Valentine’s Ink

Trouble Brewing Bonus Content

By Layla Reyne

Nic didn’t fidget. Aside from a tendency to drum his thumbs when he was thinking, the prosecutor moved with efficiency. Or didn’t move, sometimes going eerily still. The SEAL beneath the attorney’s pinstripes.

Unwinding all that pent-up efficiency—getting his boyfriend loose under his hands and mouth—was one of Cam’s favorite things. But pliant with lust was a far cry from the man squirming across the table from him. All of Cam’s investigative instincts were pinging. Not with worry; they were past the point of hiding from each other. If Nic were injured, or if this were something major, he’d have told Cam. This was something else, and the unknown made Cam more curious than ever.

“Ants in your pants, Counselor?”

Nic glanced up from the chocolate soufflé they were supposed to be sharing. He’d drawn it closer to his side of the table, bite by bite. Setting aside his spoon, he shifted in his seat again and grumbled, “That’s about what it feels like.”

Cam tried not to choke on his rye whiskey. “Explain.”

“I’d rather show you.”

Cam coughed and sputtered, struggling to swallow the fiery alcohol. “Can I guess what this is about?”

“Can you get the check?” Nic countered. “We’ve got a limited time window.”

“Then why the fuck have you fidgeted through a two-hour dinner?”



“Because it’s Valentine’s Day, and you deserved it.” Nic pushed the heart-shaped soufflé dish to the middle of the table. “You deserved more of this too. We’ll come back next week and get you your own.”

If it wasn’t indecent to crawl under the table and blow his boyfriend, Cam would. He flagged down the waiter instead. Five minutes later they had the check. Ten minutes after that, Cam was swinging the truck into their driveway. Not a lot of time to pry out more details.

Aside from the fidgeting, the only other clue was a brown paper bag Nic pulled from the center console. But even that clue wasn’t much help. Nondescript, no odors, and folded over as it was in Nic’s grip, there was no room for whatever was inside to rattle around. If it even rattled. In any event, it wouldn’t be lube. Cam had that on Subscribe & Save.

Bird was also interested in the mystery bag, sniffing it as Nic bent to give him a hello scratch. “Not a treat for you, Joe.”

Smiling, Cam shut the front door and leaned back against it. “Maybe the name change would stick if there really were treats in there.”

“Ignore him, Joe.” Nic gave him one last scratch before disappearing down the hallway.

Bird meowed miserably, used to more attention from his favorite. Cam scooped up the furry traitor and tickled his belly. “I don’t know what’s going on either.”

“Get back here,” Nic shouted from the bedroom, “and I’ll show you.”

The paper bag crinkled, as if Nic was balling it up, and Bird wriggled to get free. “I don’t think so, buddy,” Cam said. “That bat signal’s for me.” He wrestled the cat into the study with a toy, then kicked himself into high gear, shedding layers as he made his way to the bedroom.

He was down to his undershirt and pants when his step faltered in the doorway. A day didn’t go by that Cam wasn’t struck by the cypress tree tattoo on Nic’s back. Once a symbol of the past Nic had run from—a past Cam had worried might threaten their future—it’d come to represent something good since last fall. Survival and a family found. Everything Nic deserved, and Cam was honored to share it with him.

Moving the rest of the way into the room, Cam stepped behind Nic. He coasted his hands up the cypress’s knotted trunk and splayed out his fingers as he traced its spindly branches. A shiver snaked through Nic’s tall, trim frame, and his belt buckle clacked as he fumbled undoing it. Grinning, Cam peeked around Nic’s shoulder. His smile died at seeing the supplies scattered on a towel on the bed. Bandages, medical tape, and first aid ointment. He clasped Nic’s shoulders. “Are you hurt?”

“Far from it.” Nic shoved his pants and boxers down, and the heavy belt buckle took them the rest of the way to the floor, revealing the last piece of the puzzle.

A bandage over Nic’s left hip. Where Nic’s hand so often drifted. Where he’d told Cam he intended to ink a certain drawing. A new memorial to join the others on his skin. This one to Cam.

Whipping around, Cam grabbed Nic’s wallet off the dresser and riffled through the billfold. Last fall, in a seaside motel, when Cam had feared he was on the verge of losing Nic, his boyfriend had pulled out a sheet of well-creased yellow legal paper and shown Cam the rough sketch of a tattoo. One that symbolized their future together.

Cam dropped the wallet back on the dresser. The sheet of paper was gone. But it wasn’t really. It’d just been made permanent. “Is that what I think it is?” he asked.

Nic grinned over his shoulder, both sly and shy. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Boston.”

Cam laid a hand over the bandage and for the first time tonight, Nic settled, letting out a relieved sigh. “Feel better?” Cam asked.

“Pressure helps the itch.”

Cam applied a little more. “When did you do this?”

“That continuing legal ed class I was supposedly in all-day… Well, it wasn’t.”

“Can I see it?”

“That’s the limited time window part.” Nic shifted, hip turned toward Cam. “It’s already going to be red and swollen, and it’ll only get worse as it heals. This is your last chance for a few weeks.”

Cam nodded, words locked up in excitement and emotion.

Nic began peeling back the medical tape that secured the bandage but only got one corner free before he curled his fingers as if to itch.

Cam knocked his hand away. “Maybe I better do this.” He took over, murmuring apologies as Nic winced and hissed. The bandage fluttered to the floor less than a minute later.

