Tracefinder: Changes – Review copies and an excerpt
(Of course, with release two days away, I don’t expect to get close-to-release-day reviews, but I have the fourth Wolves coming out in a month, so I chose not to wait for ARCs.)
For those waiting to read this book, I thought I’d share another excerpt that may reassure you that Nick and Brian are moving forward with their relationship, although it’s still a work in progress.
This excerpt is from Chapter 2, so if you don’t like even tiny spoilers, look no further. But if you were wondering about the guys…
…Brian has tried to do a good Find, without the success he wanted. He also went to a therapist, but he knew, ten minutes into his first appointment, that Dr. Richard “call me Rich” Anson wasn’t going to work out. Nick picked him up after the appointment with Dr. Dick…
A few blocks later, Nick said, “I think you should stick with the therapy.”
“Because I’m crazy.”
“Because you’ve been tense and… off. Not like you.”
You are too. He slid a hand over to touch Nick’s thigh, squeezing the solid muscle in faded denim. “Maybe I need something else.” He wasn’t very good at seduction, but he had the urge to try. It’d been two long weeks. “Something to take my mind off it.”
Nick shifted uncomfortably. “I’m driving.”
“Well, I didn’t mean I’d blow you in the middle of traffic.” Brian didn’t remove his hand, but he didn’t slide it higher either. “But when we get home all bets are off.”
“Yeah.” Nick didn’t add anything else until they were parked in front of the house and getting out. Then he muttered, “I don’t think this is a good idea.”
“What isn’t?” Brian followed him up the front steps. “Me jumping you when we get in the door? If you want, I’ll let you do the jumping.”
“Damn.” Nick let them in, then closed the door and turned to him. “Look, I’m kind of not in the mood.”
Brian stepped back. “You don’t sleep with crazy people? You’ve realized I’m actually ugly?”
“No! Nothing like that.”
“What is with everyone?” Dr. Dick’s patronizing words came back up like bad leftovers. Brian wanted to punch the wall, but he’d put ice on Nick’s knuckles twice now, after Nick had done it, so he kept his hands unbroken by making fists until his nails dug into his palms. “I’m a big boy now. I’m allowed to have sex.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Well, it’s what Dr. Dick meant.” Obviously his walk hadn’t been long enough, and having Nick hold back dug that pain deeper. He stalked over to slam his hands flat on the wall on either side of Nick’s shoulders, framing him. Nick’s eyes flashed, but he didn’t duck out from under. Brian moved in closer, until his bigger size helped trap Nick in place. “I am not a child.” He arched his hips, so proof of that rubbed against Nick’s thigh. “I’m not some dumb kid who’ll have sex with any guy who wants me to.”
“You’re—” Nick began. Brian cut the words off with a hard kiss, off-center, more angry than sexy. After a second, Nick opened his lips, and it became softer. Brian touched his tongue to Nick’s, then broke the kiss.
“I’m not some kind of virgin you seduced. I’m not sleeping with you for room and board.” He leaned back to look Nick in the eyes, their hips still pressed together. He could tell Nick was getting hard too. “Nothing makes me feel more real and alive than sex. I feel adult and equal.”
“You are equal.” It would’ve been more convincing if Nick hadn’t sounded like he was trying to persuade himself.
“What would it take to make you say that like you mean it? Do you want to fuck me? Or do I have to top you to show I can?” They hadn’t done that yet, and he didn’t want his first time to be angry, but he was so tired of proving he was a real person— not least of all to himself.
Nick brought his hands up at last, warm against Brian’s back. “Fucking is no more equal than other kind of sex. Maybe less.”
“But you wouldn’t do that with a crazy guy. You wouldn’t do it with a kid.”
“I wouldn’t do anything with a kid. A crazy guy…” Nick breathed out heavily. “None of us are all that sane, really.”
“You want me to see a shrink.” He couldn’t help relaxing his braced posture into a lean, his temple against Nick’s, their bodies pressed together by his weight. Nick’s arms felt so good around him.
“So?” Nick held him easily. “Remember I said I’d been to see Dr. Murphy?”
“Yeah.” This wasn’t the conversation he’d planned— that one had been more like “Should I suck you first?” But he didn’t want to move right now.
“It was a bad crime scene, a bunch of bodies, blown apart. One of the guys, a detective, quit afterward. He took up painting, I hear. He found something to do so he could cope. Bry’s been that for you.”
“A bit weirder hobby than painting,” he muttered against Nick’s hair.
“True.” Nick pushed him back, and he went, unwillingly. But Nick didn’t step away, just met his eyes. “Have we, um, ever had sex when you were Bry?”
