A Gem City Grit Book
- Love It Like You Stole It
Michael Levine is backed into a corner. He started tearing apart cars for the local mob with the best of intentions—to save up money to pay for his mechanic certifications and impress his crush and mentor, Ben. But Michael soon finds himself in way over his head. He knows stealing is wrong, but it’s only cars, and the insurance will pay to replace them, right? What started out as a small job to make some extra bucks soon turns into a nightmare he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to find his way out of.
Ben Jelen isn’t sure where his life is going. On the surface everything looks fine. He has a successful business, he’s raising his niece into a strong person, and he has a boyfriend most guys only dream of—sexy and rich. But nothing feels right. The only things that really keep Ben’s attention anymore are his classic Road Runner, his niece, and Michael—his Meeko. Ben took him under his wing forever ago, and their love of old cars and fast driving has forged a strong bond. Ben’s days don’t feel right if he doesn’t get to see Meeko at least once. But something seems drastically wrong in Meeko’s life, and Ben hopes he can put the pieces together to help him before it’s too late.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Coming of Age, Coming Out / Closeted, Coming Out Later in Life, Criminals & Outlaws, First Time, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Love Can Heal / Redemption, Office / Workplace Romance
Word Count: 99,400
Languages Available: English
Trudging through the waiting area on my normal route, I was surprised by a warm glow seeping from the garage into the shadows of the small, unlit room. Tools clinked from far back in the large space. I glanced up at the clock over the door. Past nine. Gently, I pushed open the door into the garage and walked quietly toward the sounds of tinkering. I rounded a new truck that was blocking my way, and Meeko’s long, lean lines came into view. He was bent over the bumper of an abused Honda Civic that the owner had decided to run for god knows how long with no oil. It’d be a miracle if it hadn’t been fried, but if anyone could fix it, it would be Meeko.READ MORE
He leaned farther in, his dirty jeans snug over his ass. It wasn’t quite a bubble butt, but it would be the perfect handful. I huffed out a breath and gave myself a few guilty seconds of perusal. He’d always been cute, but in the last year, Meeko had graduated to sex on a stick with a side of cream sauce. It didn’t hurt that he was good company too. His legs parted a little, and he braced himself to use a tool on the engine. My mouth went dry while my cock chubbed up, and my little staring session went from casual to strained.
I wanted to go over there and lean my front against the back of him, soak up all his body heat. Hold him close and listen to him talk about how that shitty old car was annoying him. I shook my head hard and tried not to think about it. Breathing out the tension in me, I walked over to him and smiled when, mumbling under his breath, he tossed the tool in his hand aside to scratch the back of his head. His black hair stuck up every which way when he was done. As he ducked his head to look at something, the milky paleness of his long neck peeked out from under his collar.
Wonder how his skin tastes? Probably winter in the garage, mint and ozone.
Want spiked in me and I swallowed hard. I was almost to him when I cleared my throat. Meeko’s shoulders tightened and the line of his back stiffened, but he didn’t jump or so much as glance over his shoulder. He was one cool customer, a real together guy.
Wonder what it would be like to cuddle in front of a fire with him?
I licked my lips as an unfamiliar heat surged up in me. My breath shook as I pushed out an exhale. Get it together. I rolled my shoulders, ignored my cock, and prayed there wasn’t an incriminating bulge at my crotch. Just to be safe, I pressed close to the front quarter panel as I neared him, which was a mixed blessing. The cool metal wilted me, but the pressure and the familiar worry line creasing Meeko’s dirt-smeared forehead had me wanting to touch him. I wanted to nibble the bow of his full upper lip where it pouted over the bottom one, suck on it. Finally, I gave in to the need to touch him and reached out to press his heavy, thick-rimmed glasses up his nose.
He flashed me a quick dopey grin that transformed him from stern and serious to kissable. I glanced away fast, resolving not to notice, which was pretty much the only way I’d survived so far.
“Engine’s fucked.” His low voice scraped across the “f”, and that embarrassed hesitation fired off more sparks tripping up each vertebra of my spine. Goose pimples rippled along my arms as I tried to find words that made sense together. His gaze darted to mine and then back to the torn-apart engine.
“Figures.” I could barely think as I got the word out. A taut silence followed where I should probably have said something more. Of course, it wouldn’t be like Meeko to call me on being a weirdo.
He tilted his head, studying me with his serious blue eyes, and then straightened and pivoted to lounge against the bumper. Casually, he brushed back his long black bangs with grease-stained fingers, slipping his other hand into his front pocket. If I could have thought of even one good reason to stick my hand in there and grab it out, I would.
Usually when we were quiet together, it was comfortable, but for some reason, our silence crackled between us. His shoulders tightened up, and he fidgeted his fingers along the frame of the car as he shifted from foot to foot.
Fighting my awkwardness, I took a deep breath to say something but stalled out midway. He darted his Cruise Night blues my way again, and they caught the light just right to glow, expectant, for a moment behind the thick shield of his glasses. I slanted a longing glance at my Road Runner under its gray tarp, tucked up in the west corner of the garage. Someday you’ll get your paint job, sweetheart. Then I’ll screw myself good and proper into an eternal reminder of what I don’t have.COLLAPSE