Jason ran a hand down his tightly muscled abdomen and Ryder swallowed hard, imagining Jason’s body under him…on top of him. He opened the refrigerator, took out two bottles and handed one to Jason without commenting.
“Liam and I always thought building muscle was the best, but I seriously lacked in my cardio.” Jason uncapped the bottle and took a healthy swallow. Ryder watched Jason’s throat move and wanted to lick the strong cords of his neck. Damn. He turned his back and wrenched off his own cap and gulped down the beer without tasting.
For the past week, since that uncomfortable evening at the bar where he’d met Jason’s ex-girlfriend and played that game on her, Jason had joined him on his nightly run with Pearl. He and Trouper would meet up with Ryder and Pearl at the rescue, then either drive to the Brooklyn waterfront and run through Brooklyn Bridge Park, or head to the city and run along the path by the West Side Highway. Afterwards, they’d pick up either a pizza or some other take out and go hang out at Ryder’s apartment to watch basketball or hockey. Ryder convinced himself he was using this time to make sure Jason qualified as a good match for the rescued puppy, ignoring how much he truly enjoyed spending the time with Jason.
“You’re fine; I don’t think you have to worry.”
“Well, I like keeping in shape and the running is helping. Maybe when the weather gets better you’ll come further into Brooklyn and we can hit the trails in Prospect Park.”
The fact that Jason thought that far ahead should have comforted Ryder, but instead he began to doubt himself. While he loved Connor as a brother, his first responsibility was to Emily and their marriage, not to Ryder’s broken heart. And one could never have enough friends. But Jason was that deadly combination of looks, intelligence and kindness, all wrapped up in a gorgeous package, and Ryder couldn’t help his attraction.
“Yeah, sounds great.” He pointed to the bags Jason carried which held the eggplant and chicken cutlet parm heroes they’d picked up on their walk back to his apartment. “But if we keep eating like this after running, we’re gonna need to do this forever, ‘cause we’re defeating our purpose.”
Jason put the food on the coffee table and flopped down on the sofa. “I’m fine with that. With Liam hot on the dating scene and John busy with the bar, I’ve sort of lost my usual crew.” His laughter sounded a bit uncertain. “And to be honest, I’m not that into hanging out at clubs and chatting up women anymore. I never was too much, but after spending time with Connor and Emily, it would be nice to have what they have, y’know?” He picked up the remote and turned on the game.
Ryder joined him in the living room but chose the club chair off to the side and propped his legs up on the coffee table. He didn’t want to sit too close to Jason. “Yeah, but I don’t expect to find that. What those two have is something special; I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people so perfect for one another.”
The game forgotten, Jason held his gaze with those mesmerizing eyes. “Sounds like you haven’t found the right person.”