Temptations of Desire
by Tempeste O’Riley
Desires Entwined, #3
M/M Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 22, 2014 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages
Add to: Goodreads
Alexander James Noble is a gender fluid gay man who gave up on finding Mister Right a long time ago. He’s not asking for much, though. He just wants a guy who loves all of him and appreciates his feminine form too.
At the local LGBTQ center where Alex regularly volunteers, he meets Dal Sayer, an officer of the Milwaukee PD. Because he’s been rejected one too many times, Alex doesn’t trust the huge cop and the interest he shows in him, but once Dal sets his mind on something, he goes all out. Pushing aside his preconceived notions, Alex opens up just a little and soon caves.
From their first date—while dealing with his father’s failing health and his parents’ demands for him to settle down and have children—Dal never takes his eyes off his goal of making Alex his. But proving to Alex he isn’t like all the men who couldn’t see him for who he truly was and only wanted to hide him away is harder than he thought.
ALEX NOBLE stared out his windshield as he pulled around to the back of the center and frowned. He hated not having help for deliveries like this, but since this was a personal donation, not a work-related one, he had to get along without. Of course, if his employer knew what he did every Saturday, Alex was certain he would support him, if not actually assist in some way. However, this was his gift to the center—a place he wished had existed when he was younger. Despite prejudice and the threat of limited funds, he hoped the center Cynthia Jazz and Kyle Corbin fought to build would make it.
Alex hopped out of the van, noting the teens over on the court playing three-on-three. Deciding not to interrupt their game, he opened the van’s sliding side door and started unloading items for the kitchen in the shelter part of the center. On his third trip, he was startled when a police cruiser pulled up next to his van. He hadn’t noticed any commotion, so he wondered what a cop was doing there, especially on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning.
With a shrug, Alex decided to brush off the cop’s presence and finish moving his supplies into the kitchen. Then he would begin the colossal task of creating a “home-cooked meal” for all the teens, young adults, and adults that would flow into the dining hall later that day. Gathering up the last few bags, Alex turned and shoved the sliding door shut with a nudge of one slender hip.
Again hip checking the button that would open the door without the use of his hands, Alex heard the thud and jingling of someone running up behind him. Tensing—the instinctive fear of who it was and what they wanted unnerving him completely—Alex spun around to confront the unknown person coming up on him fast. Instead of an attacker or one of the teens he had seen playing ball, it was the most gorgeous man, cop, Alex had ever laid eyes on. The stranger came to a halt in front of him.
Alex gasped, both frightened and entranced. His heart raced as he tried not to stare or shrink back. Neither option seemed wise right then.
The handsome man took a quick step backward, though, raising his hands up in a gesture Alex assumed was meant to calm. A small smile touched his lips, and what luscious lips they were. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you, but I think you’re who I’m supposed to be meeting here today.”
Alex tilted his head to the side as he took in the man before him. The sea-green eyes held such sincerity that he was intrigued, though the beefy arms, nearly half a foot in height he had on Alex, dark auburn hair, and adorable freckles dusted across his nose and upper cheeks nearly distracted him from what the man said.
“Why are you hunting for me?” Alex straightened up, trying not to let his lust show through in tone or stance. He knew most male cops were not appreciative of being hit on by other men, and he didn’t need any problems, though he was sure he could just stand there and stare for days and not get tired of gazing at the one before him.
“Are you Alex?”
An odd look passed over the cop’s chiseled face as he continued to stare. “Um, Alexander James Noble?”
“Yes, but I don’t know why I need a cop,” Alex snapped. Being rude usually wasn’t his thing, but cops worried him. In his experience, they always seemed to back the wrong people. Unbidden, his thoughts flashed back to the last time he was attacked for being gay—they let the attackers go and took him in instead. They’d released him immediately, but still….
“My name is Dal Sayer, and Mrs. Jazz wanted me to speak with you about the big dance next month. My brother and I are volunteering as security. She said you had keys and could show me the layout and such,” the cop explained, his words rushing out, his cheeks flushing lightly. Too freaking adorable!
“Oh, um, sure. Here, let me set this stuff down inside, and I’ll show you around a little.”
Alex turned and led Dal into the large stainless steel kitchen. “Cops as security? Here? What is she thinking?” he groused under his breath as he sat the last of the bags on one of the long wooden counters.
“Take it you don’t like cops much,” Dal said, an odd note in his deep, yet gentle, voice. He almost sounded sad, or maybe disappointed.
“Sorry,” Alex said, hating how easily his face flushed. Being a light-skinned black person meant it was always very obvious. “I. It. Um, never mind. Please forget I said that.” Giving Dal his best smile, he cleared his throat and tried again. “I’m glad they’re going to have security for the dance. Chaperones are great, but someone a little more butch and beefy might do well to stop any potential problems before they can even start.”
