Jamie Craig’s Forsaken, Part Eight

This entirely original, exclusive free-to-you story features hot-man-love, explicit sex, explicit language, explicit violence, and… explicit fabulousness! If you’re NOT an m/m fan, check it out anyway… you might enjoy it.

Please read chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, and eight if you haven’t already.

Presenting Forsaken by Jamie Craig…

Five years since Detective Xavier Landis walked away from the man who loved him.

Four weeks looking for the stalker nobody but he believed existed.

Three years of his life Detective Jeff Keyes wishes he could get back.

Two cops, both brilliant, both determined, trying to move on from a past neither can forget.

One dead girl.

And now, the conclusion of Forsaken

Chapter Eight

Xavier surveyed the carefully laid out evidence with a heavy heart. Andrea Villegas had been through Clancy Ruhl’s home with a fine-tooth comb, and the result was the record of approximately three decades of obsessive fixations and murder. That, coupled with the security images Xavier provided, confirmed their suspicions that the dead Clancy Ruhl was the man who shot and killed Robin.

“Did you get an ID on the other body?” Xavier asked.

“Amy Kennett. She worked with Robin at the daycare center.” Andrea pushed across the photo of the two young women, smiling with a group of children. “The manager ID’d Ruhl, too. She said he stopped by once or twice to talk to Robin.” With a sigh, she perched on the corner of the desk, pushing back the fall of black hair from her dark eyes. “As near as I can figure, he probably felt threatened by Amy in some way. Maybe she said something to Robin. We just can’t know now.”

Xavier studied the photo of Amy and nodded. “I recognize her. I never met her or anything, but Robin mentioned her a few times, and I know they went to the movies together. Ruhl would feel threatened by anybody who got to spend time with her.”

He leaned forward and picked up the black and gold yearbook. Opening it, his eyes immediately landed on the large letter in block text on the inside cover. “ ‘I love you and I hope we can be together’? Why didn’t she show me any of this?”

“You should probably be glad she didn’t include you any more than she did.” Andrea’s eyes were sympathetic. “Ruhl already thought you two were lovers. He might have come straight for you a lot sooner otherwise.”

Xavier skimmed his fingers over the photo of Robin and Amy. Their smiles were timeless, their faces locked like that forever. They’d never grow old. Their skin would never be lined with laughter, or with sorrow. They would always be as they were in that moment. Which was exactly what Ruhl wanted, Xavier supposed. He had been obsessed with Robin’s innocence, to the point he would kill to preserve it.

“Did you find any evidence in his home of another victim?”

Her slim hand hovered over a thick binder he hadn’t yet had a chance to look through. “You don’t really want to know.”

“Did you take lessons from Jeff on avoiding questions?”

“Sometimes, Keyes actually knows what he’s talking about. Would it really make you feel better if you found out Robin and Amy weren’t the first?”

“No. I suppose I should just be happy it’s all over and go collect my medal.” Xavier shrugged on his coat. “Do you want me to relay any messages to him?”

“Yeah, tell him I’m tired of picking up the slack here.” Her smile was wide, genuine, and Xavier understood exactly what it was Jeff saw in Andrea Villegas. “And don’t let him come back until that arm is completely healed. The last thing I need is to listen to him whine about it.”

Xavier snorted. “He certainly has enough practice whining about it. Take care.”

He left her with the evidence and photos that were no longer his problem, and navigated his way through the crowded Homicide department. He was happy to be done with that department, and not willing to go back again. How Jeff managed to do this sort of work, every single day, Xavier couldn’t even begin to understand. It would drive him crazy. Or put him in a persistent vegetative state.

Xavier made a brief stop at his own desk to check his message and his inbox. Unlike Jeff, he didn’t get almost a month of paid time off. Hero or not, he still had his own assignments. But nothing that couldn’t wait until the next day.

Forty minutes after leaving Jeff’s partner, Xavier parked outside of Jeff’s house. He still got an odd twinge in his stomach every time he visited Jeff there. It reminded him of when he was a kid and his parents would load up the car every August to drive a thousand miles to Denver, and then turn around to drive a thousand miles back to San Francisco. By the time they rounded the corner of their street, Xavier always felt exhausted, and anxious, and relieved. It wasn’t a perfect analogy to the emotions Jeff’s house elicited, but it was close enough.

