweet man as his obedient sub and a welcome addition to his empty bed.
“Man, I can see your mind working from here.” Deke inclined his head. “Are you planning to make a move on him?” He laughed. “Oh man, are you in for a surprise.”
“Oh, yeah, I’m planning a very sweet surprise.” Tanner wet his lips. “That delicious piece of ass is mine.”
Wembley Arena, London
A SHIVER of awareness slid down Reno’s back. He averted his eyes from Tanner Star’s leather-clad, gyrating ass. Keep it together, jackass. In response to Tanner’s incredibly sexy moves, he had dissolved into another bout of lust. The singer had cast his erotic spell over him again. The heavy musk of hot, sweaty men filled his nostrils. His heart pounded. For a long time he’d questioned his attraction to men, and in the last two months Tanner Star had smashed it right in his face.
He started the introduction to the final song, and his cock stood to attention. Tanner’s choreographed sexual innuendos toward him during the encore each night had become an addiction. The new lead singer of Dazed had hit the media hard with his in-your-face attitude from the first concert in this world tour. The man advertised the fact he enjoyed BDSM, from his tight black leather pants to his studded belt and cuffs. Some nights a flogger hung from his back pocket, and the fans ate it up.
Tanner gave Reno a long, sultry look and moved his hot gaze slowly up and down his body. Their gazes locked. Reno clenched his ass in anticipation. The crowd roared encouragement. The stage trembled.
The singer strutted in his direction. His smooth baritone voice belted out the heavy rock song with consummate ease. Reno’s pulse quickened. He tossed the hair from his face and concentrated on the instrument in his hand—not that this raunchy song had one chance in hell of soothing his shattered nerves.
A primal beat thudded through the soles of his feet. He dropped his head, nodding in time to the music. The lead guitarist began a long solo, and Reno’s heartbeat increased in expectation.
A strong hand slid around his waist. The audience roared in approval. Damp breath brushed his cheek. The heat of Tanner’s body burned through his clothes. The man molded against him, and his hard shaft wedged in the cleft of Reno’s buttocks. God, he wanted to rub his ass all over him.
The singer ground his hips in a well-rehearsed erotic move. With a groan, Reno leaned into Tanner’s muscular chest and tipped his head back on the man’s shoulder. The scent of aftershave and hot, clean male hit him hard.
The crowd began to chant. “Kiss him, kiss him.”
Reno’s attention flicked to the massive screen. The intense expression on Tanner’s face spoke volumes. He lifted his chin and fell into the singer’s hot gaze. His fingers froze on the base. He swallowed to cut off the groan threatening to expose his desire.
His knees trembled. Tanner’s big palm burned a scorching path to Reno’s hip. The man’s hard shaft pressed into him. The bass guitar slid beneath his sweat-soaked palms.
“I want you, vanilla boy.” Tanner’s teeth closed on Reno’s earlobe.
The words were for him alone; it was the first time Tanner had hit on him. His mind reeled with the implications. Reno kicked himself for being vulnerable. After all, Tanner repeated the move during every performance for the crowd, so why hit on him tonight? He drew a deep breath and smiled into the sea of waving hands. He had given the same rehearsed reaction each time they performed.
Reno returned to his bass. His mind rushed to a million conclusions at once. Tanner had a weird sense of humor. Perhaps this was another of his jokes. If not, did his friend have any idea what he was doing to him? Lately, he’d fought against the jumble of emotions playing havoc with his sexuality. Tanner made him think differently on so many levels. One whiff of Tanner’s musky male scent and his mind filled with erotic images of man love. He shook his head to dispel the images and resumed playing. Jesus, he can’t possibly know how I feel about him—can he?
Tanner gave him a playful slap on the backside and picked up the chorus with a wink to the fans. The final encore ended with a roll of drums. The auditorium fell into darkness. Reno pushed his bass into the hands of a roadie and followed the other members of the band escaping from the stage. A hand closed around his arm. The familiar scent of Tanner filled his nostrils. His stomach went into free fall. Oh yeah, he knows.
Pulled into the wings and shielded by the heavy curtains, Reno gazed into intense electric-blue eyes. Tanner said something, his voice barely audible over the roar of the audience. Reno moved in closer, straining his ears to catch his words.
Tanner’s peppermint breath brushed Reno’s cheek. “Wanna come up to my room tonight? I’m not planning on writing songs or talking shop.” He rubbed his knuckles across Reno’s chin. “I want you.”
Oh shit, did he really just say that? Right now, Reno didn’t have a coherent word to say. Tanner’s friendship meant a lot to him. Fuck, he obsessed over the guy. But to agree to go to Tanner’s hotel room and take the man’s blatant offer—Jesus. His pulse raced at the idea of falling into Tanner’s arms. Reno shrugged. He forced his expression into one of indifference and gave the usual denial of his sexuality. “I… um… sorry. You do know I’m not gay… right?”
