Eight Arms to Hold You
Sorry to pop back in here after months buried under a pile of writing only to indulge in Shameless Self-Promotion, but my next book is being released TOMORROW and I'm super excited! Eight Arms to Hold You is book number 4 in the multi-author Collector series from Loose Id.
Here's the blurb:
Luke Cordova is one of a kind. The last of an ancient race, exterminated by wealthy treasure hunter Carson Cordova, the man who found Luke and raised him as his own, and who now holds Luke firmly under his cruel thumb.
Austin Bell is nothing if not a survivor, but his luck is running out. Jobless, penniless and about to lose his home, Austin needs a change in his life, and he needs it fast.
When Austin finds Luke naked and injured in the surf on Cat Island, Mississippi, there's an instant connection. Both men feel they are fated to be together. But Carson Cordova won't let Luke go that easily. He needs Luke's unique abilities to recover a treasure he has chased for nearly thirty years: a crystal octopus, rumored to possess the power to grant the heart's truest desire. Afraid for his life - and Austin's - if Carson finds it, Luke turns in desperation to the one man who can help him. Dr. Andrew Martin, a.k.a. The Collector.
With Dr. Martin's help, Luke and Austin set out on a quest to steal the idol out from under Carson's nose. Working in secret from within Carson's recovery expedition, the two find not only the idol they seek, but the love they each crave. As they learn how intertwined the two truly are, Luke and Austin discover that finding your heart's desire comes with a price. One that might be too high to pay.
I'll post an excerpt in another post shortly :D
Okay, an excerpt now, enjoy :D
Luke leaned against the side of the trailer while Austin dug his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door. Snatching the phone book off the table, Austin wedged the door open with it and hurried back down the steps.
“Here,” he said, winding his arm around Luke. “Lean on me instead of using your bad leg.”
Luke nodded, secured his right arm around Austin’s shoulders, and let Austin guide him up the three steps into the trailer. Once inside, Austin helped Luke over to the threadbare old sofa and eased him down. Leaning back with a sigh, Luke closed his eyes.
Austin replaced the phone book on the table beside the phone, then shut and locked the door. “Let me get this wet stuff off real quick. I don’t want to drip on that wound while I’m dressing it.”
“Please do,” Luke said, the corner of his mouth lifting in a smile Austin wanted to lick.
The look in Luke’s eyes made Austin’s cheeks heat. He dropped his gaze when he felt his groin stirring. An erection was the last thing he needed right now. Stripping off his wet jacket, he threw it on the floor, then kicked off his sneakers and squirmed out of his soaked jeans.
When he turned back to Luke, he had to bite his tongue to hold back the exclamation that wanted to come out. Luke’s blanket had fallen open, baring his body completely to Austin’s very appreciative gaze. The sight made Austin forget he was standing there in nothing but a worn-out pair of pale blue boxers.
Austin glanced up at Luke’s face. The black eyes were closed, Luke’s breathing slow and even. He seemed to have fallen asleep. Hating himself, Austin let his gaze drift down Luke’s bare chest, over his flat belly, down to his exposed groin. His thick, uncut cock and smooth balls nested in a sparse thatch of fine pale curls. It seemed to be the only body hair he had, Austin noticed, sliding a slow look back up Luke’s body.
He nearly jumped out of his skin when he got back to Luke’s face and met a curious black-eyed gaze.
“Oh. Um. Sorry.” Blushing furiously, Austin hurried into the kitchen and started digging in the cabinets, looking for the first aid kit. He cast around frantically for an excuse for his blatant ogling. “That mark on your leg,” he blurted, remembering the odd blue-gray blotch on Luke’s inner thigh. “What is it?”
“A birthmark, I suppose,” Luke answered. “I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. Father says I had it when...”
He trailed off. Austin found the kit and backed out of the cabinet with it. “Yeah? Had it when what?” he asked, straightening up and peering over the counter.
Luke glanced at him, eyes wider than ever. “Nothing. Just... I’ve always had it.”
“Oh.” Austin washed his hands, grabbed a dish towel and the bottle of sterile saline from the shelf beside the sink, and walked back over to the couch. He kept his gaze firmly fixed on Luke’s face. “Okay, let’s get that wound cleaned.”
Trying not to think too hard about where he was, Austin knelt on the floor between Luke’s parted knees. He focused with grim determination on the deep wound in Luke’s leg, ignoring the tantalizing proximity of Luke’s groin. Luke watched him, shoulders hunched. Opening the saline bottle, Austin held the towel under the gash in Luke’s thigh and poured the sterile liquid over it. Luke hissed, fingers digging into the cushions.
“Sorry.” Austin glanced up at Luke’s face, then turned his attention back to his work. “This isn’t as bad as I thought at first. It looked deeper before.”
“It must have been the light.” Luke’s voice was tight with pain. He answered Austin’s worried look with a faint smile. “It’s all right. No way to clean a wound like that without it being painful.”
Nodding, Austin carefully dried the wound’s edges with a large square of sterile gauze. “How’d you get this, anyway? For that matter, how’d you end up in the water in the first place?” He didn’t ask why Luke was naked, though he was dying to know. He didn’t want to push his luck.
Luke’s black eyes turned wary. “I was out with some friends on their boat. I fell overboard in the storm. I’m not sure what it was that cut me. Something in the water.”
“Do you want to call them?” Austin asked, watching Luke closely. “You can use my phone.”
“No, I... I won’t be able to reach them right now. I’ll try in the morning.”
The way Luke’s eyes darted around the room gave away the lie, but Austin didn’t press the issue. He’d only known Luke for a few hours. A few minutes, actually, considering that Luke had been unconscious during the long boat ride. He had no right to demand the truth if Luke didn’t want to tell him.
Austin finished dressing Luke’s wound in silence. Luke held perfectly still, but Austin saw his pain in the set of his shoulders. He could tell Luke had his guard up, and it bothered him. Something about Luke made Austin want to gain his trust. Austin had a feeling Luke trusted very few people.
“Okay, done.” Austin smiled. “How’s it feel?”
Luke flexed his thigh. “Better, actually.” He returned Austin’s smile. “Thanks.”
Austin knelt there on the floor between Luke’s legs, staring into Luke’s bottomless eyes, knowing he should get up but unable to make himself move. His hand, he realized with a shock, still rested on Luke’s thigh.
Luke licked his lips. “Austin...”
To his own surprise, Austin found himself moving his hand further up Luke’s thigh. Luke let out a barely audible sigh. His eyes burned into Austin’s. Those plush pink lips called to Austin like a siren song. Without considering what he was doing or why, Austin rose to rest one knee on the edge of the couch, leaned forward, and pressed a tentative kiss to Luke’s mouth.
The second their lips touched, sparks jumped between them, and something inside Austin shifted. He felt as if his entire life had been leading up to this one moment, to this kiss that suffused his soul with a hot, fierce joy. Austin didn’t understand it, but he knew that having tasted this, nothing else could ever replace it.
Oh, and check out the gorgeous cover, by Christine Griffin!