Power Play by Cara Dee

Power Play by Cara Dee

B72D555B-63BE-4DD1-8D3A-0F8058B8F3B0

Title: Power Play

Genre: Gay Romance

Pairing: Daddy Kink

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/H2iKWS

Amazon CAN: https://goo.gl/YA6HmB

Amazon AUS: https://goo.gl/QsgfuC

Amazon DE: https://goo.gl/hjGCnC

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/bNQoL4

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/jhfGFX

Synopsis:

I was my own worst enemy. For as much as I depended on order and a structured life to easier manage my bipolar disorder, fire was irresistible and indisputably my favorite toy to play with. On the ice, it turned me into a hotheaded hockey player. In the bedroom, my attitude was my last defense, a front I wanted to see tumbling down. But lately, all I got was burned.

Love sucked. Correction: it sucked when you were in love with your parents’ closest friend and he didn’t feel the same. I admitted my feelings for Madigan Monroe over a year ago, and I was still waiting for a response. Now my balance was gone. My anxiety was all over the place, my fits of rage had just earned me a suspension from the team, I questioned myself at every turn, and being home for two weeks was gonna make it impossible to avoid Madigan.

I used to be his Abel, his sweetheart, his trouble. It’d been the two of us against the world since I was a kid. I’d even discovered we had kink in common! On paper, I was seemingly perfect for him. Maybe that was why his nonverbal rejection hurt so much. Or maybe it was because, recently, he seemed hell-bent on us “being friends” again.

Whatever. I was a loser, and I couldn’t resist him for crap.

(DD/lb-dynamic.)

Shirtless sexy male model lying alone on his bed

Excerpt I:

Family Dinner

 A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and I stiffened. It was Dad.

“Talk to Madigan.” He spoke for only me to hear. “Now that I know there’s an issue, I can see it clear as day. It’s tense and shit.”

“Seriously,” I hissed under my breath. “Are you bored? Why are you meddling?”

He scowled. “Mom meddles. I give a shit.”

“Come on, boys,” Mom said. “Let’s eat.”

I stared at Dad for a beat longer, a match I’d never win, before I averted my gaze and closed the fridge door. To make matters worse, I’d end up sitting next to Madigan. Mom and Lyn always sat next to each other when it was just us, and Dad sat at the head of the table.

I sat down across from my sister, leaving Mad and Mom on either side of Dad.

“I’m gonna watch you eat,” Lyn whispered and bit into a roll.

“That’s creepy,” I whispered back.

“Nuh-uh.” She shook her head. “It’s fun. You eat more food than anyone in the world.”

I snorted a quiet chuckle and filled my plate with rice, vegetables, and pot roast.

Mom took a sip of her wine. “So this is a pleasant surprise, Madigan. It’s not often you show up for dinner anymore.”

“It’s because he doesn’t like us,” I said around a mouthful of vegetables. “He avoids the people he doesn’t like.” Man, it was satisfying to say that. Whoever said passive-aggressiveness wasn’t a good way to deal with heartbreak?

“What the hell?” Madigan let out a chuckle, but his humor was skin-deep. His eyes showed confusion.

“I called you over ’cause you’re never around anymore,” Dad said flatly. “That’s all there is to it. I know you still adore me.”

Mom found him funny, as did Mad. I said nothing and continued shoveling food into my face.

For a while, the “grown-ups” talked about work and life. Madigan talked about the tattoo shop he owned with Jameson, his best friend. Mom talked about the facility she ran for men, women, and children escaping abuse. Dad talked about music and everything that was wrong in the industry these days.

Fun times.

In the meantime, I ate and did my best to focus solely on that. Not on Mad’s voice, not on his movements, not on his laughter. Except, I failed, and my brain was flooded with memories of better times. Like when he’d visited me in Pittsburgh one weekend without telling me first. Just a surprise on a whim. We’d gone to dinner and a comedy show. Or the times he took me to games before we left Detroit. Or when he pressed his forehead to mine and talked me through my panic attacks.

“You’ve got this, sweetheart. Count with me, okay? One…two—that’s perfect, in through your nose. I’m so proud of you.”