“Really. Ah, then my mistake.” Tanner narrowed his eyes. “’Cause, baby, you’re sending out ‘come and fuck me’ signals big-time.”
He laughed. “Am I? Well, you’re a good-looking guy, Tanner.” He dropped his gaze to Tanner’s neck, unable to meet his stare. “And yeah, you turn me on some, but that doesn’t make me available, does it?”
“No, of course not.” Tanner rubbed the back of his neck. “I admit you’ve had me fooled. I knew you weren’t out, but we’ve become pretty close lately, and I assumed you liked more than my music. You know me pretty well, I’m not a pushy guy, but after tonight, man, I had to make a move.” He cleared his throat. “It’s not like you’ve ever mentioned the woman the media insists you have back home.” A nerve ticked in his cheek. “Most guys won’t shut up about their girlfriends. You… well, you like being around me, and I know I turn you on, so I guess I came to a natural conclusion.”
Reno’s mind flashed to Susan. The petite, virginal brunette expected him to marry her. Fuck, he had never kissed the girl. The thought of her tongue in his mouth made his skin crawl. He had become the king of excuses for reasons not to be intimate with her, and then she would come on to him with “the look” and the touching—she never let up.
Fuck, he wanted to break the world sprint record on the way out her door. Yet, when his family had suggested marriage, he had fucking agreed. How stupid was that? He wanted to keep the peace. Jesus, he had never had a sexual thought about a woman in his life. In fact, the idea of marrying Susan or any other girl frightened the shit out of him. Damn, it was time he came out. So what was stopping him? Not the handsome guy standing in front of him who made his heart beat faster, that was for sure. I’m a weak SOB.
Tanner’s stance relaxed. His voice dropped to a husky whisper. “Reno… man, talk to me.” He lifted Reno’s chin. “Is there a problem?”
Unable to look Tanner in the eye, Reno pushed his hands into the back pockets of his pants. He vividly recalled a TV show mentioning something about every man having a pivotal moment in his life. Is this mine? Shit, I feel like a man standing on a ledge deciding to jump or not.
Tanner tossed his spiky black head and waited for an answer. Reno sucked in a breath. Holy cow, the singer was gorgeous and so damn sexy. Oh man, Tanner Star should wear a warning sign around his neck—Beware, highly sexed Dom.
Reno sighed. One wrong move and he might lose Tanner’s friendship. He had been so fucking lonely before Tanner joined the band. The man gazing at him in confusion had become his anchor in this crazy world of rock and roll. He decided to bluff his way out of the situation. Reno lifted his chin. “No, I had no idea you’d want me to prattle on for hours about my relationship with Susan.”
“Relationship? I’m not sure you know what a relationship involves.”
“I do, it means caring about another person.” Reno ground his teeth.
“Like you care about me?” Tanner inclined his head. “We’ve become more than friends, haven’t we?” He sighed. “When you let yourself go on stage, there’s a vibe between us, a sexual pulse. Why won’t you admit it?”
Fucking A, Tanner was attracted to him and had been for some time. Why couldn’t he man up to his feelings? Reno shrugged. He needed to take a breath and sort out his mind. “I was just acting for the fans, that’s all.”
“Acting, huh?” Tanner raised a brow. “You’re hard now just being this close to me.” His brow furrowed. “Look, man, I never make a move on a guy unless he gives me the green light. Can’t you see there is something beautiful starting to grow between us? I can feel it.” He touched Reno’s cheek. “Does being attracted to me worry you?”
Oh Lord, how could he think straight when Tanner looked at him with those hooded, liquid, “lie down and let me do you slowly all night” eyes? One thing for sure, the singer did not have any hang-ups about his sexuality. Reno sucked in a steadying breath. If his voice came out in a squeak, he’d die of embarrassment. “I dunno, man.” He met Tanner’s gaze. “I’ve… er… never discussed my feelings toward a guy before.”
“That’s some kind of beautiful that you’re attracted to me.” Tanner brushed Reno’s cheek with the back of his hand. “Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Talk to me.”
Reno swallowed the lump in his throat and considered his friend’s request. He trusted Tanner. I guess I owe him an explanation. He squared his shoulders and met Tanner’s stare head-on. “Well, I’ve never been with a guy let alone a fucking Dom, so let’s say at the moment, I’m hovering on the edge of curious.” He dragged in a breath. “No—I think confused would sum up how I feel right now. To be honest, I’ve never had anything but brotherly feelings toward a woman.” He cleared his throat. “But when I’m close to you—fuck!” He tilted his head and met Tanner’s smoldering gaze. “You mess up my head big-time.”
Tanner regarded him with frightening intensity for some moments as if weighing his declaration. Reno’s heart thumped against his rib cage. One thousand, two thousand, three thousand, the seconds ticked by. Say something. The noise of the audience faded to a slow rumble of footsteps. A cool breeze from the overhead air conditioner hit his sweat-soaked skin. He stared up at Tanner. The soft light from the stairwell poured across the empty stage, throwing his face into shadow. A pulse beat in his ear to join the one throbbing in his groin. Reno cursed his treacherous cock. His balls ached being near this delicious man.
