me-ml-sh3Here are the first and second chapters of my book Sunset Hearts (writing as Macy Largo). It was originally part of an invitation-only collection put together by my publisher. Other books along this same theme were Dead Moon Rising (also as Macy Largo) and Stoneface (as Tymber Dalton).

Description

[#202 Siren Menage Everlasting: Erotic Contemporary Menage a Trois Romance, Suspense, Thriller, M/M/F]

After witnessing a mob hit and learning she’d die next, Daphne Peres chose to escape her boyfriend by jumping into the stormy Gulf of Mexico. She didn’t count on being rescued by hunky fishing guide Alan Walker. Lucky for her, his equally hunky boyfriend, Jerald Carter, is a Florida Marine Patrol officer.

Living in hiding with easy-going Alan and intensely passionate Jerald is no sacrifice, especially when faced with the alternative of being forced into protective custody. The two men she now loves are the closest thing she’s had to a family. When they confess they’ve fallen for her too, she’s happy to join them in their bed.

Then the mob finds her and Alan’s nearly killed. Jerald faces a heart-wrenching decision to keep her safe or keep her with them. Will their love survive the stress of a federal trial, or will night fall permanently on their Sunset Hearts?

A Siren Erotic Romance

Chapter One

Daphne hated going out on boats with a passion usually only reserved for terrorism, child molesters, bad hair days, and beets. How she ever let Paulie talk her onto the freaking thing confused the hell out of her. At least she hadn’t needed the skills she learned in the intro scuba class he made her take. He planned on them going out with a dive charter before this last-minute change in plans.

This was worse. Definitely worse.

At least a half-day diving trip would have ended with her unwinding in the safety of a luxury hotel suite overlooking Duval Street. Not kneeling over the toilet in their cabin’s head on this luxury yacht. Yes, it was a nice boat, she’d give it that.

It was still a boat. A boat that refused to hold still for even a few minutes so she could quit feeling sick. She squeezed her eyes shut as another wave of nausea overtook her. It felt like all she’d done on this trip from Key West was puke.

They’d been having a damn good time in Key West. Then he had to drag her out on this boat. She didn’t know their intended destination, some stupidity about a business deal.

She didn’t want to know what that meant.

Once she felt somewhat steady again, she rinsed her mouth and stared into the mirror. She should have listened to her best friend, Deanna, and run far and fast from the charming, handsome Paulie Scorsini. No, she let him talk her into quitting her job and moving in with him two months ago after dating for nearly a year. Most of her stuff still sat in storage in a unit near Orlando, where she’d been living before moving to Paulie’s condo in Daytona Beach. All she took with her was what few clothes he liked, then he bought her new ones. He hated all her garage sale furniture but she couldn’t bear to get rid of it. She hadn’t had time to get things like family pictures and stuff moved either.

Now, all she had of her own was a wardrobe that would do any hooker proud, and the convincing ability to act like a dumb blonde in nearly any circumstance.

Christ.

She had a damn good idea what Paulie’s “business” might be, especially after overhearing him talk with his father four days earlier, right before Scorsini senior got popped by the Feds and taken into custody. Well, hearing Paulie’s father yell at him would be more accurate. If she’d known the Scorsini family’s business was organized crime, she would have turned tail and run fast and far.

Then again, hadn’t she suspected? The flashy cars and money that seemed to materialize out of thin air were dead giveaways she’d willfully chosen to ignore. If Paulie wanted her to have something, he handed her cash and told her to go buy it. Then the issue of the goons who hung around, euphemistically called “associates,” yet who never did anything more strenuous than look menacing and hold doors open.

But after years of doing without, struggling for every dime, sleepless nights studying to land an academic scholarship and then working while earning her English degree, she’d almost felt like she’d stepped into a fairy tale. Paulie was handsome, ten years older than her and good in bed. He wanted to take care of her. She wouldn’t claim she loved him, but she’d been willing to overlook that little factoid in lieu of waking up every morning not worrying about how much she had to make in tips that day at the bar to pay FP&L to keep the lights on.

When the boat took another roll, so did her stomach. She held on to the sink and prayed neither went belly-up. The seas had roughened. From what she’d overheard before stumbling below deck to the cabin, they’d meet another boat somewhere out here. Wherever “out here” was. They’d flown into Key West two days ago, then this surprise jaunt.

She ran a hand through her blonde locks. She needed to dye her hair when they got back. Paulie wanted her platinum blonde, and her dark roots now showed. She hated being a blonde, hated growing her hair nearly down to her waist, but Paulie wanted it that way.

And Paulie Scorsini always got what he wanted.

Or else.

She crawled back into her bunk in the large master bow cabin she shared with Paulie and tried not to listen to the men laughing and talking on the deck. The sixty-foot cruiser, called the Lucky Break, belonged to Paulie’s father. It was nearly ten o’clock. She wished they’d find a marina so she could get off the damn thing and quit feeling nauseous. She wanted to sleep in a real bed that didn’t move under her.

She turned off the reading light and closed her eyes. She thought about opening the large overhead vent port for some fresh air, but decided to stick with the A/C.

