Risk everything on it, p.1
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       Risk Everything on It, p.1

           K.A. Mitchell
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Risk Everything on It

  Risk Everything on It

  By K.A. Mitchell

  Sequel to Put a Ring on It

  Ready or Knot: Book Two

  Former child star and deeply closeted adult actor Jax Conlon needs a boost to his flagging career. He promised his mom, just before she died. He hopes he’s found it in a guest spot with the latest directorial prodigy, but his research for the role gets derailed by an encounter with a handsome stranger with more… hands-on experience.

  Oz Parsons is a devoted dad to two amazing little girls. Maybe a little too devoted—he hasn’t had anything resembling a personal life since his ex left, leaving Oz and the girls with broken hearts and abandonment issues. So a hookup with a hot guy is just what he needs to let off some pent-up steam without any complications. There’s something about Jax, though, that’s got him finding reasons to draw things out.

  With their goals and families pulling them in two different directions, Oz and Jax have to figure if white-hot chemistry and desire that won’t quit is enough to roll the dice and risk now on forever.

  For Elizabeth.

  Thank you for making business a pleasure.


  Thank you to Chris for the Tarot-fu to get a handle on their journeys, to BFS for plowing through the onslaught of fast pages, to Erin for hand-holding and poking, and to Sasha for making it the best it could be. You all rock!

  Chapter 1

  “I’LL OVERNIGHT a baby to you. You still subletting at that address?”

  Jax took his gaze off the Cross Island Parkway traffic and stared hard at his phone in its cradle, as if he could see his agent’s face and figure out why the hell Cliff had suddenly lost his goddamned mind.

  “A human baby?” Brake lights flashed bright in front of Jax, and he tapped the Lexus’s brakes to jump lanes, sliding behind a delivery truck.

  “Christ, what are you smoking? Not a real baby. One of those lifelike dolls. I’ll try to get something like a newborn. Handle it. Diaper it. You’re going to need to look like you’ve actually touched one, or have you got some parenting experience I don’t know about?”

  “No.” Jax shuddered at the thought. He’d never been slightly interested in the mechanics required to make a child. He was fine with them—kids—once they were of a useful demographic audience age. But handling a baby? Not on his resumé.

  Traffic came to one of those screeching halts he’d gotten familiar with on the Island. Everyone dropping from sixty to zero in one point two seconds. Kind of like his career.

  “So what? Let me know if I’m just wasting my time here, Jax. Because if you’re not even going to take the audition seriously—”

  “No, no, I’m in.” After his recent Off Off Broadway disaster, Jax had been desperate enough to solicit career advice from his dad, or as his dad’s TV and radio ads proclaimed, Bill Conlon, King of Absolute Auto Parts, now with a third location in Reseda.

  Way I see it, we need a win here, son. Sometimes you have to take one for the team.

  Dad’s advice was, as usual, loaded with clichés yet still somehow relevant.

  Cliff rolled ahead. “Okay, then. I’ll overnight a baby, and you practice with it. They’re looking for the smooth, charming-young-dad type. Not awkward. Dress it in pink.”

  Dress it?

  “You took method classes at Columbia, right? Make ’em believe it’s your precious baby girl. This is your stuff, Jax. You can do this.”

  His stuff. Comedies, Hallmark made for TV, the earnest scientist trying to warn of an impending disaster who gets killed off before the first commercial in whatever catastrophe the writers at the Syfy network had cooked up. Nothing that would lead to him doing amazing things and changing people’s lives, like his mom had wanted. But Family Daze had drifted off syndication, apparently for good, three years ago, and he hadn’t seen a residual check in six months. He wasn’t the type to waste money on a five-million-dollar home in the hills and a garage full of penis enhancers, but he didn’t want to have to start flying coach and renting economy cars either.

  “I said I’d do it. I want it.”

  “I’ll e-mail you the tracking number. You’ve got three days. Sell it.”

