Declan Graham is a skeptic. He’s a driven man with a logical mindset that leaves no room for the belief in ghosts, spirits, or things that go bump in the dark. Much to his dismay, a loss of employment leads him to move back to his kooky New England hometown, a place filled with people who believe in all things supernatural and where everyone seems to have a secret. On top of it all, his neighbor is the son of a Norse god.
Within twenty-four hours of meeting the demi-god Finn Bryant, Declan’s understanding of the world turns upside down, and he finds himself face-to-face with the superstitions he has tried to escape from over the span of his adult life. Filled with a mysterious and enigmatic hunk, passionate love, and the threat of certain death, the strange town of Cherish will put Declan through a gauntlet of turmoil that leads up to a final realization that may just be enough to unravel his very sanity.
“You have to be shitting me. Excuse my language, but that is the biggest lie I have ever heard. I heard the rumors about all the women that want you in town,” Declan sputtered about before his brain could even think to stop those words.
Finn simply laughed in that carefree kind of way and went about fixing his plate. If it was one thing the other had beyond good looks and an obvious sense of humor, it was an appetite. He watched on in awe, yet again at his neighbor, as he piled his plate high. He couldn’t say that he didn’t understand, for the man looked like a sheer powerhouse of physical prowess and well-defined muscle. By the time he sat the brown dish back in front of him, Declan couldn’t even see a single bit of the plate’s visible surface for the sheer amount of food that was on it. He in turn fixed his own serving, but it was one that hardly matched Finn’s in volume.
“It’s the truth. I’m not exactly attracted to women. Cherish doesn’t have a huge populace under the age of forty-five to pick from beyond that,” he said.
“Or the sane,” Declan offered.
They both broke out into earnest laughter.
Finn swallowed and washed down a bite of pork with his wine. Declan picked at his plate sparingly. He was far more entranced in his company than he was in the delicious meal his mother made them. Finn leveled his gaze at him while he speared another stem of asparagus onto his fork.
“I guess you don’t buy into the whole supernatural thing, huh? That was one of the first things I noticed about Cherish. Everyone seems to have their own belief system, and they are as far-branching and diverse as the next. It’s a welcoming kind of community like that, I guess. No one is forced to believe any one thing,” Finn said.
He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s hard enough growing up with the struggle of sexuality, the uncertainty of the future, and the need to fit in. All my life, until I moved to California, I watched as the people around me put their faith blindly in a world that doesn’t exist. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts…it’s all just a bunch of nonsense, like the tooth fairy is for children. It gives us some hope in a life after death, when all we really have is this fleeting moment. Where was a guardian angel when my dad lost the fight to stage-four cancer?”
Finn frowned heavily at him and volleyed him a look that appeared laden with genuine concern.
The rest of their meal went by with idle chatter. Time passed more quickly than he would have liked to admit. They discussed what exactly Finn did for work as a private contractor, the spiritual group his mother ran, and their dreams and aspirations for later in life. Declan was surprised at how easy he was to talk to. For the first time in a long time, he simply let his guard down and let someone in. He wasn’t disappointed either. Finn was as kind as he was a good listener. There was something about the other that made him feel perfectly at ease. While there was definite attraction there, they were able to simply get to know one another through the rest of dinner, which was a nice change of pace.
The hours seemed to pass like minutes in Finn’s company. Declan was able to laugh and joke with him in a way that he hadn’t found ever before. They flirted back and forth, enjoyed some witty banter, and ended up breaking into a new bottle of wine. He wasn’t sure if it was the buzz of the red wine or the elation of having company that actually stimulated him intellectually, but Declan was having a ball. He’d have to remember to thank his mother in the morning for the chance to meet someone as delightful as Finn. He could see what all the other women in Cherish must have spotted in the man—a caring individual that was as attractive on the inside as he was the outside. He felt himself heavily attracted to the man, both physically and emotionally. It startled Declan to recognize such a thing and he withdrew a little. The last thing he wanted to do was to get his heart broken again by a handsome man with a silver tongue.
