on August 19, 2014
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Ryder Daniels has spent the last year recovering from rejection: his parents couldn’t accept his sexuality and his lover chose drugs over his love. The only bright lights in his life are his younger brother and his rescued pit bull. But now his mother's punishment for his lifestyle has cut him off from his brother he loves so deeply. Devastated, he throws himself into the work of the Pit Bull Foundation he and his friends started.
Jason Mallory can no longer hide the dissatisfaction of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. When her marriage ultimatum pushes him to break things off, he's determined not to jump into the dating scene. But when a group of injured pit bulls are found on his construction site, he can’t forget the guy who shows up to help.
After Jason adopts one of the dogs, he and Ryder become fast friends—until one night, Ryder lets down his guard and Jason recognizes his desire. Soon, they can’t deny the passion between them but will family differences and ugly prejudices keep them apart, or can they fight to prove that love is precious, no matter the flavor?
I loved this book!!! The story of Ryder Daniels and Jason Mallory touched my heart and soul.
Ryder is a gay man open about his sexuality, he has wonderful friends, a dog he loves and a job he takes great pride in. What Ry lacks is the love of his family and someone to share his life with.
Jason has a business he is working hard to build, a family he loves but is just going through the motions.
When these two men meet the connection can be felt by the reader. I loved the way these two meet, this meeting results in Jason adopting a puppy from the shelter Ry runs with his two best friends Emily and Connors, friends who by the way made great secondary characters.
I adored watching Ryder and Jason become friends, yes friends, they bond, they learn to appreciate each other as they and their two dogs find a comfortable synergy. Make no mistake about the fact that when these two connect it is hot! I loved the build up and the energy these two give off will heat up your kindle.
One of the wonderful things about this book was Ryder’s hesitant in contrast to Jason’s initial easy acceptance about this feelings for Ryder.
Jason’s coming out to his family was such an amazing scene; such a range of emotions! The range of reactions and emotions made scene on that will stick with my some time.
The use of John the bartender to resolve the conflict between Jason and his brother Liam was masterful! It was powerful enough to speak to Liam and to the reader. Oh and it made me so want a happy for John, I am not going to ruin it for reader by telling you what John says but wow so good! The use of this backstory was outstanding, powerful, moving and impacted the main characters in way that moved the story forward.
Jason’s gesture, his attempt to help Ryder re-gain some of what he lost truly spoke to me about the depth of his feeling for Ryder. He proved he was willing to walk into hell if he would make Ryder’s life easier.
The end, oh the end, the epilogue of this book was outstanding!!!
Heart warming, powerful and a happy to the reader feels to the depth of their soul!
This was a wonderful debut male male story and I will be surely 1-clicking Ms Stevens next release!
The sky was a lick of azure blue against the rolling gray waves. It was morning in East Hampton, yet the sun already beat down against the sand, sending shimmering waves of heat down the beach.
Ryder leaned up against the weathered deck, watching the gulls skim the surface of the water. Little sandpipers danced along the shoreline, darting in and out of the tide, and further down the beach he saw his dogs, Pearl and Trouper playing tag in the surf. Connor and Em’s dogs were there as well, flopped down on the sand next to Ryder’s father, who stood like a sentinel, on the edge of the shoreline.
The past year with his father and brother had been the best year of their lives as a family. Now that he had re-joined the family law firm, Ryder could hold his head proud, not only about his sexuality, knowing his father stood by him, but by creating an animal rights division within the firm, he raised awareness among a different client base. One with money and power to lend their support.
The iced coffee tasted cold and nutty, and Ryder placed his mug back on the railing, watching his father walk down the beach, the dogs following in his wake. Hopefully one day his father would find love, because Ryder’s mother had never loved anyone but herself. Grimacing, Ryder shut his mind to thoughts of his mother, as he wasn’t willing to spoil his wedding day.
In the distance, he could see the workers preparing the lawn in the back of his father’s estate for the reception in the early evening. The ceremony itself was to take place on the beach and a row of white chairs stood stacked at the ready to be lined up on the sand. He and Jason had chosen the July 4th weekend as the perfect time to celebrate their wedding. What better time than Independence Day to hold a a ceremony allowing them to marry like any couple in love.
Large white tents had been set up on a portion of the lawn next to the house, and a dance floor had been laid down. Ryder had no problem envisioning his friends abandoning the closed in area and heading back down to the beach later that night to party on the sand. That’s what he and Jason intended to do.
