When opposites attract, love blooms in unexpected places.
Buttoned-up botanist Stefan Albemarle has felt like an outsider his whole life. As a result, he mostly keeps to himself—makes it easier not to notice that no matter how he tries, people think he’s a know-it-all and a snob.
Freewheeling urban gardener Milo Rios has worked hard to get where he is, and he’s passionate about his job at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He can get along with almost anyone, but no one has ever made him care enough to stick around.
When Stefan and Milo meet on Milo’s tour of the Botanic Garden, it’s hatred at first clash. But hatred quickly turns to lust as Milo shows Stefan how exquisite it can feel to lose the control he’s clung to for so long. As Stefan’s mask begins to slip, Milo sees a deep vulnerability in the prim academic. Once he’s experienced Milo’s world, Stefan can admit that he wants more from life than professional success. If they can work together, Stefan and Milo just might be able to cultivate the future they both yearn for.
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Milo trailed off self-consciously as I looked around his verdant apartment. This was who he was. He was too many plants in a tiny space. Plants called to him because he took care of things, nurtured them, gave them what they needed to thrive.
I felt oversaturated—so full of feeling I almost didn’t recognize myself.
“Yes,” I told him. “You understand that each one needs something different than the one next to it. You respect those differences. You give each what it needs and you enjoy the way it grows.”
My voice wavered. When was the last time I spoke to someone who saw me? Who understood?
Milo crossed to where I stood near the bed. He cupped my face and looked into my eyes. “I do,” he said. “It’s good that they’re all different. It’s okay that they’re the way they are.”
His gaze was intense, and when his palm landed on my chest, over my heart, I gasped. Everything about him electrified me.
“I like that they want certain things,” he said, eyelids half closing as he slid that palm down my stomach and cupped my cock. I hardened in his hand and he leaned close. “I like the specificity. It’s what makes them what they are.” His grip tightened and I hardened further. “I like giving it to them.” He cupped my ass with his other hand. “I like giving them what they want. What they need.”
He pressed with both hands, squeezing my ass and my erection, and my whole body felt hot and needy.
He took my earlobe between his teeth. “Do you want that? Do you want to let me give you what you want?”
He bit down sharply and I slammed my hips forward without meaning to, trying to get more friction.
“Stefan.” His voice was flower petals and pollen and honey. He traced the shell of my ear with his tongue and it made me shivery and lightheaded.
“Yes, I— Oh, god, yes, I want it.”
“Good,” he purred, then his mouth claimed mine in a bruising kiss and his hands were everywhere.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
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