The door opened before he even reached it, and Jeff pushed open the screen. Nickelback blared from the speakers behind him. His faded jeans molded over his powerful legs and his black tank exposed his bandaged arm. Personally, Xavier thought it was a little extreme that a flesh wound merited so much attention, but he knew Jeff was chomping at the bit to return to work. The forced leave was driving him insane.

“I think there’s a clock in your stomach,” he commented. “You always get here right after I finish making lunch.”

“Only because you always make enough for two.” Xavier stepped into the warm house, the door slamming shut behind him. “Andrea says the entire department is falling apart without you, by the way.”

Jeff went straight to the stereo and turned it down without Xavier having to ask for it. “Andrea’s lying through her teeth. Or you are, trying to make me feel better.” He smiled over his shoulder as he went into the kitchen. “I’ve got chili and beer. Hungry?”

Xavier followed him. “I’m always hungry. And did it make you feel better? If not, I can try again.”

“It did, but you’re welcome to keep on trying.” He surprised Xavier by suddenly turning around and grabbing his hip with his good arm, hauling him hard against his body. “I didn’t think I’d see you today.”

Xavier’s arm went around him, and he buried his face in Jeff’s neck. He smelled like soap and the spices he used in the chili. It made Xavier’s mouth water, but he wasn’t sure what, exactly, he wanted to taste. “I missed you. I worked a night shift, so I could actually see you during the day.”

Jeff’s warm breath drifted down the back of his collar. “You know what the best part of chili is?”


“It keeps all day if we want it to.”

Xavier lifted his head and smiled. “I think chili might be God’s perfect food.” He ghosted his fingers over Jeff’s bandage. “Is this okay?”

Jeff followed the faint touch before lifting his eyes back to meet Xavier’s. “It twinges,” he admitted. “But that just means I do all the hard work with this hand.” To illustrate his point, he squeezed the hip he still gripped, his strong fingertips kneading Xavier’s ass.

Xavier moaned softly. He hadn’t spent nearly as much time with Jeff as he would have liked, and now being this close to him made Xavier forget all other considerations, including food. “You’ve convinced me. But I can do most of the hard work.”

Jeff froze. “I wasn’t…are you sure?” Somehow, the hesitation in his face only warmed Xavier further. “We haven’t really talked about anything serious since you got Ruhl.”

“I know but…” But Xavier thought—hoped—they could pick up where they left off. “I was sure when we talked in the shower.”

“You better be,” Jeff said. His gaze dropped to Xavier’s mouth. “Because we take this step, and I’m not letting you go.”

Xavier swallowed. He had had plenty of time to think about this after Jeff was hospitalized. He had been released less than twenty-four hours later, but that didn’t matter. While Xavier was waiting, he realized he didn’t know what he would do if Jeff’s wound was serious, if he lost too much blood. The previous five years collapsed into that single moment, and Xavier didn’t want another five minutes without Jeff in his life.

“I’m more than fine with that. I don’t want you to let go.”

With a groan, Jeff crushed his mouth to Xavier’s, the kiss almost desperate as it ravaged his senses. It wasn’t graceful, and it wasn’t tender, but it was Jeff at his rawest and that was all Xavier wanted.

“Not in here.” Jeff pulled back, and grabbed his hand. “Let’s do this right, X.”

Xavier nodded and let Jeff pull him out of the kitchen and up the narrow stairs. He hadn’t ventured this far into the house yet, and it felt strange. But right. And familiar. Jeff pushed open the bedroom door, and Xavier crossed over the threshold for the first time in five years.

“You got a new bed,” Xavier said lamely.

Jeff actually flushed. “I couldn’t sleep in the old one after you left. Just about busted my savings account getting a different one.”

It was on the tip of his tongue to apologize again. He had the feeling he would have the impulse for many years yet to come. He also had the feeling that no amount of apologies would ever quite wipe away the hurt he caused, or explain what he had done.

“You found a nice one.” Xavier ventured into the room and perched on the edge of the mattress. “Feels nice, too.”

Jeff prowled closer, coming to a stop right in front of him, almost between Xavier’s parted knees. “It’ll feel better with you in it.” His fingers worked the buttons of Xavier’s shirt, undoing them in smooth, deft motions. “You’re probably going to have to put up with me being a little touchy feely for awhile. I still can’t believe you’re actually here.”

“I don’t mind a little touchy feely,” Xavier assured him as he shrugged off his shirt.

He hooked his fingers around Jeff’s waistband and pulled him down until their mouths met. He couldn’t believe he was actually there, either. Just one week ago, he would have never considered the possibility of sitting on Jeff’s bed while his tongue probed deeper and deeper into Xavier’s mouth. He pushed his other hand under Jeff’s shirt, skimming his palm over his ridged stomach.

