I could have altered what I wanted to do and run with Zane's attraction to Alonzo. The story could have been a short sweet story, wrapping up in a couple of weeks. But I decided to continue with what my original idea: Zane meeting the band Crimson Comet. Again, the story took a left turn and it looks like there is danger and a poly romance around the corner... and a hint of something else. Well, I am writing this for fun. Let's see what happens.
Chapter Four – Crimson Comet
McCall was a resort town located in Valley County, sitting on the south end of Payette Lake. Many of the houses were only occupied by their owners a small percentage of the year. The rest of the time, the residences were rented out. The house the Crimson Comets rented was considered lake front property even though the house didn't butt against the shoreline.
Zane drove the Wagon down the winding dirt road. Dusk fell early in the evening with the mountains to the west overshadowing the valley. The tall fir trees obscured any view Zane would have had of the jagged horizon, giving him the illusion he was in the middle of nowhere instead of the on the northern edge of a sleepy town. The spitting snow was wetter here than on Zane's mountainside.
Pulling into the short drive, Zane heard the thump of music, instantly becoming annoyed. He'd been under the impression he was having dinner with the band members, not going to a party. But as he pulled in front of the house there was only one other car parked on the curve. Were the partygoers parked in the rear?
He shifted the vehicle into park, letting the engine idle as he contemplated going back home. The memory of Alonzo waving at him reminded Zane why he'd agreed to come here in the first place. If he returned to the cabin, he would be tempted to walk over to Alonzo's cabin and test the waters. That was a bad idea so he switched off the engine and exited the cab.
Tingles started between his shoulder blades before he even released the door handle. He froze in place, running his gaze over the windows. Was someone watching him from one of them? No, each window was empty, no hint of anyone peering from behind closed blinds. He squatted, retying his shoe and surreptitiously glancing around at his surroundings. The feeling of being watched made his skin crawl. Finished with his shoe, he rounded the Dodge and opened the passenger door so he could get a better look at his surroundings. The only other lights in the area was the porch light. The surrounding forest cloaked everything in shadow, hiding everything from view. But he was sure there was someone out there watching. Was it a fan of Crimson Comet or something else altogether?
Concluding he wasn't in any immediate danger, Zane turned his attention to the house. The front had two roughhewn logs supporting the porch roof. A huge, ornate wreath adorned the red door. He couldn't locate the doorbell, so he knocked instead. He didn't think anyone would hear the sound over the music, but he was surprised when the door was immediately jerked open, and the lead singer of Crimson Comet peered down at him.
Zane's mouth went immediately dry. He was tall but the man before him was at least six inches taller. Crystal blue eyes raked down Zane's body as if stripping him. Zane had no problem doing the same. The sides of the man's head was shaved but the top was flipped to the left, long enough to touch his chin. A close-cropped beard, the same honey blond, framed pump lips that Zane had the insane urge to bite. The singer—Cord—wore a skin tight black t-shirt that highlighted the fact he kept fit. Both of his arms were covered in sleeves of tattoos. Thick silver rings adored every finger. A red and black checked flannel shirt was tied around his waist. Damn, Cord's jeans were as tight as the shirt.
A throat clearing startled Zane and he glanced up to see the man watching him with a broad smirk.
"Zane Cortese," he said loud enough to be heard over the music and held out his hand.
"Who's at the door, Cord?" A second man not quite as tall as Cord pushed the big man aside. He had close cut curly, black hair. His dark skin was covered in tantalizing freckles. Upon seeing Zane, he looked over his shoulder. "Xander, man, turn that shit down." A couple seconds passed before the music cut off completely.
Feeling awkward with his hand still held out, he stuck it in his packet and thought again about going home. The twitch between his shoulders reminded him they were being watched and realized he couldn't leave yet. The smart thing would be to return home, making sure he wasn't followed, but he couldn't leave Crimson Comet with an unknown threat sitting practically on their doorstep. His only weakness as an assassin was his compassion for the innocent. It was something his opponents didn't usually pick up on, and the few who did, Zane had taken care of rather quickly.
"Sorry about that," Cord said with a hint of the growl that came out when Cord sang. Zane shivered and not with cold.
Zane focused on Cord and then on the second man, Anson, if he wasn't mistaken. His blood heated as Anson stared back. There wasn't only one but two temptations before him and Zane wasn't sure if he wanted to meet the rest of the band. Was this a good idea? "Perhaps this isn't a good time. I'm not much for parties." Zane took a hesitant step back, undecided.
"Is that Zane?" A third person pushed through Cord and Anson, stepping on the porch, crowding into Zane's space. The man—Xander—inhaled and smiled enticingly. Zane was so enraptured by the newcomer that he didn't move fast enough to keep Zane from grabbing the back of his neck. Zane stiffened and grasped Xander's wrist. People didn't touch him—ever. "You star struck fools. Why is he still standing on the stoop?"
Xander released Zane's neck, twisting his hand so that he clasped Zane's before pulling him past Cord and Anson into the house. Zane's eyes locked onto Xander's bare torso partially covered by Xander's long, curly black hair. "I'm Xander and those fools at the door are Cord and Anson."
As if saying their names had awakened them, Cord and Anson quickly closed the door.
"Zane Cortese," he said again without offering his hand.
"Come on, I'll introduce you to the others."
Intrigued, Zane allowed himself to be pulled further into the house. There was no party. Well, the only party seemed to be the one the band was throwing with each other. Two members were kissing on the couch, their hands delving under articles of clothing, searching, groping. It wasn't a light kiss that Zane sometimes spied between couples, but hard, deep, and utterly consuming. Their bodies ground against each other as if they were already nude. Zane's whole body tensed at the sight. When was the last time someone had kissed him like that? Never. Envy welled up and Zane struggled to push it back down.
