We’re thrilled to welcome Layla Reyne on Queer Books Unbound today!
She’s here with an exclusive excerpt for her upcoming release Noble Hops; the third book in the Trouble Brewing series. Out February 11th with Carina Press!
Everything Dominic Price has worked hard to uphold is about to come crashing down on everything he holds dear.
So much for the quiet life. Just as assistant US attorney and brewery owner Dominic Price is settling into a comfy new chapter with his partner, FBI agent Cameron Byrne, the sudden death of Nic’s father puts their happily-ever-after in jeopardy. Nic immediately suspects foul play, his prime suspect a notorious gangster his father was indebted to—only now the loan shark is out for blood.
Cam has been longing for Nic to finally let him in on this very personal case. But when Nic’s belief that he’s the sole Price heir is upended, the line between personal and professional starts to blur, leaving Cam unsure of where he stands.
Nic is depending on Cam’s kidnap and rescue expertise to save his recently discovered family member before it’s too late. But with a dangerous threat closing in, the ghosts from Nic’s past cast long shadows. Any relationship could crack under the pressure, but for Nic, finding his family might mean losing the love of his life.
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Thanks for having me on the blog today to celebrate the upcoming release of NOBLE HOPS, the finally book of Nic and Cam’s Trouble Brewing series. I’m bringing an excerpt with me today that showcases the sizzle and the support between these two in this book and over the course of the series. Enjoy!
Cam closed the front door and leaned back against it, watching Nic soldier across their living room. He’d changed out of his dress blues and into a suit before they’d left Dulles, but every other part of Nic was still on-mission. Spine straight, shoulders back, step determined as he rolled their suitcase with one hand and held the phone to his ear with the other, barking orders. After signing the autopsy paperwork, he’d immediately started making calls, not letting Cam get a word in edgewise.
He was the FBI agent, yet it was Nic on the horn, rallying the troops. First to Eddie, his former SEAL teammate and brewery co-owner, giving him a heads-up to keep his sidearm close and put extra security on Gravity and their employees, though not telling him why. Then to Lauren Hall, their cyber agent team member, and Mel, former Special Agent in Charge and Jill of all trades, as he set up an all-hands meeting for the ass crack of dawn.
Never mind that the ungodly daybreak was only a few hours away.
Never mind that they’d been awake since the last sunrise.
Never mind that Nic’s father had died.
Cam got it—his lover’s reaction—mostly. When he’d gotten the call that his mother had had a heart attack, Cam had also shifted into high gear, his sole focus getting home to Boston as fast as humanly possible. Nic was doing the same sort of thing now, focusing all his energy on nailing Vaughn, who Nic no doubt suspected for Curtis’s death. Cam was right there with him. But when Cam had gotten that call two months ago, Nic had held him close those first few minutes after, when his mind had been a tornado of grief, fear, and regret. Nic hadn’t allowed himself that moment yet, and Cam was pretty sure he’d get a Beretta in his face if he tried to force it.
He had to proceed with caution. Pushing off the door, Cam grabbed his duffel and caught up with Nic. He coasted a hand over his lower back, letting him know he was there, before nudging the suitcase out from under his hand. Nic’s fingers dragged over his, lingering as Nic continued to talk to Lauren and Mel, and Cam internally cheered at the small breakthrough.
Ducking his chin and hiding his victory smile, Cam pushed the suitcase toward their bedroom, scaring their cat back from wherever he’d slinked out of. He turned on the light in time to see the orange ball of fluff scale the side of the bed, running from the rolling monster.
Cam parked the suitcase in the corner and stepped over to the bed, toeing off his shoes and scratching behind Bird’s ears. “Not happy to see us? Did Uncle Aidan spoil you?”
Purring, the gigantic cat spread out the length of Nic’s pillow and rolled on its side for more scratches. Cam indulged him another minute before venturing to the bathroom, stripping down to his boxers and starting the shower. When the water was steaming hot, he turned to find Nic standing in the doorway.
Coat and tie gone, sleeves rolled up, he braced his elbows against the jamb, stretching. “I’m going to change and head into the office.”
No, he was not. Cam closed the distance between them. “You’re going to shower first.”
“Unnecessary.” Nic started to move back into the hallway.
Cam shot out a hand and grabbed the front of his shirt, hauling him back in. “When’s the last time you showered?”
“You know that as well as I do.”
He did. They’d showered together, yesterday morning at the hotel in Norfolk, which seemed like a lifetime ago.
“You smell like saltwater and airplane,” Cam said, and Nic wrinkled his nose. Cam chuckled. “Exactly.” He tugged Nic the rest of the way into the bathroom and shifted him back against the vanity.
“You don’t smell so hot yourself, Boston.”
“Hence my state of undress,” he said, unfastening Nic’s shirt buttons.
He answered Nic’s raised brow with a wink. “Your fault, Prosecutor.”
Working free the last button, Cam pushed the dress shirt open, admiring the torso that had become as familiar as his own. Muscled but not overly so, sprinkled with brown and gray hair, and covered in words, numbers, and symbols that told Nic’s story, the good and the bad—emblems, sayings and teammates’ names from when he was a SEAL, the rainbow frog and trident, the stark kill count. He trailed his hands up, over ridges and ink, eliciting an indrawn breath. Pushing the shirt off Nic’s shoulders, Cam exposed in the mirror the part of the story he still didn’t know—the giant cypress tree inked on Nic’s back with the letters GS carved into its trunk. A mystery, a “mess” Nic had called it, and not what Cam needed to be worried about right now.
There were more immediate wounds to heal.
Tearing his eyes from the mirror, he was relieved to find Nic’s closed, his head hanging slightly back. Presented the opportunity, Cam licked at the hollow of his throat and felt Nic’s words rumble against his tongue.
“Thought you said I stunk?”
“You’re still the hottest piece of ass I’ve ever fucked.”
Nic righted his head, smirking. “The mouth on you…”
That phrase, uttered when the dirty talk turned Nic on, when he wanted more, had become one of Cam’s favorites, a challenge he’d never turn down. “Get in the shower, and I’ll put it to good use.”
Nic dropped his trousers, JAG Corps tattoo flexing on his right hip as he stepped into the glassed-in shower big enough for two. “You coming?”
Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs. Layla is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. She was a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.