Read Nobody's son Online

Authors: Shae Connor

Nobody's son (page 6)

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“How’s it going?” He leaned against the counter, all long arms and dark skin, and Shaun caught his breath.

“Quiet today,” Shaun said. “The weekend’s pretty much full, so we’ll have some traffic tomorrow, though.”

“How’s the computer?”

“Pristine.” Shaun smiled. “The only problem is that I get things done so much faster that I’m left with downtime. If Gran had been home when I called to tell her I’m staying over, I probably would’ve stayed on the phone with her to just kill some time. And this desk is the cleanest it’s ever been, I swear.”

Con chuckled. “I won’t tell the boss man. He’d probably want you to start cleaning the pool too.”

He’d probably be doing that some anyway if he took the promotion, but Con didn’t know that. “I should probably get better at that whole swimming thing first.”

“Good point.” Con grinned. “I’m going to head to town, stop by a window or something to pick up dinner. I’d love to bring you something too. Whatever you want, provided they sell it in Commerce.”

Shaun knew he had chicken noodle soup on offer, but his stomach was lobbying for something a little more substantial. “That would be awesome. Maybe a chicken sandwich and fries?”

“And sweet tea?” Con leaned in, and Shaun got a whiff of his skin under the soap. His skin prickled with goose bumps.

“Always.” His voice came out rough, and as Con smiled slowly, Shaun’s breath came rougher too.

“Your wish is my command.” Con pushed away from the counter, not breaking eye contact until he had to. “Back in a few,” he said, and he was gone, leaving Shaun’s heart pounding and his body on high alert.

Jesus, he thought. Con should be registered as a deadly weapon. “Deadly to me, at least,” he muttered before trying to shake off the haze of arousal.

He remembered the soup again, so he reached for his phone to text Cory, glad to have something to do.

Hey, Con’s headed to Commerce to pick up some dinner. Rain check on the soup?

No problem. There’s plenty, so you can totally have some for lunch tomorrow if you want. Enjoy your date!

Shaun snorted.I don’t think takeout eaten over the lobby counter counts as a date. Or at least it shouldn’t!

Good point. Tell that one I said he needs to wine and dine you before he 69s you!

“Oh yeah,that’sgonna happen.” Shaun tucked his phone away and turned back to the computer. There had to be some folders that needed reorganizing or something else to distract him until Con got back.

Chapter NINE

 

 

“DAMN, THESEfries are good.”

Shaun nodded, his mouth too full to talk. Con had returned with dinner from a local place—giant fried chicken sandwiches and two huge bags of crinkle-cut fries dusted with seasoned salt, along with vat-sized cups of strong, sweet tea. Shaun didn’t care how good Cory’s chicken noodle soup might be; it wouldn’t have measured up. Not tonight, anyway.

Once they’d polished off half their dinners, they slowed down enough for conversation. “I have to head back to Nashville over the weekend,” Con said, dragging a fry through the mound of ketchup he’d squeezed onto one side of his sandwich wrapper. “Prep work for the last installation contract I’m doing up there. I’ll have to go back up next week to do most of the work.”

Shaun tried to ignore the pang that went through him at the idea of Con not being around. “When will you be moving to Atlanta for good?”

Con shrugged and swallowed his fry. “My lease runs through the end of next month, so as soon as I finish this installation, I’ll start looking for a place.” He picked up his sandwich. “Maybe I’ll take you along as my property-search wingman. You can keep me from ending up with bad neighbors or getting ripped off for rent.”

Shaun snorted. “I live with my grandmother, man. I don’t know from rentals.”

“Then maybe I’ll just bring you along because I like your company.”

Con winked as he bit into his sandwich, and pleasure curled in Shaun’s belly at Con’s admission. Con had made no secret of his attraction to Shaun, but he hadn’t stated quite so clearly that he just liked being around Shaun too. It felt good to hear that it wasn’t just a physical thing, though Shaun definitely liked that part too.

The phone rang, and Shaun took a quick sip of tea and then wiped his fingers with a napkin before picking up the receiver. “Oasis Resort, this is Shaun. How may I help you?”

No one replied, and a moment later, there was a click, and then dial tone. Shaun shrugged mentally and hung up. “Wrong number, I guess.”

