Excerpt from Just Being Neighborly by Kaenar Langford, final edition may differ.

Chapter One

He considered replaying the recording a third time, if only to afford himself another opportunity to hear the dark, silky tones. Dayton had never met a man whose voice affected him the way Simon Tate’s did. No matter that this was nothing more than a simple phone message, it was the deep timbre, the promise of sin implicit in the manner in which Simon always spoke. His neighbor only had to say hello in passing and Dayton was primed, hard as a rocket and ready to go off.

Dayton Stewart had only recently moved into the older suburban neighborhood, so his first glimpse of Simon was still fresh in his memory. The backyards on their quiet Toronto street were small but very private and, although the houses were built close together, high wooden fences and a proliferation of mature trees afforded a great deal of seclusion to the residents.

It was a Saturday, one of those typically hot, muggy, summer days in the city, and he’d decided to clean the eaves troughs. He’d donned an old pair of cut-off shorts and, forgoing a shirt, had slapped on sunscreen as best he could. A brand new tool belt full of items he hoped might be useful for the chore hung low on his hips. Heavy socks and work boots covered his feet. He’d taken the extension ladder from the side of the shed where it hung and had raised it against the back of the house. Feeling confident, he’d climbed up and set to work.

The initial exhilaration of ownership and pride in residence maintenance had quickly worn off at the realization that he could only reach a short distance to each side before having to descend, shift the ladder and begin again. His back was soon aching, his arms sore, and he began to doubt the virtues of home ownership.

Until he heard someone shout “hello”.

He looked down into the yard next door and feared too much exposure to the sun was causing him to hallucinate. Lying on a lounge chair on the small deck was a bronze god wearing nothing but sunglasses and a brief bathing suit. Dayton smiled to notice that the deity had no tan line and the front of said bathing suit seemed very full and hard.

“I’ve got a nice cold beer waiting for you whenever you want to take a break,” Simon had called.

Dayton had quickly made the decision that work could wait. When Simon had introduced himself and produced the promised beverage, Dayton had decided that moving to the neighborhood was a stroke of incredible luck. They’d spent the rest of the morning talking, with Dayton finally reluctantly pulling himself away to head home to resume his chores. He’d been back over a few times and each time the air had been charged with sexual energy, but neither of them had acted on it. It was almost as if something were missing. And his last visit had shown exactly what was missing—or, more correctly, who was missing.

Simon had invited him over for a late afternoon barbeque. Dayton loved that time of day and couldn’t wait to see the warm, golden sun on Simon’s skin as the rays poked through the trees. Dayton wasn’t disappointed, as his gorgeous neighbor wore nothing but a pair of shorts and a smile as he set food out on the patio table. Simon’s broad shoulders and smooth chest gleamed like polished gold in the dappled sunlight. Shades of red and blond shone in his long, dark brown hair and as Simon approached, Dayton caught the evocative scent of sweat and man, as if he’d been working outside all day. Dayton wanted to lick him, to ascertain if he tasted as good as he smelled.

Saliva pooled in his mouth at the idea of setting his tongue to that warm sun-kissed flesh. He put out his hand to take Simon’s wrist and drag him toward him when Simon spoke.

“Dayton, this is Mateo Alvero.”

He hadn’t noticed the other man standing in the shadows. The stranger stepped forward and it was all Dayton could do not to put his hand over his heart and swoon like some Victorian miss. Mateo was breathtakingly beautiful. Where Simon’s skin was bronze, Mateo’s was tanned to a darker caramel, a sharp visual contrast to the white tank he wore with a pair of beat-up shorts. His hair gleamed blue-black in the sunlight, the waves tamed with a short cut. But Dayton got the distinct impression that those waves were the only thing about him that had been tamed. Sexual energy seemed to pulse from him, drawing Dayton closer and closer to fall under its spell. Until the enchantment was broken by Simon’s voice.

“Mateo and I have been friends for a long time. We went to school together. I wanted you two to meet.”

Dayton was sure there was an underlying meaning to Simon’s words, but he was too busy moving his gaze from one gorgeous man to the other to even think about figuring it out. The evening went by with brief touches among the trio as food and drinks were passed, but again, Dayton returned home wishing for more.

As he gave in and listened to the voicemail for a third time, he kept his eyes closed and rubbed his erection with the flat of his hand, pressing against the hard flesh, imagining it was Simon’s touch.

He could pick up a hint of something in the voice on the message machine. It had been a full week since he’d met Mateo at Simon’s and in those seven days he’d been so busy at work he’d only seen Simon in passing. Tingles of anticipation flicked along his arms, making the soft hair stand on end. Something is going to happen. Finally.

“They tried to deliver a package for you but you weren’t there, so I signed for it. You can pick it up as soon as you get home. Just come on in, the front door’s not locked.”

That was the whole message, yet shivers ran down his spine at the mere thought of passing through Simon’s door. He didn’t give a fuck about the parcel. It was nothing more than an excuse to get inside Simon’s domain.

He debated taking the time to get out of his conservative work clothes and into something cooler. His discarded jacket lay thrown over the back of a comfy chair in the living room. He’d gotten out of it the moment he’d arrived home. Wearing a suit was a necessary evil in his capacity as communications manager for a large wireless communication company, but that buttoned-up persona fell by the wayside when he got home.

Dayton didn’t bother to change. Just a quick run though his hair with hands that were a bit unsteady and he was ready to go. A wry smile appeared as he looked down at the persistent hard-on pushing against the soft fabric of his trousers. Simon would have little doubt about his intentions, but the time for hesitation was over. He was definitely ready to get neighborly with his neighbor.


Copyright 2009 Kaenar Langford