Excerpt from Give Me Shelter

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The insistent buzzing in his ear caught his attention, and Eli awoke from his dream sweaty, turned on, and still hard. The buzzing? His phone migrating across his nightstand as it rang. What the hell time was it anyway? He looked at his watch, ten to seven. “This is Eli,” he said as he grabbed the phone, answering it instead of giving in to the urge to fling it across the room.

“It’s Bex. I need a favor.” She sounded anxious, stressed, and far too awake for this unholy hour.

Eli growled and rolled onto his back with his arm over his eyes. It was a rare thing that he denied her anything, but at the moment he was sorely tempted. Against his better judgment, he decided to hear her out. “Depends. What is it?”

“I need you to pick up Violet today and take her for her tour of the campus without me.”

He sat up in bed, the sheet falling away from his chest as he ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair. There were a few things he could think of at that moment that he wanted to do less. “Um . . . no? Why? Where are you gonna be?”

“The Fergusons’ son got picked up at closing time this morning, drunk, underage, and beat up pretty badly. I’m at UNMC waiting to get a condition on him and to see if this was just a kid being stupid or something more.”

He dropped his head back to stare at the ceiling, pulling a hand down his face. Of course, she was doing something legitimate and important. Wheels turning in his brain, he found a sliver of hope. “Why didn’t you call AR? Aren’t you supposed to be training him on this one?”

“Fuck!” and he knew right then he was doomed. She’d completely forgotten about AR. “Can you go pick him up? Take him with you? You know Vi. She trusts you. She won’t be any trouble; you know this.” Eli knew nothing of the kind, but now was not the time to pick a fight. The sound muffled as she put her hand over the phone and spoke to someone in the background. “Eli, I gotta go. Can you take care of this for me, please?”

He had to work to unclench his jaw, the fine tension radiating down his neck and into his shoulders, and he’d only been awake for five minutes. “Okay, fine, but you owe me.”

“Thanks, I’ll call ya later.”

The phone went dead in his hands and he knew damn well he would never collect. Sighing deeply, he flopped back down on his welcoming pillows for a moment. Sleep was not an option and even a sudden jarring change to the order of his morning was not enough to banish the vestiges of the dreams he’d left behind.

Some days the smell of cinnamon was enough to get a reaction, like an ingrained impulse that only his cock understood.

He stepped into the shower and turned on the hot water, letting the jets soothe and relax his shoulders and back. This was no way to start the morning, wound up like he’d been on the road for six hours in the truck with Bex.

God, it never failed. In the confined space of the car, on their own, they bonded. She was relaxed, funny, and she smelled . . . well, it was a good thing he usually drove since the steering wheel seemed to camouflage a multitude of sins, real and imagined. And oh, the things he imagined . . .

Eli groaned at his highly aroused train of thought. He leaned an arm against the wall, resting his head on it with his eyes closed. Between the dreams of Zoe and the thoughts of his partner, it was going to take more than just positive thinking to quell the erection he’d been sporting since he opened his eyes this morning. He reached for the body wash and squeezed some into the palm of his hand. “Ah, fuck it.”

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