The Way He Makes Me Feel

an excerpt



Chapter 1

"What are you doing here, Bennett?" Aiden Norton asked Bennett when he opened the front door.

"I was about to ask you the same thing," Bennett said. "I have an appointment with a Mr. Saya Nori."

Aiden stepped back and allowed Bennett to enter. "Do come in." He hadn't seen his old friend in years, not since he upped and moved to California with his family. "I'm Mr. Nori's attorney." He escorted Bennett to the parlor. "He will be out shortly."

Bennett had definitely changed in appearance. The last time they'd seen each other was on the day of their high school graduation, when Bennett dropped a heavy secret on him. Bennett had gotten taller, and slimmed down some, but he still had that classically handsome Cary Grant face that just drove the women wild.

"Please have a seat." Bennett sat down and Aiden sat across from him.

"You never told me that you represented an artist."

Though he hadn't seen him in years, he and Bennett still corresponded. "Several," Aiden replied. "I should have put two and two together and figured out who you were when the letter said they were sending someone from Titan Publishing."

"My grandfather recently decided to change the name of the company. I had plans on calling on you while I was here. You know, so we could catch up."

The door opened and a young man entered.

Bennett stood up. He stared at him and smiled broadly.

Aiden stood up too.

"Are you Saya Nori?" Bennett asked.

Ah, what a difference fourteen years made Bennett didn't even recognize him. He and Saya had met years ago when Saya was just ten years old. He was going to feel pretty silly once he found out.

The young man bowed and nodded. "Yes."

Bennett bowed back. "I'm Bennett Titan, and I represent Titan Publishing."

The testosterone flying around in the air between the two men literally took Aiden's breath away. He'd been waiting for years for his gay friend to meet his gay brother. Bennett always had an eye for beautiful men. Saya, Aiden feared, had no experience with men, plus he was a bit naïve in the ways of the world. Ah, it is too late to teach him now.

"It's very nice to meet you, Mr. Titan," Saya said. "Please be seated." Bennett sat back in the seat he'd previously occupied. Saya sat across from him, next to Aiden. "Would you like some tea?"

"That would be nice," Bennett said.

Aiden stood up again. "I'll get it." He hated to leave. Saya wasn't normally a talker. In fact, he was a bit of a shy one and an introvert. Aiden hurried out of the room and damn near ran to the kitchen. It probably wasn't smart to leave the two of them alone together.

The cook appeared.

"We need tea and serving for three, Elga. Please bring it to the parlor. Our guest has arrived."

The older woman curtseyed. "Yes, Mr. Norton. Dinner is almost ready too. I'll bring the tea in shortly."

Aiden left the kitchen again and hurried to the parlor. He found the two still staring and smiling at each other. Bennett was explaining what his company could do for Saya if he decided to sign with them. Saya had self-published a manga a few months ago and it was still on the top of the best sellers list under graphic novels. Since then he'd been in high demand and everyone wanted to get to know him. Publishing companies from around the world were vying for his attention.

Elga entered the room shortly after Aiden sat down. She poured tea for the three of them. Negotiations continued. Bennett did most of the talking.

"My grandfather Isadore is offering you a flat in Tokyo, a new car, and also promises to pay all of your moving expenses."

Saya barely even blinked. He didn't care for flats, cars or something as trivial as moving expenses. He just wanted to draw. "Your grandfather seems like a generous man."

Aiden, being the younger man's attorney would make the final decision. He was going to hold out for the best offer... Saya was worth it.

****

Bennett couldn't shake the feeling that he'd met Saya Nori somewhere before, but he couldn't place him. He studied the younger man as they sat across the dining room table eating one of the best meals he'd had in some time. "I think you're going to love Japan should you decide to sign with us. You may have to learn a new language."

"Saya is fluent in Japanese, Mandarin and French," Aiden said.

Bennett said something to test him. "O-genki desu ka?" He'd asked Saya, "How are you?"

"Souda neh," Saya replied. "So so."

Bennett smiled. "My grandfather is going to love him."