The last mouthful of food was nearly impossible to swallow, and I stared unseeingly at my plate as the pressure on my chest grew.

Snap out of it, you useless idiot.

The sound of the doorbell wrenched me out of my state, and I hauled in a ragged breath.

“I’ll get it!” Lyn shouted and bounced off her chair.

“Are we expecting anyone else?” Mom asked, confused.

Dad shook his head, wiped his mouth on a napkin, and followed Lyn to the hallway. “Hold up, baby girl.”

Mom, for some reason, had to set another plate. Most people would dread salespeople. She assumed it was a dinner guest.

“Abel.” Madigan’s hand covered mine, and I blanched. That looked so fucking weird that I couldn’t stop staring. “Is something wrong? You seem anxious.”

He brushed his thumb over my skin. It left tingles and caused a drawn-out shiver, something that was pleasurable as fuck, but the contact was too strange to process.

“I’m fine.” I withdrew my hand and held it in my lap.

“Adeline!” Dad hollered from the hallway. “Someone just called me gorgeous. I’m leaving you.”

What the fuck? I looked at Mom, who snorted and asked who Dad was leaving her for, and then I frowned toward the hallway.

“No, the correct response is ‘I promise to call you gorgeous more often,’” Dad muttered. When he appeared in the doorway, the relief that hit me almost bowled me over. It was Gray. Holy fuck, Gray was here. It felt like I could finally breathe. “Take a seat, kid,” he told my buddy. “You can probably eat.”

“Hi, honey.” Mom smiled at Gray. “Are you sure you wanna be stuck with him?”

“Not even a little,” he replied with wide eyes. “Remind me never to address him as gorgeous again.” At Dad’s scowl, Gray added, “I’m sorry, you’re just a bit too high maintenance for me, Mr. H.”

“I’m easy as fuck,” Dad argued.

“Daddy, you cuss so much.” Lyn sauntered back to her seat too. “Uncle Casey has a swear jar at home. There are lots of dollars.”

That was a discussion Mom was more than happy to get into, so I tuned out and focused on Gray. He sat down in the empty seat next to me, giving me a breather from the man on my other side.

“What’re you doing here?” I asked quietly.

Gray squeezed my hand under the table. “You seemed like you needed me to run interference.” Having no clue how he’d come to that conclusion, I only stared while he filled his plate. “You sent me a text,” he said. “I put two and two together and figured a certain someone was coming for dinner.” He set down the bowl of gravy and retrieved his phone.

All I’d texted him before leaving my room was…something about dinner. I didn’t really remember.

“Here.” He showed me the text, and my eyebrows went up.

Mdgan fr diner and I cant.

“Wow.” I tugged at my ear, embarrassed.

“I assumed you weren’t drunk,” he said, pocketing his phone, “so that left anxiety.”

“What are you two whispering about, boys?” Mom asked teasingly. “A date, maybe? I’d love to bring happy news when I have lunch with Chloe tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes. Our moms thought we were more than friends, and it wasn’t hilarious anymore.

Dad narrowed his eyes and pointed his fork at us. “If you two are dating, no more sleepovers with the door closed.”

“Jesus Christ.” I scrubbed a hand over my face.

“Sorry to disappoint, Mrs. H, but we have the same taste in men,” Gray said.

“What taste would that be?” It was Madigan, of all people, who asked.

There was no way I was getting into that with him.

Gray had no such qualms. “Older, bossier, definitely not a hockey player.”

“Older?” Dad scowled, then faced me. “Son, you’re not coming home with some old sugar daddy. In fact, give Gray a go. He called me gorgeous.”

“Jesus Christ,” I repeated. “Dinner was great, Mom. Thanks. We’re gonna go to my room.”

“I’m eating, man,” Gray protested. I gave him a look and felt my jaw tensing. “On second thought, I’m still full from my dinner with the family.”

Thought so.

We dumped our dishes in the sink and started leaving the kitchen.

“Abel, can I watch a movie with you?” Lyn asked.

“Tomorrow, okay?” I glanced back at her.

“She makes a great chaperone,” Dad noted.

