As I've said in the earlier post, this is a work in progress. It is written off the cuff and definitely un-betaed. I welcome comments on the character work and the thrust of the story. I'm starting from the beginning of the excerpt because it's been some time since I posted the first part. Enjoy.
Freak Experts Novel -- Excerpt
CJ didn’t know why he was on that road. He should have taken the last exit. There were a few nice long-term hotels near LAX. He had babysat a few witnesses in one that even had a kitchenette and wfi. That one was right off the freeway on ramp. Getting to work even in bad traffic would be under a half an hour. Instead, CJ was hugging the coastline in the darkness enjoying the sudden biting crispness in the air. CJ breathed in the salty, fragrant breeze as he wound his way through the narrow complicated neighborhood without really thinking about where he was going.<> “This isn’t a convenient place to live at all,” CJ observed as he squeezed into a parking space on a street crowded with cars. Even the ones in driveways jutted out to almost illegal lengths. His destination didn’t even have a space for a second car. “What the hell am I doing? God, I’ve actually left Marilyn.”
CJ’s eye filled and almost spilled over at the thought of the anguish on her face as he closed the front door behind him. But her last words propelled him the remaining distance to the front door. He didn’t think about why he brought his suitcase.
Jordan looked tired when he came to the door. He may have even been asleep. CJ thought briefly about how tedious and draining it was biding time waiting to testify. He found it harder than working cases.
CJ blinked at Jordan’s sleepy blue eyes.
“It’s not just lust,” CJ blurted out. “For me, it isn’t.”
Jordan’s eyebrows raised. “But some of it is.”
“Some of it’s what?”
“Lust,” he replied. There was a lot in those big blue eyes then. There was befuddlement worry and something else that made CJ swallow hard.
“Yes,” he almost chuckled. How could he want to laugh now?
Jordan stepped back and waved him inside the living room. “Take a load off. I’ll get you a drink.”
“Nah, I’m driving.”
“No, you aren’t,” Jordan replied firmly. His voice was floating in from the kitchen.
The tension in CJ eased then. There was something really pathetic about a lone guy checking into a hotel in his own city. How many guys had he interviewed that were living in one room with a hot plate? He never wanted to be that guy. Jordan’s sofa was really comfortable. Actually sleeping was suddenly a possibility.
CJ drifted mindlessly as he watched cable news. He hadn’t realized that a little time had passed until a small plate was deposited in front of him on the coffee table. It was an appetizing square of lasagna. A glass of red wine was placed next to it.
“You should eat something,” Jordan said settling next to him with his own plate and glass.
“You Italian?” CJ asked after sampling a forkful of the food.
“On Mom’s side, but I didn’t make it,” he replied. “Italian deli down the road.”
“Thanks. I didn’t eat dinner.”
“Knew that. Looks like you packed instead,” he said. His eyes were sad as he looked at the bag. “She told you about lunch.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry...so sorry,” CJ muttered. There was suddenly a lump in his throat. He put his fork down.
“Sip the wine, and keep eating,” Jordan said gently. “You’ll feel better.”
Keeping his mouth full was easier than talking. CJ didn’t know if he could really talk about what happened that night.
“I’m not going to be a good friend to you, Ceej,” Jordan said quietly as he eased back on the sofa.
“Hmmm?” The declaration surprised him mid sip.
“A good friend would get you a pillow and a blanket and make you eggs in the morning then help you find a furnished apartment,” Jordan replied sipping his wine.
“You aren’t going to do that?”
CJ put down his empty plate then turned to look at Jordan. He leaned back on the sofa as well with glass in hand. “What are you going to do that’s so bad, Jord?”
Jordan looked him straight in the eyes. He wasn’t befuddled or worried any longer. “I’m taking you to bed. It’s a very bad idea. It’s the last complication you really need, but I have to.”
“Oh yeah,” he replied considering CJ almost lazily. “There’s something about you...makes me want to drive you crazy.”
CJ was fully confident that Jordan could accomplish that without ever touching him, but that wasn’t the matter at hand. “Is it more than lust for you?”
He looked CJ in the eyes again. Forget swallowing. Breathing was getting really difficult. “Then, why can’t you be more of a friend?”
CJ didn’t know why he was asking all those questions. He wanted Jordan to make him stop thinking. Maybe some part of him wanted to make sure he was acting with his eyes wide open. For his part, Jordan’s intense vibe hadn’t changed. He just seemed more agitated about any delay.
“I’m not perfect,” he said quietly. He deliberately placed his wine glass on the coffee table. He then took CJ’s glass and put it aside. “We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. Now, I want you to come with me and get in my bed.”
CJ stared at him. “You’re quoting Moonstruck to me? Jord, that’s so gay.”
