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Authors: Stephanie Vaughan

Another Believer

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.

Another Believer

Torquere Press Publishers

1380 Rio Rancho Blvd #1319, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.

Copyright 2009 © by Stephanie Vaughan

Cover illustration by BSClay

Published with permission

ISBN: 978-1-61040-666-6

www.torquerepress.com

All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. For information address Torquere Press. Inc., 1380 Rio Rancho Blvd #1319, Rio Rancho, NM 87124.

First Torquere Press Printing: March 2014

Printed in the USA

Another Believer

By Stephanie Vaughan

“Is this seat taken?”

David looked up and had to make a conscious effort to close his mouth.

“Uh, no. Go ahead.”

Shifting his feet, David shoved his backpack further beneath his seat and pulled his elbows in to make room.

“Thanks.” Little ripples of pleasure fluttered down David’s back upon hearing the smooth baritone, and maybe the cutest guy he’d ever seen sat down, tucking a well-worn duffel between his feet.

“No problem.” Trying not to be obvious, David cast a quick glance beneath his lashes at the long legs and muscular thighs settling in next to him. Late August in Southern California meant that daytime temperatures were in the eighties and nineties, and shorts were still the order of the day for most people.

The legs now stretched out beside him were lean and tanned, with a light dusting of reddish-blond hair. David tried not to gawk. He’d admired the view from behind earlier in the train station, casting admiring glances and doing his best to be discreet, even going so far as to offer up a brief plea to the universe that the tall man with the seriously hot bod would be on his train. He wouldn’t have had the hubris to ask that said cute guy would sit next to him. That would use up a year’s worth of good luck, and there was still the dorm and roommate lottery to get through.

The train was already moving, pulling out of Union Station and into the hazy sunshine that was L.A. in the fall. Forcing himself to look away, David tried to focus on the scenery, such as it was, and away from maybe the hottest guy he’d ever seen, let alone rubbed forearms with. The empty vista formed by the cement channel of the Los Angeles River, even with its colorful graffiti and eye-catching collection of debris, was no match for the nicely muscled arm that now rested near David’s. Not even close.

David’s overactive imagination had no trouble supplying him with scenarios for what he’d like that very attractive forearm to do, beginning with slipping down over David’s thigh and stroking firmly up and down his inseam a few times before cupping his crotch.

Aw, man.

The heat and electricity from being so close was already getting to him, and then the train jerked and the guy’s arm brushed against David’s.

“Sorry.”

David’s gaze flew to meet the other man’s and he was momentarily lost in the depths of perfect, brilliant green. “It’s okay. I’m David, by the way.” He stuck out his hand, reaching over the armrest to shake.

“Jonah. Simpson.” Jonah’s hand dwarfed David’s, long fingers wrapping easily around the back of David’s hand. Two fingers were wrapped with adhesive tape, and David tried to hide his shiver as slightly roughened fingertips scraped across his skin.

“Cool.” David retrieved his hand, rubbing it across his thigh, embarrassed at the tingle he continued to feel. He’d really have to get a grip before he humiliated himself, but he’d never been this close to anyone so perfectly beautiful.

Chestnut hair, streaked with everything from dark mahogany to strawberry blond, fell in shaggy disarray over Jonah’s forehead, and a light sprinkling of freckles scattered themselves charmingly along two high cheekbones and a perfectly-sized, perfectly-shaped, perfectly-placed nose. A spare upper lip rode gracefully above a much plumper lower one, and already David had gotten intermittent flashes of a smile that was an orthodontist’s dream.

David sighed.

Jonah was absolutely gorgeous.

He was even tall.

Every one of David’s favorite fantasies started with a tall man, but he’d figured out early that perfect specimens like the one seated next to him didn’t look twice at short, nerdy science geeks like him. It wasn’t just that, though. Every bit of David’s research indicated that not getting a second glance severely limited his chances of being fucked senseless by any of those perfect specimens.

Beside him, Jonah leaned over to pull out the duffel beneath his feet and began rummaging through it. When he sat up again, he had a dog-eared manila envelope in his hands, from which he pulled out a collection of documents and brochures. Kicking the duffel back beneath the seat again, Jonah straightened the pile before sorting through it.

Craning his neck a bit, David tried to get a glimpse of the subject matter, but just then Jonah looked up. David immediately averted his gaze and switched back to studying the landscape. He knew from experience that the scenery around Union Station consisted primarily of what the newspapers usually called ordinary urban clutter, but occasionally the extraordinary could be spotted. Not just garden variety graffiti and abandoned washing machines. David knew that street people made their homes in some of the channels that fed runoff water into the river during the rainy months. Since rain in August in L.A. was practically unheard of, this time of year the cavernous concrete tunnels were often inhabited. He sometimes got inadvertent glimpses of their lives and it was nothing short of heartbreaking, so, as much as possible, David did his best not to look.

