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Redeem (Under My Skin #4)
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Successful financial analyst Michael Walsh leads a picture-perfect life that anyone would envy—unless they caught a glimpse beneath the surface. Haunted by failed relationships and self-doubt, Michael harbors a soul-deep loneliness that no number of casual hookups can fulfill. So why can’t he stop thinking about his New Year’s fling with a man whose quiet desperation matched his own?
Barista Stewart Jenkins has an abysmal track record with relationships, and no matter how hard he tries to keep things tightly under wraps, his life is spinning out of control. His hookup with the gorgeous Michael was only supposed to be sex—hot, dirty, uncomplicated—but that small taste leaves him yearning for more.
Every no-strings encounter that follows between Michael and Stewart peels away more layers, blurring the lines, until they’re left with a raw tenderness and acceptance they both crave. A relationship seems out of the question—they come from drastically different lives and are plagued by inexcusable sins. Being vulnerable is sure to reveal old wounds, and forgiveness seems out of reach, unless they can find a way around their fears on the road to redemption.
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I headed toward the back of the pub with five minutes to spare before the New Year’s countdown. It was enough that I had seen Elijah at Bent earlier in the night with his hands all over his friend—it would take me some time to view Kam as anything else. I was finally beginning to accept the idea that we were over and I had fucked up big-time. Regardless, I figured ending up at the straight bar where my friend Demetrius bartended tonight would be the better option.
The noise of the crowd grew muffled as the television volume was raised for the ball drop. I pushed through the bathroom door and breathed a sigh of relief. Thankfully it was empty, except for a tall guy in a suit, zipping up at the urinal. Earlier in the night, I’d noticed him sitting at a table of men and women in business attire as if they’d just gotten off work. We’d briefly made eye contact, and it was difficult not to notice how fucking gorgeous he was—too bad he had a woman hanging on his every word.
I stepped up to the sink for something to do with my hands, and as I twisted the knob, he shifted over to the dryer against the opposite wall, but not before I noticed him giving me the once-over. “Nobody to kiss at midnight?”
“Seems like you’re in the same boat,” I replied, glancing over my shoulder and noting his sexy smirk.
He shrugged. “Overrated.” As I shook the moisture from my hands and moved to the dryer, he headed toward the door. “Besides, I prefer fucking over kissing.”
The arrogance of the statement mixed with the deep timbre of his voice made a shiver race down my spine. The countdown began outside the door as our eyes met and held. His gaze was hot and possessive, and my cock instantly stirred to life.
When his hand shifted to open the door, I realized I’d probably read him wrong. Figures. I wrung my hands and looked away, my shoulders slumping. Suddenly I heard the loud click of the lock in the empty room, and before I could decipher the situation, I was forced against the wall, face-first, the stranger’s hand firm on my neck. My heart thundered as panic set in for a brief moment until his mouth dragged against my ear. “Pull yourself out.”
A thrill zinged through my body, as if touched by a live wire. Normally I relished being in control, but how the fuck could I possibly pass up this opportunity? It was so unexpected and might be just the thing to help start off the New Year with a bang. Pun intended.
My fingers worked swiftly to unbutton and force the zipper down on my jeans. As I pulled out my cock, I could hear him doing the same as his hip rested against the back of my thigh, effectively caging me in. It only added to the electric energy, and in another instant, his solid, long shaft butted against the crease of my jeans. I moaned as I ground my forehead against the wall.
The stranger’s large hand swung around my hip and batted my fingers away from my waistband. His warm palm wrapped around my cock and stroked me from root to tip. My knees nearly buckled, it felt so damn good.
“You like that?” he growled in my ear as his thumb dragged across my slit, collecting the precome from the tip before he used the dampness on his fingers to stroke me into submission. I whimpered as he thrust his groin against my ass, seeking friction for his own stiff shaft. His hot mouth latched on to the back of my neck as my hand grabbed at the wall for leverage.
I moaned and drove my ass against him, completely lit up. I loved how his larger frame surrounded me on all sides. Normally I might panic in such a scenario, but tonight it was hitting all the right buttons. Some attractive, anonymous dude jacking me off as the shouts and singing could be heard outside the door was fucking hot.
“Ah, hell, that’s good,” I gasped as he stroked upward while simultaneously sucking on my neck. I probably should’ve protested because he was sure to leave a bruise, but I couldn’t find it in me to care. Besides, it would be a marker of this night. Like a sexy brand.
His breaths grew heavier, and his chest rumbled in deep pleasure as he jerked sloppily against me. His hand stayed firm and tight on my cock even as he drew back and shuddered out his release. The sound was so sensual that my orgasm slammed through me at nearly the same time.
“Holy fuck.” My body grew limp as my come spilled over his hand and onto the floor. I shut my eyes and kept my head anchored against the wall as he released his grip and my shaft pulsed in response.