May 30, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Unexpected Released Today – Read Chapter One #newrelease #gayromance #unexpected #M/M #straighttogay
Genre: Contemporary M/M Erotic Romance
A chance meeting will change their lives forever…
From the moment he entered the dark taproom, Caleb Hunt found himself drawn to the handsome man who sat alone at the end of the bar, away from the crowd. His interest in the dark-haired, muscled adonis took him by surprise, not remembering when he’d felt such hunger from a simple glimpse. Unable to stay away, he quickly found an open seat next to him and slid into it. When Ronan turned his ice-blue eyes to Caleb and introduced himself, his warm hand sent shivers of desire through his body and he was enthralled.
Ronan Scott’s boring Friday night had taken a turn for the better when Caleb took the seat next to him. Over the next few hours, he found Caleb easy to talk to and at the same time, he found that he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the beautiful man. Caleb captured his attention in a way that no other had for as long as he could remember. Taking a chance, he leaned forward and captured Caleb’s lips with his. And with the simple kiss, Ronan understood that Caleb would become an essential part of his life.
As Ronan and Caleb explore their new relationship and integrate their lives together, they realize that not everything will be so seamless…
© 2017 Valerie Ullmer
A night out had seemed like such a good idea when he agreed to go out with Dylan and Garrett, but as they walked toward the door, Dylan gave him a grin that let him know, too late, that it had been a setup.
“I’m so getting you two laid tonight.”
Garrett rolled his eyes as Caleb chuckled. The two of them were a lost cause.
Dylan thought everything was solved by a random hookup that progressed no further than that one night, while the idea of meeting a random woman just for sex and forgetting about her the next day didn’t interest Caleb. At least Dylan was upfront with the woman before they’d left; the man was unyielding in his honesty.
As far as Caleb knew, Garrett hadn’t dated since he’d retired from the military two years previous, busy with his new job as head of security at a well-known software company. Caleb had tried to talk to him about it, why he wouldn’t allow anyone close. But Garrett would change the subject or tell Caleb that he was fine. He didn’t push, but Caleb had a feeling that he wasn’t ready for any relationship that went beyond friendship.
Women flocked to him like they did Dylan, but unlike their friend, Garrett didn’t flirt back or take them home. As far as Caleb knew, Garrett had never been serious about a relationship, concentrating instead on his military career and then his civilian one. But whenever Caleb had a problem or wanted to talk, Garrett was the first person he called.
Caleb had a different reason for agreeing to come out with Dylan and Garrett. Rose, his roommate, had started dating an older man, which wasn’t usually her type. She had brought him by the apartment a few times, and Caleb didn’t give either of them a second thought.
One night, Rose had gone to pick up dinner for both her and her date, when Caleb felt a hand cup the back of his neck as he worked on his laptop. He jerked away from the touch, and when he turned around, Alan had an almost feral smile on his face. That was the first night he propositioned Caleb, and Caleb made it clear he was never to touch or speak to him again. But despite his warning, tonight had been the second time, and Caleb wouldn’t stick around for another.
So when Dylan called, he agreed to go with them to a taproom they frequented. After that, he planned on staying at a hotel for the foreseeable future while he searched for a place of his own. But wherever he ended up, he wasn’t going to live with Rose any longer.
Caleb hadn’t needed a roommate for years, ever since his contracting business became prosperous, but he liked talking to someone after spending his day alone, on his computer. But there were better ways for him to interact with people.
“Yeah, not interested.” Garrett’s response, always direct.
But despite his words, Dylan dragged Garrett over to a group of women. He ignored most of them, those who fell over themselves to speak to the quiet, intense man. But instead of turning his attention to any of them, Garrett spotted a shy, strawberry-blonde who sat patiently, listening to her animated friend and took a seat close to her. When she turned her attention to Garrett, Caleb smiled.
On the other hand, Dylan laughed as he wedged himself in the middle of the group of women, completely in his element. Caleb shook his head at his friend’s antics, before he turned toward the bar.
He searched for a place to sit, not wanting to join his friends yet. Caleb planned on killing a few hours in the place to placate Dylan, but he was doing it on his own terms.
That’s when he spotted him and everything stopped.
His breathing hitched in his chest and his heart thudded once, hard, and even the music seemed to fade as his gaze landed on a dark-haired man who sat by himself at the bar. As Caleb’s eyes slid down the man’s body of their own accord, he noted the fitted black tee that emphasized the muscles of his arms, back, and shoulders, before his gaze dropped lower to legs encased in denim.