“Ah-huh.” Tanner raised a brow. “So, are you a sweet, vanilla virgin?”
Tanner’s question confused and intrigued him. He frowned, computing the question. Since Tanner joined the band, he’d become an important part of his life. Damn it, he enjoyed being with him. In fact, he relished the time they spent together. When Tanner requested to rehearse the choreography more often than necessary, he had jumped at the opportunity. He craved the closeness between them on stage.
Reno pushed his muddled thoughts to one side to concentrate on what Tanner had said. He frowned. “Vanilla?”
“You… ah—you’re not into BDSM, so we call that type of guy ‘vanilla’.” Tanner inclined his head. “I’m a Dom and I’ve made no secret that I’m looking for a sub. You knew that—right? The guys have been riding me about my lifestyle since I joined.” He smiled. “To be honest, I thought you may be interested. You know, being untrained in the art isn’t something to worry about. If you are interested, you can’t go wrong with a loving Dominant like me.”
Oh yeah, he understood Tanner’s preference for obedient men. The roadies had been making jokes over Tanner’s desire to flog poor, innocent subs all week. Reno’s face grew hot. He often watched gay BDSM porn, and it turned him on big-time. The visual domination alone made him hard. For years, he had hovered on the edge of uncertainty about his sexuality. The moment he set eyes on Tanner, the truth had clanged in his mind like a hit on the head with a shovel. Tanner Star attracted him on every sexual level. He would be a fool not to explore everything the man had to offer.
Tanner had obviously recognized his secret desires. Could Doms do that? Weigh up a guy as a potential sub? He shrugged mentally and met the man’s gaze. “Yeah, I think the entire world knows you’re Dom, Tanner. You hardly hide the fact dressed like that on stage.” He grinned. “You’re right, I am a little curious about BDSM.”
“I guessed as much.” Tanner laid his arm across Reno’s shoulders. “I’m rarely wrong when it comes to sub potential.” He chuckled. “Tonight, the idea of grinding against your tight ass gave me a hard-on before I touched you. I’ve seen how you react to me, so I thought it was time we moved our friendship up a notch.”
The image of Tanner tying him to a bed and flogging him drifted through his mind. Shit. “Ah… no, I don’t think I’m ready to jump in at the deep end yet.”
“Hey, don’t get all defensive now.” Tanner gave Reno a squeeze. “I’m not asking for a scene—just a few drinks like usual, and perhaps we can set some ground rules. I can see you turning in on yourself, man, and that’s not healthy.”
A wave of emotion splashed over Reno. He craved to get closer to Tanner. He wanted to lean into him, inhale his scent, and touch his golden skin. Fear of taking a step into the unknown cramped his gut. Oh Lord, I’m one sorry son of a bitch. Had he advertised his longing every time he gazed at the singer? He valued Tanner’s friendship, and in the last few minutes, everything had changed. Tanner had responded to his signals, and the idea both terrified and thrilled him.
“You don’t usually have a problem coming to my room to work on songs. I’m still your friend, not some asshole.” He inclined his head. “I hope this isn’t going to spoil our friendship, man.”
It’s only a drink with Tanner. “Sure, I’ll have a drink with you.” Reno squeezed Tanner’s arm. “Look, man, I’ve admitted I’m attracted to you. That was one giant step for Reno Rocket.” He laughed. “Put your Dom persona on the back burner while I catch my breath.”
“Sure.” Tanner pushed a hand through his hair. “Just remember, this is me, your friend Tanner, not some asshole off the street. Look, I hate seeing you like this, longing for something you think is outta reach.” He bit his bottom lip. “I’m not out of reach, Reno.”
Reno swallowed the lump in his throat. He wanted to throw his arms around Tanner and kiss him. He leaned closer and gazed into Tanner’s eyes. “When you talk like this, you scare the fuck outta me.”
“Yeah, I know.” Tanner’s lashes lowered. “I think it’s a virgin thing.”
“I’m not a virgin.” Reno tossed the hair from his eyes. “I’ve had sex before—with a woman. I went to an after-show party with Lenny. I ended up in a situation.” He grimaced at the memory. “I won’t go into details, but I gotta admit, it freaked me out some. I knew something wasn’t right, but at the time I put it down to inexperience. I know better now.” He anxiously searched Tanner’s face. “Fuck, man—for a long while, I wasn’t sure where I fit in this crazy world.”
“Scary, huh?” Tanner regarded Reno closely. “I imagine coming to the realization you’re gay is a bitch. I’ve always known, thank God.” He gave him a slow smile. “It takes courage to admit you’re different, but you can’t live your life being confused about your sexuality.” He rested his head against Reno’s forehead. “Trust me, taking the first step is the hardest.” He squeezed Reno’s arm. “You’re not alone. You’ve got me.”