Since he was a child, the beach had been one of Ryder’s favorite places in the world. It allowed him to become one with himself; at peace with all the emotions running through his body once he recognized he was gay. He’d lie on the sand, heart pounding, and practice coming out to his parents in his head.
Even knowing how cold and distant his mother had always been all his life, he still never thought she wouldn’t accept him. The violent, negative reaction from her to his coming out set him on the self destructive course in his future relationships until he met Jason. And yet, even knowing how happy and in love he and Jason were and that they were getting married, she continued to reject him and his lifestyle. Still, a tiny piece of him had held out hope she would show up today and accept him once and for all.
Stop being an asshole. She’ll never come.
Strong arms encircled his waist from behind, and a warm breath wafted past his ear. “Hey you. Why’re you up so early?”
Ryder sighed and leaned back into Jason’s chest. “Hey. Couldn’t sleep. I always come out here in the early morning to look at the ocean.” He could feel the press of Jason’s early morning arousal in the crease of his ass, and he rubbed himself up against the hard length.
Jason’s hands crept lower, stroking Ryder’s stiffening cock, cupping his balls. A low moan escaped Ryder. “What’re you doing?”
Jason’s teeth nipped Ryder’s earlobe, then traveled down his neck. “If you have to ask, I’ve been neglecting you.” He licked down Ryder’s neck and stroked him faster, until Ryder thrust his hips up into Jason’s hands, groaning out his pleasure.
“Let’s go back to bed, babe.” Ryder turned around to face his soon to be husband. “I want you naked and inside me.”
Jason’s dark blue eyes glinted and instead of agreeing, he pinned Ryder up against the weathered wood of the deck . “Uh uh. No way. I didn’t come to the Hamptons to sit inside. I want to fuck you outside, with the sun on us and the smell and sound of the ocean.”
Ryder’s breath caught in his throat at the intensity of Jason’s stare. A smile curved his lips. “That’s pretty romantic for a big tough construction guy.” Jason bent over and his mouth covered Ryder’s, crushing their lips together in a deep possessive kiss. Their tongues tangled together, breaths merging.
A union of two souls into one.
“I don’t care what you call it.” Jason’s breath rasped heavy as his lips moved across Ryder’s jaw, licking and sucking at his neck. “I love you, and I don’t care who knows it. Now shut up and let me taste you.”
Jason hooked his fingers in the waistband of Ryder’s thin athletic shorts and yanked them down. They slid over Ryder’s slim hips to fall in a puddle around his ankles. His cock sprang free, jutting up toward his flat belly, its flushed head already gleaming with wetness. Ryder groaned as Jason knelt in front of him and licked up the length of his straining cock. His large hands held Ryder against the railing, while his thumbs teased slow circles around the slant of Ryder’s hipbones.
“Shit, Jason.” Ryder’s head fell back as Jason’s mouth enveloped his cock in one hot, wet slide. A trembling began deep within Ryder as he planted his feet wide, steadying himself so he could remain upright against the onslaught of Jason’s wicked, roving mouth.
Jason’s tongue played havoc with Ryder’s cock, one moment teasing the slit at the tip, the next curling around the shaft itself. He moved faster and faster up and down Ryder’s length, and Ryder couldn’t help thrusting himself in and out of Jason’s mouth. For a moment he opened his eyes and watched his cock sliding in and out between Jason’s full lips, gleaming wet in the sunlight. The sensation of Jason’s flickering tongue, and the scrape of his teeth was almost too much to bear. The man was a fucking god with his mouth, and Ryder closed his eyes again, wanting only to feel.
Like a rollercoaster, the rush came upon him, his body tightening in preparation for his orgasm when Jason inserted the tip of a thick, wet finger inside his ass. Ryder bucked up, thrusting deep into Jason’s mouth, crying out, uncaring who might hear him.
“Fucking hell.” He erupted, shooting down Jason’s throat, feeling as though his cock was being swallowed whole. Ryder reeled, and if he didn’t have the hard wooden railing behind him, he knew he would’ve collapsed.
After swallowing every last drop, Jason leaned back with a smirk on his face. “Better now?”
Under his early morning stubble, Jason’s face flushed red, and his dark blue eyes shone bright with desire. Ryder saw the sheen of perspiration on his naked, tanned shoulders.
After pulling up his shorts, Ryder sank down next to Jason and kissed him on his cheek. “Better than better. But you look like you need some taking care of yourself.” He indicated the bulge in Jason’s sweatpants. “I can’t leave you like that.”