Jordan had him by the shoulders and his head was angling perfectly. “You knew it was Moonstruck. How gay is that?”
Jordan's lips sealed with CJ's. A talented tongue invaded his mouth. That clean, spicy scent filled his nostrils. It seemed to CJ that Jordan was possessing him, and he didn't mind. CJ moaned into the kiss wrapping his arms around Jordan and holding on.
The short trip to the bedroom was hurried and graceless. Jordan stepped on CJ's foot and got elbowed a few times along the way. The moment was about to slip into comedy when CJ's shirtless back hit the blankets. Where did that shirt go? Jordan's lush mouth actually had a slight smirk. His vibrant blue eyes were feral as he shucked his dress shirt. Meanwhile, CJ suddenly found himself on the verge of panic.
"No you don't," Jordan murmured. "Stop thinking...stop..."
He was kissing CJ again. Jordan was good at coaxing his mouth open and getting their tongues to play together. A warm hand pressed against the center of his chest holding CJ down while providing an almost electric connection between them. When Jordan pulled from the kiss, the hand remained.
"Unfasten your pants," Jordan ordered softly. "This is not something I'm going to do to you. There is a lot I will do to you at some point and probably repeatedly, but this time we do it together."
CJ unhooked his pants then slid down the zipper. He arched up and shimmied the pants down to mid-thigh while Jordan watched him intently.
"Jesus, Ceej...you're packing a big surprise."
CJ felt his cheeks get warm. "What about your pants?"
Jordan smiled. "I'll have to move my hand."
"I'm okay," CJ managed after a hard swallow. "I want this..."
Jordan considered that answer while caressing CJ's collarbones. After a long moment, he pushed his pants and under shorts down at the same time then hurriedly heeled his way out the of bunched fabric at his ankles. CJ could barely get a good look at Jordan because he was busily yanking his pants and shoes off. What he saw was impressive. He had fine hair spread across his chest and legs. CJ knew his partner was nicely built. That was apparent in even in clothes. But Jordan wasn't hard muscled like he spent all of his spare time in a gym. He was lean and sleek like an athlete. CJ found the body appealing though he was a little nervous about the big surprise Jordan was packing.
"'S'o'kay," Jordan murmured as he pressed their bodies together. "We're just gonna get to know each other."
With that husky promise, Jordan ground his hips against CJ's shocking him with the pleasure of mutual heat and hardness. It was the first time he felt an aroused cock pressed against his own. CJ didn't panic. He reached for more hungrily grasping the back of Jordan's curly head and taking his mouth in a desperate, hungry kiss. His moan went straight to CJ groin making him even harder.
"Damn," Jordan murmured as he broke the kiss. He smiled at CJ's breathy protest before he lowered his head to kiss and taste the side of his neck. "Kiss good...taste good..."
CJ moaned in pleasure and surprise when Jordan gently bit then sucked at the curve of his neck and shoulder. He didn't know that was an erogenous zone. He was really surprised at the jolt from Jordan's tonguing his collar bones.
"Keep moaning and sighing like that and this will be over before it really starts," Jordan said softly. His voice was full of laughter.
"Can't help it," CJ sighed. "What are you doing to me?"
"Introducing you to your body," Jordan murmured as he flicked his tongue against a hardened nipple. "Every inch of this beautiful skin needs attention."
CJ wanted to say something in response to those provocative words. He wanted to flirt in kind. He wanted to thank profusely. All he could do is arch into the feel of that hot mouth on his untried nipples and moan once more. Everywhere brushed by those lush lips or laved by that hot tongue or nipped by those white teeth was hypersensitive to the air. CJ didn't think he could bear to be touched anymore at the same time he thought he'd never want it to stop.
Jordan seemed to be impervious to the impact of the seduction, or CJ thought he was. Just below his navel, Jordan huffed in frustration.
"I suppose I can make love to you slowly when we're seventy-five or dead," he chuckled into CJ's belly. "You are driving me crazy."
With that, Jordan engulfed his erection to the base in that hot, moist mouth. CJ couldn't moan. He had no breath for any sound. One hand gently grasped Jordan's warm, broad shoulder. The other sank into his curls to cup the back of his head. He then met Jordan's gaze. There was almost none of the vibrant blue visible in his eyes. It made the ring of blue still visible even more intense. CJ had never felt that act gifted to him with such relish, it felt as if pleasuring him was the only thing in the world Jordan wanted to do. For a man who had his relationship ruled by rationality, that kind of physical intensity made short work of CJ's limited control. It seemed to take only seconds to come.