Jeff moaned, a sound that vibrated all the way to Xavier’s toes. His good hand cupped the back of Xavier’s head, holding him firm, while the other snaked lower, finding the hard line of his arousal. He squeezed until Xavier answered with a moan of his own, and then turned his wrist to push his fingertips between Xavier’s thighs.

The brush against his balls made Xavier gasp for breath. He looked up to see Jeff watching him with such hunger it stole the rest of the air away.

“I’ve been jerking off the past few nights, thinking about what it would be like to finally get inside you again.” Jeff caressed his heavy sac in long strokes, each one firmer than the last. “Do you still scream when you come?”

Xavier pulled the button free on Jeff’s jeans and tugged until the zipper opened. “Nobody ever made me scream the way you do.” He mouthed Jeff’s jaw and his neck, working at the firm flesh with his teeth and lips. That much was true. Nobody ever made him scream like Jeff did.

His fingers closed around Jeff’s erection, and they both shuddered at the contact. He had dreamt about the blowjob in the shower for the past five days—when he slept at all—but he had fantasized about returning the favor. About finally getting his chance to hold, stroke, taste Jeff’s cock.

Straightening broke the hold each had on the other. The only point of contact was Xavier’s hot hand around Jeff’s cock, but Jeff didn’t force him to let go. Grabbing the edge of his shirt, he peeled it off and tossed it aside. The jeans came next, his underwear going with them, until Jeff stood naked in front of him.

Xavier reached out and touched the heated skin. There were new marks, scars he didn’t remember. Evidence of the time they’d spent apart. Even more evidence that Ruhl’s bullet wasn’t the first Jeff had taken.


Jeff stilled his exploration by capturing his wrist, bringing Xavier’s hand up to his mouth. He sucked the first finger in, hard enough for Xavier to gasp and squeeze his eyes shut. Then he did the same with the second. The third. Fourth and thumb.

Xavier locked his fingers around Jeff’s wrist, then fell back, pulling Jeff down to the mattress with him. It hurt a little that Jeff didn’t want him to touch him like he had tried, but there would be plenty of time later to reacquaint himself with the marks and nuances of Jeff’s body.

Jeff braced himself above Xavier with his good arm, his other still trapped between their bodies as Xavier sought out Jeff’s mouth.

They both sank into the kiss like it was the first and last they would ever have. Jeff plundered past any defenses, tangling their tongues together in a hot, wet sweep that would have knocked Xavier to his back even if he hadn’t already been in that position. As if to make up for the lack of other contact, he ground their bodies together, the tip of his cock leaving slick trails where it dragged over Xavier’s stomach.

“Missed you,” Xavier murmured when Jeff lifted his head. He thought he saw the corner of Jeff’s mouth lift before their lips were fused again. Each time the tip of Jeff’s cock brushed across his skin, his groin tightened and his ass clenched. He had never figured out what about Jeff made him so hungry for his cock. He never bottomed for anybody before, or after, Jeff. “Want you.” Another gasp for breath, and another deep kiss that left him aching for more. “Right now.”

The now finally made Jeff pull back. He rose from the bed, bending again to grasp Xavier’s waistband and yank his pants off his legs. His rigid cock slapped against his stomach, but while Jeff looked at it hungrily, he didn’t touch Xavier. He went to the nightstand to pull open the top drawer, giving Xavier the best view of his tight ass as he rummaged around inside.

Xavier waited to slide up to the head of the bed until Jeff had lubed up his fingers and dropped the box of condoms onto the blankets. “Next time, we won’t bother with the lube,” he said when he crawled back between Xavier’s legs. He pushed his knees up and apart, exposing the clenching hole. “When we’re both not in such a hurry, I’ll use my mouth to get you wet enough.”

Xavier didn’t have to do anything except nod his agreement. Jeff was so good with his mouth he could make Xavier come from that contact alone, making him tender and wired by the time he drove into Xavier’s slick ass with his cock. But now Jeff smeared the cool lubricant over his tight hole, then slid two fingers into his clenching body, pumping his wrist slowly to spread the lube.

Xavier slid lower on the bed and pressed his legs wider, opening up further for Jeff. He slid his hand down his body to grip his own cock loosely, stroking it in time with Jeff’s hand. Jeff watched him with half-lidded eyes, giving Xavier the sort of single-minded attention he always craved.

