September 27, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Chapter Two from Unexpected – 99¢ Sale #MFRWauthor
✮ ✮ ✮ 99¢ Sale ✮ ✮ ✮
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
Ronan started the truck and put it in gear. But before he pulled out of the parking lot, he reached over and linked his fingers with Caleb’s, needing a connection with the man seated next to him. He smiled when Caleb curled his fingers around his, and when he looked over, he could see that Caleb had relaxed back in his seat.
The man was beautiful. It was the only word that he could come up with whenever his gaze found Caleb.
He had sculpted cheekbones, expressive hazel eyes—a color he’d yet to see on another person—and a strong, square chin. But what drew his eyes were his lips. He wanted to take his bottom lip and suck it into his mouth, before he explored and tasted Caleb, taking as much time as he needed to memorize the feel of them. He savored their earlier kiss, but it had been over too quickly. Never before had a simple kiss stirred him as much.
And here he was, a twenty-nine-year-old man who was interested to another man for the first time in his life. But his attraction didn’t even cover the swirling emotions that almost overwhelmed him whenever he looked at Caleb. Want and desire flooded his senses, a strange occurrence because the instant need was unheard of in Ronan’s experience. And yet he found that he welcomed the strange sensations, as well as the unknown.
“So, what do you do for a living?” Caleb asked.
Ronan cleared his throat. “I’m a restoration architect. I design updates of historical buildings and older houses, and then my crew and I restore what we can and rebuild what we can’t. Sam is the co-owner and while I make sure that the jobs are going to plan, Sam supervises the group of guys we have on payroll.”
“What part of the job do you like the most?”
Caleb’s question was insightful and he told him so. He’d never been asked that question; people assumed that he loved the money and the perks of being an architect, but not the actual work that came with it.
“Although I went to school for architectural design, I like the feel of building something with my own two hands, especially woodworking. It’s the most rewarding part of my job. I usually rush through the designs so that I can get onsite and do the actual work.”
Before long, Ronan parked the truck in the garage, turned off the engine and shut the garage door behind them, leaving them in semi-darkness and the quiet of the garage. They sat there for a few moments, Ronan’s thoughts had been churning since he learned that Caleb was looking for a new place.
There was one solution that kept presenting itself, over and over again.
This place, the house he’d fallen in love with and bought five years previous was huge—several bedrooms, a den, a landscaped backyard—and yet he had no one to share it with. Caleb needed a place to stay and he had plenty of room.
“You should stay here. Until you find the right place. There are several bedrooms to choose from and if you can stand the smell of sawdust and the sight of some unfinished rooms, you can stay as long as you’d like.”
Caleb opened his mouth and closed it quickly, repeating the movement several times before he turned his hazel eyes to Ronan. Ronan had caught himself staring at the man’s beautiful eyes most of the night, mesmerized by the way they sparked when he talked about something he was excited about, or how they glowed when he laughed. Now, they looked into his as if searching for an answer that eluded him.
Without waiting for his answer, Ronan opened the door of his truck and rounded the passenger side.
Caleb sat, staring straight ahead for a long moment, before he turned toward Ronan.
He cupped Caleb’s face in his hands and brushed a light kiss against Caleb’s lips. Caleb leaned toward Ronan and before the kiss could become heated, Ronan pulled back and leaned his forehead against Caleb’s. Their breaths mingled as they stared into each other’s eyes. Slowly, he linked their hands together and smiled when Caleb squeezed briefly, before Ronan led the way in his house.
The garage led to a mudroom, where they toed off their shoes, and then onto the living room.
“I don’t really like the open ceiling concept, but I plan to put a couple of beams up there before adding drywall and some lighting.” Ronan filled the silence when Caleb had stopped in the middle of the living room, taking in the dark wood floor, the wall-to-wall bookcases that surrounded the room, and the couches and chairs that faced the entertainment system. There were floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out to a private dock and man-made lake in the back. The light from the full moon reflected off the water’s surface.
Caleb’s words shot straight to his chest. He was proud of the house and the renovations that he’d slowly completed since he’d moved in.
“When I bought the place, it was a complete wreck, but it was in a great location. I had to rip out everything and start from scratch, but I loved every moment of it. I still have a couple of rooms to finish, but I work on it when I have time.”
“Do you mind showing me around?” Caleb asked.
“I don’t mind at all. Let’s start in my office.”
Ronan led the way as he showed Caleb the den, the space messy with blueprints and filing cabinets. Caleb had asked if he could see some of his blueprints sometime and it warmed Ronan that Caleb had taken an interest in his career.