CJ petted the hair beneath his hand while he grasped the shoulder more firmly to move Jordan up his body, so he could kiss him. As their lips met and their tongues clashed, CJ thought about the many times he had tasted himself on Marilyn's mouth. Those kisses had been more about fair play than an uncontrollable need. During that open mouthed kiss, CJ rolled Jordan on his back and pushed his thighs apart with one leg. He gently tightened the hold on those soft curls to keep Jordan's head in place while grasping that big, hot erection with the other hand. There was no way he could make his mouth work that well on the first try, but he was very good at using his hand.
Jordan moaned into the kiss while his hands roamed CJ's back. He found it satisfying that those warm, expressive hands were nearly desperate against his skin. Everything about Jordan's sensuous responses fascinated him. It should have been odd stroking another man's cock Hell, it should have been terrifying making such a shift in his life. All CJ could think about was how good, the hot, hard velvet felt pulsing against his palm and the way Jordan was moaning and straining towards him. All he wanted was to see and hear was this enigmatic man beneath him come. And then Jordan was tearing away from his mouth and crying out as the heated flesh in his fist spasmed.
There was nothing feminine about Jordan's face at that moment, but CJ could only describe him as beautiful. His lush lips were parted invitingly. His hooded eyes were sleepy and satisfied and very warm and tender in expression. CJ wondered what Jordan saw in his eyes as he tasted the thick liquid on his fingers.
"Kiss good, taste good..." CJ murmured with a smile.
Jordan smirked at him then pulled him down for another long, intense kiss. This one wasn't as desperate or hungry, but CJ still felt his entire body react to it. He wondered if he would feel the same way about those kisses a year from that night. Chances were good, he decided. He didn't think he every felt such physical intensity with Marilyn.
Jordan broke the kiss and looked in CJ's eyes closely. He shook his head while sitting up. He handed CJ a big glass of water from a tray on the nightstand next to he bed.
"You're thinking again. Stop," he murmured wiping his torso with a small towel that was on the nightstand.
The towel made CJ wonder as he handed back half the glass of water. He supposed a man living alone could keep a come towel so boldly by the bed. It made sense. Jordan squinted at him while drinking the water.
"You never stop thinking, do you?" He asked softly. "I'll learn ya, that's for sure. Sleep is what you need right now. And maybe some cake, but I don't have any cake, so sleep it is."
Jordan turned off the light then pulled CJ into a loose embrace. After a few moments of configuring arms and legs, CJ settled. He still didn't feel strange in that relative stranger's bed. Fatigue hit him as soon as his body stilled. Jordan sighed into sleep within minutes. CJ soon followed.
* * *
Waking the next morning was disorienting. CJ had just worked out the rhythm of the routine at the townhouse. Then there were more changes. The sunlight was all wrong, and that confused him. He was on a terrible mattress. It had to be at least ten years old. His back was sure to be unhappy when he was finally vertical. And then there were the clingy, warm limbs wrapped around him. CJ wasn’t sure if Jordan was showing him affection or keeping him from bolting.
“No thinking before coffee,” Jordan murmured in his ear. His voice was deep and raspy and sounded like sex.
That voice went past CJ’s brain to his groin. Within seconds, he had an erection that matched the one pressing against his ass.
“Damn, you feel good,” Jordan murmured, holding him even more closely.
CJ gasped as his bedmate gently bit him at the curve of his shoulder then sucked at his skin. Then, he carefully untangled himself and rolled out of bed.
“Hey,” CJ exclaimed, turning over to face him.
Jordan was casually naked. His dark curls were mussed, and his fine morning beard made those blue eyes even more vibrant. He seemed to be startled by CJ’s tone, but a warm smile transformed his expression.
“You should see your face,” Jordan said softly. “Damn, you’re mad that I didn’t make a move. That’s pretty hot.”
Before CJ could find enough voice to respond, Jordan was kissing him. One hand cradled the back of his head while the other rested gently on his abdomen. The kiss was gentle and tender and clingy. Lust and anger shifted to something else that was just as strong but not as urgent.
“If I went after what I want from you, I’d be late for court,” Jordan murmured against his lips. “And you have a very long day today.”
CJ closed his eyes for a moment savoring Jordan’s touch.
“Yeah,” he agreed at last.
“I’ll make you some space in the bathroom,” Jordan said, reluctantly pulling away. “Then, I’ll make coffee.”
CJ eased back onto the mattress to stare at the ceiling. That was different. Usually being denied sex involved feeling guilty about wanting it. Well, that would be different with a man. Still, CJ sensed they would probably fight over that mattress. Things wouldn’t be perfect. Somehow, that insight made him feel better.
Jordan was in the kitchen when CJ made his way back to the livingroom to retrieve his suitcase. A national morning news shows airing softly on the TV. He could hear Jordan puttering about.
