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“How’s Tyler doing?”
As Sam followed him down wide aisle in the grocery store, Jacob heard Sam sigh heavily. “Your brother? Tyler? Didn’t he get married a few months ago?”
“Oh. Yeah. He did.” Jacob frowned at the seemingly endless selection of products. He’d spent most of his life avoiding grocery stores. When he needed food in a hurry, he stopped in at a deli or something. He hadn’t been raised around a kitchen and as a Knight, if he wanted someone cooking in his house, he could hire a damn chef. So why learn?
Now, he felt like a stranger in a strange land. The brilliant fluorescent lighting gave him a headache. There was a screaming child a few aisles over and an old woman had just crashed her cart into his and then has the guts to blame him. Seriously, men didn’t belong in grocery stores, but there was Sam who was enjoying grocery shopping and Jacob couldn’t help but smile.
Still, he was actually starting to rethink his whole plan. He hadn’t really considered at the beginning just what all this would entail. And his interest in cooking was about as low as it could get. Then he reminded himself sternly that getting back at Ryan would worth all the hassles he was going through at the moment. Nobody betrayed a Knight and walked away.
“And? How’s he doing?” Sam prompted.
“Tyler? He’s good. Seems happy enough”
“What a touching testimony of marriage,” Sam mused and reached over to pick up bread crumbs.
“Bread crumbs are not on the list,” Jacob said, checking just to make sure.
“I know, but it’s good to have them in the house. They come in handy in all kinds of ways. These are the best,” Sam said, handing him the blue box. “Low in sodium and carbs, plus they’re crispier than ordinary bread crumbs.”
“Crispier is better. Right.” If he did inadvertently learn how to cook during this process, he promised himself, he’d hire somebody to shop for him.
“So, you don’t like Tyler’s wife?”
Jacob blinked at him. “Where did that come from? Of course I like her.”
“Well, you don’t seem thrilled that he got married, so I assumed you didn’t like his wife.”
“So if I didn’t like Christmas that would mean I hated somebody else’s present?”
“You don’t like Christmas?” Sam countered.
“I didn’t say that. Have you ever heard the word logic?” Jacob teased.
“I don’t know I may have heard a vague reference at some point. Sounds like Latin.” Sam said on a laugh.
“Naturally,” Jacob muttered, ignoring Sam’s smile, because frankly he didn’t like the buzz of interest he felt lighting up his insides. He had a plan here, and he wasn’t about to be distracted from it. Yes, he was going to seduce him. But that didn’t mean he was going to do something stupid like care for him.
Keeping his voice lighter than the tension filling him would ordinarily warrant, Jacob said, “I like Kayla fine. She’s way too good for Tyler, if you ask me.”
“So it’s just marriage in general you’re against?”
“Pretty much. In general am against relationships” Jacob stopped dead, and Sam crashed into him.
Jacob ignored the increase buzzing in his blood and told himself to get a grip on the situation. To get his mind off what his body was clamoring for, he scanned the shelves of spices and was instantly irritated. “How can there be so many?”
“Ah,” Sam said with an understanding grin, “life outside the narrow confines of garlic, salt and pepper.”
Jacob frowned. “Nothing wrong with salt and pepper. It’s basic. Classic.”
“Boring.” Sam said with a pout.
“Fine,” Jacob said. Anything to get out of here that much sooner. “What do we need? I mean, what do I need?”
“It’s all there on the list.”
Jacob squinted at labels and hissed at the elevated prices of some of the more esoteric spices. Who knew this stuff was so expensive? Thoughts rolled through his mind even as he continued to read labels. The Knights should look into this. If they could set up suppliers, they could move into the spice industry and really take it over. Knight’s Spice, he thought with a half smile. It could work. Now here was where he felt comfortable. Planning, focusing on business and growing the ever expanding Knight Empire.
He slid a glance in Sam’s direction. His gold-green eyes were fixed on him, a quiet smile tugging at his lips. Even in this hideous lightning, his skin was like porcelain and his wavy dark blond hair, a tempting mass of waves and loose curls. His lips, so beautiful, lower lip slightly fuller than the upper. So very kissable.
Sam was enough to make any red blooded person take a long, second look. Hell, he’d looked plenty himself when he had first met him. But Ryan had practically wrapped him up in a barbed wire and posted a No Trespassing sign over his head. So Jacob had kept his distance out of respect for his friend.
That respect was long dead, though, and soon he’d have this luscious-looking guy right where he wanted. In his bed. Under him.