“No! God, no.” The thought tasted foul in his mouth. Bry didn’t have sex or want it or even think about it. That was part of the point. When he’d been attracted to the wrong guy, in the wrong place, letting Bry rise to the top— No! Playing Bry— had helped him not show any gay reactions. And the thought of Nick seeing him like that, when they were skin to skin? No! “I wouldn’t ever act like Bry then. It would be weird. Freaky.” His hard-on softened a bit, thinking about it.
“It’d be really bad for me too.”
“Is that why you haven’t touched me in two weeks? Because you think I might become Bry without warning?”
“Not exactly.” But the shifting of Nick’s eyes said Brian was onto something.
“You feel like you’re the grown-up, and I’m the not-grown-up, and I don’t deserve a sex life.”
“I don’t want to make things worse for you.”
“Worse?” He took another step back.
“That Find was so tough. I figured it ended up a reminder of your own mom, your bad years. When you crashed, you were a bit like Bry. Confused. I thought it would be better not to mix sex into the middle of that.”
“What about if I want to?” He couldn’t make real sense out of Nick’s weird excuse.
“I don’t know.”
Brian was about to make a bitter crack about what kind of guy turns down sex, as a cover for his hurt, when Nick added, “How am I supposed to keep you safe, if I keep making stupid mistakes? Sex makes everything complicated. What if it’s another mistake?”
“Another what? I insisted on the Find. I fell apart afterward. All you did was not to talk me out of it. You let me decide, went with me. Covered for me. Called Dr. Murphy. What mistake did you make?”
Nick opened his mouth to reply, an odd expression on his face. After a moment he said, “Bad planning? No planning?”
“We both made that one.”
“This new doctor was obviously a mistake.”
“That’s on Dr. Murphy. And on him.” Brian held Nick’s gaze. “I miss touching you.”
Nick closed his eyes. “I’m such a screw-up lately. I’ve been jumpy at work. I’m probably a pain to be around. I’m trying to do the job, and be your friend, and… and it feels like I’m waiting to fall off the disaster cliff. One way or another, one place or another. And when I do, it’ll be easier if we’re not sleeping together.”
“I don’t want easy, if it means not being together.”
He waited for Nick to say that he did, but he just stood there, lips pressed together, not opening his eyes.
Brian reached out and touched Nick’s jaw, then his mouth. When Nick finally looked at him, he took a step forward to move in close again. “The thing I need most is—” you, but I can’t say that “—trust.”
“Yeah.” It felt truer than he’d realized. “Trust me to know what I want. Don’t make that choice for me.”
“Oh.” There was a crease between Nick’s dark brows.
Brian wanted to smooth it, but didn’t quite dare. “I’m sorry I totally fell apart on you that day.” He hated thinking back, couldn’t even remember much of what he’d said.
“Not your fault.”
“So?” He couldn’t do this conversation anymore. “Sex? Now?” If Nick says no, if he says you’re not sane enough to want this, for real…
Nick leaned against him, and kissed him. He started slow and soft, but it eased the shakiness in Brian’s chest. He tried to kiss back exactly right, not too gently, not too sexy. Nick’s arms slid around him, and he couldn’t help reacting with a needy shiver. Nick broke the kiss and sighed, but it wasn’t a bad sigh. Satisfaction, maybe. Not unhappiness. He didn’t think. He tried one more quick peck to Nick’s jaw.
“You.” Nick hugged him. “God, yes, okay, sex. I might even let you call the shots.”
His breath came out in a whoosh, and his knees sagged. To cover it, he grinned, aiming for wicked, and sank all the way down to kneeling. “This could be fun. Me telling you what to do.”
“Within limits. I’m not up for having you in my ass right now.”
“You’re up for other things.” He ran a finger along the ridge in Nick’s jeans and enjoyed the way Nick hardened further at his touch.
“Yeah, well, grind against a guy and that happens.”
“I love it.” He mouthed over the bulge, testing its the hardness and shape, his hands on Nick’s hips to hold him still. He really, really loved the way Nick’s body responded to him. There was no hesitation there, no second guesses or doubts. Just a shudder and a groan, and a little seep of wetness at the tip.
Nick’s hands landed on his head. “Let me get out of these jeans first? They’re tight.”
“I love them too.” He ran the edges of his teeth up and down, the hardness muted by the layers of cloth. “But yeah. Bedroom. Naked.”
“Tracefinder: Changes”, book 2 in the Tracefinder series, releases Thursday Aug 4th. Don’t forget to comment on the previous post before midnight on the 3rd to enter the drawing for a free copy.