Excerpt from Waiting So Long by Kaenar Langford.

Chapter One

“All right...I’m coming, I’m coming,” Vayle Matthews yelled over the jarring notes of the doorbell echoing through the foyer. His fingers were clumsy as he scrambled to do up the zipper of his worn jeans while hurrying down the stairs.

Neighborhood cookie sellers, siding specialists, canvassers. He quickly scanned through a mental inventory of unwanteds who might be interrupting his relaxation and de-stressing and decided that no matter who it was, he wasn’t interested. On the way home from the airport, he’d decided what his plan of attack would be for when he got home. That plan had included a cold beer, a swim in the pool followed by a hot shower and then some dinner. He’d accomplished the first three items and now he was starving. Listening to somebody’s well-rehearsed sales pitch was not part of the grand scheme. Especially not after his day so far.

The flight from L.A. to Cleveland had seemed never-ending, made even more frustrating by a stop-over in Chicago, exasperatingly extended by a fog delay. The photo assignment had been grueling—the weather hot and the client finicky. Despite his years of experience as a professional photographer, the shoot had been trying enough to make him question why he was still doing it.

Over the last year, the eagerness and satisfaction he’d found in his early photography had gradually been replaced by a definite lack of enthusiasm. Nowadays, whenever he looked through the viewfinder, he usually felt like he was doing a job— no more, no less. Maybe it was the advent of digital cameras and the ease of computer enhancement or maybe he’d had it with the life of a fashion photographer. Although the income was sizeable, he was coming to agree with the old adage—money isn’t everything.

The doorbell rang again.

“Just a minute,” he shouted. He shook his head in frustration as he strode to the front entry. The ready “I’m not interested” disappeared the moment he yanked open the door, his mind immediately registering the fact that this individual would certainly not appear anywhere on his list of unwelcome callers.

Vayle bit back the sharp dismissal that had been poised on his lips and stared instead, his cock stirring to life as he took in the man in front of him. His caller stood and allowed him to look his fill. His dark hair reached his shoulders, soft waves framing the kind of face that could grace a magazine cover. Sinfully long eyelashes cast shadows on his high cheekbones as he unabashedly returned Vayle’s assessment. His gaze lingered on Vayle’s growing arousal and then he looked up, his blue eyes sparkling as he met Vayle’s.

He was several years younger than Vayle as well as a few inches shorter, with a build that was lean but muscled. A snug white T-shirt tucked into a pair of low-slung jeans gave him a bad-boy look—a look enhanced by the heat in his eyes as he checked out Vayle. The tight shirt outlined what Vayle suspected was a small barbell piercing in one nipple. He stifled the urge to lick his lips at the thought.

He took in the duffel bag and small suitcase resting on the porch alongside the man. This was no salesman, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what had brought this god to his doorstep.

“Can I help you?” Vayle finally asked.

“Oh I certainly hope so,” the stranger replied. He continued to beam expectantly at Vayle, the grin finally fading.

“You don’t recognize me?” The tone of voice made the question a challenge.

Again Vayle surveyed his unexpected visitor from head to toe, which wasn’t a hardship, but he could swear he’d never seen this gorgeous guy before. No way I’d ever forget meeting you.

The beautiful one continued. “Your mother was going to talk to you about me. About me needing a place to stay.” He frowned. “Does any of this sound familiar?”

“I’m positive I would have remembered my mother mentioning...holy shit. You’re Alan Kingswell’s little brother.” Vayle smacked his forehead with the flat of his hand.

The man smiled, lighting his face with a cheeky grin. “Ah, so you do remember.”

Vayle nodded. “Yeah, I do now.” Frowning, he studied the younger man’s face then did a slow perusal of his body. “You know, Alan was my best buddy all through school, but he definitely didn’t have a brother who looked like you.”

“You haven’t seen Alan in what...ten, twelve years?” his caller quizzed.

Vayle did a quick calculation. “Yeah, closer to twelve. We would both have been eighteen when we left and headed off to college.”

“So his little brother would be twenty-five now?”

“Yeah, but look at you. There’s no way you could be Alan’s baby brother. He was a little twerp who followed us everywhere. Drove us both nuts.”

The stranger laughed. “Sorry to break it to you, but little brothers do grow up.” Then he stuck out his hand. “Daniel Kingswell. I’m Alan’s brother. You were supposed to be expecting me, I think.”

Vayle couldn’t help but return the laugh at Daniel’s quick wit. He took the proffered hand and shook it. “Vayle Matthews. But you already know that.”