Dal’s booming laugh startled him out of his daydreams of winning such a man’s interest.
Alex realized that not only was he flirting, but he had been staring again. Quickly averting his eyes, he focused on where the keys sat and on not stumbling.
“Give me a min, ’kay?” He put the cold things away in the large industrial fridge before wiping his hands down the thighs of his dark jeans as he fought a serious case of nerves. Alex looked back up to face Dal, swallowing hard as he struggled to keep his voice even and firm. “Officer, let me show you the main areas, and then I’ll leave you to do whatever it is you need to do for party planning and security things while I get ready for later.”
“Dal, please. I’m not here in an official capacity.” The gentle curve of his sensual lips drew Alex’s eyes and held him captive until Dal cleared his throat.
He simply nodded, not trusting himself not to make a fool of himself right then.
Showing Dal around didn’t take long. The large gym area they intended to use for the dance already held some of the decorations—they were all set to one side. The area had wood floors and high ceilings. Once decorated and with the music going, Alex was certain the kids would have a blast.
“The restrooms are down the hall here. You might have issues with smoking and, well, kids getting a little too friendly in there or out back. All the side rooms will be locked, so you won’t have to worry about those. Cynthia and Kyle are very strict about the kids respecting not only each other, but themselves too, so I doubt you should have too much trouble to handle.”
“Yes, she explained that, but something as simple as an ex trying to interfere with a new relationship can cause more than just hurt feelings. But don’t worry, we’re not here to cause problems or pass judgment. Rhys and I will only step in if it’s truly needed. All right?”
Alex nodded slowly. “Oh, okay.”
“I’ll have a look around and stop back by on my way out, if that works for you.”
“Cool. I’ll be, um, cooking. Bye.” Alex fled back to the kitchen, desperate to calm his heart and steady his nerves.
Once he put in his favorite mix and turned on the CD player, he got to work. Cooking always calmed him. Alex pulled out the pots, pans, and trays he would need. Setting the large mixing bowls down in his chosen baking area, he started measuring the ingredients for both cheddar-garlic biscuits and the crusty herbed garlic bread to go with the salad, pork and pot roasts, and various veggie dishes he planned for the day’s meal. After placing the tea towels over the bowls and setting them aside to rise, Alex cleaned up and headed toward the fridge to pull out the roasts. Each one got a dry rub before he put them back in the refrigerator to wait. He then danced over to the sink, washing his hands again, before heading for the baskets of fresh carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, greens, apples, and portabellas he’d brought.
A deep chuckle brought Alex out of his dancing and chopping. He spun around with a soft gasp, dropping the knife on the counter in the process, to find Dal, arms folded across his chest, resting against the doorframe, smirking at him. “Oh, no-no. Please don’t hold back on my account!”
Confused by the mix of lust and mortification running through him, Alex gaped at Dal. Snapping his mouth shut, he squinted his eyes, hands going to his slender hips. He huffed. “It’s my kitchen, and I can dance if I wanna.”
“Yes, you certainly may.” Dal winked and chuckled again. “I didn’t mean to disturb you. Just wanted to let you know I was done and heading out.”
“Oh,” Alex sighed, completely captivated by the sweet smile Dal was giving him. “Thank you. Did you find everything you needed?” Alex smiled, hoping it appeared flirtatious instead of nervous.
“I think I just might have,” Dal replied, voice deepening, eyes not moving from Alex’s.
Somehow the heat in that green stare made Alex wonder if there might be more to the simple statement than the specific words implied.
“Good. I’m glad, Officer.”
“Dal, please. And thank you, Alex.”
“Dal,” he barely got out. It sounded more like a whisper than anything. “You, you’re welcome.”
Dal opened his mouth to speak again, but the radio on his shoulder crackled to life, effectively cutting him off. He motioned Alex to keep quiet while he answered. Alex watched, fascinated at the change from shy, possibly flirting man to towering powerhouse as Dal became Officer Sayer in front of him. Alex bit his bottom lip, thinking unsexy thoughts to try to stave off his erection thanks to how hot Dal, both as a sexy man and delicious officer, made him.
Pulled out of his thoughts when Dal cleared this throat, Alex watched the sexy cop again. “I’ve got to go for now, Alex, but thanks for the tour. I hope to see you again. Soon,” Dal called to Alex as he looked back at him before hustling out the door.
Alex stood there staring at the spot where his fantasy man had just been, wishing he knew the man better or had some way to know how to run into him again.
Well, he thought, there’s always the dance….
About the Author:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA. Learn more about Tempeste and her writing at http://tempesteoriley.com