Cord shut and locked the front door, watching Xander drag Zane Cortese to the couch where Midnight and Raine sat. Fucking assholes hadn't been making out like there was no tomorrow when he'd went to answer the door. They were trying to chase Zane off and prove their group, their family, didn't need another member.
"These two assholes are Midnight, our pianist, and Raine plays guitar." Xander pushed Raine hard enough he rolled off Midnight and fell on the floor.
"What the fuck!" Raine glared up at Xander, his brown hair no longer spiked after Midnight's brief but rough handling. It flopped to the side, hiding the fact that both sides of his head were cut close to the scalp. His brown eyes burned with aborted lust. Like Cord, Raine was extremely tatted, the black t-shirt showing off two full sleeves, the gold watch he wore seemingly out of place on his wrist.
"Don't be angry at him," Prince said from where he sat in the armchair. "You two were being pricks and you know it." He brushed his long dark blond hair over his shoulder and glance at Zane. "Ignore them. I'm Prince. I play—"
"The violin and saxophone as well as the base and cello, or so I've read." Color tinged Zane's cheeks as if he was embarrassed.
"You know about us?" Xander asked.
It wasn't lost on Cord that Xander still held Zane's hand and Zane didn't seem to have a problem with the contact.
Cord moved further into the room but didn't take a seat. Even though Raine was hostile to Cord's plan, he raked Zane over with a lust-filled gaze. Midnight still lay on the couch and had yet to say anything. His thick black hair was slightly mussed. Midnight ran his palms over his short beard, an action that telegraphed his nervousness, but Midnight's gaze was no less heated.
Anson leaned into Cord's side and Cord threw his arm around Anson's shoulders. They had all been on edge as they had waited for Ella to get back with them. Zane didn't have to show up. He'd been adamant about not attending parties and Cord had taken matters into his own hands. They would spend their brief break in McCall and hopefully lure Zane into visiting them. But watching Zane hesitantly interact with the band… he wasn't what Cord had expected. He'd only seen the one picture Ella had on her phone. It looked as if she'd taken it without Zane knowing. In the photo, he'd had a hardness, a lack of emotion, in his dark eyes that was absent now. Cord had been surprised to recognize Zane, though the only other picture Cord had seen of Zane had been an artistic rendering drawn by his cousin who worked for the FBI based in Seattle. Cord had been so sure he know who Zane was, but now he had doubts.
Raine got up from the floor and Midnight sat up on the couch, pulling Raine to sit next to him. Prince crossed his legs. Of all of them, he'd dressed as if ready for a date. His black velvet waistcoat was embroidered with silver roses. Underneath was a black button up vest over a shimmering blue collared shirt. The black jeans made sure Prince didn't look too formal.
"You know we are lovers," Prince said, his gaze watching Zane carefully as he twirled his index finger indicating all six of the band members. Everyone stilled, waiting for Zane's reaction.
"Okaaayyy." Zane's gaze darted to each member of the band. "Good for you. Why tell me?"
"Because Cord wants you to spend time with us." The bitterness in Raine's voice reminded Cord to spend extra time with him. "We don't announce our relationship, but this is our private space. A place that is supposed to be safe for us to be who we are."
Zane nodded. "Understandable. But you took a chance telling me this."
"Some of the best things in the world are worth the risk," Anson said, ignoring the baleful glance Midnight shot him. "Are you worth the risk, Zane Snow Cortese?"
"I won't give away your secret, if that is what you're asking me," Zane replied.
Midnight sniffed discreetly and frowned before he met Cord's gaze, giving an infinitesimal nod. So, Midnight believed Zane spoke the truth. Good. The question now became how much farther could they trust Zane?
Upon seeing Midnight give Cord the metaphorical thumbs ups, Xander used the hand Zane still held and pulled him closer, kissing him. Zane stiffened but relaxed within seconds. Cord almost growled when Zane opened his mouth for Xander. Cord wanted a taste, but he knew they needed to go slow. For the moment, he would enjoy the sight of Xander familiarizing himself with Zane's tonsils.
Anson nudged Cord's side, pointing where Xander's hands moved from Zane's hip toward the small of his back only to be grabbed by Zane, but not before the form of a firearm was framed by taut cloth. Perhaps Cord wasn't wrong about Zane after all.
"Dinner's ready. Oh!" The chef, Rose, came around the corner, her brows raising to her hairline at the sight of Xander doing his best to seduce Zane with his tongue. Her cheeks turned a bright red. She quickly donned the coat she'd been carrying. "I'm just on my way out. As I was saying, the food is ready. Call me if you need my help again."
Xander pulled away and Zane blinked, looking dazed. Prince rose from his chair and escorted Rose to the door, thanking her for them.
"Are you hungry?" Xander asked Zane.
"For what?" Zane cleared his throat, his hot gaze raking over every member of the band until he landed on Cord. Reaching down, Cord blatantly adjusted his hard length.
"For everything." Xander practically growled when Zane dragged his gaze away from Cord.
Zane cleared his throat again. Cord noticed Zane still held Xander's hand. "I'm starving," he rasped.
Cord stamped down on the rumble that threatened to burst from him at those two words. Xander lead Zane to the kitchen, the others following behind, leaving Cord standing in the living room trying to get a hold of himself. Dinner couldn’t be over soon enough.
Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Table of Contents
Chapter One - Retirement
Chapter Two - Normal is not supposed to be this hard
Chapter Three - Caught
Chapter Four - Crimson Comet
Thank you for stopping by and reading!!