Exclusive Excerpt from Hearts & Health Volume 1
by DJ Jamison
Zane led Paul into his apartment, feeling a little self-conscious as he looked at the place through the doctor’s eyes. The man probably had a gorgeous house, something really expensive, and a maid to keep it clean.
He had a small, two-bedroom apartment still in the throes of moving chaos. Boxes were flattened and stacked in the corner, and the mismatched furniture had seen better days. It looked like a place a college kid would live, and it had never bothered him. He’d been excited to be out on his own at last. But to a doctor used to nicer things …
“Sorry, it’s uh, still a work in progress,” Zane said, feeling awkward.
He’d taken the lead and invited Paul here, but now he felt uncertain. He wasn’t as experienced as he pretended to be. He really didn’t know what the doctor expected. Should Zane just kiss him? Lead him straight to the bedroom?
Actually serve the iced tea?
“You just moved in. Give it time,” Paul said.
He didn’t seem to be judging Zane too harshly. His blue eyes took in the surroundings with interest, but there was no disdain there that Zane could see. When Paul’s eyes landed on him, Zane quickly turned and headed for the kitchen.
“How about I get you that tea?” he said, his nerves too jittery to take the bold actions he’d imagined when he invited Paul over.
He couldn’t quite get a handle on why the doctor affected him this way.
Paul was older, but not terribly old. Probably late thirties or early forties. Not so much older than Gage, he assumed. But Zane had never been particularly interested in older men. Unless it was a new thing. The doctor was attractive, if conservative in his looks. He had blond hair, cut in a simple style, and glasses that masked the prettiness of his eyes unless you looked closely. His face was narrow, with even features — an intellectual sort of face, rather than a rough, masculine one. It fit him perfectly, though. He looked every inch the sexy academic. Whether doctor, scientist or college dean, the look worked for him.
The look definitely worked for Zane. His lips burned with the desire to kiss the man.
He realized he was staring at Paul, and hurried to hand him a glass of tea, sloshing it on the floor in the process.
“Shit,” he said, turning to grab a paper towel and mop up the spill.
“You seem kind of nervous,” Paul said.
Zane glanced up from the floor, sodden paper towel in hand and laughed. “I know, right? Sorry.”
He stood and tossed his trash, then grabbed his own glass of tea and led Paul to the living room. The doctor followed him, quiet after Zane’s admission of his nerves. Maybe Paul was feeling the tension, too. But was it a good tension or a bad tension?
Paul sat down next to Zane on the sofa and shifted to face him. “So, why are you nervous?” he asked, sounding baffled.
Zane’s heart thrashed in his chest as he turned and set his glass on the flimsy coffee table. Paul followed suit, watching Zane all the while with a confused expression.
Then, before he could lose his nerve, Zane leaned forward and brushed his lips against the corner of Paul’s mouth.
“This is why,” he murmured.
Paul took in a sharp, surprised breath, and Zane dragged his lips across Paul’s to kiss him properly. He brought up a hand, cupping Paul’s face and pulling him in closer.
Paul gasped against his mouth, his lips trembling under Zane’s.
Encouraged by his reaction, Zane traced the tip of his tongue along the man’s bottom lip, before pushing inside the warmth of his mouth.
The broken moan that sounded in Paul’s throat sent shockwaves of desire through Zane. It sounded like pleasure. It also sounded like pain. It seemed to straddle the line between joy and grief. He didn’t know what to make of it, but Paul’s hands clutched his hair and the man’s tongue slid against his own, so he took it for what it was: need.