“Local?” Con nodded toward the phone, and Shaun glanced at the display to see it showing a number with an Atlanta area code.

“Yeah. We get those sometimes. Jimmy said there used to be a little country store down the road with almost the same number, but it closed a while back. Maybe it’s still in some listings.”

Con nodded. “I can hook the caller ID into the computer, keep a record of the numbers that call. Just a backup more than anything. If someone leaves a message and forgets to give a callback number, you could look it up in the system based on when they called, instead of having to scroll back through the phone list.”

Shaun lifted the last of his sandwich. “Don’t know that we’d have enough for it to matter, but Jimmy might like it.”

“I’ll ask.” Con took one more bite of fries, wiped his fingers while he chewed, and then dropped the napkin on top of the remainder of his dinner. “That was good, but, man, it’s a lot.”

Shaun nodded as he swallowed. “I was just thinking one more bite and I’d explode.” He followed Con’s lead, wiping his fingers and then dropping his napkin. He glanced at the clock on the wall as he reached for the wrappers. “Hour and a half ’til Phillip’s due. As slow as things have been today, I think I’d be happy for some more wrong number calls.”

Con grabbed a leftover napkin and used it to wipe the last crumbs off the counter. “Happy to hang out if you want company. Or not, if you’d rather stare into space.”

Shaun pondered during the few seconds he took to finish throwing away the remains of their dinner. “How about this,” he finally replied as he leaned back on the counter. “Tell me what you know about Atlanta and what you like and don’t like about where you live in Nashville. I can probably give you some maybes and some no-freakin’-ways about neighborhoods to look at.”

“Deal.” Con mirrored Shaun’s pose, leaning down with his arms folded on the counter between them. “If you’ll let me pay you back with a beer after work. By the pool, not in my cabin. I’ll be good.”

Even if I want you to be bad?

Shaun managed not to let that thought slip out. “Deal,” he said instead. “Now let’s talk real estate.”

 

 

AN HOURand two more hang-up calls later, Shaun was glad to see Phillip come into the lobby to cover the last couple of hours before the office shut down for the night. He’d been enjoying his conversation with Con, who’d kept to his word and stayed on topic, which had the paradoxical effect of making Shaun want him even more.

All in all it was a good and a bad thing that Phillip was on time.

“Freedom time!” About a half hour earlier, Con had finally pulled around an extra chair from the side of the lobby and sat down behind the desk, so when Phillip arrived, he stood and started moving it back into place.

Phillip gave a quick smile. “Everything okay? How’s Jimmy?”

“Better,” Shaun said as he logged out of the reservation system. “I think Cory’s almost as worn out as him. I’m staying overnight, so just lock up and head out at ten. Oh.” He’d been about to reach for his backpack but paused. “I’ve gotten a few hang-up calls tonight, which is weird. We started writing down the numbers after the second one, so if you get any more, there’s a pad of paper right here. If anything weird happens, call my cell, and I’ll come back over.”

“Got it.”

Shaun retrieved his backpack and moved out from behind the desk, trading places with Phillip and heading for the door. Con was a step behind him, close enough that Shaun could smell the sweet musk of his skin. When they stepped outside, Con reached out and wrapped his fingers around Shaun’s hand, and Shaun was startled enough that he didn’t even try to pull away.

He couldn’t remember ever holding hands with anyone, other than his mama and gran and maybe a few friends when he was little. None of the women or men he’d spent time with had held his hand. It felt simultaneously innocent and sensual, like a first kiss, and the sweet simplicity raised goose bumps all over his body.

They’d crossed the gravel drive by then, and Con stopped at the far side, next to the cabin where Shaun would be sleeping, before turning to brush a kiss across Shaun’s lips. “Beer by the pool in ten?”

Shaun nodded, and Con repeated the kiss, lingering a bit this time, then pulled back and gave Shaun a grin and his hand a squeeze before letting go and heading toward his own cabin.

Shaun stood frozen in place for a few moments but finally shook himself and headed into his cabin. He dropped his backpack on the bed and kicked off his shoes, then decidedthe heck with itand flopped back across the mattress.

Jesus. He couldn’t decide if he wished he could shut off his hormones or turn them up to eleven. If he wasn’t so affected by Con, he wouldn’t need to fight mental battles. On the other hand, if his urges would just overwhelm his brain….