  IT WAS full, murky dark before Jax found the closest Baby Boutique in Queens. He had to backtrack out toward Dane and Spencer’s place, where he’d just had dinner. A late-October Thursday didn’t seem to be a big shopping time for essential baby gear. The few cars in the lot could have been employees’, but you wouldn’t know it from the complete lack of help anyone offered Jax as he wandered in and around. The displays had no logic he could see. Some aisles at an angle, some in a semicircle. An interesting gadget caught his eye, and he actually had it in his hand before he realized it was a breast pump. Fumbling, he tossed it back on the shelf and wiped his hand on his jeans as he fought back nausea.

  Clothes and diapers, Cliff had said. That Jax could handle.

  He stumbled onto the aisle of floor-to-ceiling diapers and froze. What the hell? How was he supposed to know what kind? Swaddling? Leak guard? Movers? Chlorine free?

  “New dad?” A warm, amused voice spoke behind Jax.

  Perfect time to practice his new character. Bonus for Jax, maybe the guy would be as sexy as his voice, which was midrange but with a timbre to vibrate in Jax’s chest.

  He turned with a ready smile. “Is it that obvious?”

  “The deer-in-the-headlights look is pretty telling.” The guy’s answering smile flashed white teeth—nearly Hollywood white—in a dark brown face. A well-worn Mets cap covered his head.

  Jax studied people wherever he went—studied hard for his craft, no matter what some directors might have said. This guy exuded confidence in his stance: feet a bit apart, weight balanced. He was shorter than Jax, not stocky so much as solid all the way through under his khakis and a windbreaker with a Borough of Queens emblem on it.

  As Jax studied, he got deliberately cruised right back. Jax couldn’t even pretend his own interest was confined to characterization when his gaze lingered south of the brown leather belt. The man tipped his head, a different sort of smile on his face now.

  “You’ll want newborns, then.” He stepped closer, enough to make Jax’s nuts shift and prickle with interest. Reaching around—and there was a thought that had Jax’s skin and dick heating up faster—the man grabbed a package of diapers.

  Jax stared at the hand gripping the plastic. Left hand, no ring. Didn’t necessarily mean anything. It was Baby Boutique, and the man had one of those big baby carrier things hanging from his other hand. Jax snuck a look. It was empty of human cargo, though it did hold a package of baby bottles and other potential purchases.

  Taking this long to notice something as big as the baby carrier was a sure sign he was thinking with his dick. The guy seemed too nice to be the kind to cruise if he had a wife and baby wandering around one of the other aisles. Maybe he was buying the carrier too.

  “I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of one of those.” Jax dropped his gaze to the carrier.

  “I could show you the trick.”

  Schwing. Jax’s cock registered the full press before his brain did. “Uh. Yeah.” How much failure could he cram into five seconds of conversation?

  Jax wasn’t a fucking monk. He did random hookups all the time. There were three apps on his phone for it. Plus being able to project the emotion he wanted in any situation was his damned job description. He could sure as hell manage smooth right now.

  He reached for the package of diapers, nodding at the unspoken question in the man’s raised brows. “I’d like that.” Their fingers brushed, sending another jolt to his groin. Damn. Maybe Jax should give up Grindr and hang out in Baby Boutiques.

  The man’s gaze caressed
Jax’s crotch. “I’m getting this—” He lifted the carrier. “—as a gift for friends, but I won’t let you down.”

  Jax felt hypnotized, though whether he was being controlled by his dick or the soft, sexy voice, he couldn’t say.

  “I need to grab a few more things. It’s a Ford Explorer. Black, parked on the side.” The man leaned toward Jax but spoke the words toward the diapers.

  “Okay.” They didn’t owe each other explanations, and the guy hadn’t given a sign that he recognized Jax from Family Daze or any of his lesser-known projects. Still, Jax found himself blurting, “I’m actually going to be babysitting for a friend. Thought I’d need the practice.”

  The man stepped backward down the aisle, a close-lipped smile suggesting he was fine with whatever lie Jax needed to tell himself. Jax squeezed the plastic until the hospital-like scent let him get his erection under control, and went to look for baby clothes. Pink.

  THE MAN put his purchases on the counter at the cash register as Oz approached the front of the store. The bag of diapers, wipes, bottles, a three-pack of onesies, and two very pink outfits that were going to be too big for a baby under nine months.

  Were the clothes guilty compensation for being sent out for diapers and grabbing a little dick before he went home to her? Or him? Oz tried not to care. Tall, fit, and gorgeous with a dazzling smile. Exactly his type. Right down to the man being terrible at lying.