They moved onto the library, one of his favorite rooms. “This used to be a game room, but I converted it. I love to read anything I can get my hands on, so I thought this was a necessity.”
“Wow, I could spend years in here.” Caleb’s voice held a bit of awe that made Ronan smile.
Ronan took Caleb’s hand in his and led him out of the library and into the kitchen. Caleb groaned as he took in the open space. “I would love to cook in here.”
“Well, I won’t stop you. I can’t boil an egg if my life depended on it.”
Caleb laughed. “It’s easy. I’ll show you sometime.”
Ronan nodded. Although it had never occurred to him that he could be attracted to a man, or that he could have a relationship with one, he realized that each moment he spent with Caleb he wanted exactly that. Caleb captured his interest from the moment he sat down, and the longer they spoke, the more he wanted to know about Caleb. He was captivated by the man.
The tour of the rest of the house went quickly, before they ended up in the master bedroom. Ronan turned to Caleb as he took in the room with the bay window and even more built-in bookshelves, and tightened his hand to get Caleb’s attention.
“I want you to stay in here, with me.”
Caleb nodded without hesitation, and Ronan found the tension in his chest relaxing. He led Caleb into the bathroom, where Ronan dropped Caleb’s hand in order to search for a new toothbrush. Finally finding one in an obscure drawer, he handed it to Caleb.
“I’ll be right back. I’m going to find you something to wear to bed.”
Ronan darted out of the room and went to his dresser, grabbing a tee and boxers from the drawer, before heading back. Ronan walked back in to see that Caleb faced the door, his hip propped against the counter and with a smile that sent a shiver over his body. It had been obvious that Caleb had waited for Ronan when he picked up his toothbrush and glanced at Ronan. Ronan grabbed his, he opened the cap on the toothpaste and held it up for Caleb, and plopped a dollop of the paste on it. He did the same for his, and they proceeded to brush their teeth. Something about Caleb next to him as they readied themselves for bed seemed intimate, yet natural.
Ronan left Caleb to change in the bathroom and went to pull out an old ratty tee he sometimes slept in, leaving him in his boxers. Just as he slipped it over his head, he sensed Caleb in the room, and when he looked at his face, he found Caleb’s eyes tracing over his naked chest. And when he spotted the heat in the man’s eyes, he sucked in a breath and watched as Caleb’s gaze slowly move up to meet his.
Holding out his hand, Ronan cleared his throat before speaking. He wanted to make sure that Caleb understood what he had asked earlier. “Sleep with me tonight?”
“Okay.” Caleb walked closer, allowing Ronan time to trace his eyes over his long, lean body.
He pulled back on the comforter and sheets. “Which side?”
“I like sleeping by the door.” Caleb crawled into bed and slid on the other side, but turned to face Ronan.
Ronan lay down, and for a long moment, they stared at each other from across the bed. But Ronan, needing Caleb closer, slipped his arm around his waist and pulled him until Caleb settled his head Ronan’s chest.
“Is this okay?”
“Yeah, this is nice.”
Their kiss had shifted everything he believed about himself. Instead of crumbling his foundation, it felt as though he’d righted himself, and it was a heady sensation. He couldn’t define himself at that moment as gay or bisexual; all he knew was that he’d never felt for anyone the way he felt about Caleb in such a short amount of time. And to him, he couldn’t fathom the possibility of them being separated.
Ronan wasn’t quite tired, especially with Caleb in his arms, so he asked the question he’d been thinking about most of the night. “Have you ever thought about dating a man?”
Caleb shook his head against Ronan’s chest, who cursed himself for putting on his shirt in the first place, wanting to feel Caleb’s soft hair against his chest.
“It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t. I just haven’t thought about it.”
“Would you like to try to have a relationship with me?”
Caleb sucked in a breath and moved his head off Ronan’s chest to look at him. He searched for something in Ronan’s expression. Caleb’s features were quite expressive when his brows drew down as he thought about the question.
Although he wanted to beg Caleb to take the chance, he wouldn’t force the man to make such a monumental decision without thinking it through. Everything had happened quickly between them, but Ronan knew that he was acting on instinct alone, and instinct told him that Caleb would become important to him.
“You don’t have to answer now. We can spend some time together and then you can decide.” Ronan was proud that his voice came out steady.
Caleb nodded and moved his gaze to Ronan’s lips. For a long moment, Ronan waited to see if Caleb would make the first move, and wasn’t disappointed. Caleb leaned toward Ronan and when their lips pressed together, Ronan was taken aback from the intensity of the touch, which grew as Caleb ravaged his mouth.
