Title: Pent Up by Damon Suede
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, M/M, Erotic, Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: 290 pages
PENT UP: Mix business with pleasure and take cover.
Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.
Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold-running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?
What’s a bullet catcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford, and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.
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This excerpt from Chapter 5 of Pent Up comes after a museum fundraiser where Ruben Oso’s worked as a bodyguard for financier Andy Bauer. Ruben has been sober almost a year, and now he’s squiring his drunk boss back to the Park Avenue penthouse.
Ruben laced his fingers together in his lap, conscious of Andy’s splayed legs bumping against his as the car curved through the dark trees.
How could it only have been a week? Joking and bickering like this, smiling and snapping at each other, they sounded like… something else.
I like this guy way too much.
Central Park watched them through the tinted glass.
“Suit looks great, Señor Oso.” Andy coughed. “Me parece increíblemente guapo.”
Whatever that meant, it sounded positive. Ruben blinked and turned, drunk on the attention. Greedy for it. “Yeah, okay. I don’t habla español.”
Andy checked out Ruben’s shoulder, the legs, the glossy loosened tie. “Means handsome.” It came out a whisper and Andy looked away out the windows.
Uh. “Thanks.” His heart thumped blindly in his chest. Any second it would stumble and knock something breakable over and smash it to pieces. “You got good taste, Bauer.” Too fast, too fast.
Andy closed his eyes. The rhythm of the car rocked his skull against the leather upholstery. “You ought to learn, one of these days.”
“Spanish. Might come in handsome.” He snorted in slow motion and looked back. “Handy. That is.”
“Sure. Right after I finish medical school and my MBA, before I start my talk show on the space station.”
Andy smiled and sighed, square jaw clamped. “It’s not that hard. Beautiful language besides. Claro.”
Clearly. He’s teaching me.
The town car veered to the left and Ruben had to grip the door to keep from being shifted against his boss’s strong legs. They passed under some kind of bridge and then slowed to a stop. They inched along in the Park’s crosstown traffic.
He could imagine himself on Andy’s terrace staring down at Central Park. He looked out the window at the passing trees: nature boxed in so a few penthouses had something to look at.
Andy rolled his head to watch Ruben watching him.
Buddies. Yeah, right.
Andy pushed himself back, shifting his weight. His hand scraped Ruben’s and… remained on the seat, separated by a millimeter or two. The light hair on his wrist brush-brushed the wisps on Ruben’s, rocked by the car’s motion.
Ruben swallowed. He wanted to slide the hand away from the delicious feathery scrape, and at the same time wondered how long Andy would leave it there. He wondered what would happen if he closed his dark square paw over Andy’s, laced their fingers and squeezed. He could imagine the way their knuckles would intersect and the exact pressure of Andy’s smooth palm against his. That skin.
Occasionally the car jostled them as it navigated potholes and pedestrians, gently rocking their shoulders, but their two hands stayed nailed to the firm, soft leather, barely touching, but touching nonetheless. That warm strip of Andy’s hand made it hard to breathe.
Why didn’t Andy move his arm back? Then again, why wouldn’t he? As the car glided under the black trees, Ruben’s whole being, all his attention, tightened around the half-inch of faint contact between their skin. Ruben imagined he could feel Andy’s pulse, then realized he was hearing his own as it jarred his skull.
If the brushing contact wasn’t an accident, removing his hand first would send a clear message. Easier to leave it there in case.
In case of what?
In case he was a queer? In case his boss was another? In case they needed to go out together to spend another fifty thousand American dollars to buy nothing in particular in a room full of strangers? The money and the man had gotten all jumbled in his head.
Maybe that was it. Ruben had gotten sucked in by all the sloppy luxury and forgotten whose it was. He wasn’t gay, just broke, sober, and lonely. Even if Andy was some kind of closeted homo, he had no interest in playing house with some middle-aged macho he’d known for a few days and rescued from a couch. Ruben had clocked the predator in him. If Andy wanted a dude, he’d lease some Calvin Klein model with a trust fund and a degree in corporate espionage.
And still, and still…. The butterfly stroke of Andy’s wrist hairs dried his mouth and pricked his eyes, and Andy had no clue. I want him.
All too suddenly, the car sliced out of the trees across Fifth, headed east.
I’ll quit in the morning.
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. Having lived all over, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter.
Though new to romance fiction, Damon has been a full-time writer for print, stage, and screen for two decades. He has won some awards, but counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year. Get in touch with him at DamonSuede.com.