Ben wandered through the living space while Lennon worked. He’d made the suggestion to stay here in the heat of the moment, but he hadn’t thought this through. He should have stuck with Townsend, if only to spare himself.
Lennon returned. “So. What can I get you?”
“I’m good, actually.” Ben forced a little smile. “The thing about this job is you wind up not needing a lot in the way of creature comforts, you know?”
“I guess.” Lennon shrugged. “I’m just… I’m sorry to have put you in an awkward situation back in the bar.” He looked away. “I’m still angry about the whole situation. I’m angry about getting kidnapped. I’m angry about finding out that the goddamn NSA has been following me around since I was old enough to vote. I’m angry someone seems to think that I’m government property.”
“That’s Townsend.” Ben sprawled out in one of the living room chairs. “He’s an Agency guy, through and through.”
“I can see that.” Lennon made a face. “Anyway, while I’m angry about all of those things, and about being treated like my head’s been stuffed with wool, none of that is really your fault.”
“You’ve got plenty of reasons to be angry with me.” Ben watched as Lennon sat gingerly on the other chair.
“I do.” Lennon fussed with the edge of his vest. “And I am. But I’m also glad you’re alive, whatever your name is.”
Ben blinked slowly. “You are?” he said, after digesting that for a moment.
“I am.” Lennon nodded once. “I’m still processing everything, but I think I’m going to be a little more hung up on the whole ‘bad guys trying to kill me’ thing than anything else. But Ben, or Greg, or whatever, I sincerely mourned you. I’ve been grieving for ten years. You want to know what my first major charitable gift was? Like not the usual donations, but my first big gift?”
Ben sat up a little straighter. “What was it?”
“I endowed a scholarship at MIT. The Greg Nelson Memorial Scholarship, for students who’d previously served in the military.”
Tears sprang to Ben’s eyes. “That part was true.” He swallowed. “I got recruited to the Agency after an injury in Iraq. Pretty much everything was true.” He looked down. “The name was fake, the age was fake, and yeah, I was sent to MIT to be your friend and keep you safe. Everything else was real, Lennon.”
Lennon reached across the short distance between their chairs and put a hand on his. “Thank you.” A tear or two leaked out from his eyes, but his hand was warm and didn’t shake at all. “I needed to know that. I’m still… I don’t know how to feel, yet. But I never stopped loving you.”
Lennon got up and headed off to his room. Ben watched him go. For the first time since he came back to Boston, he felt oddly at peace.
Book & Author Details:
Title: Under His Skin
Author: J.V. Speyer
Publication date: October 26th 2019
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance, Suspense
A brilliant scientist out to save the world. A jaded agent looking to save the one he lost. And a conspiracy that spans oceans, reaching into the deepest parts of American national security.
Lennon is a genius. He’s devoted his energy and his time to designing products to save lives. He’s gotten rich doing it, too. This time he’s created something to revolutionize war, crime, and policing – a bullet that heals. He’s on top of the world and the one thing he needs is someone to share it with. The one he loved disappeared without a trace years ago, and until he gets closure he can’t commit.
Ben is an agent with an agency so secretive for years people didn’t know it existed. He screwed up years ago and fell in love with the man he was supposed to be guarding. Now his lost love is in danger again. He’s developed a product bad actors all over the world will want to get their hands on. When Ben’s superiors order him back to Lennon’s side, he goes without hesitation. There’s only one catch – Lennon can’t know he’s there.
When one of those bad actors strikes, all the rules go out the window. Can Lennon overcome his mistrust once he knows the truth about Ben? When the enemy turns up the heat, will Ben manage to save Lennon from people who want him to kill?
J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before settling in the greater Boston area. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem. (No, really. John Adams complained about it. A lot.)
When not writing, J. V. enjoys watching baseball and seeking out all of New England’s creepiest spots. Her Spawn has turned her into a hockey enthusiast. She can be bribed with gin, tequila, and cats.
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