“They don’t need a chaperone.” Mom glared at him. “They’re adults. Leave them be.”

Thanks, Mom.

Lyn snickered and grabbed her glass of milk. “Abel has penises on his computer.”

“Oh my God, don’t go through my shit!” I widened my eyes, mortification flooding me. My sister’s comment started mayhem in the kitchen between my parents; there was a lecture from Mom on privacy, bitching from Dad, and I couldn’t face Madigan to see his reaction. Instead, I pushed a laughing Gray out into the hallway and toward the stairs.

“Do you wanna watch penises together?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Just kill me.” I took a calming breath and let it out slowly.

Next, I heard Madigan’s voice. “Abel, wait up.”

No, seriously, just kill me.

I paused on the stairs and exchanged a look with Gray. I didn’t know what to do here. My anxiety was getting worse, but I’d never been able to resist that motherfucker.

“I’ll be in your room,” Gray said quietly.

Okay, then. My friend was deserting me. Steeling myself to be alone with Madigan, I waited on the stairs and stuck my hands down into my pockets.

Excerpt II:

A hand clamped down on my shoulder, and I stiffened. It was Dad.

“Talk to Madigan.” He spoke for only me to hear. “Now that I know there’s an issue, I can see it clear as day. It’s tense and shit.”

“Seriously,” I hissed under my breath. “Are you bored? Why are you meddling?”

He scowled. “Mom meddles. I give a shit.”

“Come on, boys,” Mom said. “Let’s eat.”

I stared at Dad for a beat longer, a match I’d never win, before I averted my gaze and closed the fridge door. To make matters worse, I’d end up sitting next to Madigan. Mom and Lyn always sat next to each other when it was just us, and Dad sat at the head of the table.

I sat down across from my sister, leaving Mad and Mom on either side of Dad.

“I’m gonna watch you eat,” Lyn whispered and bit into a roll.

“That’s creepy,” I whispered back.

“Nuh-uh.” She shook her head. “It’s fun. You eat more food than anyone in the world.”

I snorted a quiet chuckle and filled my plate with rice, vegetables, and pot roast.

Mom took a sip of her wine. “So this is a pleasant surprise, Madigan. It’s not often you show up for dinner anymore.”

“It’s because he doesn’t like us,” I said around a mouthful of vegetables. “He avoids the people he doesn’t like.” Man, it was satisfying to say that. Whoever said passive-aggressiveness wasn’t a good way to deal with heartbreak?

“What the hell?” Madigan let out a chuckle, but his humor was skin-deep. His eyes showed confusion.

“I called you over ’cause you’re never around anymore,” Dad said flatly. “That’s all there is to it. I know you still adore me.”

Mom found him funny, as did Mad. I said nothing and continued shoveling food into my face.

For a while, the “grown-ups” talked about work and life. Madigan talked about the tattoo shop he owned with Jameson, his best friend. Mom talked about the facility she ran for men, women, and children escaping abuse. Dad talked about music and everything that was wrong in the industry these days.

Fun times.

In the meantime, I ate and did my best to focus solely on that. Not on Mad’s voice, not on his movements, not on his laughter. Except, I failed, and my brain was flooded with memories of better times. Like when he’d visited me in Pittsburgh one weekend without telling me first. Just a surprise on a whim. We’d gone to dinner and a comedy show. Or the times he took me to games before we left Detroit. Or when he pressed his forehead to mine and talked me through my panic attacks.

“You’ve got this, sweetheart. Count with me, okay? One…two—that’s perfect, in through your nose. I’m so proud of you.”

The last mouthful of food was nearly impossible to swallow, and I stared unseeingly at my plate as the pressure on my chest grew.

Snap out of it, you useless idiot.

The sound of the doorbell wrenched me out of my state, and I hauled in a ragged breath.

“I’ll get it!” Lyn shouted and bounced off her chair.

“Are we expecting anyone else?” Mom asked, confused.

Dad shook his head, wiped his mouth on a napkin, and followed Lyn to the hallway. “Hold up, baby girl.”

Mom, for some reason, had to set another plate. Most people would dread salespeople. She assumed it was a dinner guest.