Tanner’s compassion warmed a small place around Reno’s heart. No one could possibly understand how lonely life had become. Right now, he needed answers. He had to act like a man and face his fears before Tanner had the chance to change his mind. “Thanks, man.” His face grew hot. “To be honest, I’ve been confused about my feelings for some time. Something inside me kept on insisting I shouldn’t be attracted to you, and yet I couldn’t stop wanting to be near you. I didn’t know how to deal with the situation.”
“Trust me. A straight guy would be a mile away from me by now.” Tanner chuckled.
Reno chewed on his bottom lip. “Fuck! Now what? I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my girlfriend.” He grimaced. “And what if I’ve made a mistake—is that possible?”
Tanner let out a peal of laughter, and his eyes twinkled with mischief. “If you’re still confused, why don’t you let me kiss you? If I turn you on, babe… well, let’s say it’s an excellent indication of your preference.”
“Whoa.” Reno ran a hand through his hair. “Not here where someone might see us…. Jesus, man, have you lost your fucking mind?”
Although the thought of kissing Tanner made his toes curl, the guy was a Dom. “Anyhow, with your rep, man, you won’t stop at a kiss. You’ll have me naked, whipped, and screwed before I catch my breath.” He snorted. “Oh yeah, I forgot, and you’d have me tied to a bed at your mercy for God knows how long.” He grinned. “I’ve read the stories about your sexcapades. Man, I thought Deke was up there for the ‘scary badass Dom’ title, but he is an angel compared to you.”
Tanner pressed two fingers to his forehead as if warding off a migraine. “Man, you come up with some crazy things. You don’t know me at all, do you?” Tanner shook his head in dismay. “Doms care for their subs, and in any case, I only suggested a drink.” He shrugged. “There are different levels of relationships”—he touched Reno’s hand—“and I wanted to take our friendship to a more intimate level. Do you understand?”
Reno bit his bottom lip. His knees had weakened under Tanner’s intense stare. “I’m kinda feelin’ like the deer in the headlight right now, man. If you’re offering me sex—no offense—but you’re going way too fast for me.”
“I’m not planning on gettin’ down and dirty with you—well not yet anyway. Having sex with a guy and going into the world of BDSM is a whole different ball game—pardon the pun.” Tanner let out a long sigh. “I’m not the asshole people make me out to be, and after knowing me for two months, you should have made your own opinion.” He cleared his throat. “Look, man”—he stepped away and held his hands up in surrender—“I’m more than happy to be ‘just friends’.”
Reno swallowed hard. He had to face his demons. Tanner had offered his continued friendship, nothing more. His stomach bottomed out at the thought of kissing him, and his cock reared. The damn thing had a will of its own. He swallowed the lump in his throat. “I’d really like to talk to you about all this shit inside my mind.” He wet his bottom lip. “It’s… well, you make my head spin.” He forced a smile. “If you were a drug, you’d be illegal.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to come on so strong.” Tanner rested a hand on Reno’s shoulder. “I was trying to help—really. I think we may have something between us, and man, I had to find out.” He ran a hand down Reno’s back. “Look, I’m not a pushy guy, but if you wanna play, I’m a real good teacher.”
Oh, man, I’m gonna blow in my pants. Reno straightened his spine. He met Tanner’s oh so close gaze. Having his tempting mouth a breath away made his lips tingle. Man, his balls had drawn up so tight they hurt. “Ah, well then, I’m sorry I misjudged you.”
“You’re not the first.” Tanner wet his lips. “I won’t hold it against you, babe.”
A tingle of awareness ran down Reno’s spine. He wanted Tanner with a passion, but the demon of doubt riding on his back dug its heels in again. What if he couldn’t be the sub Tanner needed? Then again what if he could? I’m acting like a wimp. He drew in a ragged breath. “Okay. I feel like a complete idiot, but I guess you know what you’re doing. I’ll go with one drink or maybe ten.”
Tanner grinned at him like a fool. “Sure, give me time to shower and I’m yours.” He dropped his arm and turned away to take the stairs down to the dressing rooms. He stopped at the bottom of the steps and looked up at Reno. “Why don’t you meet me at the stage door, and we’ll drive back together?”
The band had planned to wait for the massive crowd to dissipate before leaving. Dazed had travelled to the venue in two limousines. Deke, who played lead guitar, and Tanner went first. Reno rode in the other car with the drummer, Lenny, and the keyboard player, Dave.
Usually, they returned to the hotel the same way. Reno smiled. “Sure. I hope security holds back the fans tonight. I don’t get paid to get trampled to death.” He gave Tanner a wave and pushed open the door to his dressing room.
TANNER pressed both hands on the cold tiled wall, allowing the steaming water to pour down his back. He stared at the soapy flow swirling down the drain and grinned. The chance of converting a straight, vanilla boy to the wild side of man love made his cock swell. After losing Jamie, he’d had no inclination to take another permanent sub or lover for almost two years. I can imagine what would happen if my fans discovered that little piece of gossip.
