An Excerpt from Penny Brandon's Blind Passion
Adam lifted his head at the potent fragrance that reached him. Puzzled, he took a deep, inconspicuous breath through his nose and mouth. He frowned, concentration on the book he’d been reading lost as he tried to distinguish what it was. This particular scent itself was unique; he knew damn well he’d never come across it before, yet it seemed familiar somehow. It teased his senses, tantalized his memory, until Adam suddenly recognized it—the musky, rich aroma of an aroused male. Startled, because the only person it could come from was the man sitting across from him beyond the width of the dining table, Adam turned in his direction. His hands slipped, the braille dots beneath his fingertips suddenly losing their meaning. Oh God, this was not
Biting back a moan as his cock thickened and swelled in reaction, Adam sat as still as he could, listening for any sign that Luke had noticed the extra level of sexual tension that filled the room. He didn’t really need to worry; Luke obviously had no idea how he affected Adam, and Adam was not about to tell him. Jesus, what kind man did that to another? He took another deep breath; this time it was to clear the sexual haze that was fogging his mind. He needed to get Luke away from him before he made a fool of himself.
“Luke?” God, even saying his name was enough to send a tingle to his balls. He really needed to get Luke out of his living room. It would give both of them a chance to cool off. When he didn’t receive an answer, he tried again, louder. “Luke?”
“Fuck.” The softly spoken curse could have been shouted. Luke still hadn’t realized Adam’s hearing was acute, not that they’d spoken to each other enough for Luke to have figured that out.
“Are you all right?” Adam asked him, deciding tact would better suit his purpose. Not being able to read the nuances on people’s faces, Adam usually found it easier to be direct. However, asking Luke why he was turned-on would probably be going too far, and Adam didn’t really want to know.
“What?” Luke shuffled the pages he was holding in his lap.
“I asked if you were all right.”
“Why?” Luke shifted in his seat, and Adam had to stop an image of Luke adjusting his erection. It would be slim, Adam decided, but long.
“You seem…distracted.” Yeah, and so was he now.
This time the curse was not much more than Luke moving his lips. Maybe Luke was embarrassed; maybe Luke needed to go and find some relief. Shit, thinking of Luke jacking off was not a good idea. Not right now, at least.
He tried again. “Do you need to take a break?” he asked, needing one of his own. From the moment he’d first inhaled Luke’s scent and heard his voice, Adam had been in a constant state of arousal. Most of the time he’d managed to keep it hidden, but right now the bulge in his jeans would be obvious, and with Luke gone from the room, it would give him a chance to adjust his own raging hard-on.
The sound of a chair scraping back on the timber floor warned Adam that Luke had stood up, while the papers he’d been holding landed on the dining table with a soft flutter.
“Why are you doing this?”
Luke’s sudden remark caught Adam by surprise. Could Luke know what he’d been thinking? He fought down a moment of panic and while maintaining a neutral expression sat back in his chair and tilted his head to Luke’s face. “Doing what?” he asked, thankful his voice didn’t betray what he was feeling.
Adam frowned, confused, and then realized what Luke had done. He sighed in both resignation and disappointment. “If you just made a sweeping gesture with your hand to indicate something, you have to remember I can’t see it.”
Hand gestures were a natural way of communicating, and nearly everyone forgot Adam couldn’t see them, but pointing that out to Luke wasn’t so much as to remind him but to take his own mind off the disturbing thoughts that were still going on in his head.
Luke cursed again. This time it was loud and clear. “Fuck this. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here. I don’t need this shit!”
Taken aback by the sudden aggression in Luke’s tone, Adam gritted his teeth. “If by shit you mean sitting here and working with me, then tough. I do need it.” Adam didn’t even try to hide his swift but very explainable anger. It was hard enough accepting help from someone, but knowing Luke didn’t want to be here pissed him off, more so because all Adam could think of was wanting Luke. “Go and take a break,” he ordered, throwing out the back of his hand.
He heard Luke move, and his voice sounded closer as if Luke had leaned in toward him. “You
just made a hand gesture.”
Luke’s snide reply was the last straw, and Adam’s composure finally snapped. He’d had enough, both with Luke and his own lack of control. “That’s because I know you can fucking see
it!” Pushing back his chair, Adam stood up, agitated. He never swore at people, and he rarely lost his temper, but frustration and an impossible situation had him on edge.