When he lifted a beer to his mouth and swallowed, Caleb felt his own throat tighten. A shiver of desire passed over him. Never had he felt this way about a man or woman in his life.
Before he could analyze his actions or talk himself out of his stupid plan, he walked toward the man. Part of him wanted to see if the man was as stunning as he believed from across the bar or if he’d been alone for so long that his mind had conjured the perfect man.
Before Caleb could reach the stool next to him, a beautiful blonde glided up to him, running her hand down his chest. Her smile flirty and sensual. Although Caleb had never been propositioned in any way close to resembling what he witnessed, he knew that she offered the man a brazen invitation to get to know her better.
Disappointment flooded Caleb’s chest.
In the next moment, however, she frowned and backed away from him as quickly as she arrived, leaving an empty chair.
Not questioning his good luck, Caleb hurried over and shed his coat, dropping it over the back. He flagged down the bartender and indicated the beer he wanted.
He sensed the man’s eyes on him, but for the moment, he wasn’t brave enough to turn and catch his gaze. Not when his breath had stuck in his throat, and he didn’t know if he could speak without sounding choked.
As soon as the bartender handed him his mug, the man turned his body toward him and leaned over to speak, close to his ear.
“Are you here alone?”
Caleb had to bite the inside of his lip in order not to moan out loud at the sexy, deep voice. Remembering the question, he shook his head and pointed toward Dylan and Garrett across the room. Dylan, of course, had a woman on his lap and was tracing a finger down her neck, before he leaned toward her and his mouth followed the same trail.
Garrett was looking down at his phone. The shy woman he’d been talking to had disappeared, much to Caleb’s disappointment, and another was trying, unsuccessfully, to get his attention. She looked drunk and very loud by the way he flinched every time she spoke.
“Dylan, the one on the right with a woman on his lap, is the biggest flirt in the world. He’s never serious about any woman he takes home. Garrett is his best friend, the complete opposite of Dylan, but he’s loyal.”
The man laughed and Caleb couldn’t help the lift of his lips at the sound. It was deep, rich, and addictive. But when the man turned his ice-blue eyes on him, something unidentifiable swelled in his chest. He could sense that he should speak, to keep this gorgeous man talking for as long as possible. “Are you here alone?”
Smart, Caleb. Just parrot the same question back.
The man smiled before he nodded over to his group of friends. Some were flirting, but others were enjoying the company of their friends on a Friday night.
“The ginger is Hawk; he’s a divorce lawyer who is handling Ryan’s divorce. That’s why they’re hunched over their beers. Ryan’s wife apparently hadn’t been faithful during their entire four-year marriage, and he found out when he came home early from a business trip. Jack is the one who is flirting with the group of women; he’s like Dylan in that way, never serious. He’s a CEO of a tech company and he could have any woman with his looks and the power he exudes, but he’s never been in a serious relationship. Sam is my second-in-command, the one who looks faintly sick, because Adam is a forensic scientist who loves talking about his work.”
Caleb found himself smiling at the group of friends. When he glanced at the man, who had turned back to Caleb after pointing out his friends, he snagged Caleb’s gaze. “So, do you have a girlfriend at home?”
“No. I can’t remember the last time I had a date, much less a successful one. You?”
Caleb breathed a sigh of relief when he shook his head.
“I’m Ronan Scott.” He held his hand out.
Shit, even the man’s name is sexy.
He had to clear his throat before he reached out and grasped Ronan’s large, warm hand in his. “Caleb Hunt.”
Something inside Caleb warmed in increments until fireworks exploded behind his skin, all from a simple touch.
Ronan froze, his hand clutching Caleb’s. He pulled him forward, until Caleb could smell his subtle scent of cedar and spice. “Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No. I kissed a man once during a party, but I’ve never dated one.”
Ronan hadn’t let go of his hand and it felt wonderful. When he ran his thumb against the sensitive skin along the back of his hand, Caleb couldn’t suppress the shiver that snaked over his body. He glanced up, hoping that Ronan hadn’t noticed his overt reaction. He needn’t have worried; Ronan was deep in thought and the touch had been unconscious.
Caleb’s eyes roamed over Ronan’s face, understanding on a certain level that the attraction he felt was something he’d never experienced before.
But the man was spectacular. His dark hair, although styled, seemed a little longer than he was comfortable with, as he brushed it out of his face from time to time. His olive skin glowed with a healthy tan that made his eyes brighter, piercing. Caleb’s gaze lowered to the muscles of his chest and arms, and over the strong hands, one of which still held his. His gaze traveled back up to Ronan’s face, loving the scruff that had grown over the course of the day. Caleb couldn’t pull his eyes away, even when Ronan glanced up and their eyes met.