  Meeting at Baby Boutique instead of in a bar shouldn’t matter. The attraction was mutual. He’d flirted back. Oz shouldn’t be wondering who might be waiting for the diapers, bouncing a screaming infant in his—her?—arms.

  Stupid fucking conscience was going to talk him right out of what promised to be a hell of a hot time. As he swung the carrier up and pocketed Eddie and Terry’s wish list, Oz regretted throwing in that innocuously packaged personal lubricant on top. His brain was already formulating an excuse. Gotta run. Maybe another time.

  The man turned and bumped into the impulse-item display, sending a couple of thermometers crashing to the linoleum. As they both bent to pick them up, all of Oz’s best intentions came face-to-cheek with that ass. First thing Oz had noticed: sweet curves for a white boy, jeans not too tight or too loose.

  Even Oz’s conscience wanted in that ass.

  After the man rehung the thermometers, he signed the credit screen and was out the door.

  The steady pulse in Oz’s dick rushed him through his own checkout, and he hit the lot in time to see the guy stuff his bag in the trunk of a Lexus six slots away from the Explorer. Rental, and no sign of an infant car seat. Maybe the guy was telling the truth about practice for babysitting.

  Oz pressed the remote, and the locks chirped and clicked.

  The man turned at the sound, pretty mouth wide with a sweet smile, dimples deep enough to show up in the single light over the lot. He pitched his voice lower than he had in the store. “So, you going to show me that trick?”

  “You bet.” Oz tipped his head at the passenger door, and the man stepped around to it.

  Once the closing doors shut off the dome light, the man shifted toward Oz. “I’m Jax—”

  Oz had waited long enough to taste. He lunged across, hand sliding behind the other man’s neck as he pressed their mouths together.

  Yes. Soft and firm and as sweet as he looked. Their breaths mingled, and Jax opened his mouth, opened right on up, and Oz knew he was as good as balls-deep inside that sweet ass. Oz licked in, moving his hand to stroke a cheek with barely a hint of stubble, brushing his own light beard across Jax’s lips and chin.

  Jax’s hand slipped behind Oz’s neck, fingers tipping his cap off, stroking the fuzz on his skull, tentative at first, then working his fingers in a tingling massage.

  Even on this damp night, electricity buzzed everywhere between them, a rush of warmth down to the toes, along with the insistent throb making his cock push harder for space in his pants.

  Oz lifted his head, drawing away from Jax’s mouth with a last gentle bite on his lower lip. “Let’s take this to the back.”

  Jax’s longer legs had a little trouble maneuvering around the console, but he dropped easily over the backseat and knelt next to where Oz crouched in the cargo space. Oz jerked his belt open, unbuttoned, unzipped. His dick swelled out of his foreskin, pulsed and stretched, pleasure at the freedom flooding through his ass and thighs. Almost as rich as the tail end of an orgasm.

  Damn, he wanted those long legs over his shoulders, his cock slamming deep into that ass. Wanted it now. Except he wanted this to last. Wanted to savor unwrapping this treat. He loved his life, but this kind of opportunity didn’t fall into his lap much these days.

  Which was where Jax needed to be. He had stripped down to a thin white tank and boxer briefs, jeans still on one leg as he struggled in the small space. Oz slid back against the rear door and dragged Jax down to straddle Oz’s thighs.

  Those dimples were out of reach, but Oz ran his hands up gym-hard muscles, ripples of abs, the edge of a pec. If Jax hadn’t been white, he could have been Joaquín. Right down to the knowing flex he gave as Oz’s palms pressed on the rigid nipples.

  He shifted his grip to lightly roll one between thumb and finger. “Do you like that? Want them sucked?”

  Other than a few heavy breaths, Jax hadn’t made a sound since Oz cut the introduction short. Now his answer came in short gasps, a baritone whine. “God. Yes. Please.” Such a harsh noise from that pretty face.

  Jax pulled up his undershirt, grinding forward. Oz spread a palm on his ass to keep Jax there, to keep the smooth hard muscle close to lips and tongue. He pinched with his fingers, going gentle and soft on the nipple in his mouth. Pebbled skin, just a hint of salt.

