September 20, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Chapter One from Unexpected – 99¢ Sale #MFRWauthor
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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…
Unexpected is the first in a gay romance series, but each book can be read as a stand-alone. Each new novel will feature a new couple. The novel contains explicit sex between two men who fall in love. There is no cheating or cliffhangers and ends with a HEA.
© 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.”