“You’re hungry for it, aren’t you?” The light burning in his eyes tempered the rough edge to his voice. Knocking Xavier’s hand away, Jeff replaced it with his own. “You act like nobody’s fucked you in five years.”

“Nobody has,” Xavier said hoarsely.

Jeff paused. “What? I thought…”

“That I’ve been with guys? Yeah. I fucked them.”

The questions flitted behind Jeff’s eyes, but none of them came from his lips. Slowly, he pushed a third finger into Xavier’s tight passage, twisting his hand at the same time. The burn spread through his hips, marched up his spine, left his skin flaming as it ached for more of Jeff’s touch.

“I haven’t said it yet. I didn’t want to scare you off.” He resumed stroking Xavier’s shaft, hard pulls from the base all the way to the sensitive tip. “But I still love you, X. I never stopped.”

Xavier closed his eyes, letting the words and the rich emotion in Jeff’s voice filter through him. Of course, he knew Jeff probably still loved him. He wouldn’t even be in this position if that weren’t the case, because only love would allow Jeff to look beyond the wreckage of their past and try to build a new future. And if he returned the sentiment, he would be vulnerable in a way he had never been before.

He didn’t want the first time he said it to be over Jeff’s grave. And that possibility was a little too real to be ignored.

“I lied, before.” Xavier opened his eyes. “When I said I didn’t love you. That was a lie.”

Jeff pulled his hands away, stretching over Xavier as he reached for the condom box. Bowing his head, he brushed a kiss over his trembling mouth.

“I know,” he breathed. “But thank you for saying so.”

Xavier couldn’t keep his hands to himself as Jeff tore open the condom and unrolled it down his shaft. He kept touching Jeff’s chest, and arms, and thighs, and anything else he could reach. As soon as the condom was in place, Jeff pulled Xavier’s legs over his hips and his blunt tip pressed against Xavier’s hole.

They groaned in unison as Jeff pushed inside. He took it slow, giving Xavier the time he needed to adjust to the steady burn, the ache of being filled. Sweat beaded his brow from the restrained effort, and Xavier tasted it on his lips when he bent to kiss him again.

“God, you feel so fucking good,” Jeff muttered.

Xavier couldn’t respond in kind. He couldn’t speak at all. All he could do was kiss Jeff, tracing his lips and his tongue, letting their teeth clash. He gripped Jeff’s shoulders, his nails pressing into the flesh, as Jeff began to move. He didn’t pull out of Xavier’s body at all, he just undulated his hips, so Xavier felt every inch of him without pause or break.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to stop pounding into you.” Jeff skimmed his rough fingers down Xavier’s side. He managed to avoid all of Xavier’s ticklish spots, making him wonder if Jeff did it on purpose. He probably did. The more time they spent together, the more Xavier remembered how Jeff took special care about a lot of things. “But now I think I could just stay buried in you for the next month and still be satisfied.”

Xavier didn’t protest. He had been ready for Jeff to fuck him raw, but he had forgotten how it felt to be completely overwhelmed by his lover’s size, and heat, and smell. He clung tighter, holding him like he was afraid Jeff would be insane enough to try to pull away. But their bodies had their own agendas, and when Jeff began to rock, Xavier didn’t resist. He let himself follow the slow rhythm, his hips shifting to meet Jeff’s body every time he pushed forward again.

Time slipped away. It wasn’t just the seconds, then minutes, of endless kisses, unceasing strokes, and shattering touches. It was years, five of them, drawing him back and back until this was their bed, not Jeff’s, and it was their bedroom, their house, their futures surrounding them. It returned him to a time when he thought anything was possible, when he dared to think for a moment that the sanctuary he found with Jeff could be a permanent thing.

Then his hand brushed against the bandage. Though Jeff didn’t flinch, it brought Xavier crashing back to the present. He couldn’t forget what had happened between them. He didn’t think Jeff would want him to. But he would learn from it. In that second, he believed with all his heart they both could.

Jeff’s thrusts became longer, harder, his teeth catching on Xavier’s swollen lips more often than not. He reached between their bodies and wrapped his strong fingers around Xavier’s aching cock. The first pull shot electricity through Xavier’s veins.

Xavier didn’t know how long he could tolerate the added friction around his cock, especially when Jeff shifted angles. Every strong thrust hit squarely against his prostate, and his moans against Jeff’s hot mouth grew louder and louder. He didn’t want to come too soon, but he was powerless against the force of his pleasure. It grew inside him, feeding off Jeff, until it burst beyond the boundaries of his body. Xavier shouted, a formless sound, as his cock jerked in Jeff’s hand and hot come hit his stomach.