The past two years had been an emotional abyss. No man had come close to replacing his first and only partner. His mind went to the exclusive six-year relationship with Jamie. He had no compulsion to risk his health with a one-night stand. Okay, so he pushed the Dom player image to the fans, but inside he craved the closeness only an exclusive lover could give him.
He stepped out of the stall and reached for the towel. Oh yeah, that delicious man pushed his buttons and triggered a new rush of intense longing. The guy was so different from Jamie and yet had generated an urge to love again. He smiled. Reno had the body of a swimmer. Muscular, broad shoulders, a tapered waist, and a peach of an ass. He wanted to taste every inch of his flawless, sun-kissed flesh. Add the sultry expression, a turned-up nose set in an angelic face framed by a shock of silky blond hair. And those green eyes—man, they were deep enough to drown in. He rubbed the water from his skin. Hell yeah, he could go slow, real slow, if Reno gave him the chance.
The delicious hunk had ignited a deep-seated passion to take and dominate. He visualized scenes with Reno. His heart raced at the thought of Reno giving himself in complete surrender. If he took one step in the wrong direction, he would lose the chance to have this untainted virgin. He sighed and glanced down at his ridged shaft. “Down, boy. I’ve gotta take it easy if I’m gonna tame this sweet thing.”
RENO dashed to the car, shielded by his burly bodyguard, and fell inside the empty limousine. Close behind, Tanner blew kisses to the fans and dropped onto the seat beside him. The interior filled with the scent of his expensive cologne. The door slammed shut and the huge stretch limousine sped off and weaved into a line of traffic.
Reno’s heart stopped, then raced at an alarming speed. The singer’s overpowering sexuality tempted him beyond reason. He drew a breath, weighing the odds. Tanner had made his intentions clear. Reno rolled his shoulders. If necessary, if Tanner got too heavy, he could deal with the situation. Okay, so the singer weighed about twenty pounds more than he did, but he had the ability to defend himself. He pushed the thought aside.
Tanner was a friend, not some sex fiend. After all, Reno had accepted his offer because he wanted the truth about himself. He turned to take in the delicious man beside him. He forced his expression into one of nonchalance. “Where are Dave and Lenny?”
“Ah… they went in the other car with Deke.” With a grin, Tanner met Reno’s gaze. “I wanted some time alone with you.”
“Yeah? Well, I have some questions too.” Reno ran a hand through his damp hair. “I’ve been thinking over what you said about kissing you.” He swallowed hard. “I’m not planning to catch trouble—not that I’m sayin’ you’re infected or anything, man, but everyone knows you’re a player.”
“What set this off? I asked you to have a drink and maybe a kiss, not get down and dirty with me.”
Reno leaned back in the cool leather seat and raised his chin. “Do you remember that scare I had eighteen months ago? When a crazy-ass fan bit me—drew blood—and I freaked out. If you recall, my doctor ordered me to take a whole lot of tests for over a fucking year to make sure I was clean.” He met Tanner’s amused gaze. “Man, after living with all that shit for a year, I don’t kiss strangers. I’m not gonna go through that again—not for anyone.”
“I’m clean and I’m glad you asked me.” Tanner sighed. “I play up the Dom image because it’s good for business. In fact, I’m pretty fucking close to celibate myself.” He smiled. “And I’m gonna have to kill you if you tell anyone.”
“I find that hard to believe. You give off the aura of a sex machine.”
“Yeah? Well maybe to you, babe.” Tanner frowned. “I don’t talk publically about my past. Trust me, there’s a lot about me that doesn’t make the press. If I spill my guts to you, do you think you’ll be more comfortable with me?”
Reno snorted. “I don’t have a problem with you, man.”
“That’s nice, but I’m a Dom, and you should understand that offering me the chance to convert a vanilla, innocent guy is the same as waving a red cloth in front of a bull. I never hide what or who I am.” Tanner gave him a long look. “We’re close friends now. I know you like me, and I’m attracted to you big-time.” He dragged a hand through his hair. “But before we start anything, I want you to be very clear of my intentions.” He gazed into Reno’s eyes. “I can’t get involved with a guy who isn’t prepared to embrace my lifestyle in some way.” He sighed. “I’m greedy, I want you in every way possible, but I’ll respect your boundaries. Do you understand?”
A warm curl of longing wrapped around Reno. I understand you more than you realize. His cock rose in salute to the idea of taking a hesitant step into the intriguing world of man love and domination. To have a Dom willing to bring him into his world of sensory delights made his mouth dry. Excitement mingled with fear and shivered down his spine. His stomach clenched.
Reno wanted Tanner to guide him. He tempered his grin to a smile. “I understand fine. Look man, I’ve known you for two months, and in all that time I’ve never seen you push yourself on anyone.” He leveled his gaze on Tanner. “Okay, warning taken, but I’m a big boy. I know what I’m doing.” He inclined his head. “Why do you remain celibate? Surely, there are hundreds of guys out there drooling over you.
