Today on First Kiss Friday I’d like to welcome my guest, R.L. Merrill, who will be sharing an excerpt from her M/M novel Hurricane Reese. Take it away, Ro!
Thank you so much Sherry for having me on First Kiss Friday!
Today I’m sharing with you the first kiss of my two guys thrown together while caring for one ornery octogenarian. Reese Matheson is a newly minted Tony winner for his first musical and he’s decided to come home and take care of his grandfather who suffers from Alzheimer’s. He’d hired live-in caregiver Jude De La Torre while he was on the road and figures the guy can just go stay with family or something when circumstances necessitate Reese moving in. That, however is not the case. Jude is a proud young man who is determined to take care of himself and not put his family out; family who is already caring for his younger siblings while his parents are in the Philippines caring for his grandparents. So he’s been living in his truck for about two weeks at this point when Reese discovers the results of his actions.
The sound of someone pounding on the car woke Jude the next morning, and the first thing he saw was Reese’s handsome face, which looked furious.
“Open up this door right now.”
The humiliation overwhelmed Jude. He turned away from Reese’s angry face at the window of his Pathfinder and wondered if he could disappear if he just closed his eyes tightly enough. It could happen. He used to play that game with his father when he was a boy. He’d close his eyes, and his father would pretend he’d become invisible. Jude would laugh and laugh while his father looked all over for him.
“Jude, I swear if you don’t open this door, I’ll break the window.”
Jude climbed over the backseat and opened the door, but he refused to speak. He kept his arms wrapped around himself to hide the fact that he was shaking uncontrollably.
“You mind telling me what you’re doing sleeping in your car outside my house? Are you crazy?”
Jude tried to keep the tremor from his voice. “I’m perfectly sane. One could ask you what you’re doing outside before dawn shouting at me.”
Reese blanched, leaned closer, and rested his arm on the roof of the car. “Please don’t tell me you’ve been doing this since I came home.”
“Okay what?” Reese asked, his voice growing more tense by the second.
“Okay, I won’t tell you that,” Jude replied and bit his lip to keep the nervous laughter at bay. He might have lied when he said he was perfectly sane.
“Why are you smiling? You have been, haven’t you? Dammit, Jude. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Any trace of humor evaporated. Jude raised his eyebrow at Reese.
“What would it have mattered to you? You’d already made up your mind to move in. I was in the process of finding a place when you asked me to come back,” he lied.
“But your family—”
“My family has their hands full. They’re already caring for my brother and sister.”
“You have siblings? Where are your parents?”
“In the Philippines. Reese, what are you even doing out here this early?”
“I was just going to run to the store and grab some coffee. We’re out. And I knew you’d be here soon. I just didn’t know you were already here.”
Reese peered around the inside of the car, furthering Jude’s embarrassment. He looked in the back where Jude had been sleeping and noticed all the neat piles of clothes and books.
“You know, most people who live in their cars are like trolls. Even your piles of clothes are color coded. Hey, you own jeans. I was beginning to think you only wore scrubs.” He chuckled, and Jude’s embarrassment turned to anger. He reached over to pull the door closed, but Reese blocked him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Reese asked, the humor fading from his voice.
“I’m leaving. What does it look like?” Jude tried to tug the door shut, not even concerned about smashing Reese’s perfect hands. It would serve him right.
“The only place you’re going is in the house. No wonder you’ve been so exhausted. You’re going to come in, shower, and get in my bed.”
Jude’s eyes flared, and he started to argue, but Reese held a finger up to his lips.
“As much as I’d love to join you there, now’s not the time. We’ll just take turns. Now grab what you need. You’re moving back in.”
Jude pulled away. “You can’t just order me around. You—”
Reese snaked an arm around Jude’s back and pulled him in for a kiss so quickly that a very stunned Jude could only open his mouth to object before Reese’s tongue filled it. Shocked, Jude tried to push him away, but Reese scooped his other hand under Jude’s ass and pulled him forward to bring their bodies flush against each other, Jude’s legs spread against Reese’s hips. When Jude would have fought harder, Reese bit down on his lower lip and growled low in his chest.
Kissing Reese was everything Jude feared it could be—overwhelming, intoxicating, and probably addicting. Jude forgot about all the reasons he shouldn’t be kissing Reese, slid a hand around his back, and pressed their chests impossibly close together. Jude couldn’t help smiling when Reese moaned his appreciation. Reese may have started the kiss, but Jude met his enthusiasm, stroke for stroke. A sort of quiet chaos built between them as they each finally gave into a chemistry that Jude didn’t quite understand. How could Reese make him so angry, turned on, grounded, and upheaved all at the same time?
Tony award-winning musician Reese Matheson’s life resembles a natural disaster, and caregiver Jude De La Torre is caught in the eye of the storm. Can the love these two opposites find together survive caring for an ornery octogenarian with wayward balls and a meddling family insistent upon tradition?
A public break-up is not what Reese expects upon returning from the successful run of his musical in London. All he wants to do is spend time with his beloved grandfather and musical mentor, who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Reese knows he doesn’t have much time left before the elder Matheson doesn’t remember him. In classic “Hurricane Reese” form, he moves into the cottage by the sea, displacing Jude, the intriguing caregiver he’d hired two years before. When Grandpa proves too much for Reese to handle on his own, Jude comes to his rescue, taming Grandpa… and the Hurricane as well. Soon all Reese can think about is how to get Jude out of his scrubs and into his bed. Permanently. Will Hurricane Reese destroy everything in its wake, or will this gay odd couple learn to harmonize together?
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Once upon a time… a teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ’n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and started purging her demons. Several self-published books and a debut gay romance with Dreamspinner Press later, R.L. Merrill is still striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after. She writes stories set in the places she loves most, such as Hollywood, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Northern California—and Iowa. Ro also loves connecting with other authors online, at the annual Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, and chapter meetings for the Romance Writers of America, of which she’s been a member since 2014.
A sucker for underdogs, Ro has adopted a wide variety of pets including cats, dogs, rats, a snake and fish. Her love of horror is evident the moment you walk in her door and find yourself surrounded by decorative skulls and quirky artwork from around the world. You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, educating America’s youth, being a mom taxi to two busy kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or head banging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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