Hibernate With Me

an excerpt

Chapter One

Rhody slid from behind the steering wheel of his truck and tugged on the bottom of his jacket. He took a moment to get his bearings after the long flight and drive from Spokane to Anchorage. There was the welcoming front of Brendan's bungalow-style home. This was only the second time since they'd started seeing each other that he'd come to visit him there. The first time was six months before, when it was still warm out. Unlike in summer, old and new snow coated the ground, hiding everything under a sheet of white. The house looked the same, weathered whitewash with a plain metal frame around the closed front door and screen. It was too cold now to leave doors open. With Christmas right around the corner, days were short and very, very cold.

Frigid to be exact.

Made him glad to be coming to Brendan, Rhody's personal body heater.

He slung his travel bag over a shoulder, dropped his suitcase by his knee, and closed the SUV door. Standing at the front door, he pushed the doorbell that blinked the house lights to let Brendan know he had company.

A moment later, the door popped open, and Rhody smiled when their eyes met. It was matched by an equally broad smile in greeting from Brendan. The door was held wider and Rhody entered to let his bag slide from his shoulder to the floor.

The next several minutes were filled with deep, heartfelt kisses, making up for the time spent apart. It sucked that Brendan was in Anchorage, and Rhody lived in Spokane. It was taking some logistical planning on their parts, but they were making this work.

Rhody was slow to release Brendan's lips after a long, thorough welcome kiss. Damn. He'd needed that. He nibbled playfully at lips, tugging on Brendan's beard between his teeth. Brendan growled in answer. A shiver danced down Rhody's spine at the sound. He knew how precious all of Brendan's sounds were since he couldn't hear himself or any part of the world surrounding him.

Reluctantly, he inched away from the body heat. "Missed you," he said, using his hands to sign his thoughts at the same time. Taking the Sign Language courses was really paying off. His skills were better, and he felt more confident in his ability.

He knew Brendan appreciated it when his eyes softened, simply gazing into Rhody's. "So much," he agreed.

Rhody smiled. He loved seeing that look on Brendan's face.

"Let's get you comfortable." Brendan unzipped Rhody's jacket.

He shrugged it loose, so Brendan could hang it up in the front closet with the other heavy outerwear.

Palming his carry on again, he followed Brendan's lead to the bedroom, tugging the suitcase behind him. Brendan walked ahead and opened two large empty drawers. "These are yours." Then he faced Rhody.

Rhody's feet slowed to a stop. "You made space for me?"

He was shocked at the gesture and forgot to sign his words.

"It's not that big of a deal. You're going to be here for a little while." He rocked broad shoulders in unconcern.

Rhody saw right through it. Brendan may not think it's a ‘big deal,' but it meant a lot to Rhody. When he'd been there last time, during the summer, there had been different circumstances to that visit. They'd both been trying to build something out of an unexpected attraction. Given that they were stranded in the wilderness for several days, it was a perfect opportunity for affection to flourish.

This visit, Brendan was making it pretty clear where he wanted Rhody.

"Use as much room as you need. These will always be yours," Brendan offered, now with a more noticeable hesitant hitch of uncertainty the longer Rhody stayed unmoving.

Rhody left his bags on the floor where he'd stopped inside the room and neared Brendan. "Is this a permanent offer?" He did his best to sign the words, but knew the truth of what he was asking would be all over his face no matter how badly he screwed it up.

"Permanent," Brendan replied after a heavy silence. "I know it's asking a lot of you. I don't need an answer today or even this trip."

Rhody braced Brendan's hips with his palms, and the man stuttered into silence.

"You're amazing. Special to me. Thank you." A brief burst of heartbeats made his chest ache for a few seconds as he gazed into some of the purest green eyes he knew. The more time he spent with Brendan, the more often those types of reactions occurred. He wasn't ready to give it a specific name, but he definitely wasn't shying away from the possibility either.

Brendan lowered his head, finding Rhody's lips with a gentle kiss. A sigh slipped from Rhody before he knew it was there. Warm lips curled against his in answer. Maybe he wasn't alone in experiencing these heart-pounding reactions.