“I’m not saying I haven’t had the odd BJ, but I haven’t fucked anyone for two years. I’ve only ever had one partner, Jamie. He was killed in Afghanistan working for Uncle Sam two years ago.” Tanner gazed out the window, and his shoulders drooped.
Reno considered Tanner’s change of demeanor. His devastated expression spoke volumes. Tears stung the backs of his eyes. He wanted to reach out and comfort his friend. He rubbed sweaty palms on his jeans. “I’m sorry, man. Did you know Jamie long?”
“Yeah. Look, Reno, trust me, you don’t wanna go there.”
Reno leaned back in the seat. His heart ached for Tanner’s loss. “I bet you haven’t talked about Jamie since it happened, have you? Keeping all that hurt bottled up inside can’t be healthy.” He smiled. “I’m a good listener, and I won’t tell anyone.”
“You’re a strange guy. So, you want my life story? It’s not pretty.”
“Yeah, I’d like to know all about you. Do you want the truth about me too?”
“Babe, your life is an open book.” Tanner smiled. “Go on. Shock me with your lurid past.”
“I didn’t mean about my past, Tanner. I want to lay my cards on the table too. I am attracted to you—no, obsessed with you would be a better term. If that means we are meant to be together, well—look, Tanner, I need to find out one way or another.” He rubbed his temples. “This is why I’m here in the back of the car with you. I’m not stupid. It’s apparent to everyone on this planet you’re planning to make a move on me.”
“That obvious, huh?”
Reno sighed. “You tell me your bad boy image is a fake, so if you think telling me about Jamie will explain everything, then go ahead.” He met Tanner’s gaze. “Because I’m guessing Deke will be more than happy to bring me into the club, so to speak. Man, he’s been making his intentions obvious too, and I thought he was only into twinks. But I’m sure as hell not getting involved with some man-whore.”
“You sure have the wrong impression of Deke.” Tanner snorted. “I’ve known that guy since high school. He is very particular about who he takes into his dungeon.”
Oh Lord, now what? Tanner had that “I hate everyone” expression in his eyes, and a nerve twitched in his cheek. Reno squared his shoulders. I’ll be honest and say what I think. Fuck the consequences. He ground his teeth. “I wasn’t talking about Deke.”
Tanner gave him a long, calculated look. He drew a deep breath and let it out in a whoosh. “You think that I’m a… Jesus.” He pressed two fingers between his eyes. “I’m not a player, period. I go to the leather clubs, watch the strippers, and get drunk with the guys. I don’t have one-night stands. I hadn’t considered having another relationship until I met you.” He met Reno’s gaze. “I told you the truth. There has only been one man in my life. When I lost him….”
His friend’s beautiful eyes clouded over with an expression of deep-seated pain. Reno leaned closer. “Tell me about Jamie.”
Tanner dropped his dark lashes. “Nah, some other time.” He gave his head a little shake. “But since then, my cock has become very intimate with Mister Lubed Palm.”
A shadow of pain crossed Tanner’s handsome face. Reno’s heart clenched for him. He had the absurd notion to hold him. Damn! This close to Tanner, his mind had turned to mush. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” Tanner gave him a crooked smile.
Reno pushed the hair from his face. Lenny, had previously warned Reno about the new lead singer. Disgusted, he had believed the hype. Reno decided to be up front with the man. “You, celibate, that’s hard to believe.”
“Ah-huh.” Tanner scratched his cheek. “So after travelling with me for two months, you’ve noticed a stream of guys queuing outside my hotel room, have you?”
“I had a very special bond with Jamie. It was just the two of us, and knowing I was his first and last—well, up to the day I met you, it’s been impossible to think about starting a relationship with another guy.”
“I understand losing a loved one never really heals, but the pain fades a little over time.” Reno dropped his hand. “I need to be honest with you too. I’m not sure where this is going, but you need to know up front that I’m not overconfident starting anything with someone who endangers his life and everyone else’s. You said you’re clean. When was the last time you got tested?”
“You have me all wrong. I don’t take risks—not ever. I gave our manager copies of all my test results for the past three years, and he made me take new tests for the insurance coverage before I joined Dazed. I’m clean period.” Tanner waved a hand in dismissal. “Look, if you want proof, I have my test results in my hotel room.”
Reno shook his head. “No, that’s fine. I believe you—I’m sorry I asked, Tanner.” He shrugged. “We’re all tested every three months. It’s part of our health plan.”
Tanner gave him a speculative look. “Do you still believe the hype about me? Yeah, yeah, I know. I lure men into my dungeon; mostly small girly boys.” Tanner’s gaze drifted over Reno. “So, if I’m into you—what are you, six feet? Your body has the sculpted appearance of an athlete. Like those naked guys in the first Olympics. So my tastes must have changed, huh?”