“There are towels in the bathroom closet,” He said from the kitchen.
There was space cleared on the glass shelf above the sink and in the medicine cabinet. One of the two towel racks was empty and there was a new plastic cup next to the toothbrush stand. CJ smiled at that, but somehow the kindness made his move more permanent. For some reason, that made him swallow hard on the lump forming in his throat. Jordan was right. He shouldn’t be torturing himself before coffee.
“So, you’re a news junkie,” CJ said to the curly hair that was visible just above the newspaper. The morning news show was still going strong in the livingroom.
The newspaper folded down. Jordan gazed at CJ intently.
“Yes, I am,” he replied. He re-folded the paper before sliding it to CJ. “Coffee’s ready. I’ll make breakfast when I get out of the shower.”
“I can cook more than steaks,” CJ said quietly. “What’ll you have?”
“Eggs any way you want,” he replied. “There’s some sausage and bacon, if you feel like it. I’ll just have toast or a bagel.”
CJ found some green onions and spinach in the produce drawers. And there was some cheese in another drawer. After pouring a little cream in his coffee, he put some in the egg mixture and started the omelet. The coffee was strong, but it was good. Cooking calmed his jangled nerves, making him feel less needy and vulnerable.
By the second cup of coffee, CJ was engrossed in the paper enjoying the eggs. He was even half aware of the traffic and weather reports, but somehow he hadn’t noticed Jordan’s return until he was being kissed on the nape of his neck. The smooth skin and those warm, soft lips made him forget about breakfast. But Jordan pulled away before he could make any overture. He looked good freshly showered and shaved. His dark gray pants and crisp white shirt gave him the image of a serious professional while the twinkle in his eyes promised a lot of naughty fun.
“Wow, omelets,” Jordan murmured appreciatively as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
“I didn’t know how you liked your toast,” CJ replied returning his focus to the paper.
“I like it good and toasty,” Jordan murmured as he popped the bread inside the machine. “And dripping in butter.”
“You’re a cocktease,” CJ accused softly as he glared over the newspaper.
Jordan raised his brows at that. “Over toast?”
“I’ll think of you all day, and you know that,” he replied matter-of-factly. He put away the paper then attacked his eggs.
Jordan buttered his toast then sat across from CJ. He met his gaze levelly. There was understanding in those blue eyes, but the gaze held some frustration as well.
“You won’t be in court with your thoughts,” Jordan said quietly.
CJ was startled. It never occurred to him that he was driving Jordan crazy as well. He sure wasn’t trying to be sexy. And certainly not over breakfast. A smile tugged at his lips as he finished his meal.
“I suppose there are better things for us to fight about,” CJ admitted.
“Yeah...this is the easy part,” Jordan chuckled.
“So far. We’re in the shallow end now.”
“I’m in no hurry,” Jordan murmured. The smile was back on those lush lips and in his eyes.
They finished breakfast in a comfortable silence. Soon they were both in their suit coats with satchels in hand. Jordan took CJ’s notes on the assault case as he handed over his own.
“I think you’re on the right track, Ceej,” Jordan said as his eyes scanned the pages. “Keep after witnesses on that couple.”
“I will,” he replied. “I know I’m right on top of something.”
Jordan fished around a glass bowl on a table near the front door. It was full of change and paper clips and who knew what else from CJ’s point of view. Eventually, he came up with a set of keys.
“The one with Ace on it is for the deadbolt,” he said. “First one in makes dinner.”
“Fair enough,” CJ said.
“You’ll let me know if you get hung up,” Jordan said. “I don’t like you flying solo with a possible domestic case.”
CJ smiled at him. He wanted to kiss him for that concern. Hell, he wanted to kiss him because he looked cute in that tie.
“I know the drill. I’ll be careful.”
Jordan nodded. They finally headed for the door.
“What did you want to fight about?” He asked suddenly.
CJ closed the door and locked the deadbolt. “Your mattress. It sucks.”
“Oh. Never noticed.”
“You wouldn’t. You sleep like a cat,” CJ retorted. “I think your bones turn to rubber at night. How old is that thing anyway?”
Jordan went blank for a moment. “Beats me. I bought if off some guy seven or eight years ago.”
CJ blinked at him. Jordan smirked as he climbed into his car.
“You know what you want us to have. Get it and let me know what my share is,” he said. “I want you to very comfortable there.”
The last phrase was said in much the same raspy tone Jordan had when he awoke. CJ narrowed his eyes at him.
Jordan chuckled as he started the car. “Now, I’m being a cocktease. See you tonight.”
CJ tried to glare at him, but it melted into a smile.
“Later,” was all he could say.