Jason pulled Ryder into his arms, ignoring him. “I bet you were thinking about your mother, right? Look, babe, if she doesn’t come today, it’s her loss. You have everyone else who loves you here, right?”
Ryder stiffened, then laughed, but there was no humor in it. ‘Yeah, all except the one person who’s supposed to love me, no matter what. Kind of ironic, right?” The one point of contention between him and Jason in the planning of their wedding was Ryder’s insistence on sending his mother an invitation. Jason had been dead set against it, but Ryder sent one anyway. Jason hadn’t mentioned her silence until now.
“I know you think I’m an asshole for still wanting her to show up. But she’s my mother, Jase. No matter how horrible she is, I thought she’d come around.”
Jason jumped up and pulled Ryder to his feet. “Maybe she’ll surprise you yet. But if she doesn’t, you have my mom who loves you, and my sisters. Hell, even Liam loves you now.” Ryder let Jason lead him inside the house toward the bathroom. They shed their clothes along the way, until they were naked. Jason turned on the shower and they stood under the warm spray together.
“As long as you love me, I don’t care.” Ryder whispered to Jason.
“I do and I will. Forever.” Jason pressed him up against the shower wall, kissing him until he could barely remember his name.
At five o’clock the sun was still out, although the heat of the day had dissipated somewhat. A simple canopy stood on the sand, draped in white with vases of white roses at the base. Seventy-five guests sat on the beach, listening to strains of Vivaldi playing in the background. Connor Halstead and his wife Emily walked down the aisle, Emily holding their one year old son Jack in her arms. Jason watched as his sisters, Nic and Jessie followed, their pretty faces shining with excitement. He thought Jessie was almost as happy to see Ryder’s brother, Landon, as she was to be in the wedding.
“Look at your brother, Ry.” Jason nudged Ryder. “He can’t take his eyes off of Jessie.”
Ryder laughed. “How could he, she’s gorgeous.”
Jason joined him and laughed until he saw Liam walk down with his girlfriend Courtney. A year ago he never would’ve believed he and Liam would be at this point, yet the huge grin on Liam’s face and the thumbs up sign he gave all the guests almost brought tears to Jason’s eyes. He was so damn lucky to have the family he had. A fierce wave of protectiveness for Ryder and all the hurt he’d endured rose over Jason. Without a word, he grabbed Ryder and kissed him hard. “I love you. Never doubt it for a minute, no matter if we get angry at each other or have shitty days. I will always love you.” His voice shook, rough with emotion.
Ryder’s bright blue eyes flickered then gleamed. “I know. And I love you too. Nothing can change that.” He hugged him back. “Now let’s go get married, so I can make you legal.”
Jason held Ryder’s hand as they walked down the aisle and finally stood with the judge under the canopy. It was perfect. The setting sun painted a rainbow of colors across the horizon and the gentle pounding of the surf blended in with the soft violins. The judge cleared her throat and waited for silence.
“Jason and Ryder have written their own vows and wish to share them with you, the most special people in the world to them.” She looked at him and smiled. He’d liked her right away, when Ryder’s father introduced them. She was warm, smart, and funny. “Jason, you’re up first.”
He faced Ryder and his heart began to pound. Ryder had never looked happier or more beautiful. His golden hair blew gently in the breeze and his bright blue eyes glittered. More important to Jason was the aura of peace and serenity on his face. It was now a rare occurrence to see the shadows that once resided there.
“You know I’m not big with words, so I’m going to speak from my heart.” Jason took Ryder’s hand in his. “Ryder. I once told you that you changed me from the moment I met you. But I don’t think so. I was merely waiting out my life until you came by to rescue me from a lonely half-lived life. I never thought one person could bring so much joy and happiness to everyone he meets but that’s what you do. You made me believe in love again, because as soon as I met you I knew I could never let you go. You are stuck with me for life now, babe. I love you, forever and always.”
Ryder blinked, and cleared his throat. Jason squeezed his hand.
“I love you, Jason. Only you were able to chase away the darkness and bring light back into my life. And because of you, my father and I became reunited, and my brother and I have the best relationship in the world.” Ryder hugged his father who stood next to him under the canopy, then faced the audience. “I love you, Landon.”
“Love you too, Ry.” Landon called out.
Tears burned behind Jason’s eyes as Ryder took both his hands. “Jason, your love gave me the strength to not only face my demons but conquer them. The love I have for you exceeds anything I imagined. You are my partner, my lover and my heart. And because of you I get to have a whole new family who I love like my blood and who accept me. I love you.”