Reno licked his bottom lip. He appreciated muscle too. He had watched Tanner’s ruthless workouts in the hotel gym. The Dom had a body most men would die for—hard, buff, and without one ounce of fat. Tanner towered over him by a good six inches. The singer had the features of an ancient mythical god, golden skin, and piercing blue eyes to complete the delicious package.
The musician in Reno appreciated the tone of Tanner’s deep, sexy voice. He had the sudden urge to run his fingers through his spiked too-black hair. He curled his hands into fists and regarded Tanner. “I’m an asshole for believing the hype. I’m sorry, man. I should have known better.” He sighed. “You’re probably wasting your time with me.”
“I don’t think so. You’re different from the other guys I’ve met.” Tanner smiled. “You say what’s on your mind. I like honesty.” He touched Reno’s cheek. “You’re not worried about embracing your feminine side, with the makeup and hair styles. I like that too.” He stroked Reno’s chin. “You’re a big guy, and I need a man, not a boy.” He ran a finger over Reno’s brow. “And, babe, I’ve never seen anyone with such beautiful eyes.”
“You’ve deduced all that about me in two months?”
“Oh, yeah, I know you better than you think.” Tanner met his gaze. “You have what my Dom side craves. I need a sub in a high-stress job who can give up control to me in a scene. I’m not looking for a wimp. I like that you’re not afraid to stand up to me and speak your mind.” He rested a hand on Reno’s thigh and squeezed. “You’re everything I need, and man, I wanna kiss you so bad.”
Fuck! His heart beat faster. The heat from Tanner’s palm sizzled up Reno’s leg and scorched his balls. He gasped. The intense expression on the singer’s face spoke volumes. His cheeks grew hot.
Reno gazed at the hand on his thigh, willing those long fingers to knead his throbbing shaft. He lifted his head and met Tanner’s sultry half-closed eyes. Oh, damn. He wanted to kiss him so bad.
“Touch me.” Tanner reached for Reno’s hand and pressed it to his chest. “I don’t bite. Go with your feelings, man.”
The stretch limousine slowed at a set of lights, the engine purring. Heart pounding with indecision, Reno stared out the window. Through the black-tinted pane, the bright shop fronts illuminated crowds of people strolling along the pavement, enjoying a typical Saturday night. Music filtered from a pub doorway. An ambulance siren wailed in the distance.
The car moved on, joining the never-ending flow of traffic across London. Beside them, a row of red double-decker buses edged forward in a hiss of gears and snaked around Piccadilly Circus. Reno searched the anonymous faces gazing from the bright interiors. Most of the people stared as he did—into oblivion.
The squeeze on his leg brought his attention back to Tanner. His friend lifted his hand to stroke his fingers against Reno’s neck. Tanner caressed the diamond stud in his earlobe with his warm thumb. His pulse raced. A tickle of sweat ran down between his shoulder blades. Under his palm, Tanner’s heart pounded.
“Do you want me?” Tanner ran the tip of his finger over the length of Reno’s erection.
Did he want him? Right now he wanted to drag Tanner’s head down to his mouth and show him just how much. “Hell yeah.”
Tanner’s warm fingers cupped Reno’s chin. “Shut your eyes.”
He complied. Starbursts of light flashed behind his eyelids. The warm, intoxicating scent of his friend engulfed him. Tanner’s touch ignited a deep primal need. Hovering on the edge of nervous expectation, he trembled. An inquisitive tongue traced the seam of his mouth. Warm lips nibbled and demanded entrance. A sizzle of unexpected lust rammed into him. He opened to Tanner’s gentle touch.
The heat from Tanner’s body seared Reno’s shirt. The singer moaned low in his chest. His wet tongue invaded Reno’s mouth in an explosion of delicious flavor—peppermint and Tanner. The delectable man caressed and stroked every erogenous zone with gentle care. Reno kissed him back, and their mouths melded together in a primitive dance. Tender, yet rougher than he had imagined. The man dominated him, and he loved every second.
Reno craved more. Images of Tanner fucking him flashed through his mind in a rush of erotic euphoria. As if sensing his need, Tanner moved his chin to scratch his stubble over Reno’s sensitive lips. He gasped at the unexpected thrill.
He bunched the singer’s T-shirt and pulled the soft material from Tanner’s jeans. The desire to touch skin overpowered him. He thrust his hand inside and groaned at the hot, silky flesh under his palm. Fuck, he had never kissed anyone like this before. Flames of passion rocketed through every nerve ending.
He pressed against Tanner, demanding more. With a low, sexy chuckle, Tanner pushed him down on the long bench seat. Reno fell backward, pulling the singer down on top of him. He moaned and ground his aching cock into Tanner’s thigh.
“Oh, you are so fucking hot.” Tanner met his gaze. “So fucking kissable.”