  Oz shut his eyes to the dim light. Shut out the reminder that they were in the back of the Explorer, on a tarp that not only protected the floor from whatever was tracked in at jobsites but probably hid stray Cheerios and crayons and a lost pacifier. He breathed in Jax’s skin, the spice from his aftershave, the sex and sweat building between them. Listened to the endless repetitions of Oh in that frantic, desperate whine. He softened his grip on the nipple he was pinching, flicking it with his thumb as he sucked hard and used the edge of his teeth to make the sound sharper, interrupting the ohs with a tearing gasp.

  Jax ground his hips forward, their cocks meeting with just the stretchy smooth material of his briefs to keep the damp flesh from touching.

  “Damn.” Jax spat the word out and then panted. “Is that all you?”

  Oz gave Jax’s tit one last solid suck before tipping his head back. “’Fraid so.”

  “Mm.” Jax bent down and kissed him, one hand leaving Oz’s shoulder to glide down and find his cock. He fumbled a second, and then his thumb grazed the top lightly as his fingers smoothed down the foreskin. “That okay?” he whispered.

  Oz was guessing Jax hadn’t come across many uncut guys. “Harder is okay too.”

  “You got it.” Jax sped up his strokes, thumb rubbing the slit, spreading the precome that welled with every stroke, while his mouth hummed along Oz’s jaw, gentle pressure from his teeth making Oz buck into the firm, steady grip.

  Jax leaned away to peer between them, and Oz hoped the hungry look stretching those perfect cheekbones meant he wanted what Oz did.

  Jax slid his hand deeper between them with a featherlight touch on Oz’s balls that still made it hard to breathe without a gasp. “What do you want?”

  Oz squeezed the round curve under his hand. “Your ass on my dick.”

  “God, I was hoping you would say that.” Jax’s grin lit up the dark interior like a magnesium flare.

  No, not magnesium. Nothing so coldly white. The warmth wasn’t all in Oz’s dick. This tall, hard stretch of man-boy was slamming all of Oz’s buttons, and if he didn’t get a grip, he’d be declaring eternal love a second before he shot his load.

  Jax scooted back. “I’ve got a condom in my jeans. Uh—” He tipped his head in scrutiny. “—hope it fit

  “I’ll live.” Oz shut out the grin, crawling to dig for the lube he’d bought. “How do you like it?”

  “Usually on my back, but I think with you I might have to start on my knees, if we can fit.”

  It was matter-of-fact, technical, reducing it back to what it was—a hot-as-hell hookup in the back of Oz’s Explorer. Exactly what he needed, and he wasn’t disappointed that he wouldn’t be watching Jax’s face when he opened around Oz’s cock.

  Jax handed off the condom and reached for the waistband of his boxer briefs.

  Oz pushed his hand away. “Let me. Get comfortable.”

  Jax’s deep chuckle made Oz smile in return. After stripping off his jacket and shirt, he dropped the condom and lube next to Jax’s hip and peeled the elastic holding his briefs on out and over his dick, baring the swell of his ass, leaving the band tucked right under the curve. Jax settled onto his forearms, tipping his hips up in invitation.

  Oz stroked the skin on Jax’s ass. Firm with a little jiggle at the crest, and that was where he’d been hiding all his body hair. Soft fur, never been waxed like the rest of him. Oz pulled the cheeks apart and rested his dick in the crease, Jax’s breath seizing and then stuttering out. First palming all the muscles around his spine, Oz then stretched out over Jax’s back, hands settling over his sensitive pecs.

  “Sweet cake, boy. If we were someplace else, I’d eat it nice and slow.”

  Jax groaned, squeezing around Oz’s cock, until he had to thrust just a little to ease the pressure.

  “You think you can do that when I’m in you?”

  “I’m dying to find out.”

  Oz pinched Jax’s nipples and buried a laugh in his shoulder. “Okay, then. Let me know if I go too fast.”

  He should be in a rush. The store would be closing in half an hour, and their cars would become a point of curiosity for the departing employees. But he wanted to savor this. Like the melted syrup and cream at the bottom of a sundae, he didn’t want this unexpected treat to be over so soon.

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