Page 24 of Make You Mine

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But heknew.

It was the eyes mostly. The same color and the same sort of soul-deep anguish of a lonely childhood that Noah shared. The man had a sharper face, skin a little bit darker, and without the freckles across his nose and cheeks. His hair had the same tight curl, but it was a few shades lighter, shorter, and styled rather than the wild curls on Noah’s head.

More than just knowing this was Noah’s brother by the look of him, it was the recognition in his eyes when he stared at Adriano.

“Adam?” He wasn’t even sure he had the name right with the movement of his lips and tongue, but the man’s eyes widened, and a wash of color crept over the tips of his ears.

Adam dipped his head, his lips twitching like he wanted to speak, but he wasn’t sure. Adriano regretted leaving his hearing aids in his room, but he still planned on trying to make something of an introduction.

“I’m Adriano. Nice to meet you.”

Adam took his hand, balancing his plate on the other, then looked over his shoulder at a woman who had slid up behind him. She had long dark curls and was wearing a dirty apron and a curious scowl. She put a possessive hand on Adam’s shoulder as he gave Adriano a look up and down.

Adriano watched as Adam’s lips moved in explanation, watched as the woman’s scowl melted into something like amusement. Her eyes lifted to Adriano’s, and he extended his hand. Her lips curved, and though Adriano had never been great at lipreading, he was pretty sure this was Talia.

“Nice to meet you,” Adriano said. He pointed to the empty chair at his table and shrugged. “You want to sit?”

Adam’s smile went from friendly to a little bit nervous, but Adriano took it with a grain of salt. The invitation was out there, and they could take it or leave it. Moving his chair back, Adriano pulled his plate closer, then reached for his coffee and took several swallows now that it had cooled to a reasonable temperature. He jolted a little when the chair opposite him was filled, Adam looking a shade nervous, but Talia joined him a few moments later with a pad of paper and a pen.

Adriano took it and saw scrawled across the top in neat script,I’m Talia. I own this place. This is Adam Leib. Neither of us really sign. Sorry.

Adriano waved them off. “It’s fine. I don’t read lips well. Thanks for the paper.” He studied them to see if they were put off by his speech, but Adam only looked relieved, and Talia was scribbling again.

You came to see Adam’s brother, right?

Adriano glanced down, then he thought of Noah. And then he smiled. “Yes. I had dinner with him last night.”

He didn’t miss the way Adam choked on his drink so hard his face went bright red. Talia said something, rubbing his back, but Adam pushed her away with a gentle hand, then grabbed the pen from her.

You know my brother? Like,knowhim?

Adriano frowned, and instead of speaking Noah’s business to the whole restaurant, he took the pen for himself.We’re friends. He never mentioned me?

He saw the way Adam dragged his lip between his teeth, the way he looked nervous. Noah was right. Adam had known Noah was a fan. He just hadn’t known Noah had kept their friendship to himself. It stirred something in him, something warm and kind of wonderful. Proof in the softest, best way that Noah had meant what he’d said. He hadn’t gone parading around, sharing who Adriano was, hadn’t spread his personal business, not even to his brother.

It was a wonder, and he wanted to go find Noah right then and kiss him, then kiss him until he couldn’t breathe, then kiss him until he came. He fought back a shiver before looking down at Adam’s messy script.He doesn’t tell me a lot. It’s nice of you to come visit.

There was something in Adam’s face now—maybe hurt or confusion. Adriano hadn’t meant to cause a problem. He appreciated that Noah had kept it to himself, but it was possible that was a symptom of a bigger problem between the brothers. He couldn’t understand it, of course. He came from a family who overshared to the point of rage. But he hated knowing he might cause a bigger conflict.

“We met back in college, but we just connected again. I…had some personal problems, and he was kind. I didn’t expect a friendship. I like him.”

Adam’s face softened again, and there was the spark of something more. Pride, maybe? Adriano wished he knew these people a little better. Adam took a breath, then nodded and wrote a bit longer.Noah’s a good guy. That doesn’t surprise me. Anyway, I hope you don’t think I’m rude, but I was getting breakfast to go. Talia is helping me with my food truck today, but if you come by the farmer’s market tonight, stop by, and I’ll give you some pastries to try.

‘Thank you,’ Adriano offered, fingers tipping from his chin.

Adam knew sign enough to respond with, ‘You’re welcome,’ before he gathered himself and left, Talia following close at his heels.

Maybe he really had fucked something up, but he liked Noah too much to care. There was a long day ahead of him before he could see Noah again, but knowing it could be measured in hours made all the difference in the world.


Adriano was nervous.It was a new experience for him—or at least it had been a damn long while since anyone had given him sweaty palms and butterflies in his stomach. But Noah did. He’d texted him a couple of times that day, had even gotten a selfie of him with flour dusting his cheeks and a golden glow of afternoon sunlight creating a halo around his short curls.

Adriano wanted to kiss him again. He wanted to press Noah against the wall and feel the way he groaned, the way his breath made his entire body heave, the way he seized and trembled with an untouched orgasm. Adriano didn’t entirely know what it meant that Noah was so worked up over a single kiss. Even his biggest fans had more restraint than that, and Adriano didn’t think it was obsession.

It felt like something bigger.

He distracted himself by passing Jude off to the guy who ran the cat café, then perusing downtown. Nearly everything was accessible on foot, and he found a little blacksmith shop that was closed for the afternoon but had some of the stuff on display in the front window. It wasn’t lacking in kitschy little tourist shops either, but a lot of the places looked homegrown like they’d been around since the start of Savannah.