In Variable Onset, (available now) a standalone m/m romantic mystery, a prickly FBI instructor meets his match—and undercover husband—in the brash, flirtatious former student who made his early professor days hell… and who always had the hots for teacher. With their cold case suddenly heating up, will things get too hot to handle, in their fake relationship and in their investigation? Read on for a sexy excerpt!
“I’m sorry,” Lincoln said, slumping back in his chair. “I should have asked before I said we wanted to stay.”
“You did ask, and I didn’t object, because you’re right. We’re too close.”
“You up for playing Mr. Polk a bit longer?” Lincoln asked, his grin a little fuller, a little looser after three shots of tequila.
Carter returned the smile. “I think I could suffer it.”
Lincoln scoffed, full of mock outrage as he shifted in his chair, sideways and forward, toward Carter. “You have to suffer? What about me?”
Carter matched him, in affected ire and position, knees bumping as he narrowed the already scant distance between them. “What about you? Or rather, what about me is so insufferable?”
“You’re cocky, and you have an aversion to putting things in their place.” He flung an arm out to the side, toward the kitchen. “Like dishes in the dishwasher.”
Carter grabbed his arm. “You want me to put things in their place?”
Heat flashed in Lincoln’s eyes, and he didn’t try to wrench free. Instead, he used his wrist in Carter’s grip to drag him closer, to the end of his chair with his legs spread, thighs on either side of Lincoln’s. Faces so close Carter could feel the warmth of Lincoln’s breath and the timbre of Lincoln’s words. “You’re insufferably handsome, and it’s all I can do not to kiss you.”
Carter prayed to all that was holy that the fucking phone didn’t ring this time, didn’t interrupt his fantasy that was so close to finally becoming reality. He slid closer, cheek to cheek. “I can make you suffer, in other, more pleasurable ways, but I’d prefer you do that to me.” Lincoln’s gasp made his dick throb, and the heat that bloomed against his cheek and thighs was scalding, enough to make him draw back, wanting to see all of Lincoln in his turned-on glory—pupil’s blown out, lips parted, erection tenting the front of his pants. Carter lifted his eyes to Lincoln’s molten honey ones. “But holding out for a kiss, you don’t have to suffer that, L, if you don’t want to.”
“I don’t want to,” Lincoln said, zero hesitation.
Carter held his gaze as he shifted their positions, lifting one then the other of Lincoln’s thighs over his own. “What do you want, L?”
Taking the cue, Lincoln grabbed hold of Carter’s shoulders and levered himself onto Carter’s lap. He half groaned, half growled, as he rolled his hips, magnifying the suffering tenfold. “I want you to fucking kiss me.”
As much as he wanted to stretch up and capture Lincoln’s lips, to end their suffering, Carter couldn’t resist one last needling. “Say ‘ple—’”
Lincoln’s mouth crashed down onto his, and it was entreaty enough. More than. Carter groaned as he opened for everything Lincoln had to give—tongue, teeth, lips—wanting and craving it all. Delayed gratification at its finest. Lincoln rolling his hips and rutting his arousal against Carter’s abs as his hands raked through his hair. Cradling his scalp while holding him hostage. Carter ran his hands up Lincoln’s thighs and around to grasp his perfect ass, holding tight as he thrust up against him. Lincoln moaned down his throat and tugged Carter’s head back farther, deepening the kiss. Carter surrendered, to anything and everything Lincoln wanted. Just as long as he got to keep him here, in his lap, devouring each other.
Neither of them protested, but eventually the chair did, a creak that forewarned of imminent collapse under their combined weight. Carter made to move, to stand and transfer Lincoln from his lap to the table, hoping the latter would be sturdier than the chair, but Lincoln shifted first, sliding off to stand between Carter’s spread legs. Hands still in Carter’s hair, he gentled the hold and kiss, fingers playing with his curls as they wound down to light pecks.
“Fuck,” Carter panted, still catching his breath. “I’ve suffered years waiting for that kiss.”
“I suffered weeks with you in class, and those were the worst weeks of my teaching career.”
“I wasn’t that bad.”
Lincoln trailed his hands down his neck and around to the hollow of his throat, making Carter shiver. “Yeah, you were.”
Carter hooked his arms around the backs of Lincoln’s thighs and eyed the erection straining toward him. “I can show you bad.”
Lincoln slipped a hand beneath his chin and tipped up his face for a hard, fast kiss. “All those years, you can appreciate a slow burn.”
“In other words, you’re gonna make me suffer some more.”
“Trust me when I say we’re both going to be suffering.”
About the Book
Variable Onset by Layla Reyne
Book Description: To catch a killer, a special agent and his former student will need to get close—to their target, and each other. Layla Reyne returns with a stand-alone romantic mystery.
When the serial killer known as Dr. Fear seemingly reemerges after a cooling-off period, Special Agent Lincoln Monroe wants on the case. He knows his research on the calculating criminal, who targets couples and uses their worst fears to kill them, could prove invaluable. But nothing can prepare Lincoln for the agent waiting for him in Apex, Virginia: a brash and cocky former student. Carter Warren is everything Lincoln is not, and somehow everything he wants. And they’ll be going undercover. As newlyweds.
For Carter, seeing Lincoln again—and flustered to boot—pokes his raging bear of a crush something fierce. He thinks posing as lovers will provide the perfect bait for Dr. Fear. But pretending to be married forces them to confront fears of their own…like giving in to the very real chemistry between them.
With evidence pointing to the possibility of a copycat killer, Lincoln and Carter will have to race to separate truth from fiction. But when another couple goes missing, finding the killer will test every ounce of their training, skills and the strength of their bond like never before.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
And don’t miss any of these books from Layla Reyne and Carina Press:
RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey, Fog City, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. Layla is a RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.