The judge smiled. “I’ve rarely seen a couple so perfect for each other in all the years I’ve performed the marriage ceremony, and I have no qualms in stating unequivocally I know Ryder and Jason will have a long and happy marriage.”
“Kiss each other already!” Connor’s voice broke into the judge’s speech. The congregation broke out into laughter.
The judge laughed. “Very well. By the powers vested in me by the State of New York, I now pronounce you married.” She pointed to Connor. “Are you ready, Connor?” Placing a gentle hand on each shoulder she stated loud and clear for everyone to hear, “You may now kiss each other.”
Jason took Ryder’s face in between the palms of his hands. “I love you, babe. No turning back now, remember?”
A beautiful smile broke across Ryder’s face. Those were the words he said to Jason the first night they made love.
“Never. Love you too.” Ryder captured Jason’s mouth, stealing his breath and his heart all over again.
Falling. Jason held on tight to Ryder and didn’t let go until he heard the cheers and whistles of their friends and family. Heat warmed his face and he reluctantly pulled away, giving Ryder one last, soft kiss on his mouth.
“Hey, husband.” He smoothed the pad of his thumb over Ryder’s full lower lip.
“Hey yourself.” Ryder smiled, then raised their clasped hands over their heads and to applause and cheers, called out. “We did it, everybody.” They walked back down the aisle and stood, accepting the congratulations of their friends and family. Jason caught Ryder’s gaze sweeping over the crowd, looking futilely for the one person who failed to show. His mother.
Jason would not allow that bitch to destroy Ryder and ruin their wedding. “Time to party, babe.” Jason accepted two glasses of champagne from the waiter and passed one to Ryder. “Look who came to wish us well.” He pointed down the end of the aisle.
Ryder peered around him and laughed out loud. There, at the end of the aisle, sat their dogs, Trouper and Pearl. Connor and Emily’s two huge black pit bulls, Laurel and Hardy sat behind them. All four dogs wore flower-covered collars, their heavily muscled bodies a sharp contrast to the delicate beauty of the blooms. In her mouth, Pearl held a squeaky toy that said “Just Married.”
THE WEDDING NIGHT
The party went on for hours. As expected, they all ended up on the beach dancing under the stars. With their pants rolled up to their knees and their shirts unbuttoned, he and Jason relaxed on one of of the blankets, an open bottle of champagne between them. They took turns taking swigs from the bottle, stealing kisses in between.
Sitting under the stars, the surf pounding on the shore and all his friends and family around him, a sense of peace and contentment spread through Ryder like warm butter on toast. He watched Landon slow dance with Jessie, smiling to himself as he caught them stealing a sweet kiss. Thankfully, it seemed Landon would have a better experience with his first love than most. Jessie was a doll.
Connor and Emily swayed together, and Ryder only hoped he and Jason would have as strong a marriage as his best friends did.
“They really are perfect together aren’t they?” Jason whispered in his ear and kissed his cheek. His breath smelled sweet like the champagne and coupled with his heat and the salt tang of the ocean, a throb of lust rose so powerful within Ryder he almost moaned out loud.
“You’re perfect.” He pushed Jason down on the blanket and began kissing his face. “Every fucking inch of you is perfect.” Ryder nipped the strong line of Jason’s jaw, then licked down to the pulsing beat along his throat. “Let’s go inside. I want to fuck so you badly I’m about to do it right here in front of our friends.”
He heard Jason’s breath catch in his throat. “Are you serious?” In one fluid motion, Jason stood, grabbed the bottle of champagne, and took Ryder’s hand. “I’m fucking dying for you. Let’s go.”
Ryder thought they’d be able to get away without anyone noticing, but he should’ve known better.
“Sneaking out early you two? Where do you think you’re going?” Connor’s laughing voice stopped them both in their tracks. Damn him. Just once he’d like to get something by those knowing green eyes of his best friend.
“Ahh, we’re gonna say good night.” Ryder bent down and kissed Emily on her cheek. “Good night, baby. Thanks for everything. I love you. Try and keep him on a leash.”
Emily hugged him hard, then Jason. “I’m so happy for you sweetie. I love you guys so much.” She leaned back into Connor’s arms. “We’ve got the dogs for the night so don’t think about anything.”
They bid their family good night and Ryder hugged first his father, then Landon. “Love you, buddy. Thanks for always sticking by me.”
“Together forever, Ry. You, me and now Jason and his brothers and sisters.” Landon grinned back at him. His brother now had reached Ryder’s height, and Ryder wondered if he and Jessie would stay together when he went off to Cornell in the fall. Only time will tell.
