Sinner’s Fall (Brooklyn Sinners BK #4)
Hiding his feelings isn’t easy for Tommy, especially when the man he’s been running from shows up on his doorstep.
Tommy Jankowski is running. He’s hiding from a past he can’t escape and a man he can’t forget. With a new name and resolve, he settles in a small California town, attending school and waiting tables. It’s at his job he catches the eye of the craziest man in town and it’s there he witness an evil act. Fearing for his life, Tommy reaches out to his old boss for help. The man who shows up is the last person Tommy is prepared to face.
Mateo Oliveros hasn’t forgiven himself for scaring Tommy so bad he took off running. He’s been losing himself in random hookups, a futile effort to forget the biggest mistake he’s ever made. When Mateo gets a call that Tommy is in danger, he doesn’t think twice before rushing to the rescue, but Tommy isn’t happy to see him. Mateo’s plan is to eliminate Tommy’s problem then walk away, but that’s getting harder and harder to do. The pull between them hasn’t disappeared, in fact, it burns hotter and brighter. With neither man willing to give in, they’re both headed for a fall. It’s only a matter of who goes first.
Tommy’s shoulders tensed and he made a sound, a sigh maybe, before he jerked his head up. His brown gaze clashed with Mateo’s, flashing defiance, chin tilted in that stubborn way Mateo should not find sexy.
But he did.
“Can you just talk already?”
Mateo blinked. Talk. Right. Serious topic too. ”Actually, can we sit?” The long drive from Atlanta to California was taking its toll. He needed some rest, some sleep, but this took precedence.
“No sitting.” Tommy’s lips thinned. He crossed his arms over his chest before taking a step backward. “Talk or I’ll be closing this door.”
“Then I’ll be kicking it down.” Fuck, he’d been going for civilized, but that son of a bitch didn’t want that. He looked away, fought for calm “Look, I needed to know. I had a right to know why you ran from me.”
Despite his face going deathly pale, Tommy still managed to roll his eyes. “A right, really? What, like a boyfriend, a partner, a lover?” He snorted. Mateo really wanted to grab him, yank him close. Bury his face in that neck, all naked, exposed for him.
“I cared for you.” He fucking wished he could recall those words. “You weren’t like the others.” He wasn’t a throwaway fuck, wasn’t disposable like the rest. Never had been. Mateo knew that, and just when he’d decided to make that leap, take that chance…poof. A cloud of smoke, but no Tommy.
Tommy laughed. Looked him in the eye and laughed. “You cared for me?” He shook his head, as if that couldn’t possibly be true.
Mateo’s gut clenched.
“You don’t hurt people you care for. You don’t fuck around right there, right under my nose, so I can see how much of a bastard you are. If you care.”
Mateo pushed into him, got in his face “I’d have given it up for you,” he spat.
Tommy’s eyes rounded and he stepped back, but Mateo went with him, kept stride with him, every step back for Tommy was one forward for Mateo. “Me getting in your bed was the first step, T. My presence in your bed was my way of telling you I was all in, because I knew,” his voice, long gone hoarse, cracked, “I knew you were an all-in kinda guy, so I took the leap. Jumped for you. But you ran from me.”
Fuck, he was losing control. Losing his mind. Abandoning the vow to keep shit business and not personal. But the wounds were there, picked raw, and he needed to air them out.
Tommy gaped at him, shock and something else shining in his eyes. His face and neck were blotched red.
‘‘I had you in my mouth, tasted you, and then you were gone.” He reached out, did what he wanted to—touched Tommy’s face.
Tommy tensed, his nostril’s flared.
“You left, without giving me a chance, without telling me what I did to scare you so fucking badly that you damn near passed out.” He yanked himself away, spun around, giving Tommy his back. “I had to get answers.”
“I—” Guess he found his voice. “I couldn’t stay, couldn’t face you.” His voice was weak, hesitant.
Mateo scraped his nails over his scalp with a nod. “You didn’t trust that I wouldn’t look at you and not see a victim?”
“Yes, that.” Tommy paused, cleared his throat. “I knew about your preferences, how you like your sex,” he whispered, and Mateo turned to face him. Tommy’s throat worked. “I heard the guys talking so I knew you like your ropes, and belts, and blindfolds.”
Mateo’s throat hurt. His head too, but he pursed his lips and gave Tommy a sharp nod. He wouldn’t lie about that.
“What you want, I can’t give.” Straightening, Tommy tilted his chin, hands fisted. “And after all I’ve been through, I’ll kill myself before I allow anyone to take.”
Mateo lunged at him, grabbed the front of his t-shirt and pulled him up against his body. Hard. Tommy’s gasped breath touched his chin. “No one takes from you, not while I’m alive, not while I can fucking breathe. No one.” He shook Tommy, ached to do more than stare down into his eyes. “Not even me, T. You give.” His eyes burned, and he blinked in surprise.
Tommy held him, kept him rooted to the spot with his wide gaze, so focused on him. Like lasers. Hot. Fucking kid didn’t even seem scared, but he didn’t know Mateo was hard for him, needing him. Coming apart for him. He didn’t need to know.