Much like their first time.
Ronan closed his eyes at the sensation of Caleb kissing him, and when Caleb licked his bottom lip, asking permission, he opened immediately.
It was a kiss, something that he would’ve believed he had experienced and perfected over time. But it had taken this wonderful man to prove him wrong. Caleb’s kiss enveloped him entirely. He could feel his cock swell in a matter of seconds, his chest heaved with exertion, and yet Caleb only explored his mouth with light touches and an occasional brush of his tongue against his own. It was everything he needed.
Caleb pulled back and both their chests were moving up and down with deep breaths. His eyes were glowing, embers sparking as he caught Ronan’s gaze. He’d never seen anything as exquisite as Caleb’s hazel gaze. Needing more, Caleb licked Ronan’s bottom lip again and when he opened, he swept his tongue inside as his hands gripped at Ronan’s tee. As Ronan swallowed Caleb’s moan from their kiss, the sounds made Ronan desperate for more, for everything.
Sensing this, Caleb broke the kiss and moved onto his back. He tugged Ronan over him, running his hands along his back in a soothing manner as their eyes caught and held. Ronan could feel the same sense of need in Caleb as he felt in his own body. When he cupped Ronan’s head and brought him down for another heated kiss, Ronan moaned into his mouth and wrapped the other man tightly in his arms.
They lost themselves in the sensations of their touches, kisses, until they lay there, breathing hard as they shivered with need. They pulled away from their latest kiss, sucking air into their lungs, as they held onto each other. Ronan buried his face against Caleb’s neck and inhaled a mixture of mint and tea tree and moaned against his skin.
“Hmm.” He couldn’t lift his head from Caleb’s neck, his scent.
“There’s nothing I need to think about. I want to be in a relationship with you.”
Ronan lifted his head so quickly, he was surprised that he didn’t get whiplash. When he looked at Caleb’s smiling face, it felt as though he received every Christmas and birthday present he’d ever wanted at the same time. He smiled at the beautiful man underneath him and Caleb’s answering smile had his heart thumping hard in his chest.
But Caleb’s face dropped at that moment, replacing happiness with a look of concern.
“Do you have any doubts about this, us?” Ronan couldn’t help the change in his voice on the last word.
Caleb shook his head. “Will being in a relationship with a man hurt your business? What will your friends think?”
Ronan reached up and smoothed Caleb’s brow with his fingers. He placed a chaste kiss on his lips before he explained.
“I don’t care what anyone thinks about our relationship, and my business is on solid footing. My friends have never cared one way or the other if I’m gay or straight, but if they’re truly my friends, then they’ll respect my decision. If they can’t, it’ll be their loss.”
Caleb lifted his head and kissed Ronan, a simple brush of his lips, but it was enough for Ronan to deepen the kiss for a few heated minutes.
As he pulled back, Ronan needed the same question answered. “What about your friends?”
“Dylan, Garrett, and I have been best friends with Jason since high school. He came out shortly after college, but before his residency. He’s been with his partner, Ben, for several years now. They won’t care who I’m with as long as I’m happy. They will be surprised how quickly I dove into this relationship, though, because I’m more of a think things through kinda guy.”
“You don’t think that we’re moving too fast, do you?” Ronan had been concerned that he pressured Caleb into coming home with him and spending the night, but the thought of Caleb walking out of his life caused his heart to clench in his chest. Not pain exactly, more like panic, but he didn’t want to miss the opportunity with this wonderful man.
Caleb chuckled and pushed Ronan onto his back, burrowing against his chest.
“No. I think we’re acting on our instincts. I’m pretty sure that just like this situation is alien to me, it’s also strange to you. We’ve both acknowledged that we haven’t been attracted to men before, but there is something between us, so I figure why not try and figure it out together?”
Ronan blew out the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. “Good. I was worried there for a moment.”
“Well, I’m in bed with you after meeting you five hours ago, so it’s a good bet I’m not worried about it.”
Ronan tightened his arms around Caleb and smiled when the man blew out a breath against his chest. “We’ll go and get your stuff tomorrow, and we’ll move you in here.”
They burrowed under the covers and Ronan listened to Caleb’s deep breathing for a couple of moments. While he hadn’t wanted to go out, he was grateful to his friends for getting him out of the house and giving him a chance to meet Caleb. And because of their insistence, he’d taken the chance he wouldn’t have otherwise and now had Caleb in his arms. As his eyes drooped with sleep, he couldn’t keep the smile off his face.