“Whoa!”

Yanking his gaze around and up to Jonah’s, David immediately took in the wide, startled green eyes and the attractive flush in those high, round cheeks.

“Did you see that?” Jonah’s gaze fixed on David and it was breath-stopping to be the recipient of that much focused energy.

Shaking his head, David could only shrug weakly. “No. What?”

“There was a… a man.” Near dumbstruck, Jonah struggled to put words together. “In the…”

When Jonah’s glance strayed reluctantly back to the windows on the opposite side of the train, David’s followed it. He didn’t have to know specifically what Jonah’d seen; he could just flash to his own memories of some of the more comment-worthy sights he’d witnessed over the months.

Jonah’s gaze strayed back to David and David reminded himself not to gawk. Those eyes really were amazing. Instead, David nodded sympathetically. “Yeah, it can kind of catch you off guard sometimes.”

Mouth falling open a little, it was Jonah’s turn to gape. “You’ve seen--?” “

“Junkies shooting up? Pros turning tricks? Naked old dudes doing things I don’t even want to think about?” Randomly tossing out some of the more frequent occurrences, David watched in delight as Jonah’s eyebrows climbed higher and higher, eventually disappearing beneath the sweet fringe of hair that hung into his amazing eyes.

“It was…” A full-body shudder passed over Jonah and David took the opportunity to let his gaze briefly roam over the impressive pair of shoulders evident beneath the t-shirt that clung to Jonah’s body. “He was…”

“Yeah?” Smiling encouragingly, David did his best to keep the conversation going. If the talk had to do with anything electrical or, more specifically, his special love--robotics--David could go all night. But make the conversation anything social and he was at a loss. He never really knew what to say.

“He was big. And,” Jonah paused to look over his shoulder, back in the direction the steady speed of the train had swept them past. Peering into David’s eyes with an intensity that made his insides quiver, Jonah somehow seemed to be willing David to believe the unbelievable. “This big black dude… was wearing nothing but a diaper. That’s it. That’s all he had on. His legs were… Back in the… ”

David winced at the mental picture Jonah’s words had conjured. Just sad. What must that guy’s story be?

Jonah’s distress was obvious and David instantly wanted to comfort him. He had a soft heart and he knew it. The fact that the person in need of help was so perfectly gorgeous that he made David’s teeth ache was beside the point.

His need to offer emotional support was completely impartial. Altruistic, even.

It was his nature to try to help, so David reached out his hand, rubbing Jonah’s arm softly. “Yeah, it’s hard sometimes. I know.”

Slowly, by small degrees, Jonah relaxed. The eyes got less intent; that beautiful mouth that David wanted desperately to lick softened; the muscles beneath David’s hand loosened. And then, ever so slowly, Jonah’s gaze dropped to watch the circling motions David only gradually realized he was making--making on Jonah’s very attractive, very probably heterosexual arm.

Oh, shit.

Now he’d done it.

David closed his eyes before Jonah’s horrified gaze could find his. Now Jonah was going to call him whatever Jonah’s straight jock brain’s nom du jour for not-straight was. Then he’d probably threaten to beat the crap out of David’s skinny, obviously not-straight ass for daring to touch him.

It wasn’t the thumping, or even just the threat of it David dreaded, so much as it was the look he’d no doubt see in Jonah’s eyes. Coming so closely on the heels of the intense look and the sympathetic look, David knew it was going to sting just that much more.

“David?” Low, gritty, slow, Jonah’s voice hung heavily in the air between them. The train swayed and rattled as it took a turn, the steel wheels clanking rhythmically over the tracks.

Random bits of conversation from other passengers floated by and David grasped at them, desperate to avoid what was about to come crashing down on his clumsy but well-intentioned head. A man asked the score of the day’s ball game. A girl’s flirtatious giggle was followed by a low, masculine chuckle. The automated voice of the train system announced the next stop.

“Oh. Whoa. Sorry. I’ll just… Never mind.” Carefully withdrawing his hand, David turned away. Gazing blindly out the window, he was still hyper-aware of the man behind him; could feel the gaze boring into the back of his neck.

“You got a last name, David?”

Okay, this wasn’t exactly what he’d been expecting. Chancing a look, David glanced over his shoulder and found something undecipherable on Jonah’s chiseled face. “Yeah, Sato. Why?”

“Japanese?”

“Half.
Why
?” David knew he sucked at reading faces. But even knowing that social skills weren’t his thing, this went way beyond the usual ‘was that a joke and should I laugh now?’