Brendan pressed close again. When he did, Rhody glided arms around the other man and hugged him. Kisses may not be all he needed after all. Not when the man holding him felt this good.

Strong arms banded like steel around his waist, so tenderly. Brendan's wool sweater brushed against Rhody, stirring more blood through his veins, blood that was quickly gathering southward and making certain needs more pronounced. With the way Brendan was nuzzling into his neck, he wasn't alone.

He tipped his head and let Brendan roam. The man had an oral fixation that Rhody deeply appreciated. For his size, Brendan was thorough, but he wasn't rough. He was taller, stronger, and broader, but he never treated Rhody like he was fragile. The last guy Rhody had dated who'd been larger had forgotten that Rhody was a man, too. He wasn't going to break. He had zero fears of Brendan having that misconception.

Rhody groaned when he scraped teeth down skin to latch firmly onto the juncture of his shoulder. A shiver quickly followed. Panted breaths warmed where Brendan gnawed with gentle pressure. Rhody gasped and burrowed into Brendan's chest. Shivers multiplied. His hands flexed, digging fingers into Brendan's back.

He slid his hands between them, slipping under Brendan's sweater to find skin, enjoying the heat and the soft mat of hair he loved to run seeking fingers through. He'd discovered a certain infatuation of his own for a particular mountain man.

Brendan growled when Rhody found taut nipples and flicked at them with his thumbnails.

Brendan wasn't going to let the challenge pass. He began to unbutton Rhody's shirt, separating fabric to get to as much of Rhody's chest as he could. Gooseflesh burst in waves at his stroked touch. It felt like the first time, all new discoveries tempered by restrained passion and knowing exactly how good it would be between them.

Once Rhody's shirt was liberated from his jeans, everything began to come off in bits and pieces. Sweater and shirt, then jeans were unsnapped, making a perfect reason for Rhody to reach more of Brendan's body.

"God," Brendan gasped when Rhody got a handhold of solid butt with each palm.

Rhody tugged him firmly, letting their bodies brush and grind together as they shared more kisses. A twist of his arms had Brendan's jeans sinking to the floor. Brendan repaid the favor, adding Rhody's underwear to the act.

A few skipped steps had them on the bed. Shoes were added to the growing knot of clothes on the floor. It only took a couple more tugs and pulls before both of them were completely naked.

Rhody tussled with Brendan, centering both on the bed to get a taste of the man for himself. There was something almost sweet in the allure of Brendan's flavor that drove Rhody crazy. Licking in long swipes over his chest, he found what he hungered for. He could lose himself in adoring Brendan's body, the contours, dips, and valleys that he wanted to know like the back of his own hand.

It was as though they hadn't spent the last several months apart as the familiar heat and taste flowed over his tongue. The smooth skin of his goal beckoned the lower he traveled, until the delicious expanse waited beneath his lips. Brendan gushed a breathy growl when Rhody slid craving lips over the silken crown.

God, he'd missed this, the shared closeness, the passion that he couldn't even remember having with another partner. Definitely gotta find a way to make this work.

The tender threading of fingers in his hair made him want to melt.

"Rhody." It was a sighed plea. A need for more.

Rhody hefted upward and purred against Brendan's neck, to let him feel what he couldn't hear--Rhody's enjoyment at being right where he was.

Caring hands pinned him close, letting him know Brendan got the message. A firm nudge had him tilting his head, a hungry mouth welcoming him with a heady kiss. It was slow but heated, revealing even more to Rhody about how deeply Brendan was feeling everything at the moment. The slow back and forth surging of their bodies finally registered and a fresh shudder rocked Rhody as their gazes locked, the unspoken meaning bright within.

Needing air, he hung over Brendan, gliding frame to frame, groin to groin, letting the burn of hunger grow. Skin kissed skin with delicious results.

Rhody moved enough to reach the nightstand drawer and open it. Swirling a hand around, he found a newer, larger bottle of lube had replaced the small one he remembered and the condoms. He grinned, waggling the new bottle in question.

