Sat
Jun 24 2017 12:00pm

Santino Hassell Excerpt: Oversight

Santino Hassell

Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.

Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.

As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.

Get a sneak peek at Santino Hassell's Oversight (available June 26, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

“What if we traded?”

Again, Six just stared at him. This beautiful personification of blankness but with burning black eyes.

“What if you answer one measly little question, and I give you something good in return?”

“Money?”

“I was thinking more along the lines of sex.”

“I’d prefer money.”

Holden clenched his jaw. It wasn’t every day he was flat-out rejected, especially by a cyborg. It was putting a serious cramp in his game.

“You admitted you’re a virgin.”

“I didn’t admit a fucking thing,” Six said.

“But you didn’t deny it.” Holden leaned closer. Six’s eyes flicked down to his mouth and back up again. “I could show you what you’ve been missing.”

“Sounds like a bad idea.”

“That’s because you haven’t had someone else get you off before.” It was the perfect time to take Six off guard with a kiss, but Holden hesitated. He’d seduced dozens of men in the past twenty years of being sexually active, and this was the first time he was nervous about it. His stomach had never knotted up while his breath caught right before a little peck on the lips. But, then again, all those times he’d reached out with his gift to make sure the other person was into it. He’d felt their lust. And Six projected nothing. “Have you ever kissed anyone before, Sixtus?”

Six dropped his big hands onto Holden’s shoulders, but he didn’t push him away. “You need to back up.”

“If you wanted me to back up, you would have shoved me by now. I think you’re intrigued.”

“Think you can manipulate me with sex.” Six laughed dryly, but it sounded forced. “Your father warned me you would try this. He said you’re a player. Someone who uses his charm and looks to con people into doing what he wants. And uses his empath skills to finish the job. But none of it works on me.”

“How do you know I want to manipulate you?” Six’s grip on his shoulders tightened hard enough to be painful, but Holden didn’t back off. He moved so close their chests were pressed together. “Maybe I’m just curious as to how you’d react to having my tongue in your mouth. Or your dick in mine.” Holden ran his fingers along Six’s cheekbone. Six started, clearly unprepared for the light touch. “I bet you have interesting fantasies.”

“I do,” Six said, but his voice was lower. “You don’t speak in them, though.”

“We can find a fun way to shut me up right now.”

Holden pressed their lips together before he could back off this plan. He half expected to be shoved away and for a fist to crash into his face right before the taste of iron bloomed in his mouth, but it didn’t happen. The hands gripping him closed down harder, grinding bone and muscle, but that was the only way Six reacted. At first.

He was initially frozen when their lips brushed, but after one gentle swipe of Holden’s tongue, Six opened his mouth. Shuddering, Holden licked into the wet warmth deeper and more insistently.

A groan muffled against him, low and quickly aborted, but Holden heard it. And he felt the way Six leaned into him. It was barely a response, but it encouraged Holden to pin Six against the door and dive into a hungry kiss. This time, Six was an active participant. Their slicking tongues, frantically moving lips, and a full-body press made it quite clear that Six was into this. His dick was fully rocked up in a way that could not be explained by anything other than arousal for Holden.

And Holden was just as hard for him. In fact, his body was reacting in a way it never had before. Every sense was alight as he moved his hands over Six in an effort to feel everything he could. With no impressions to absorb, all he could do was touch.

It was right about the time triumph usually exploded in Holden’s chest with invisible banners and balloons celebrating a conquest, but this time he felt apprehension. He didn’t want to end this kiss. He wanted Six to keep exploring the inside of his mouth with a delightfully frantic lack of finesse, and he wanted a genuine fucking smile once they were done. But that wasn’t in the cards. That wasn’t what this was about.

Holden pulled away with a ragged sigh. “I’m guessing you enjoyed your first kiss.”

“I never confirmed it was my first,” Six said hoarsely. He licked his lips. “You assumed.”

“I assume right. I may not be able to read your emotions, but I could feel your heart beating out of your chest.”

“And I could feel yours.”

He could probably still feel it, because Holden’s body was betraying him and his plan by behaving like a giddy schoolboy.

“You liked it,” Holden said knowingly. He brushed their lips together again, and smiled when Six immediately leaned in for a deeper kiss. One touch and he was hooked? It couldn’t be that easy. Not with him. “And it doesn’t take a psychic to know you want more.”

“Maybe I’m just curious. It’s been thirty years.”

“That’s a long time to go untouched,” Holden agreed. “And, like I said, I can help you out with that. If you help me out with some answers.”

The little bit of life that had lit Six’s expression immediately vanished. Almost as if he’d forgotten why they’d been kissing, and the words were a wake-up call Holden hadn’t expected him to need. Regret slammed into Holden, but he dismissed it with a shake of his head. No matter how good Six felt against him, or how delicious those frantic unpracticed kisses had been, this wasn’t about seduction or attraction or intrigue. This was about his mother, the Farm, and whatever the hell the Community had planned for him. Wherever they were keeping Chase.

The fact that Six had been planted here by the people currently trying to pin the recent disasters on Holden mopped up any lingering traces of his reluctance to keep this all business.

“Tell me about the Farm, and I’ll let you play out your every fantasy on my body.” Holden ran his hand along Six’s face, stroking his thick dark whiskers and marveling at how soft his hair was. “As long as you give me what I need.”

“And you’re going to give me what I need?”

“Yes. No matter how dark or dirty or rough, I’m there for it.”

Holden tried not to be affected by the mental images popping into his mind, but it was impossible. Even though Six had defaulted to cyborg mode, there were things about him that Holden couldn’t help but notice now. The smell of musk and sweat from working the club all night, the way his fingers flexed, his steady heartbeat, and the fact that Holden could not detect a hint of color in those eyes even at this proximity. Just gleaming black pools that gave nothing away.

“Fine,” Six said.

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Copyright © 2017 by Santino Hassell.
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Learn more about or order a copy of Oversight by Santino Hassell, available June 26, 2017 by visting the publisher's website.


Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
I read Insight, the first book in this series. Oversight sounds good, too. Thanks for the excerpt.
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