Until then, he’d just focus on the gaziantep escort task at hand, Jacob told himself, as he shifted his gaze back to the damned racks of spices.
Sam couldn’t seem to tear his gaze off of Jacob. His dark blue jacket was open to reveal plain white T-shirt beneath. Chocolate colored pants clung to his long, muscular legs and he was wearing lighter brown loafers. What was it, he wondered about a gorgeous man who knew how to dress? Was it instinctive? Did it pull at something primal in him?
Or was it simply that Jacob Knight would look too good in absolutely anything? Sadly, he thought, the latter was probably closer to the truth.
“I don’t see peppercorns,” Jacob muttered, “and why can’t I use ground pepper? Why do I have to grind it myself? Haven’t we come further that as a society?”
“Funny,” Sam said and reached out to get peppercorns right in front. Jacob was so…formidable, that finding out he was like other men in the can’t-find-something-directly-in-front-of-him way made him seem…not ordinary by any means. But more touchable.
Not that he was thinking about touching Jacob. All right, he was. But what person wouldn’t when he was standing right beside Jacob Knight? Still, if there was one thing Sam had learned in the last year or so, it was that he didn’t want anything to do with another alpha male.
Jacob picked up the bottle of peppercorns, tossed it into the cart then consulted his list again. “Kosher salt? I’m not Jewish. You know that, right?”
Was he trying to be charming, Sam wondered, or was it just part of who he was? And if he was trying, why? Three years ago, when they first met, he had never made a move on him. And back then, he would definitely have been interested.
“Kosher salt is pure, No chemicals. It’s better for you.”
“So why do you hate marriage or in general, relationship?” Sam asked, returning to their earlier conversation.
“Didn’t say I hated it.”
“Really, didn’t have to.”
“Why are you such a fan? Didn’t you break up yourself last year?”
“Fine, you’re right. I did breakup last year. But how did you know about it? You and Ryan never talk—”
“Never did understood why you were with that guy in the first place?” Jacob cut him mid sentence.
Harris Abbot had been a mistake from the jump, when Harris asked him to date and eventually proposed to be his boyfriend and move in with him, it was a mistake. At that time Sam didn’t give much thought about love. Love was an alien concept with Harris. And he was not an expert in relationship, either. He obliged to Harris’s proposal for the sake of the family. He had known Ryan’s eagerness and excitement to venture with Abbots. Harris’s business had aligned nicely with theirs, since he was an architect with a string of successful upscale housing developments in his portfolio. Ryan had figured working with Abbot’s would take Parker construction’s to the proverbial ladder. In some way he had already sensed that Ryan was hoping for him to accept Harris’s offer.
Of course, Harris showed his true colors after sometime and Sam had reclaimed his life.
“So? Why’d you do it? And don’t try to tell me you actually loved that pompous twit Abbot.” Jacob said.
“No, that’s one mistake I didn’t make.” And Sam continued, “Just because my relationship didn’t work, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the whole institution of marriage or the concept of relationship.”
“Institution and concept, the word says it all.” Jacob muttered.
“Is that how Tyler sees it?”
Jacob laughed shortly, checked his list again and glanced at Sam. The amusement in his eyes was real this time and the curve of his lips did something amazing to the pit of Sam’s stomach. “He’s too crazy about Kayla to think anything at this point. And Kyle is ecstatic because he has all kind of expectations for free food from cookie queen.”
“What about you? Any expectations?”
Jacob stilled, looked him up and down and, in that blink of time, Sam felt his skin begin to hum and sizzle. “Not where Kayla’s concerned, no.”
Seconds ticked past and neither of them looked away. Sam felt the searing heat of the gaze licking at his skin and in another minute or two; he might just melt into a puddle.
Thankfully, he was spared that humiliation when Jacob spoke up.
“I’ve got all the spices. What’s next?”
Spices. Spicy. Sexy. Sex…
“What? Oh. Right.” Sam shook his head hard, ridding himself of the images rushing through his mind. Images of Jacob, bending down, kissing him, holding him, leaning him back onto a bed and… “First we’ll get some olive oil.”
He walked down the aisle, silently lecturing himself about hormonal surges and inappropriate behavior with a client and anything else he could think of to take his mind off of Jacob. Naked.
Jacob followed Sam with the cart and stopped when he did.
“Why do we need so many different kind of oil? How’re you supposed to know what to get?” Jacob asked, but his mind was racing wicked thoughts where these oils could be used.
“Always get the extra virgin,” Sam said.