“I’ve never dated a man before, or even thought about it.” Ronan pulled Caleb even closer. “What happened with the guy you kissed?”
“Nothing. It was a drunken frat dare. He was a pledge and they ordered him to kiss a man and I happened to be close. The guy had been too drunk to remember who I was and since I didn’t feel anything when he kissed me, I had forgotten about the entire incident. Until now.”
“So…you’ve only dated women?” Ronan leaned closer to Caleb.
Caleb couldn’t help that his gaze dropped down and focused on Ronan’s lips. After a few seconds of silence, Caleb shook himself as he remembered the question. “Yes, I’ve only dated women, but usually infrequently and I’ve never been serious about someone before. Since my job requires a lot of focus and long hours, they quickly move on when they get bored of being ignored. I haven’t met anyone where I’ve given them my full attention, and that’s when they usually break up with me.”
“What do you do for a living?”
Ronan had turned fully toward Caleb. He opened his thighs and with his arm on the back of Caleb’s chair and his leg enclosing him against the bar, he was surrounded by Ronan. Caleb loved that he held this Ronan’s full attention. The action also blocked others from coming close who could intrude on their conversation.
“Technically, my title is outside security consultant. In reality, I’m a white-hat hacker. I find vulnerabilities by hacking into various systems, finding the problem, and fixing it.”
“So, are you any good?” Ronan must’ve realized how the question sounded and wiggled his eyebrows at Caleb.
“Yes, I’m good.” Caleb couldn’t help but beam at the other man. “But seriously, can I ask you a question?”
Ronan laughed before he nodded. “You can ask me anything.”
Caleb swallowed at Ronan’s casual words before he spoke. “You shot down that curvy blonde earlier, so why no girlfriend?”
Caleb watched as Ronan’s eyebrows drew down, obviously trying to remember the blonde Caleb was referring to, before realization sparked in his eyes and he looked up before answering his question.
“I haven’t really found anyone I connect with and I’m spending most of my time on my business, so, no dates either. The blonde I turned down slept with Jack last week after I passed on her first offer. She figured that I wouldn’t remember her, so she propositioned me again. I politely turned her down.”
Caleb chuckled at Ronan’s innocent look. “I’m sure.”
Before Ronan, conversation was either a chore or a chance to relieve his self-imposed loneliness, but no matter what they spoke about, Ronan had his complete attention. And the longer they spoke, the more intriguing Ronan became to him.
They had drifted closer as the minutes passed. Earlier in the night when a woman had taken a seat next to him at the bar, Ronan had reached for Caleb’s chair and tugged him closer. Before long, Caleb found his shoulder pressed against Ronan’s hard chest as they leaned in close to hear over the din of the crowd.
“What’s it like to kiss a man?”
“Well, I don’t really remember it enough to compare it to other kisses I’ve had, but there was no spark, nothing memorable. But then again, I could say that about the relationships I do remember.”
Ronan thought about Caleb’s statement for a moment. “I hadn’t really thought about it until you sat next to me. But for the first time, I feel more than attraction, more than desire. For you.”
Caleb hadn’t known if his feelings for the man could be reciprocated. But when Ronan lowered his head, he noticed heat and a glow of an emotion he couldn’t name in the other man’s eyes.
At the first touch of their lips, Caleb sucked in a breath and clenched his fists, preventing himself from reaching for Ronan. He loved it when Ronan moved his hands from the back of his neck to cup his face. He tilted Caleb’s head and he watched intently as Ronan closed his eyes and dove into the kiss.
The whimper that escaped Caleb’s throat as Ronan’s tongue explored his mouth had an obvious effect on Ronan. He pulled Caleb off the chair and moved him between his legs. Caleb groaned aloud as they pressed their chests together. But the feeling was nothing compared to when Ronan devoured him in a kiss that stole his breath and left him hard and aching. Before long, the kiss deepened and Caleb stopped thinking and lost himself to the new sensations.
Caleb’s sudden desire for more had him tense. He locked down his muscles to prevent himself from crawling onto Ronan’s lap, but it didn’t keep him from smoothing his hands over the man’s wide shoulders, imagining what it would be like to run his hands over Ronan’s naked skin.
But before he could explore further, the bartender shouted for last call.
Caleb could feel himself swaying as Ronan released him from the kiss, but somehow his hands had moved over Caleb’s waist and held him close. Ronan rested his forehead against Caleb’s as they tried to get their breathing back to normal.
“What time is it?” Caleb’s words sounded breathless as he forced them out.
