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Vignettes Regarding the Artwork of Brendon Kotes

LXXVII: Present

“I spent so many hours on that painting,” said Brendon. “It was a birthday present. There was this old car out in the forest at a dump site that Casey found when we were kids. A bunch of old cars, actually, but that one in particular he loved playing in. I wanted to give him something of it, but make it more alive.”

“Do you try to make things alive often in your paintings?”

Brendon rubbed his thumb over the divots in his glass. “You think that’s the clue, then? That if I try to make things alive that they might become so?”

“Just another thought. Trying to solve the mystery of Brendon Kotes.” The corner of Orion’s lips tugged up and those bright blue eyes, shadowed here in Brendon’s bedroom, all but shimmered with suggestion.

With a hard, hard breath, Brendon straightened, the action pressing their thighs closer together. Yet still, Orion didn’t pull away. So Brendon didn’t either, his heart beginning a painful thud as his sticky dreams from last night came sneaking through his mind, teasing, testing things that might not come.

“I’m not really a mystery.”

That corner tug slowly gave way to a gently warm smile filled with disbelief. “Then that must mean I am a much slower man than I always give myself credit for.” He leaned in as he spoke, gaze never leaving Brendon’s, not even when Brendon flicked his tongue out to wet dry lips in instinctual anticipation.

“You think highly of your abilities.”

“I do,” agreed Orion on a rumble that pulled straight from his throat like the deep purr of an engine. Then his lips touched Brendon’s in a gentle, coaxing question. The whiskey on his breath burned a track down into Brendon’s lungs.

Under Casey’s watchful gaze, Brendon leaned into this other man, this man who’d come to unravel him and his paintings. The hunter swallowing him, hand on his thigh in a subtle claiming fashion. Tongue in his mouth, with a gentle insistence to open, open and reveal whatever secrets Brendon might hide.

Whether he knew them or not.


Next Chapter Coming September 1st