Declan put away the leftovers, cleared their plates, and poured them another glass of wine. His mother had made them a small cheesecake to share for dessert, which he pulled out and sat upon the counter. He had turned away from Finn to get a knife out of the drawer reserved for cutlery when he felt the heat of another body slide up behind him. Declan felt every muscle in his body tense with the closeness of the man he was so attracted to. There was the pass of lips against the exposed back of his neck, between his messy hairline and the collar of his sweater. It was pure instinct to lean back into the warmth of the hard dominant body behind of him, even if his heartbeat thudded away a million miles an hour in his chest
“I’ve been waiting to do that all night,” Finn murmured heavily before he trailed just the tip of his pink tongue against the back of his neck.
Finn’s voice was husky and full of craving when he uttered a single command. “Undress.”
He was in no position to resist such a command, nor did he have the slightest inclination to deny Finn what he wanted. He was sure there was a dazed hunger that showed in his eyes. Declan toed out of his shoes, taking a moment to kick each to the side as he went. He fumbled anxiously with the belt buckle of his pants thanks to his trembling hands. The weight of the demigod’s gaze was heavy upon him, bathing him in the erotic fervor of longing. He breathed in with a shallow gasp. Finn’s desire was an intense pulsation upon his skin. Within moments he stepped out of pants, boxers, and socks. Tentatively, his gaze lifted from the ground to meet his god’s. What would it feel like to have his cock pulsating inside of him? He hoped he would find the answer to that question soon.
“Finn,” he murmured, his voice audibly breathy. “I…I want you…”
Declan could tell there was an instant reaction within the other’s body to those words. Finn growled with primal dominance and yanked down his briefs. His muscles coiled with the need to touch the monstrous phallus exposed to him. From within a downy bed of neatly trimmed blond curls, the thick base of his cock jutted out proudly. It curved slightly upward and visibly pulsed with every hard beat of his heart. Declan sucked an unsure breath in. The only person he had ever been sexually active with was Alex and he hardly held a candle to the easy nine inches pointed right at him.
“Touch me,” Finn commanded, and any sense of insecurity fled from his mind.
With a hesitant lift of his hand and a flush across his cheeks, Declan slowly curled his fingers about the extensive scope of his base. He heard a growl escape him and he was sure the other enjoyed his shy exploration. Declan grew brave with the comfort that he was in a safe and loving environment. He gave a slow flick of his wrist upward and pumped his fist about the almost granite flesh. Again, he touched him, grazing his fingers up along his sensitive underside where his swollen glans lay. Declan clenched his fingers gently in surprise when he felt the favor returned by Finn’s hand. His touch was as soft as velvet and made his tip weep clear gems of preseminal fluid down the underside of his shaft.
He couldn’t stand it anymore. He had to have Finn. He tried to tell himself to go slow and easy, not to rush things. That was thrown out the window as soon as he felt the other throbbing in the palm of his hand. Gently he pulled back from the other male’s grasp and backed up onto the stairs. Without the desire to try and make it to the bedroom, he decided to let Finn have him right there. Sure, the staircase wasn’t the most seductive place, but they would have all night to dabble in true seduction. Right now, there was a pressing urgency to consummate this feeling they shared. Declan lay back on the staircase with his rump on one stair, his back arched upon the same his elbows rested upon.
He spread his thighs and gave Finn a clear view of what he had to offer. The other male growled out again, but this time it was a deeper and more gravel tone. He lacked any sign of hesitation when he stepped forward to kneel on the stair below his ass, in between his thighs. Those strong hands scooped his legs up just beneath the joint of his knees and spread them wide. Declan sensed a blush rise to his cheeks at how exposed he was, but since it was for Finn, he didn’t mind too much.
“Be gentle, will you? You’re bigger than I ever had,” he admitted.
Finn’s brows pinched together and there was a flash of an animalistic expression across his visage. “I’ll be gentle and slow at first… You’re mine now, Declan. I have no intention of letting you know any other cock than mine for the rest of your days,” he purred, words dripping with possessive dominance.
“I’d have it no other way,” he breathlessly whispered.