Nic was right. The area on his outside left hip was angry and glistening with salve but the design was visible. Every detail Cam remembered from that rough sketch was there on Nic’s hip, brought to vivid life. His fingers floated on air above the tattoo, tracing the design. A play on the label for Gravity’s forthcoming FBI Stout, except the tattoo had a red BoSox styled B, in place of the brewery’s falling apricot, as the top leaf of a green Celtic clover.

Him—them—forever inked on Nic’s skin.


“What do you think?” Nic asked, voice rough.

When Cam didn’t answer—couldn’t answer—Nic slid his fingers under his chin and tilted up his face. Only then did Cam realize he’d knelt to take a closer look. His eyes flickered back to the tattoo, unable to tear his eyes away. “I don’t… I can’t… Baby, I…”

How did one put words to the abject wonder that made his head spin? To the colossal, comforting weight of appreciation and love that made his heart explode? To the lust that made his dick hard as rock?

“You, speechless.” Nic chuckled. “Now that’s a rare sight.”

Normally, he’d shoot Nic a glare for the sass, but Cam was still too entranced by the tattoo and all it stood for. “Never seen a sight like this.”

Nic hauled him up by the shoulders, and Cam stared into blue eyes fiery with emotion, reflecting everything Cam also felt. As did the kiss Nic laid on him then. Nothing held back, all of his gratitude, love and desire there for Cam to taste.

“You like?” Nic asked between kisses, same as he had that night in Gravity when they’d first tasted the FBI Stout.

Cam’s answer was unchanged. “Yes, I fucking like.” Drawing back, he lifted a hand and cupped Nic’s cheek, the gray-flecked stubble there tickling his fingertips. He rested his other hand atop Nic’s hip, above the tattoo, then slid it back and down, palming Nic’s ass. “It’s gorgeous. You’re gorgeous. How’d I get this lucky?”

“I’m the lucky one.” Nic stole another quick kiss before reaching for the supplies on the bed. He held them out to Cam. “Help me put the bandage back on?”

Nic walked him through the process—dabbing the inked area clean, then applying the salve, bandage, and tape. After, he handed him the towel with a soft “thank you.”

“I get to do this, every night,” Cam said.

“You don’t have—”

“You did this for me.” He set the towel and supplies on the dresser.  “Let me do this for you.”

“I did this for us.”

Nic drew him back into his arms and into another deep, claiming kiss. Cam savored the heady brew. The mingling of dark chocolate and spicy bourbon, the jumble of teeth, lips and tongue, the blend of now and forever. Until Nic’s left hand drifted lower… to scratch his hip.

“No you don’t,” Cam chided, slapping it away again.

“Sorry, those ants I mentioned early.”

“Except your pants are gone.” Laughing, Cam flopped onto the bed and shimmied out of his own slacks. “And now mine are too.” He rid himself of the rest of his clothes and scooted over, making room. “How’d you survive all the rest?” he asked, eyeing Nic’s decorated torso.

“It’s been awhile.” Nic lowered himself onto his right side, facing Cam. “I have to remember to slap, not itch.” He brought his hand down in a light slap atop the bandage. “The pressure and sting distract.”

“Distract.” Cam hummed, distracted himself by an idea that had suddenly and powerfully taken hold. He inched closer, bringing them chest to chest, and nudged a thigh between Nic’s legs. “Like this?” He mimicked Nic’s slap, fingers hitting the bandage with light pressure.

It had the desired effect. Distraction of a different sort. Nic gasped and his cock hardened where it was pressed against Cam.

“Or like this?” He brought his hand down again, harder and farther back. His palm met round, firm ass cheek and pinpricks of heat radiated down Cam’s fingers. And straight to his cock.

Nic’s voice was tight and gravely when he spoke. “That’s a spank, Boston.”

“I know.” Cam pressed his thigh against the underside of Nic’s balls and rolled his hips, rutting his aching cock against Nic’s. “Are you distracted?”

Icy blue eyes burned into his. “Again.”

Cam didn’t need to be told twice. Alternating between light slaps to the bandage and heavier smacks to Nic’s ass, Cam quickly reduced them to a moaning, writhing mess. Nic half-panting, half-begging “Again,” and Cam thrusting harder and faster against him, until the friction wasn’t enough. Nic rolled onto all fours and Cam moved behind him, more desperate than ever to get inside him. Nothing he or they had ever done before had been this hot. But it wasn’t just the spanking. Or the new tattoo. Or the heat of Nic’s ass cheek pressed to Cam’s pelvis as he drove into him. It was the trust, the love, this man, their bed, and everything they were building, together. Which was also how they came, together. A final slap, a ragged scream, and Nic’s red, trembling ass clenching around Cam as he buried himself to the hilt inside the man he loved.

When Nic’s limbs began to wobble, Cam tipped them sideways, falling the rest of their way onto their right sides. Curled around Nic from behind, Cam laid one hand over his heart, and the other over the bandage. “That distract you for a bit?”

“For a bit.” Nic snuggled his ass firmly into the cradle of Cam’s hips and put a hand over Cam’s, over the tattoo. He tangled their fingers, let out a sleepy satisfied sigh, and finally stilled. “Love you, Boston.”

Cam kissed the back of his shoulder. “Love you too, Dominic.” He followed his boyfriend into sleep, his heart and future secure in his arms.

Copyright 2019. Layla Reyne.