“Just before two.”
Shocked that several hours had passed since he sat down next to Ronan, he glanced around and noticed that his friends had already left. Apparently, so had Ronan’s because the club was empty of people except them, a few waitresses, and the bartender.
His eyes moved back to meet Ronan’s, and for long minutes, they stared at each other.
As someone cleared their throat, they both jerked out of their trance.
Caleb kept looking shyly at Ronan as he reached for his coat and put it on, finding that each time his eyes drifted over, Ronan’s gaze would meet his and he would smile, a small quirk of his lips. Everything about Ronan called to him and he wanted, more than anything else in his life, time to get to know him. Caleb couldn’t help but feel disappointed that the night was over. With one last glance at Ronan, he turned toward the door and froze when he spotted Alan.
As he stood there and contemplated if he should head out the back, Ronan slid his arm around his waist and splayed a warm hand over his stomach. A flash of heat raced through his body at the touch and he groaned, low in his throat, at the feeling.
“Who do you see?”
“The man at the door. He’s my roommate’s boyfriend. Despite the fact that I’ve told him I’m not interested, he thinks that I’m going to fall into bed with him. No matter how many times I tell him to piss off, he won’t take the hint.”
Before Ronan could respond, Alan spotted him and stomped over to the bar where both he and Ronan stood. Surprisingly, he was oblivious of Ronan, who stood so closely behind him.
When Ronan stood as they were getting ready to leave, Caleb had gotten a clearer picture of the man. Caleb liked that he was slightly taller, and way more muscular. And he could feel all that muscle when Ronan tightened his arm around his waist, bringing Caleb flush against his hard body.
“Okay, Caleb. It’s time to end this. I want you to come home with me.”
“No. Not a chance in hell. No.” Caleb’s words were direct and cutting.
Caleb could see the calculation in the other man’s eyes and Caleb stood taller, his eyes narrowed as he glared at the man in front of him. He might look like a pushover, but Caleb could handle himself.
Caleb’s movement drew Ronan’s attention, and he growled at Alan, alerting the man that he was there, with Caleb.
Alan’s eyes flicked up to Ronan and then down to his hand open on Caleb’s stomach, clearly holding Caleb in a possessive way. Caleb almost smiled—almost. Without a word, the other man left quickly without looking back.
Caleb blew out a relieved breath and leaned back against Ronan, who tightened his arm around him.
“Do you have a place to stay?” Ronan’s voice was soothing in his ear.
“I’ll go to a hotel and then tomorrow I planned on looking for a new place.”
Ronan was silent as they both put a twenty at the bar for staying past closing. As they walked through the exit, Caleb shivered at the feel of the cold, damp air. The wind had picked up in the hours since Caleb had arrived, which was typical for Seattle in January, but it had been the confrontation that left him shivering. Although Alan had left, Caleb knew that the man wouldn’t give up.
Caleb was pulled from his thoughts as Ronan brushed his shoulder against his own.
“Did you drive?”
“No, I hitched a ride.” Caleb hesitated before glancing at Ronan. He knew that he might never see this man again, but the night had been perfect. He just wished it didn’t have to end.
Over the next few moments, his thoughts were occupied as he replayed the night. Ronan squeezed Caleb’s forearm, bringing Caleb’s attention back to the handsome man next to him. “Come home with me for the night? I have plenty of room and we’ll figure everything else out in the morning.” Ronan kept Caleb’s startled gaze in his.
“Just for the night. I don’t want to miss this chance to get to know you. The few hours we spent together wasn’t enough time.”
The sincerity in Ronan’s gaze and his words had Caleb nodding his head before he’d thought it completely through. Despite that, he returned Ronan’s smile as he placed his hand on Caleb’s lower back and led him to the red truck a few feet away.
Ronan had opened the door for Caleb and they paused. Ronan searched Caleb’s gaze for any hesitation on his part, and Caleb knew that whatever happened between the two of them, he would never regret getting to know this man. Although his kisses were spectacular, something about the man drew Caleb like no other. He wanted to know everything he could, everything that Ronan would share, and he would take anything he could get.
Ronan’s brows creased as he fixed his gaze on Caleb, a look of concern smoothing out when Caleb climbed into the cab of the truck without hesitation and clicked on his seat belt. Ronan smiled at him and shut the door, before rounding the hood and climbing in the driver’s side.
“Thank you, Ronan.”
“Trust me, it’s not chivalry, but for purely selfish reasons. I want to get to know you without a crowd around or any interruptions.”
Caleb relaxed and turned his head toward Ronan. “Yes. I would like that.”