Jeff slammed their mouths back together, quickening his pace. Xavier couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything but cling to his broad shoulders, both of them wet with sweat. For all of Jeff’s earlier protestations, he knew Jeff was close. It was written in the muscles that refused to stop quivering, and the whimpers he couldn’t contain.

When it came, Jeff bit into Xavier’s lower lip, his back going rigid. His cock jerked and twitched against Xavier’s tight walls, and he drove forward again, and again, and one more time before the stiffness of his body dissolved into tiny tremors.

“I love you,” he whispered in between kisses. “I’m so glad you’re back.”

“Me, too,” Xavier sighed. He licked some of the sheen from Jeff’s jaw. “God, me too.”

Jeff finally stopped rocking and pulled out. Rolling onto his back, he pulled off the condom and tied it off, tossing it neatly into the wastebasket in the corner. He was back on his side, pulling Xavier into his body before it hit the rim.

“Do you have to work tonight, too?”

“I’m setting up some equipment tonight for a stake-out. They’re expecting me at nine.”

Jeff nodded. If anybody understood the call of the job, it was him. “So I should probably feed you and let you sleep instead of waiting for round two, huh?”

“What about you feed me, then round two, and then sleep?” Xavier suggested with a tired smile.

“You’re the smart one here.” Jeff caressed his hip, gentle glides of his fingertips as if to remind himself Xavier was really there. “In this case, I’ll defer to your judgment.”

“I don’t know why you think I’m the smart one,” Xavier murmured, resting his head on Jeff’s shoulder. “Seems like you’re much smarter than I am.”

“I’m not so smart. I let you walk away the first time.” His lips brushed against Xavier’s temple. “But maybe we’ve both learned from our mistakes.”

“I have,” Xavier promised. “And it’s not a mistake I’ll make again.” He could only hope Jeff believed him, but he wouldn’t leave it at words. He’d do everything he could to prove it, every day.

Because second chances were precious in this life.

And because Jeff deserved it.

Thanks again to Pepper Espinoza and Vivien Dean for sharing with us this fabulous novella. You guys are awesome!!


Jamie Craig is the penname used for the collaborative efforts of Pepper Espinoza and Vivien Dean. Both successful authors on their own, they began working together in early 2006. Pepper lives with her husband and cats in Utah, where she attends graduate school, and Vivien resides in northern California with her husband and two children.

This an original story given generously to us by Jamie Craig. DO NOT post any part of this story on your site without attribution to Jamie Craig or a holla-back at her site. That’s not cool. Always give credit where credit is due, yo.

Note: Hey, other writer-types, do you want to contribute to The Serial? If so, holla at yo gurl and I’ll hook you up, yo.

Till, then… Love, peace, and snarkage, my babies. Peace!

Last 5 posts by bam


Bam has been reading romance novels since she was 9 years old. She especially enjoyed the Sweet Valley High series, particularly the romance-centric ones. Her first real romance novel was "Perfect Partners" by Jayne Ann Krentz. She's obsessed with old-school Harlequin Romance novels and reads four or five a week.

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7 Responses

  1. Mary M. says:

    Sigh. Now I can die happy. I love how this ends. Thank you so much Pepper and Vivien for this story!!

  2. MaryKate says:

    BIG. HAPPY. SIGH. Perfect. Thanks so much Bam, Pepper and Vivien.

  3. Helen M says:

    Oh, that ending was perfect. And seriously hot.
    Thank you so much for writing it and sharing it with us!

  4. Lorelie says:

    Aw. . . so sexy/sweet. :)

  5. Freebird says:

    Thank you so much Pepper and Vivien, this is the first story I ever read about M/M love and this is not the fare I would usually choose. You wrote the story so beautifully, what came through for me most of all is their undying love for each other, it was classy and hot all at the same time, and the ending was simply beautiful.

    I still wonder how two women can write about men like that.. wow, I’m impressed.

  6. Vivien Dean says:

    Thank you so much, everyone, for all the wonderful words! Pepper and I love these guys, and had a lot of fun putting this together for Bam.

    Freebird, Pepper and I are of the opinion that we write love stories. We don’t care about gender. We write m/f, m/m/f, m/m…it’s about the emotions involved, not the body parts. It’s so great to hear that that comes through. :)

  7. Tumperkin says:

    Fab! Loved this one!