When Jack meets Edward at a traffic stop, his world is rocked -- and not for the better. Edward is the gayest man he's ever seen, and Spring Lake is a small town just getting comfortable with its own new gay couple, Brian Russell and Rush Weston. Unlike Edward, Rush and Brian are big, strapping, manly men. But manly isn't what turns Jack on. It's Edward -- everything about the younger man drives Jack wild with desire and the need to control Edward's wild, impetuous spirit.
For Edward, his attraction to "bad boys" has been his romantic downfall. His heart's been broken so many times he's lost count. When he meets Jack, Edward falls for the all-American by-the-book lawman, but finds his attempts rebuffed and his pride severely wounded. Jack's straight, or at least says he is, but Edward knows that look in Jack's eyes, he's seen it before from other men. How can a man so right be so wrong?
Edward tempts Jack beyond anyone he's ever met and his desire for Edward builds each time he encounters the younger man, until he can no longer deny it or himself. But Edward doesn't want sex on the side, he wants forever. He wants the fairy tale.
Can Jack give Edward what he wants or will Jack's fear of being ridiculed for his choice of a partner keep them from their Happily Ever After?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, male/male sexual situations.
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April 07, 2009
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Excerpt from Edward Unconditionally by Lynn Lorenz
Are you out of your mind?" Jack bellowed. He slammed his hands flat on the desk, and everything bounced. "That animal bit me!"
"I know. But I don't know anyone else." Edward leaned forward, hands on the desk.
"You don't know me! Tie him to the fence outside. Lock him in a car; he seems to be happy there." Jack waved his hand at the window.
"I can't leave him outside. He's not an outside dog. And I'm not tying him like some animal to the fence." Edward glared at Jack as if even suggesting such a thing was barbaric.
"He is an animal. All dogs are outside dogs."
"Have you looked at him lately? Looks like a dog to me." Jack glared at the subject in question. He'd curled up next to Jack's desk as if he'd slept there his whole life.
"Winston is more than a dog to me." Edward bit his lip again. "Didn't you ever have a dog?"
Jack froze. Aw shit, Beauregard had to go there. Had to fight dirty.
"Yeah. I had a dog. When I was a kid." Jack frowned.
"Then you must understand how I feel about him." Edward lowered his voice. "Please. He's my...best friend."
Jack looked from the man to the dog. Yeah. He knew about dogs. When he was a kid, Rascal, a beagle, had been his best friend, his only friend. And when, at sixteen, Jack had run away from what could only loosely be called home, he'd taken nothing but a duffel bag and that dog.
Jack ran his hand through his hair.
"I can't believe I'm doing this."
"Thank you!" Edward smiled, and his face lit up. In that moment, Jack could see the man's youth, hope, and genuine thanks. It transformed his face and made him look, not handsome, but beautiful. Younger than the midthirties he was.
Jack held out his hand to stop Beauregard from coming around the desk to hug him. "But this is just until the confirmation of his shots comes through and the judge releases him."
"I understand." The relief on Beauregard's handsome face was evident.
Jack sat down and rubbed his palms against his eyes. They felt like they were pushing out of his head.
"Hey, are you all right?" Beauregard's soft voice and Georgia drawl stopped Jack.
"Just a headache."
"I can help you with that, you know."
Jack looked up. "I have some pain relievers." He pulled open his drawer, pulled out a bottle, and shook them as if the medicine would ward off Beauregard.
"That just masks the problem. I can heal you."
"Heal me? Like some faith healer?" Jack sat back and cocked his head at the younger man. Could this day get any stranger?
"Maybe 'heal' was the wrong word. But I can take the pain away."
"How?" Jack narrowed his eyes at him.
"Massage. I'm trained in massage therapy."
That would mean Beauregard would have to touch him. "Uh-uh. No way."
"It won't hurt, and it won't take but a minute."
"No. Thanks, but no." Jack shook his head. It felt like his brain was a small metal ball and his skull was the pinball machine. Right now, TILT should be flashing in the air over his head.
Just then, as if to save him, Kristen knocked on the door and opened it. "I have the first-aid kit, sir." She came in, placed it on his desk, stared from one man to the other, then at the dog. "You need anything else?"
"No, Kristen. Thanks."
She nodded and left, pulling the door closed behind her.
Jack reached for the kit, opened it, and pulled out what he needed to treat the bite.