Daniel’s face grew serious. “I can get a hotel room if this is inconvenient for you,” he said. “I honestly thought you were expecting me. I don’t want to barge in.”

Vayle stepped out, grabbed the baggage. “You just caught me off guard, but I’m glad you’re here. It’ll be great to catch up on old times.” He motioned with his head for Daniel to go on in.

Daniel passed through the open door then looked over his shoulder and grinned. “And maybe create some new ones.”

Vayle wanted to ignore the zing that went right to his cock at Daniel’s comment. After all, this was Alan’s baby brother. But as he followed Daniel into the house, he couldn’t keep from checking out the younger man’s ass. And he was very glad his hands were full or he might have been tempted to see if it was as taut as it looked.

When Daniel turned, the mischievous look on his face made Vayle wonder if Daniel knew where his gaze had been. The heat that quickly flared in those sapphire eyes gave him his answer.

“Checking out the jeans?” Daniel asked, his tone teasing.

“I was just...” Vayle’s reply was interrupted by a low growl from his stomach.
Daniel raised his eyebrows in surprise then laughed. “Sounds like you missed lunch.”

Vayle tried to figure out how long it had been since he’d eaten. “Well, I didn’t exactly miss lunch. I ate hours ago, somewhere in the air between L.A. and Cleveland. But I remember the meal being less than stellar and I’m pretty sure it was breakfast, not lunch.”

Daniel strode across the hall to Vayle, took the bags from him and set them out of the way against the wall. He straightened and grabbed Vayle’s arm. “Come on. Except for a quick detour at a drive-thru to get a snack, I basically drove here non-stop from the far side of Chicago. I’m famished.” He headed out the door, keeping hold of Vayle, who allowed himself to be pulled along onto the front porch.

His guest let go of Vayle’s arm and held out his upturned hand. “Can I have your keys?”

“Yeah, sure.” While he dug for them, Vayle couldn’t help marveling at the curious turn of events. It was as if he’d fallen down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland and, like Alice, he had no idea what was going to happen next. And he loved it. Which was unusual for someone who normally relished being in command of any situation.

Vayle couldn’t help but be turned on by the younger man’s take-charge attitude so he dropped the keys into Daniel’s palm and waited as he pulled the door shut and locked it. When Daniel tried to give them back, Vayle shook his head. “Nah, if you’re going to stay here you may as well keep ’em. I’ve got another set inside.”

With a wide smile plastered on his face, Daniel threw the key ring once in the air before shoving it in his pocket.

Vayle licked his lips as Daniel made a show of moving the keys around. As his hand shifted low in his pocket, the T-shirt pulled tight across his chest and the low-slung jeans did a delightful dance on his hipbones.

Vayle leaned against the wall and attempted to draw his mind back to the subject of sustenance. “So what do you want to eat?”

Daniel’s grin slowly bowed his mouth. “That depends. Are you on the menu?”

Vayle snorted. This guy’s quick. “Not currently. I was thinking maybe we’d head over to Heck’s Café.”

Daniel took the few steps at one leap and raced so fast down the front walk that Vayle had to push off the wall and sprint to catch up. “What’s the hurry?” he said when he got alongside.

His houseguest stopped, swung round to face him and handed him back his keys. “What’s the hurry? Are you kidding? I can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of their burgers and some of those incredible fries.”

Vayle stared into Daniel’s eyes and wondered if he’d ever seen eyes that shade of blue before. What the fuck? We’re talking about food and all I can think about is how gorgeous his eyes are. Think about food. “So, you got a particular burger you like there?”

Daniel placed one hand on Vayle’s chest. Heat seeped through the soft fabric of his T-shirt, the handprint like a brand on the skin beneath. “I always get the au poivre. You know why?” Daniel whispered.

Unable to break away from that hypnotic gaze, Vayle shook his head.

“Because I like things hot and spicy.”

Zing. A little lightning bolt of pleasure zapped Vayle’s dick. So much for thinking about food. “You like your food spicy?”

Now a finger stroked his breastbone. “And my life. I like it spicy too.”

Daniel leaned forward and Vayle knew he was going to kiss him. And even though he knew this was Alan’s little brother, he wanted it badly.

A car door slammed close by and Vayle jerked back.

“Saved by the neighbor,” Daniel said quietly.

Vayle ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “I’m not sure I wanted to be saved,” he admitted.

The look on Daniel’s face told him it was only a reprieve.

“Hold that thought ’til after dinner,” Daniel said.

Just as I thought. Only a reprieve.

Copyright 2011 Kaenar Langford