Brendan chuckled. "I didn't always go right to sleep after we said good-bye."

Rhody joined him with a husky laugh, noting the budding red hue on his lover's cheeks. He was going to take that as a compliment. He wasn't going to own up to doing the same thing...not right then.

Wetting his fingers with slick, he moved between Brendan's thighs, teasing and caressing to heighten the anticipation for that first penetration.

Even with one hand occupied, Rhody couldn't restrain the urge to lick and suck wherever he could reach, braced over Brendan, which happened to be a fairly expansive area of Brendan's chest.

Grunts and growls deepened, proving Brendan was fully under his spell. Hands clawed at bedding, his body shaking in need. A need Rhody was creating for him.

A glance upward, and he locked onto bright green eyes intent on Rhody and everything he was doing.

Brendan's chest rose and fell like a living bellows, shuddering then staggering as Rhody advanced his press, widening Brendan's opening. Brendan spread his legs, silently begging for more of Rhody's touch. His eyes smacked shut, and he gasped when Rhody twisted his fingers and bit a nipple at the same time. An excited growl filled the room. He smiled for a heartbeat. Brendan loved it when he got a little toothy.

When Brendan began to push into Rhody's hand, he pulled away and quickly managed to roll one of the condoms down his shaft, giving it a final tug at the tip for good measure.

When he paused, Brendan began to watch him with passion-hazed eyes. The next thought to enter Rhody's head was this was where he needed to be. Not in Spokane. Simply, wherever Brendan was. That was home.

A light caress to his face brought his full focus to where it needed to be right then. On the man in front of him.

Rhody nodded, and Brendan brought up a single leg, creating a perfect wedge for Rhody to fit into.

A released breath was met with a push from Rhody. He had to clench his teeth when he nearly slid home, to keep some level of control.

"Fuck." He usually didn't talk, but that was wrung out of him with the intense pleasure that enveloped him, making him feel like he was going to shoot out into space.

Brendan grasped at him, urging him silently. Rhody wasn't going to disappoint. Holding Brendan in a firm grip, he snapped his hips, and a full body shudder rolled over Brendan in answer.

Brendan's chest jumped. He clutched at the bedding, then he flexed, and it was Rhody's turn to have his brain shut off.

After that, his body and pure desire took over, gliding with powerful strokes and snaps to fill Brendan, to make him gasp and cry out. The realization that he needed this as much as Rhody did hit him when Brendan reached for him with an almost desperate energy, twining with fingers to bring them that much closer. Rhody leaned, bending carefully to kiss plump lips. They both craved this connection.

Whatever it was between them, it was mutual and growing. It was there in Brendan's kisses, in his touches, in just the way they spoke to one another. Tenderness or passion, it existed, and Rhody could feel it like the heat from a true flame when they were this close.

Brendan grunted and bucked beneath him, urging him, pulling Rhody along until he couldn't fight the need any longer. Skin tingled. Nerves burned like they were on fire. A thick groan slid up his throat as the first jet raced through his system, sending him tumbling head first into one of the strongest orgasms he could remember.

Brendan nearly howled as thick ropes of white striped his front. He dug his head into the pillow, flexing strong thighs to keep Rhody close as the last of his orgasm spilled onto his belly.

When he felt he could almost think clearly, Rhody inched backward, sorry to have to leave the heat of Brendan's body. He didn't bother to explain what he intended. Brendan would know, and he had his eyes closed anyway while he fought to put air back into his own lungs. The bed dipped when he scooted off the edge. The floor wobbled, or maybe that was him. It was hard to say.

Done in the bathroom, he returned and helped to clean up Brendan. He handed over the towel and let him finish then toss all of it toward the bathroom.

He tapped Brendan on the shoulder then asked, "Rest?" by hand when he was blearily focused on Rhody.

"Please," he whispered. He reached and touched Rhody's chin. Everything Rhody was feeling and thinking was tied up into that one simple gesture.

"I know." He crawled up under the covers. Before he closed his eyes, he managed two more things.

He turned off the light on the stand and kissed the man beside him.

Then he didn't move again.