Valentino's Cowboy [Brac Village 10]

By: Lynn Hagen

Valentino could do one better than that. He scooped Abe from the couch, tossing the man over his shoulder, laughing when he heard Abe squealing. He was very careful of the man’s hand, but the sour mood had to go. There was no way he was having a sourpuss mate.

Not a chance in hell.

“What are you doing?” Abe asked, amused.

“Playing the barbaric caveman role. Is it working?” When he entered the kitchen, Valentino deposited his mate onto the counter and pointed a warning finger at the sexy blond man with the prettiest cornflower-blue eyes. “Don’t move.”

“Are you always like this?”

Valentino pushed between Abe’s legs, noticing his how his mate stiffened, his breathing becoming slightly labored. What was with the guy? If Valentino didn’t know any better, he would think—holy shit! His mate was afraid to kiss him. But that was ridiculous.

He groaned when he thought about the conversation he had with Abe at the ranch, and then Abe’s confession when he was medicated.

His mate had never answered when Valentino had asked him if he had been kissed before. He was starting to think that Abe hadn’t. Testing his theory, Valentino dipped his head forward, only to have Abe dodge his lips. “I thought you were going to cook?”

“It’s going to cost you.”

Abe’s blond head tilted to a curious angle, the most adorable little frown moving across his features. “Cost me what?” Abe glanced toward the cooking area real quick. “You mean, like doing the dishes or something?”

Valentino felt his heart smiling at his mate’s innocence. The puzzlement of what Valentino was asking for was too precious. “One egg, one kiss.”

Abe seemed even more confused for a moment. Then his frown deepened. “What do you have besides eggs?”

Okay, this wasn’t going as well as Valentino had hoped. Why didn’t Abe want to kiss him? Was it him? Had he done something to turn his mate off? Hell, maybe Abe didn’t want him at all.

That thought gave Valentino cold chills. What if Abe was just accepting him because they were mates? From everything Valentino had been able to gather about his little cowboy, the man was gay, so hopefully that wasn’t the issue.

But that left Valentino with an even more dismal issue. What if Abe just wasn’t attracted to him and was only there because fate had paired them together?

Just because there was a pull didn’t mean they fell instantly in love or that they both were ecstatic that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. What if Abe had just been playing along the whole time while trying to figure a way out of mating Valentino?

He was going to be sick to his stomach at all those possibilities. Feeling as if things were no longer right with the world, he stepped back, putting plenty of space between him and Abe. Waving his hand toward the fridge, he said with little enthusiasm, “There’s plenty of stuff in the fridge. I went shopping earlier. Eat whatever you want.”

Before Abe could say anything, Valentino darted out of the room, heading straight for his bedroom—a bedroom he was slowly starting to think he would be sleeping in on his own. He shut the door behind him and walked over to stare out into the backyard, not really caring about the scenery outside the window.

Not much bothered him, but the thought of him and Abe going their separate ways was more than he could handle at the moment. Valentino never had much in life, not in the way of boyfriends or a solid relationship. Finding Abe had lifted his heart immeasurably.

Being lonely sucked, and now it looked like he was going to continue on that road. Even though he had just met the guy and barely knew Abe, Valentino felt his heart breaking.

“You called me a bad kisser.”

Valentino froze, keeping his back to his mate as he frantically tried to recall when he would have done something that stupid.

Either no one has taught you the proper way to kiss or I am your first. Valentino remembered saying those words, but he hadn’t been calling Abe a bad kisser. Hell, he had been hoping he was Abe’s first. He would be more than happy to teach the man everything there was to know about sex and foreplay.

Turning, Valentino gazed at his mate. He looked uncertain, standing in the doorway as if he were afraid to come into Valentino’s bedroom—their bedroom.

“Is that why you are avoiding my lips?”

Abe shrugged, rubbing his good hand over the opposite upper arm. “Would you want to kiss someone who said that about you?”

He took a step toward Abe, watching not only his facial expression, but his body language as well. When the small fey didn’t step away from him, Valentino closed the distance. “You can’t be a bad kisser if you’ve never kissed before. I would never say anything like that to my sexy little cowboy.”

“But I’m not—”

Before Abe could give another protest about not being a cowboy, Valentino hooked a hand over the man’s nape and pulled him close. Right before he captured Abe’s lips, he said, “Relax your lips, hon.”

Abe sucked in a breath just as Valentino slanted his head and covered Abe’s mouth with his. Once again the kiss was stiff, but this time Valentino didn’t pull back. He gently coaxed Abe’s lips apart, sweeping his tongue into the smaller man’s mouth.

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