"I can do that for you," the man offered.
More touching. "No, thanks. I think you've done quite enough as it is. You're free to go."
"I'd love to, but...you shot my car, remember?"
Had he already begun to block the memory? "Okay, let me call one of my men, get him to take you to the garage. The car should be fixed by now. Then you can go on to Olivia's." And get out of Jack's hair.
Beauregard stood. "First, I need to tell you about Winston."
"Tell me what?" Jack narrowed his eyes and braced himself.
"Just a few things. First, you can't leave him outside at night. Promise me."
More promises? "Okay."
"Second, he only eats Mighty Dog Stew. It's in a can. His favorite is liver and egg. He hates the hamburger and cheese flavor. No table scraps; he's on a diet."
"A diet. Uh-huh." Jack listened with all the intent of forgetting every word of the man's instructions.
"Third, he likes to take a walk just before bedtime. At least fifteen minutes long. And you have to walk him, not just let him out. He needs the exercise."
"Right." Jack's patience had just about reached the end of its rope.
"Four. He likes to sleep by my feet in bed."
The rope hit its end with a resounding twang. "No."
"I said no. I'm not sleeping with a dog in my bed." He hadn't shared his bed with a dog since he was a teenager. Hadn't shared it with anyone since then, for that matter.
"Why? Doesn't your wife like dogs?" Beauregard snapped.
"I'm not married."
"Oh." Beauregard's eyebrows rose.
The men stared at each other, and Jack felt the snap, crackle, and pop that arced between them. No fucking way.
He jerked open another drawer, pulled out a ticket pad, slammed it on the desk, and began writing.
He tore off the first sheet. "First, this is your speeding ticket. Going sixty in a forty-five." Tossed it across the table to Beauregard. The paper soared through the air, then landed near Beauregard's hand.
Scribbled again. "Second, this is your ticket for having an unlicensed dog in city limits." Again the paper floated to the other side of the desk.
"Third. This one is my favorite." He took his time writing it out. "This one is for assault on an officer, namely me, by that animal of yours." He ripped it out and added it to the stack.
"You're joking, right?" Beauregard picked them up and looked through them.
"No, I'm not joking. You have thirty days to pay the fines or appear in court with a lawyer." Jack pulled out his cell phone, searched for Brian Russell's cell number, and hit Send.
"Brian? It's Whittaker. Can you swing by the station? I need you to pick someone up and take him to Smith's Garage for me. Great." He closed the phone and stared across at Beauregard. "Your ride will be here in five minutes. Now get out of my office."
Beauregard stood. "Can I say good-bye to Winston?"
The young man went around the desk to where Winston lay sleeping, and knelt down.
"Hey, boy." The dog woke and tried to crawl into his lap. "The nice chief is going to let you stay with him for a few days, okay?"
"Be good for him. I'll come and visit you soon, I promise." Then he leaned down, kissed the dog on the head, and got a quick swipe of the dog's tongue on his cheek. He stood, gathered the tickets, and shoved them into his wallet.
"Take care of my dog, Jack." Those deep brown eyes penetrated Jack with a look that demanded a promise. What was it with this guy and promises?
"I promise, Mr. Beauregard."
"I'll hold you to it." Again with the last word.
Beauregard walked to the door, turned, and gave Jack a quick smile. "My name is Edward." Then he slipped through the door and shut it softly behind him.
Alone, Jack ran his hands through his hair. He felt a gentle nudge against his leg, and he jerked back, his chair rolling against the wall with a sharp thud.
Winston looked up at him, his hindquarters shaking with what passed for a wag.
"Oh, no. Don't give me that look. You bit me." Jack shook his head.
Winston squirmed between Jack's legs and the corner of the desk and curled up underneath it next to Jack's feet.
Uh-uh. No fucking way.
"Get out from there."
The dog didn't move.
"Now, Winston. Right now. Move." Jack snapped his fingers at the animal.
Winston rolled over on his back, rear legs splayed, front paws bent, mouth open, tongue lolling, and fell asleep.
Jack didn't know which one was worse, the dog or his master.
Both of them refused to obey him.
Both of them drove him to violence.
Both of them made him so mad he could spit.
But if he had to choose which one was the biggest pain in the ass?
It would be Beauregard. Hands down.
Edward Paul Beauregard the Third.