Eyes narrowing suspiciously, Jonah slanted him a look out of those eyes that even now made David’s heart beat faster, damn him. “Gay?”

Disappointment made David reckless and he opened his never-appropriate mouth and sunk whatever hopes he might still have clung to. “Gay as in likes cock and butt sex, or gay as in happy?”

Nearly choking, Jonah glanced around quickly, probably looking to see who might have overheard. David didn’t care. He was going to have to get up and go find another seat now and, after standing in line for nearly an hour to be sure he got a window on the coast side of the train, David was extra pissed at himself for the wasted effort.

“Keep your voice down. Jeez.” Jonah looked around again before lowering his head, bringing it close to David’s. “The, uh, the first one.”

“What do you think?” Folding his arms across his chest, David leaned back in his seat. Just because Jonah was hot and he knew it didn’t mean David would let him get away with whatever he wanted.

“Just answer the question. Are you?” To David’s surprise, Jonah followed, pursuing David into his personal space. He leaned in until David could see the exact hue and intensity of those fabulous green eyes.

Maybe it was frustration, but something boiled over inside David and he searched for the most outrageous thing he could think of to set this cruel tease of a straight boy back on his heels.

“Absolutely
love
the cock, and there’s nothing I like more than riding a big hard one. All night long.” He drew out the last bit, taking an evil delight in watching Jonah’s eyes go wide.

“Oh. Wow.” Nostrils flaring with the quick, shallow breaths he was taking, Jonah stared back. “
Nice
.”

***

Oh. W
ow. Nice.

In the time it took to get from L.A. to Simi Valley, Jonah’s day had gone from tedious and boring to very,
very
interesting.

He’d been resigned to a long, dull trip up the coast on the train and he’d picked the seat next to the Asian guy because he’d always had a thing for the whole black hair, dark almond-shaped eyes combo. Jonah figured at least the indoor scenery would be nice.

Still, he hadn’t expected much. That the guy would also have that vaguely brainiac look about him was just gravy. Jonah’d taken crap for years about his preference in that area, but there was no one around now to give him grief if he did a little low-key perving.

He couldn’t help it.

He liked smart guys; guys who could talk about something besides stats and standings and who got snubbed in the NBA draft. To Jonah there was nothing sexier than a guy who was really smart--who actually knew his stuff and wasn’t ashamed to show it. There was just something that turned him on about the self-confidence that came from the combination of intelligence and expertise.

“Tickets, gentlemen.”

Jonah nearly came out of his skin at the voice suddenly speaking behind him. The attendant’s matter-of-fact delivery didn’t mitigate the fact that Jonah had been so wrapped up in his conversation with David and all its wonderful possibilities, that he hadn’t had a clue that anyone had approached from behind.

Turning away from David reluctantly, Jonah reached into his duffel and rummaged for his ticket. Finding it, he handed it to the attendant and smiled. “Here you go.” The man verifying the information on Jonah’s ticket didn’t need to know that the smile had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the happy little fantasies now bubbling up from Jonah’s imagination.

When the attendant handed Jonah’s ticket back and turned to David with an expectant look, Jonah had the excuse he needed to turn and watch David right along with the man.

David’s very proper, “It’s right here, sir,” had Jonah biting his lip, and he didn’t think he imagined the amused flicker on the attendant’s lips, either.

“You gentlemen have yourselves a good trip now, hear?” After flipping the VACANT signs above their seats to OCCUPIED, the attendant moved on.

Jonah watched the man move up to the next row before turning back to David, who still sat back in his seat, arms folded across his chest. “So, cool. He’s gone. Where were we?”

“What?”

Even David’s glare was darling. Jonah wanted to kiss the scowl off his face, then remove his shirt and keep going from there. “I’m just looking.” Jonah’s gaze ran across David’s face, loving the clean lines and high cheekbones, the fall of dark hair that slid easily across his forehead.

“At what?”

“You.” Jonah smiled. “Hey, you want to go find the dining car with me?”

“Don’t you have paperwork to do?”

“Huh?” Jonah had forgotten all about the pile of school registration papers he’d taken out to sort through until David nodded at his lap. “Oh, right. Well, I was going to, but you distracted me. Besides, that can wait; right now I’m hungry. I want to find something to eat and I want you to come with me.”

“Why would you want me to go with you? We don’t even know each other.”

“So… we’ll get to know each other.” The lure of David’s smooth, almost flawless skin called and Jonah couldn’t resist any longer. He put a hand back on David’s knee and let it slide down the inside a few inches, savoring the texture of soft hair he found there.

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