Chapter 1 – A Restored Man © Jaime Reese 2015
The music reverberated off the walls and
filtered back through Cole’s body. The sounds of Pitbull’s “Timber”
had him gyrating in the kitchen as he reached into the refrigerator. He grabbed
the mozzarella then did exactly as the song commanded after shutting the door.
He spun his body around repeatedly, holding the bag of cheese above his head
while his hips arched up and down, completely seduced by the pounding beat of
He closed his eyes. His heart thumped in unison
with the beat, guiding his thick, compact, toned body in the fast-paced thrust
of his hips as if he were pushing into the welcoming heat of a lover.
The pace slowed and so did his body, in
complete sync with the rhythm. His hips rounded deeply, seductively, giving a
show that would always excite more than the traditional foreplay.
Cole Renzo had some moves and he knew it.
The song sped up again and he glided barefoot
across the tiled kitchen floor to reach the garlic cloves from the basket in
“Hey, you,” Matt said, entering the
kitchen, speaking loud enough for his voice to travel above the music.
Cole looked over at Matthew Doner, owner of the
halfway house where he stayed, and smiled as his body moved to the rhythm of
the song, not faltering a single beat with the interruption. He knew Matt loved
to dance and had caught him doing his own version of a solo when he thought no
one was watching. He dropped the garlic cloves on the counter and bent his
finger in a come here motion,
swinging his hips in a fluid Salsa-like move as he walked toward Matt slowly.
Matt laughed and took two steps forward. Cole pulled him closer, spun him once
then wrapped his arm around Matt’s waist and started to dance to the faster
thump of the song.
The laughter echoed in the kitchen as they moved
in perfect time with the fast-paced rhythm nearing the end of the tune. Matt
held up his arm and Cole circled with the expert elegance of a seasoned dancer,
then pulled Matt close, stepped to the side and spun Matt in the same fashion.
“What the fuck!” Julian thundered
when he entered the kitchen.
They froze at the sound of Julian’s tone, just
as the song ended. Cole’s hand still rested on Matt’s waist as they tried to
settle their breathing, the absence of music magnifying the harsh puff of each
“Hey!” Cole responded cheerfully. “Matt
and I were getting it on in here. Matt’s got some hip action that would make a—”
Matt’s hand came up around the back of Cole’s
head to cover his mouth, stopping him midsentence. What the hell? He was just going to compliment Matt on his
seductive dance moves.
Cole glanced at Julian. His golden skin glowed,
and he looked as if he had actually swelled an inch or two while standing there.
His nostrils flared like a bull’s. His usual intimidating green-eyed glare was
more vicious than usual.
“What. The. Fuck,” Julian said in
that controlled tone that couldn’t hide the undercurrent of his bubbling rage.
He looked like he wanted to murder someone. Correction. Based on the white-knuckled
fists he held at his sides, he was probably going to beat the shit out of some
Murder would show mercy.
Matt’s hand couldn’t hide the smile Cole
imagined was plastered on his face. Poor
sorry ass idiot who dared piss off Julian Capeletti. He looked up at the green-eyed guy who towered over
Cole’s five-nine stature.
“J, calm down,” Matt said to his
partner in his usual calming tone.
Yeah, good luck with that. Julian was about to
go ape shit on someone and Cole was going to have a front row seat to that
show. Cole’s stomach fluttered and he started shifting his weight from foot to
foot. He couldn’t wait to see Julian actually lose it for once.
Julian’s jaw clenched and his fists tightened.
Cole looked back and forth between Julian and Matt. Julian’s not pissed at
Matt—he never was. They had one of those sickly sweet, always romantic I love
you lick fest relationships you secretly want but would never openly admit. Why
was Julian so mad? And who the hell was he mad at? There was no one else in the
Shit. Cole slowly
registered how his actions or words may have been received. He instantly
released Matt as if his fingers were singed and put his hands behind his back.
Matt removed his hand from Cole’s mouth. Cole took a few steps back and raised
his hands in a surrender-like fashion, hoping to calm the golden beast that
seemed to be growing in width with each passing second.
“We were just dancing,” Cole said
calmly. He knew better than to joke with Julian while he was in this state of
mind. Stick to the facts. “I was
making dinner…your favorite actually.” He walked over slowly toward the
stovetop like someone stepping away from a wild animal. He kept his focus
trained on Julian as he lifted the pot tops on the stove.
Matt neared Julian and placed his hands on the
stretched black T-shirt covering his broad chest. “J, I heard the music
and came in here. You know I can’t resist a dance,” he said teasingly as
he stroked Julian’s chest. He then smiled and placed a kiss on Julian’s neck.
Julian’s focus shifted quickly from Cole to
Matt and back to Cole. Within a second, his glare had changed. Matt kissed him again
and Julian’s eyes partially closed but snapped open, re-focusing on Cole as his
Matt’s hand reached up Julian’s neck to the
back of his shaved head.
Julian’s eyes closed and his head lolled to the
side, seeking Matt’s kisses up his neck then along his jawline. In a flash, he
grabbed Matt by the hand and pulled him out the kitchen. Matt quickly glanced
back to Cole with a huge grin on his face.
Cole sighed with relief as his entire body
He always seemed to get a rise out of Julian
but it was never intentional. Not really. He wouldn’t deny he occasionally had
some fun at Julian’s expense. He just had the worst case of foot in mouth syndrome. It seemed his
mouth worked much faster than his brain. He would never say or do anything to
intentionally hurt someone, his mother had taught him better than that. But
with a thousand different thoughts racing in his mind at any given moment,
picking the right thing to say didn’t always work out in his favor.
Or as Julian said, he had no social filter
between his brain and mouth.
Cole returned his focus to the dinner he was
preparing. Food. God, he loved to cook and was thankful as hell Matt and Julian
allowed him to tinker in the kitchen. He didn’t want to stir anything up—aside
from the sauce he was preparing—but he needed to burn off the nervous energy
that thrummed through his body on a constant basis. He pressed the button on
the iPod docking station to jump to the next playlist and lowered the volume.
The smooth sounds of Maroon 5 streamed through the speakers and eased his
nerves as he continued to stir the sauce. Visions of Adam Levine singing and
dancing came to mind. Mmm. The things
he’d love to do to that man.
He was placing the garlic rolls in the oven
some time later when Julian walked into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator
to grab a bottled water. Cole closed the oven and stilled, hoping for some
magic superpower that would render him invisible. He couldn’t abandon dinner
and risk it getting ruined or, even worse, messing up Halfway House, the place
he had called his home for the last two months. Shit.
Cole turned, feeling as if he should say
something, but shut his mouth almost as quickly to avoid aggravating the
situation. He sucked at apologies and usually ended up shoving his other foot into
his mouth as well.
Julian glared at him just as Matt entered the
kitchen with flushed cheeks, a dreamy smile, and swollen lips. Matt hummed as
he tugged his shirt to straighten it. When he looked up and saw both Cole and
Julian looking at him, his eyes rounded and he quickly turned and exited the
booty call. Busted.
A slow smile began to spread across Cole’s
face. He glanced over at Julian who still had a death glare focused on him.
Julian pointed a finger at him. “Don’t you
dare go there,” he said before turning away. “And pull up your pants.
I can see your damn Spider-Man underwear.”
“Hey, don’t rag on the superheroes. Oh,
and by the way…”
Julian turned and gave Cole a pointed glare.
Cole did a chin up gesture toward the door
where Matt had been only moments ago. “You can thank me later.”
The muscles in Julian’s jaw flexed. He inhaled
sharply, shook his head, and left the kitchen without saying another word.