“Abel.” Madigan’s hand covered mine, and I blanched. That looked so fucking weird that I couldn’t stop staring. “Is something wrong? You seem anxious.”

He brushed his thumb over my skin. It left tingles and caused a drawn-out shiver, something that was pleasurable as fuck, but the contact was too strange to process.

“I’m fine.” I withdrew my hand and held it in my lap.

“Adeline!” Dad hollered from the hallway. “Someone just called me gorgeous. I’m leaving you.”

What the fuck? I looked at Mom, who snorted and asked who Dad was leaving her for, and then I frowned toward the hallway.

“No, the correct response is ‘I promise to call you gorgeous more often,’” Dad muttered. When he appeared in the doorway, the relief that hit me almost bowled me over. It was Gray. Holy fuck, Gray was here. It felt like I could finally breathe. “Take a seat, kid,” he told my buddy. “You can probably eat.”

“Hi, honey.” Mom smiled at Gray. “Are you sure you wanna be stuck with him?”

“Not even a little,” he replied with wide eyes. “Remind me never to address him as gorgeous again.” At Dad’s scowl, Gray added, “I’m sorry, you’re just a bit too high maintenance for me, Mr. H.”

“I’m easy as fuck,” Dad argued.

“Daddy, you cuss so much.” Lyn sauntered back to her seat too. “Uncle Casey has a swear jar at home. There are lots of dollars.”

That was a discussion Mom was more than happy to get into, so I tuned out and focused on Gray. He sat down in the empty seat next to me, giving me a breather from the man on my other side.

“What’re you doing here?” I asked quietly.

Gray squeezed my hand under the table. “You seemed like you needed me to run interference.” Having no clue how he’d come to that conclusion, I only stared while he filled his plate. “You sent me a text,” he said. “I put two and two together and figured a certain someone was coming for dinner.” He set down the bowl of gravy and retrieved his phone.

All I’d texted him before leaving my room was…something about dinner. I didn’t really remember.

“Here.” He showed me the text, and my eyebrows went up.

Mdgan fr diner and I cant.

“Wow.” I tugged at my ear, embarrassed.

“I assumed you weren’t drunk,” he said, pocketing his phone, “so that left anxiety.”

“What are you two whispering about, boys?” Mom asked teasingly. “A date, maybe? I’d love to bring happy news when I have lunch with Chloe tomorrow.”

I rolled my eyes. Our moms thought we were more than friends, and it wasn’t hilarious anymore.

Dad narrowed his eyes and pointed his fork at us. “If you two are dating, no more sleepovers with the door closed.”

“Jesus Christ.” I scrubbed a hand over my face.

“Sorry to disappoint, Mrs. H, but we have the same taste in men,” Gray said.

“What taste would that be?” It was Madigan, of all people, who asked.

There was no way I was getting into that with him.

Gray had no such qualms. “Older, bossier, definitely not a hockey player.”

“Older?” Dad scowled, then faced me. “Son, you’re not coming home with some old sugar daddy. In fact, give Gray a go. He called me gorgeous.”

“Jesus Christ,” I repeated. “Dinner was great, Mom. Thanks. We’re gonna go to my room.”

“I’m eating, man,” Gray protested. I gave him a look and felt my jaw tensing. “On second thought, I’m still full from my dinner with the family.”

Thought so.

We dumped our dishes in the sink and started leaving the kitchen.

“Abel, can I watch a movie with you?” Lyn asked.

“Tomorrow, okay?” I glanced back at her.

“She makes a great chaperone,” Dad noted.

“They don’t need a chaperone.” Mom glared at him. “They’re adults. Leave them be.”

Thanks, Mom.

Lyn snickered and grabbed her glass of milk. “Abel has penises on his computer.”

“Oh my God, don’t go through my shit!” I widened my eyes, mortification flooding me. My sister’s comment started mayhem in the kitchen between my parents; there was a lecture from Mom on privacy, bitching from Dad, and I couldn’t face Madigan to see his reaction. Instead, I pushed a laughing Gray out into the hallway and toward the stairs.

“Do you wanna watch penises together?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Just kill me.” I took a calming breath and let it out slowly.

