Reid Hansen has always had a "thing" for Marines. But not for former Marine, now up-and-coming fashion designer, Jackson Tate. In fact, Reid would rather see Jackson dead.
Jackson Tate has more success than he'd ever imagined, and all the stress that goes with it. Who better to help pull him back from the edge than Reid Hansen? But Reid's fateful and unexpected presence in Jackson's life resurrects the ghost of the Marine Reid once loved, the Marine Jackson served with, the Marine who died saving Jackson's life, and it's quite clear that Reid has no intention of offering Jackson the salvation he seeks. In fact, it seems Reid would rather deliver that final shove that destroys him.
Jackson is the last man Reid wants to meet. Their lives first intersected on an Iraqi desert years before. Now, finally face-to-face, resentment, anger, and guilt put them at odds. Grief and the truth bind them. And then there's the unrelenting want fueling their actions. A craving neither can deny.
Yes, Reid's the one man who could save Jackson from himself. But who is saving whom?
...Jackson sagged against the nearest wall. It was finally over, except for clean-up, and that’s what hotel staff was being paid to do. He was in that sweet, quiet time before the crew descended on the room and Trish returned from monitoring load-up to hustle him along. Joy covered his exhaustion. He’d made it through the night. Now if he could only stop shaking…and feeling like he was going to throw up.
God, I hope I don’t have what Arnie’s got. Jackson didn’t have time to be sick. He pressed his hand to his forehead. Cold and clammy. Not good. But at least it wasn’t a fever.
“Hey,” Trish called out, “truck’s loaded and we’re ready to go. Unless you plan on walking.”
Jackson pushed away from the wall. “I’m coming.”
“You can ride with me.”
Reid Hansen’s voice from behind stopped him cold. Then he felt the other man’s heat inches away and wondered if he might have a fever after all. Sweat trickled down his back. His balls tightened. And his cock… Well…lately it didn’t take much to make it hard.
“I’d like to finish that discussion.” Reid edged into Jackson’s peripheral vision.
Jackson sighed. It was his fault for spouting off. He couldn’t blame Reid for wanting more information. If he’d learned anything tonight it was that Reid never took no for an answer. Jackson watched Trish’s gaze dart from him to the man beside him.
“Go on.” He waved his hand her way. “We’ll be right behind you.”
She shot Reid one final look, then ducked out the exit. Jackson sighed, but lacked the energy to square his shoulders. He’d done all the posturing he cared to do with Reid earlier tonight.
Jackson scuffed his hands together. “All right, let’s get this over with, shall we?”
“That is the plan.” Reid led him to the opposite end of the hotel, away from the loading dock.
At two in the morning, they passed no one save the occasional hotel employee. The walk to valet parking would have given Jackson ample opportunity to tell Reid everything he wanted to know about Stan’s murder. Accidental as it might be termed, there was clear intent behind the bullets aimed at Jackson and Stan’s backs. He and Reid said nothing to each other. They kept pace as if the rhythm was ingrained from a long-term relationship. Even the slight swing in their arms was in sync. They walked mere inches apart, so close Reid’s heat still washed over Jackson.
The memory of Reid’s hard body wedging Jackson against the wall slithered through him, lifting goose bumps and penis at the same time. It was the power and control Jackson had longed for in a relationship. Stan’s stories weren’t fabricated. Reid was born to dominate. Rumors from other sources had confirmed that as well. What they’d all failed to say was that Reid was an ass.
And to think I actually wanted the man.
Jackson didn’t know whom he was fooling. He still wanted Reid. Wanted to experience the release of control to another person, wanted the skill he’d heard Reid possessed, wanted to feel Reid pressed against his body naked, hot, and hard.
He curled his fingers loosely in his palm to keep from adjusting the erection swelling his trousers. Pre-cum would have moistened his boxers and the black silk by now. That was fine—Jackson’s clothing line easily withstood the tests of life. However, he really wasn’t anxious to have a cum stain telling on him. The last thing he wanted was for Reid to discover that, despite their being apparently at odds, Jackson wanted to grab him by his satin lapels and haul Reid against him. And let Reid take it from there. Funny, since the whole point of wanting a man like Reid was to have him take charge of all of that...