TANNER pressed down on Reno, glad of the roomy interior of the stretch limo. He had him pinned, helpless. He rolled his rod across the guitarist’s hard shaft. Feel how much I want you. He lifted the man’s arms over his head and bent to kiss him again.
He smiled against Reno’s soft, compliant mouth. In a few delicious seconds, Reno melted into his arms as if he had been his longtime lover. The hungry man had wanted him bad and had submitted to his dominance. Reno was a natural sub. Tanner regretted having to pull back, but rushing into sex in the back of a limo with a virgin had to be worse than driving blindfolded.
With a sigh, he nibbled along Reno’s jaw. He suckled the throbbing vein in his neck and kissed his way back to the man’s succulent lips. The guitarist tasted like heaven, and the scent of sandalwood and sexy man pushed his control to the limit of endurance. To his delight, Reno thrust his hot tongue in his mouth. You are so hungry for me and so fucking sweet.
He broke the contact on a moan. Fuck. He craved Reno big-time, but the hotel drew closer by the second. He gazed down at his friend, flushed and gorgeous from his mussing up. “I want you so fucking bad it hurts.” He rolled off him. “Take some time to think over how you feel right now. I’m not planning to rush into anything until you’re ready.”
“Holy cow, man.” Reno sat up and rearranged his package. “That was—fuck—you are amazing. I didn’t want you to stop.”
Tanner wiped a thumb over Reno’s bottom lip. “I didn’t want to stop either, but I need more than one kiss before I—shit—you need time to establish a relationship with me first.” He pressed a kiss to the corner of Reno’s mouth. “I don’t want to rush things and spoil the chance to have you in my life.”
“My fucking head is spinning.” Reno touched his lips. “You taste like sin.” He grinned. “I had no idea—damn!”
Reno’s face glowed. His friend’s reaction to the kiss was evident by the swell in his jeans. Okay, so he had taken a huge risk kissing him, but Reno’s expression had made it all worthwhile. He smiled. Reno wanted him, bad reputation and all. A small window of sunshine opened inside Tanner’s heart at his radiant smile. He laughed. “You just wait until you taste the rest of me.” He ran his hand up Reno’s thigh. “So are you coming up to my room to let me kiss you some more?”
The black stretch limousine cruised to a stop outside the hotel and parked behind the other car. A crowd of fans and media rushed the vehicles. Tanner threw Reno a smile. “You wanna hold my hand, babe?”
“Ah… not until I tell my parents I’m gay. Can you imagine reading something like that in the media?” Reno grimaced. “I’m not looking forward to telling them—my dad is gonna be pissed. He’ll disown me for sure.” He sighed. “My mom wanted grandchildren. How do I explain that is never gonna happen?”
Tanner regarded him with incredulity. His parents must be blind if they had failed to notice their son was gay. Reno screamed his predilection. Tanner patted Reno’s leg. “Trust me, if they were married in the seventies, they already know.”
“No! They don’t—they’re not at all worldly. Gay isn’t in their vocabulary. They live in this time capsule and think life is a bed of roses. In fact, they are ashamed of my lifestyle. A rock star is about as low as a prostitute in their eyes.” He met Tanner’s gaze. “They don’t own one of Dazed’s albums. They think if they ignore my career it will go away.”
“Don’t worry about your parents tonight. Think about what you want.” Tanner smiled. “If you want me, babe, we’ll face your parents together.” He touched Reno’s face. “Whatever happens between us, I’ll always be here for you. We’re friends and friends have each other’s backs, right?”
Reno gave a long sigh and a weak smile formed on his lips. “Thanks, man.”
The door opened with a rush of cold air. The stink of a concoction of perfumes and body odor wafted into the car from the thousand or so fans pushing against the police barriers. Flashbulbs went off in every direction. Faceless hands waved autograph books. Police surged forward to clear a path.
“Have mercy.” Tanner slid out the door.
I really couldn’t stop reading this book.
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I didn't mind this story and quite enjoyed the book but for me the realism about the dominant/submissive relationship was lacking which would be my main criticism. I liked the characters and the setting but Tanner as the Dom just wasn't believable.
It was interesting to watch Tanner and Reno interact at the beginning of the book. Their discussions/negotiations about their relationship seem a bit off and all over the place but I liked seeing them together.
One of the issues I had with this book was that some statements are made about the characters which conflict with other statements or actions. For example, there is a comment about Reno.."For years, he had hovered on the edge of uncertainty about his sexuality." He actually doesn't seem that uncertain given he doesn't have sexual thoughts about women and is intensely turned on by gay BDSM porn. And he's quite comfortable with the concept of submission for a man who's not sure of his sexuality.
Somehow there was a lack of believeability - when Reno first used the word "Master" it just seemed strange.I just didn't find Tanner's behaviour very dominant, maybe a bit of a case of talking the talk but not following through.
Overall, this was nice story with some hot sex but didn't really deliver in terms of the BDSM relationship.
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The Gift by Andrew Grey Paperback