Next, I heard Madigan’s voice. “Abel, wait up.”

No, seriously, just kill me.

I paused on the stairs and exchanged a look with Gray. I didn’t know what to do here. My anxiety was getting worse, but I’d never been able to resist that motherfucker.

“I’ll be in your room,” Gray said quietly.

Okay, then. My friend was deserting me. Steeling myself to be alone with Madigan, I waited on the stairs and stuck my hands down into my pockets.

Excerpt II:

Guys’ Night

After dinner, the coffee table in the living room quickly filled up with top-shelf alcohol and snacks, the number of bottles enough to give Dad’s rock-star past a solid nod. He still knew how to party. However… They were all fucking talk. In between sips of whiskey, crude jokes, a few shots, and the mandatory topic of “music today,” they mostly discussed their children. They’d clearly not done that enough while we ate.

When Dad said he didn’t get to see Theo—Casey and Ellis’s newborn son—often enough, I took a shot of vodka in hopes that the booze would liven shit up for me. Then Casey got into a discussion with Aiden about makeup for little girls. Casey’s daughter, Haley, was a couple years younger than my sister, and he looked to Aiden for advice since Isla was in her mid-twenties.

“I mean, how do you handle a situation like that?” Casey poured himself another drink, looking completely at a loss. “Ellis and I have decided that nail polish is all right, but unless it’s Halloween, we don’t want her face painted.”

I’d laugh if the topic didn’t bore me. Grabbing the bowl of peanuts, I got comfortable in my chair and flung my legs over the armrest. Madigan was occupying the chair on the other side of the table, and he looked fucking fine manspreading. Not that I was looking at his crotch or anything.

“In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.” Aiden raised his glass. “Save your energy for when your little girl comes home with a man almost twice her age.” He took a swig of his whiskey. “Damn—he might even be your old college buddy.”

“That won’t happen here,” Dad said. “My baby girl’s never gonna date, and we’re working on fixing up Abel with Gray.”

I rolled my eyes and reached for my drink.

“A bit delusional, don’t you think, Lincoln?” Ellis chuckled.

“What is it with you guys and issues with age differences?” I asked. “Mom married your old ass, Dad. You should be grateful some of us are drawn to whiny curmudgeons.”

“I love you, Abel,” Casey laughed. “Lincoln, he got you.”

“He said us,” Aiden noted.

I winked at him. “That includes Gray. One day, he’s gonna come home with an older guy too.”

“We don’t want those we love and want to keep safe to be exposed or taken advantage of.” It was Madigan who spoke, and I narrowed my eyes at him. “Younger minds are often more impressionable.”

“See? Madigan gets it, and he doesn’t even want kids,” Dad said.

“Sometimes, that’s what we impressionable minds want.” I never once broke eye contact with Mad. “I can’t find what I want among my peers ’cause I want a guy who has more experience. While some look to a lot of places for support or guidance, I wanna look to him.”

In my periphery, I saw Casey watching us like a tennis match. Dad was muttering under his breath about not being an old ass.

“That requires a lot of trust,” Madigan murmured.

I trust you.

The realization that I trusted Mad implicitly, regardless of shit we’d gone through, wasn’t a shock, but it was heavy nonetheless. I swallowed and looked away, quick to distract myself by finishing my drink.

“You’re right, it does.” It was all I could say.

“You’re a smart young man, Abel,” Aiden told me.

“Only time I remember he doesn’t come from my swimmers,” Dad said with a dip of his chin. “He’s a hell of a lot smarter than me.”

“Stop it,” I groaned. Okay, so it wasn’t always I handled praise very well. Besides, he was selling himself short. I’d learned a lot from him.

“You know what?” He ignored what I said and moved forward. “Whoever you bring home, whether he’s old as fuck or jailbait, I’ll be on your side.”

I shook my head and smirked. Shit didn’t work that way.

“I have a feeling that comes with conditions,” Madigan muttered into his glass.

“I’m loving this.” Casey was enjoying the show or whatever. “We need more mixers. Abel, give me a hand.”

 

Shirtless sexy male model lying alone on his bed

About Cara:

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caradeewrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee

 

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