Jacob raised his eyebrows and his mouth quirked. “There’s extra virgin?”
Jacob was amused again. Perfect. Sam was simmering, as he chuckled. Oh, this is going just fabulously well.
“Just get this one,” Sam said and reached for a bottle on the top shelf.
Jacob went for it at the same time and their hands brushed over. That one instant of contact was all Sam needed to kick that smoldering fire inside his into an inferno.
“Jacob?” A high pitched, completely surprised voice stopped whatever Sam was about to say. Instead, he turned to watch a redhead in skin tight jeans and cowboy boots scurrying towards them, a beaming smile on his gorgeous face.
“Marshall,” Jacob said stiffly. “Nice to see you.”
The words were right, Sam thought, but the tone in his voice should have warned the redhead off.
“I can’t believe you’re in a grocery store, of all places,” the redhead crooned; as he closed in to give Jacob a hug.
Sam took a step backward, sliding away to give the two of them a minute alone. Maybe Jacob didn’t seem happy about running into the man, but he doubted that Marshall would miss his presence. Sam had every intentions of hiding, but Jacob stopped him cold with one hand on the small of his back. His hand surrounded his waist and his grip tightened as he tried to squirm free, but the redhead never noticed. His grey eyes were fixed on Jacob as if he were a Prada bag on a seventy five percent off table.
“Imagine, running into you here, of all places.”
“Yeah,” Jacob said, “you said that already. Not really surprising, Marshall, I do eat.”
“Yes,” he agreed on a seductive chuckle, “but you forget, I’ve seen your refrigerator for myself.”
Perfect, Sam thought. Nothing like standing here witnessing one of Jacob’s bedmates trying to metaphorically lick him in the wide aisle of grocery store. And could he have looked more hideous, Sam wondered to himself furiously. Why his hair was undone, of all things? And why hadn’t he worn his new jeans…instead of his favorite, often washed, faded pair?
And why, Sam demanded silently, did he care?
He wasn’t on a date, for heaven’s sake. He and Jacob weren’t a couple. Jacob was a client. A customer, he was his cooking teacher, nothing more.
Which should have made him feel better, but it so didn’t.
“You look wonderful, Jacob,” Marshall said, his voice dropping to a low purr of interest.
Beside Jacob, Sam rolled his eyes and willed himself to sink into floor. Nothing happened.
“Thanks, you, too,” Jacob said brusquely. Then he added, “You’ll have to excuse us, though, we’ve got to finish shopping and get home.”
“We?” For the first time, Marshall’s gaze slid to notice Sam.
“Marshall Hancock, this is Sam Parker. Sam, Marshall.”
“Hi. Nice to meet you,” Sam said when he couldn’t avoid it.
“Uh-huh,” Marshall murmured, and then turned his renewed interest on Jacob. “Like I was saying, you look wonderful and if you’re not busy this Friday, I’m having a small, intimate party at my place and—”
“We’ll be busy,” Jacob told him, then looked at Sam. “What do you think, baby, we done here?”
Baby? He’d called him baby? Sam’s mouth opened and closed a few times while he tried to think of something clever—heck, anything to say. Then Jacob tightened his hold around his waist even more and gave him a hard hug. Keeping him tucked in close to his side, he looked at the redhead and said, “Yep, guess we’re done. Good seeing you, Marshall.”
He pushed the laden cart one handed, still keeping an arm around Sam. Sam walked right beside him, trying to figure out what just happened. Risking a quick glance backward, he could see that the gorgeous redhead was trying to understand the same thing.
He stood beside Jacob while he paid for groceries, and then followed him out to the parking lot and his car when he was finished. A cold night wind blew in off the ocean, and overhead, the stars were glittering.
He turned his face into the wind as Jacob loaded the trunk of his SUV and didn’t say a word until he’d finished and closed the lid again with a solid thunk…
“What was that about? Inside there, with Marshall?”
Jacob shrugged, and pushed the shopping cart into the area set aside for them. “Marshall’s annoying. Letting him believe you and I were together was the easiest way of getting rid of him.”
He might think Marshall was annoying now, but the redhead had made it all too clear that at one point in the not so distant past, Jacob had found him much more interesting.
“And you had to call me ‘baby’ to get that point across?”
“Seemed like a good idea at the time.” Jacob tilted his head and looked at him as one corner of his mouth turned up. He took a few steps closer and with every step, he asked, “You object to ‘baby’? How about ‘babe’? ‘Honey’? ‘Darling’? ‘Sweetie’?