When Luke didn’t make a move to leave, Adam wasn’t sure if he was grateful or more pissed off. He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”
There was a sharpness to Luke’s words that Adam regretted putting there. Despite his scorn Luke didn’t deserve Adam’s anger. Luke didn’t know what he was doing to Adam, didn’t know that he was turning him on beyond comprehension. “Swearing at you.”
“Don’t be. I do it all the time.” The tone of Luke’s voice softened, and Adam could imagine a light smile playing on his lips. Lips he wanted to kiss.
“Yeah, well. I don’t.”
“Maybe you should. Helps give emphasis to what you’re saying.” Now Adam could definitely hear Luke’s amusement, but instead of being settled by it, he was only rankled further.
“I’m a schoolteacher, in case you’d forgotten. Swearing is only used by people who are not smart enough to think of something better to say.”
The sudden antagonism that filled the room was tangible. Adam instantly regretted what he’d said, but before he could apologize, Luke pushed away from the table.
“Fuck you.” Loud footsteps echoed along the timber floor as Luke walked away, and seconds later the front door slammed behind him.
Adam listened for a second, then sat back down and sighed. He knew he shouldn’t have said that, but how the hell did you handle lusting after a man you could never have?
He groaned, releasing the banked-up tension and frustration that threatened to overwhelm him. He’d never felt this way before, never been turned on like this. Being gay wasn’t a problem; it was just another circumstance he lived with, like his blindness. It was just that his blindness made being gay hard, if not impossible to act on or even appreciate. He could never tell if another man was interested in him. He didn’t know what signals to pick up on or what signals to give. Until now that hadn’t really been an issue, because he’d never felt an attraction for anyone. But he was undeniably attracted to Luke, and he honestly didn’t know what to do about it. Getting hard in front of Luke was definitely not something he should do, but it wasn’t something he could control either.
The instant Luke had walked into his home four days ago, Adam had been intensely aware of him. Luke smelled like a hot summer’s day just after the grass had been cut and before a rainstorm was about to break; he sounded like a soft breeze whispering across a pebbled beach—soothing yet edgy. Combined, they triggered something deeply primal in Adam. He needed Luke, needed to hear his voice, to smell him…touch him.
And God help him—if there was one thing he desperately wanted to do, it was to taste him.
Disturbed, Adam had at first tried to keep out of Luke’s way, had tried not to get too near him in case he inadvertently exposed how he felt. Funnily enough, Luke seemed to have the same idea. He always made sure he never got too close, moving away from Adam if they happened to come within touching distance. On some level Adam had been grateful, though a little confused as to why Luke had deemed it necessary to make sure they stayed clear of each other. Perhaps it was because Luke felt ill at ease in Adam’s company, or maybe he just didn’t want to be there. Either way, Adam couldn’t really blame him. Being around a blind man wasn’t easy, and having to work for him when you’d rather be somewhere else didn’t help the situation—a situation that today, Adam had practically lit a fuse under.
Caught up in a desire so powerful, Adam hadn’t been be able to help himself when Luke had knocked on the door two hours earlier. He’d opened the door and had stood there, making Luke brush past him instead of stepping out of the way as usual. They hadn’t actually come into contact, but Adam had felt Luke’s heat in that fleeting moment, had caught his scent, and it had torn a groan from his throat. Praying Luke hadn’t heard him or noticed that he’d closed his eyes as a shiver had passed through his body, Adam gave Luke instructions and then tried to spend the past couple of hours ignoring the almost impossible impulse to reach over and touch him. He wanted to feel Luke’s skin beneath his fingertips; he wanted to know if it would be as silky as he’d imagined.
Luke couldn’t have known what was going on in Adam’s head, would have absolutely no idea, but Adam had a sick feeling that Luke sensed he was slowly unraveling and had reacted in kind. Their explosive argument just a few minutes ago proved that the atmosphere was more strained than usual between them.
It had been a stupid, reckless thing to do, and if Luke came back, Adam swore he wouldn’t attempt to do anything to make Luke feel any more uncomfortable than he already did. He didn’t want to jeopardize the time they had together, fleeting as it was, because any time with Luke was better than nothing at all. It was just a shame that Luke couldn’t feel the same way about him.
Adam rubbed his hands over his face and winced. He was an idiot for thinking about Luke that way. He was an idiot for thinking about any
man that way. He sighed, resigned, acknowledging what he knew to be an unending fact—his blindness would make sure it was never going to happen.