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Dangerous Games (Games of the Heart #1)

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Claire Thompson

Book Information:

When you play dirty games, the stakes are dangerously high …

Reese Armstrong is striving to get his life on track. He has started a new career, gotten a new apartment…now he has to figure out how to shake the guy who insists on controlling his every move. For years, Reese took part in the deviant bets orchestrated by his wealthy lover, Hank. He’s told himself he’s done with all that, but the terms of this latest bet are more than Reese can refuse.

As head computer programmer at a software company, Luca Hartman’s professional life is soaring. But his personal life is a lonely mess. When the hot new sales guy takes an interest in him, a world of possibility opens. But Luca’s been burned before, and he’s wary of the sudden attention. Why would Reese, who could have any man he wants, choose geeky, stuttering Luca? Is he truly sincere or should Luca be on the lookout for a string of malicious code?

Disarmed and enchanted by the shy, brilliant Luca, Reese has to make a choice: reject Hank’s dirty tactics or follow through and destroy the potential he sees with Luca. But even if Reese wants to be done with their dangerous games, Hank’s not through with him…

This is Book 1 of the Games of the Heart M/M series. Be sure to check out Book 2 – Turning the Tables.

Books in Series:

Games of the Heart Series by Claire Thompson

Books by Author:

Claire Thompson Books

Chapter 1

“Can I get you anything else, Mr. Seeley?”

Reese could almost hear the gears clicking in Hank’s head as he slowly, insolently moved his dark gaze over the young man. Good physique. Bad haircut. Too needy. Too young.

The waiter, dressed in the country club’s staff uniform of white shorts and a dark blue polo shirt, had a yearning, hopeful expression on his face. His Adam’s apple bobbed, a visible bulge appearing in his shorts as Hank undressed him with his eyes.

Not that Reese could blame the kid. Hank was seriously hot. There was no denying that. It wasn’t his smooth skin, even features, sculpted body or firm jaw that made Hank so compelling. It was his eyes, which had always drawn and held Reese, from the first time he’d seen him in homeroom in eleventh grade, a lifetime ago. Those eyes were dark and brooding, with an inner spark that could flare into fiery passion in an instant. A quiet, dangerous power lurked in his gaze. He wasn’t especially tall, maybe only five foot nine or ten, his body compact and muscular. But he gave the impression of being taller, somehow dominating whatever space he occupied. He was like a sleek predatory animal who hypnotized his prey before he pounced.

“No, thanks,” Hank finally answered with a lift to his lips that could have been a smile or a sneer. “We’re done here.” He stood, tossing his linen napkin to the table.

As the waiter drifted away, Hank turned to Reese. “Let’s go back to my place.” This was code for, “Let’s have sex.”

Reese shouldn’t have agreed to the late lunch in the first place, but he’d been putting Hank off one time too often lately. It had been easier, in the end, just to say yes to lunch, but it wasn’t going to go any further than that. “Sorry,” he said, his excuse already prepared. “I have to swing by the office and pick up some stuff for my client call tomorrow.”

Reese was a new sales rep for Strata Systems, a Denver software company that designed applications for robots used in the manufacturing industry. He’d been working in construction since the day he’d graduated high school, and this was the first job he’d had where he showered before work instead of after.

Hank grunted, clearly annoyed. “I liked your old job better, boy. You had predictable hours.”

And you had more control.

It was funny. The term boy used to excite him, drawled in Hank’s slow, sexy voice. Since Hank had first introduced him to exciting bondage games way back in high school, they’d always incorporated BDSM play into their sex lives. Ever since that first time in Hank’s bedroom at his parents’ house when Hank had tied his wrists to the bedpost with long silk scarves and playfully spanked his bare ass, Reese had been hooked. How his heart had hammered that first time Hank had pressed him against a wall and kissed him with a passion that left him breathless and hard as steel. He still enjoyed the hard, stinging spankings Hank sometimes delivered before ordering Reese onto his hands and knees, lube at the ready.

Back then, it had been easy for Hank to send Reese into a submissive headspace. He adored the thrill of the forbidden and the obliterating passion that wiped everything else away. Through the years, it was their BDSM connection that had kept things alive for so long. When Hank brought out his toys, Reese could forget everything else, focused entirely on their hot, sweaty passion.

When had things started to turn sour?

If he were honest, it had been a slow, steady decline for years. Now, it seemed, they were all too often only going through the motions.

In response to Hank’s comment, Reese replied, “You didn’t have to work my old job.” He held up his hands, which were scarred and calloused from years of heavy labor. “It was fine when I was eighteen, but I’m pushing thirty now. It’s exciting to be using my mind for a change, instead of just my back.”

Hank flashed a smile as he playfully ruffled Reese’s hair. “Good for you, Reese. I’m proud of you. It’s the first time you’ve actually gotten a job all on your own. That must feel good.” The smile edged slightly downward, his dark eyes liquid with concern. “You know complex thinking isn’t your strong suit. Don’t forget that disastrous semester at community college.”

There it was. The praise and then the kick. The reassurance and then the insinuating doubt. The dynamic had been established back in high school, when Hank was the effortlessly straight-A student, while Reese was the fuckup who spent as much time in detention as he did in class.

After high school, Hank had applied to and been accepted by a number of Ivy League universities. But he’d remained in Colorado, attending the University of Denver so they could stay together. Ironically, after graduation Hank had never held down a real job, his sizable trust fund making it unnecessary. Reese, of course, had worked nonstop for Hank’s father.