No. He knew better than that. Sure, he could give in to what his body wanted, but then he’d be left to deal with the aftermath.

He sighed and sat up. Beer, then bed. Alone. No matter what might or might not happen in the future, he wasn’t ready for anything more yet.

 

 

“SORRY IFit’s not cold enough. The fridge in my cabin came unplugged.”

Con’s expression was apologetic as he held out the bottle of Heineken. Shaun took it with a small smile.

“It’s fine.” He lowered himself into the chaise next to Con and turned his body toward the pool, stretching out his legs. He took a sip of the beer—somewhere between lukewarm and frosty—and then leaned his head against the seat back and closed his eyes.

“Long day?”

Shaun smiled but didn’t open his eyes. “Long couple of weeks.” He rolled his head back and forth. “Just, sometimes being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, you know?”

Con made a noise almost like a growl. “You hear any more from that used-car-salesman guy?”

Shaun snorted at Con’s description of the man who might be Shaun’s father. “Yeah,” he said. “Decided to do the testing.” He shrugged one shoulder. “I think it’ll bug me more not knowing.”

He took another sip of his beer, listening to the sound of frogs and cicadas in the dark beyond the pool lights. Muscles he hadn’t even realized were tense began to unknot, and by the time Con spoke again, Shaun had started to drift toward sleep.

“It doesn’t change anything, you know.”

Shaun tilted his head toward Con but didn’t open his eyes. “Hmmm?”

“If he’s your father. It doesn’t change who you are.”

Shaun wasn’t so sure about that, but he didn’t have the energy to argue. He just nodded.

“Hey.” Con’s voice came from much closer this time, and Shaun gradually lifted his eyelids. Con’s smile was soft. “You nearly dropped your beer. I think maybe bed is the best thing for you.”

Shaun tried to wake himself up, but waves of sleepiness kept washing over him. “Sorry,” he muttered. “Must be more tired than I thought.”

“Not a problem.” Con held out his hand. “I’ll take a rain check and walk you to your cabin before you turn into a pumpkin.”

Still not quite awake, Shaun reached up and let Con pull him to his feet—and against Con’s body. The shock of their bodies meeting both roused and aroused Shaun. A laugh rumbled in Con’s chest.

“Seems we’ve been here before,” he said before bending down to capture Shaun’s mouth.

Shaun kissed him back, for once letting his body take the lead. When Con broke the kiss, Shaun followed him for a moment and then let out a sound somewhere between a whine and a growl.

Con laughed again. “C’mon.” He slid his hand down Shaun’s arm to take his hand. “Home now. Temporary, but still home.”

Shaun kept from stumbling on the walk over to the cabins, but only barely. His eyes didn’t want to stay open, so he was doubly glad to have Con’s hand around his, leading him to his door.

“Key?”

Shaun blinked in confusion for a moment until he realized what Con meant. He dug in his pocket and extracted the key, but before he could even try to open the door, Con had taken it from him and inserted it into the lock.

To Shaun’s surprise, though, Con didn’t try to come in. He just held the door open.

“In you go,” he instructed with a tilt of his head and a tug on Shaun’s hand. “If you need anything, you know where I’ll be.”

Shaun followed Con’s lead, stepping inside, but when Con dropped his hand, Shaun backed him up against the door.

“Doesn’t Cinderfella get a good-night kiss?”

He didn’t wait for an answer. He pressed his lips against Con’s, a small part of him giving a tiny cheer when Con responded immediately. The kiss might have been languid, but it was no less affecting for its lack of urgency. Shaun could have stayed there for hours, Con’s long arms wrapped around him where they’d gone as if by instinct, but much too soon, he had to break away to let out a huge yawn.

Con dropped his head back against the door with a groan. “You don’t play fair,” he murmured. “Kiss me like that when you’re about to be asleep on your feet.” He moved his hands to grip Shaun’s upper arms and gently but firmly pushed him away. “Bed,” he commanded. “Alone.”

Before Shaun could do more than blink, Con had slipped out the door and disappeared into the night.

 

 

THE WATERglided over Shaun’s skin like a caress. He kept his rhythm slow and steady, one arm after the other, head turning, feet moving in small kicks.

It might not be the most graceful swim in history, but he wasswimming, and that was miracle enough in his eyes.

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