Saya looked at Bennett oddly. "Is your grandfather into guys?"

The kid didn't crack a smile. Both he and Aiden laughed at the same time.

"No, he loves your work and wants to see more."

"Tell me more about your company," Saya said, still not smiling.

"We've been in business for nearly fifty years, started by my grandfather. We have just shy of a thousand employees, and we distribute books to many foreign countries in several languages besides the United States. We do stock a wide variety of books and magazines, but over the last five years we have jumped aboard the manga train. Sales are booming in that area, and after some consideration my grandfather thought it might be nice to bring aboard some in-house writers and artists and manufacture books under a private titled series."

"Would he have to work at the publishing company or could he do it from home?" Aiden asked.

"Most of the time he'd work from home, but once a month or so we'd like our writers to put in an appearance for a company meeting," Bennett said. He wasn't a complete idiot. Even he could tell that Saya Nori didn't like being around people. He had a quaint way of eating, not hurried, and he chewed the food carefully before he swallowed. Most of the truly gifted had some sort of abnormality.

Saya Nori had an amazing set of eyes. A startling shade of blue, just a little darker than Aiden's. In fact, he and Aiden resembled each other enough to be brothers. Wait, if memory served him right, he did remember being introduced to Aiden's younger brother years ago. Now what was his name? The child had been crying about something at the time and Aiden had tried his best to comfort him. Bennett got the kid to stop crying by stroking his ear. He remembered his mother doing this to him when he was a child. He'd wondered whatever happened to him since Aiden never mentioned him in his correspondence. He would be in his early twenties around this time so he was probably away at school or something.

****

Sage listened to Bennett's voice, mesmerized by the deep masculine tone, fascinated by his lips, loving the way he looked in the tailored suit. Sage still remembered what happened between them fourteen years ago. The man just touched his ear and suddenly he stopped crying. Now thinking back he wondered what Bennett thought of him. He probably looked a sight with tears streaming down his face and a runny nose. Maybe it was best that Bennett didn't remember him. That Sage Norton no longer existed. No one bullied him anymore and there were no more tears.

The cook brought in dessert, his favorite hummingbird cake made with bananas, pineapples and pecan pieces, covered in a creamy buttery icing with more shaved pecans on top of it. The cook used to make it for his mother when she was still alive...now she made it to please him.

"Do you like sweets?" Bennett asked him.

Sage nodded.

"He has quite the sweet tooth," Aiden said. "I'm surprise he doesn't live in the dentist's office."

"He has very nice teeth," Bennett said, still looking at him. "Are they capped?"

Sage shook his head, scooped some of the icing on the fork and licked it off. Bennett's eyes heated with desire, but just for a second...long enough for Sage to notice it. "Do you like sweets?"

Bennett nodded. "Cake is one of my true passions."

"You have others?" Sage asked.

His eyes did that heated thing again. "Yes, one other one that I know of," Bennett answered.

Sage slowly ran his tongue over his bottom lip to test a theory. Bennett lowered his gaze and look down at Sage's mouth. Bennett looked up. Sage winked at him. Hmm, the man has a thing for young men. Maybe signing with Titan Publishing might not be a bad idea. "Will you be my editor if I sign?"

"That can be arranged," Bennett said going back to his dessert.

"Are you sure?" Aiden asked Sage.

Sage nodded.

"The company's in Tokyo and you're afraid to fly. How do you propose to do this?" Aiden asked.

Bennett stopped eating. "Afraid to fly? Who in this day and age is afraid to fly?"

"He is," Aiden answered. "Please rethink this, Sage."

Bennett looked up again. "Sage? I thought his name was Saya."

"Saya is his pen name. He's my younger brother, Sage."

"I thought he looked familiar." Bennett glared at him.

Sage rolled his eyes at the ceiling. How could the man not know who he was? He looked exactly like Aiden, except his eyes were a darker shade of blue.

"He can be drugged," Bennett said frantically like a man refusing to give up on a prize.

Sage went back to eating his cake. If Bennett wanted him in Tokyo, he damn sure better find a way to transport him there.