Sam’s insides were shaking, and his mouth was dry. He looked up into those blue eyes of his and couldn’t read what he was thinking. Not enough lights in this parking lot. Too many shadows in the eyes, on his features.
“But am not any of those things to you, Jacob” Sam pointed out and backed up until he bumped into the car. “What if he starts telling people that he saw us together? That you called me ‘baby’? That we looked like a couple.”
“That would be bad?” Jacob asked looking down into his beautiful face.
“It wouldn’t be honest.”
“And you’re always honest.”
“Try to be.”
“Fine,” Jacob said, leaning into him and bracing both hands on his car at either side of him, “answer me this, then. And try to be honest. What would you do right now if I kissed you?”
Sam’s knees went weak.
This was ridiculous.
He was a grown man. He was no shy virgin sighing with eagerness because the captain of the football team happened to notice he was alive.
Sam was still looking up into his eyes, and Jacob was still waiting for an answer to his question. Jacob’s sent swirled around him, something spicy and all too male. His face was just a breath away. The heat of Jacob’s body seeped into his and he felt that smoldering fire inside him erupt into something a lot more volcanic.
Sam had a choice here. He could be completely professional, and tell Jacob that he didn’t want him to kiss. But that would be a big, fat lie. Or, he could be honest and tell him that if he kissed, he’d probably explode with all of the banked sexual energy he was feeling at the moment.
So what was it going to be?
Jacob licked his lips and just like that, Sam’s decision was made. Three years ago, when he had first met him, he’d daydreamed about being kissed by Jacob Knight.
Now, he was about to find out if his fantasies were as good as the reality.
“You want honest?” Sam asked.
“Okay then.” Sam grabbed the lapels of his jacket and yanked him down.
Jacob’s mouth closed over his and what felt like an electric charge blasted them both.
Sam wrapped his arms around his neck and held on while Jacob’s tongue parted his lips and slipped into the back of his mouth. Sam sighed into him and instantly tangled his tongue with Jacob’s, as eager and hungry for him as Jacob seemed to be for him.
Sam’s stomach flipped, his heartbeat staggered in heavy belts and the knees that had been weak before turned to water under the onslaught of too many sensations to count.
Jacob pulled him close, pressing him to his length, and Sam felt every hard, muscled inch of him imprinting itself on his body. A throbbing ache settled between his legs as Jacob swept his hands up and down his back caressing his behind.
Sam couldn’t breathe. Could hardly stand.
But at least, he thought idly, he had his answers.
The reality of kissing Jacob Knight was way better than the fantasy.
Jacob was hanging on to his common sense by a quickly unraveling thread.
Sam felt so…good in his arms. Jacob hadn’t expected that. Hadn’t expected Sam’s taste to enflame him or for the scent of lemons to drive into his mind and cloud up his thoughts. The feel of Sam’s body pressed against his only made him harder. He pulled him closer, to let him know what he was feeling, and when Sam moaned, it almost pushed him over the edge and down a very slippery slope.
However much they wanted the kiss to continue, they had to come up for air. Sam felt blinding when they parted to breath, he leaned his head back, taking a deep breath closing his eyes. Jacob was still holding him.
Jacob watched this even in a haze, taking rugged breath. Sam’s exposed neck looked luscious; Jacob could feel the pulse of his neck fluttering rapidly.
Sam’s breathing slowed for a moment and was savoring Jacob’s taste and gulped.
That simple movement caused something to ignite Jacob’s insides; he felt the urge to kiss that fluttering spot. His logic had failed at that instant; he followed the instincts and lowered his head to kiss those lovely spots.
Sam felt Jacob’s lips at the nape of his neck and shivered. He felt as if he was going to die of excitement. Every inch of his body was on fire. He sensed those clipped beard of Jacob scratch against his neck. His eyes rolled back and he started to moan. His hands gripped Jacob’s hair and pulled his head closer against his neck. He was losing all of his senses; only thing that mattered the most at the moment was to feel Jacob’s lips again against his.
Jacob was sucking the nape of his neck and heard Sam whimper. He smiled to himself. Then tenderly bit the soft spot.
“Jake…” Sam moaned wantonly.
Jacob liked the way Sam called his name, “Jake.” People closer to him call him Jake, his friends, his brothers, his mom, because they care for him, they love him, adore him. But the way Sam said his name did something to his heart, he liked the sound of it, and it was euphonic.
Jacob obliged when Sam pulled his head harder. Jacob’s hardness was evident at his belly; Sam was about faint from those unnerving sensations.
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