“Where’s John?” Ryder heard Jason call out, surrounded by his brothers. “I want to thank him and say good bye.”
“I saw him talking to the bartender before. They went back inside the house I think. Knowing him, he’s probably talking business.”
Impatient to be alone with his husband, Ryder pulled Jason away. “See you in the morning everyone.” The two of them ran up the slope of the beach toward the separate beach house they were using for the night. No way was Ryder staying in the same house as his family and especially Connor. Knowing his best friend, he’d probably come busting in during the night.
And Ryder had plans for the night that didn’t involve anyone but him and Jason. “Come on. Let’s get inside and get in bed.”
“Damn you’re bossy now that we’re married. Are you gonna be like this all the oomph—”
Ryder threw Jason down on the bed and straddled him. “I’ve been hard for you all day, and seeing you lying there all dark and sexy tonight made me want you more than ever.” He pulled off Jason’s shirt and undid his belt, sliding it out of the loops. Jason remained silent, his eyes gleaming in the semi- darkness of the cottage. Only faint moonlight streamed in through the windows, touching the white sheets, gilding the bed silver.
Right now, Ryder’s thoughts were only for Jason, lying all warm and half-naked underneath him. “Lift up for me.” Jason complied, and Ryder slid off the thin linen pants Jason wore, along with his boxers. At the sight of his husband’s thick erection, another stab of lust rolled through him. “You’re so fucking gorgeous.”
Still Jason said nothing, merely lay back with a half smile curving his lips. Ryder took that as an invitation to take control, and bent down, engulfing Jason’s cock in his mouth. He swirled his tongue about the head, then slid his lips all the way down the thick shaft. Jason skin smelled of musk, a slight tang of sweat and summer warmth.
Love made all the difference. Ryder kissed his way up Jason’s broad chest, the familiar taste of his skin like food for the soul. He’d sacrifice everything for Jason—this wonderful, giving man who brought joy with him everywhere he went. Ryder slicked his cock up with the lube he’d taken out earlier and slid into Jason’s body. As he entered that tight heated passage, Ryder once again experienced that sense of completeness, the knowledge that Jason was a part of him and they were two halves of one whole.
The passion always simmering between them began to spiral out of control. Ryder shut down to everything except the mindless desire he always experienced when he was inside Jason, and he thrust hard and sharp, hitting Jason’s sensitive spot over and over again. Jason writhed beneath Ryder, clutching his shoulders, lifting his knees up and yanking Ryder harder against him, forcing him deeper inside.
“Do it harder. Need you.” Jason panted, shifting so Ryder could sink deeper inside. “Now.”
Ryder complied, and with the sweat pouring off both of their bodies, he plunged into Jason again and again until the ecstasy engulfed him, virtually shutting down his senses. The force of his orgasm slammed into Ryder, his cock stiffened then pulsed, spurting endlessly inside Jason’s body. Electric aftershocks sent ripples of pleasure through Ryder’s nerves as he collapsed on top of his husband.
It took several minutes for Ryder to return to his senses, then he rolled to his side and took Jason’s swollen cock in hand. It only took a few strong pulls before Jason came hard, groaning out his pleasure loud and long, his creamy white essence spilling through Ryder’s fingers. Ryder loved that Jason was a noisy lover and didn’t consider him well loved, unless the walls echoed with Jason’s loud cries.
They lay together, both breathing hard, unwilling or unable to move. After a moment Ryder, finally able to walk, got up and went to the bathroom where he cleaned himself off. His legs still trembled from the after-effects of their lovemaking. With a damp towel in hand, Ryder returned to their bed and wiped off Jason’s chest and stomach.
“Umm, that feels good, babe.” Jason moaned, then surprised Ryder by pulling him into his arms and kissing him. “I’ll never get enough of you. I remember the first time I saw you sitting in the truck. I got hard just looking at you.” He laughed and continued his lazy exploration over Ryder’s sensitive flesh, kissing his jaw, his breath hot in Ryder’s ear. “You’re still the sexiest man alive, and I can’t keep my hands off you when you’re near me.” Once again Ryder’s body began to stir and quiver with desire as Jason began to lick his sensitive nipples. ‘You fucking slay me.”
“Don’t ever stop touching me, wanting me. My mistakes made finding and loving you all the more special. Now and forever, babe. This is only the beginning.” He turned into Jason’s embrace, returning his kisses, and Ryder knew for certain that this was where his life began, and all that went before had merely been a prelude to this moment.