Just as she’d nearly managed to get to sleep, she heard footsteps descend the cabin stairs, down the corridor, and approach her cabin. She kept her eyes closed at the sound of the door opening. She sensed Paulie’s presence, and a whiff of his expensive cologne confirmed it.

She played possum. The last thing she wanted to do was have sex and ralph all over him.

A moment later, the door closed. She heard him talking to someone.

“She’s asleep. Call them and tell them it’s time. Let’s meet up with them and get this done.”

That piqued her interest. Get what done?

The engines slowed their monotonous throb as the captain, a Scorsini family friend, shifted the boat into neutral. She heard the sound of another boat approaching and sat up to look out a side porthole. A boat smaller than theirs drew close, illuminated by the light of the full moon, which had temporarily appeared from behind the clouds. The smaller boat, running without lights, left a glowing wake behind as it angled toward the Lucky Break.

The other boat, an open fisherman maybe twenty-five feet long, pulled alongside. She heard male voices and watched through the port as Paulie climbed across to the other boat.

In the distance, she spotted lights. They couldn’t be too far offshore then.

When she heard angry tones, she focused on the boat again and…

Holy shit!

Paulie had a gun pressed to another man’s head. Blue-tinged moonlight glinted off of it. The man had his hands up and hysterically babbled something.

Suddenly, an orange blast and a sharp report split the quiet darkness as Paulie fired.

He stood there and watched as two of his guys rolled the other man’s body overboard after efficiently wrapping it with chains and an anchor.

Caught between shock and a scream, she clamped her hand to her mouth and ducked. They couldn’t see her watching behind the tinted glass.

Ohmigod!

Daphne heard the sound of footsteps in the main cabin again. She threw herself back onto the bunk, in her previous position, and feigned sleep.

Her heart raced as the cabin door opened. She fought the urge not to gag when she smelled something she suspected was gunpowder on Paulie’s hand as he reached out and stroked her cheek.

“Daph?”

And the Oscar goes to… “Are we at the dock yet?” she mumbled as she rolled over to look at him.

In the dim light spilling in from the main cabin, she made out his cold, businesslike expression. Had she really thought him handsome? “No, babe. We’re not. How are you feeling? Any better?”

“Sick. I dreamed we’d docked.”

He smiled, his cold mask dissolving. Despite his handsome features, she did her best not to scream over the memory of what she’d seen. She suddenly realized her nausea had completely disappeared.

Oh, good. Witnessing a mob hit cures seasickness. Handy thing to know.

“We’ll be heading down to St. Pete and dock there. We’ll spend a week at the Don CeSar. I appreciate you being a good sport about this trip.”

She forced a smile. “Sorry I don’t have sea legs.”

He leaned in and kissed her forehead. “Go back to sleep.”

Once he left, she took a deep breath and prayed like hell he’d bought her performance. She raced over to the cabin door and listened as she heard the men talking. She caught the tail end of Paulie’s comment to one of his guys.

“…storm front coming through tomorrow morning. We’ll do her then and claim she fell overboard. Don’t want her body anywhere near his. I hate to, but I can’t risk it. Pop’ll kill me if I don’t, told me I was a dumbass for bringing her to that other meeting…” She lost the sound of his voice as he left the main cabin.

She closed her eyes and fought her tears even as her heart pounded.

Fuck!

No fucking way she would die like this. Fucking bastard!

In the darkness, she felt her way over to her suitcase, dug out her bathing suit, and pulled it on with trembling hands. As she heard the sound of the other boat pulling away, she rummaged through one of the storage lockers under the bunk where she remembered seeing…Ah!

She pulled out a scuba mask and snorkel. Most likely there for show, they looked like they’d never been used.

She dumped the bottles of shampoo and conditioner out of the gallon-sized zipper top baggie she kept in her overnight bag. Into that baggie went her wallet, a T-shirt, a pair of underwear, and a pair of shorts all folded painfully tight, and a grand in cash she found in Paulie’s suitcase.

Fuck him.

Her cell phone was dead, so she didn’t bother with it. She took her keys to the storage unit, stuck her purse and the clothes she’d been wearing back inside her suitcase, and zipped everything up.

How the fuck do I get out of the cabin without them seeing me?

After squeezing all the air out of the baggie, she sealed it and stuck it and her cheap flip flops into the nylon fanny pack she’d bought in Key West. At least she wouldn’t be stuck with just a wet bathing suit to wear. She could hit a discount store and buy some clothes with the cash she had. She lived broke most of her life, she damn sure could make do with this for a few days until she could get to her bank.

With the fanny pack securely zipped and fastened around her waist and her heart running an Indy race in her chest, she looked up and spotted a large overhead ventilation port. It was big enough for her to squeeze through.

Running on fear-spiked adrenaline, she stood on the bunk for a minute and carefully listened. The engines throttled up again to full speed as she felt the boat powerfully surge forward in the water.

No sound of footsteps on the deck overhead.

She slowly lifted the hatch a few inches and looked around. The moon had disappeared again, the night thick and dark. Not spotting anyone, she raised her head enough to look up at the fly bridge.

The captain sat in his chair, but he had his back to the bow. He looked like he was talking to someone. Moving quickly, she pulled herself out of the hatch and pushed it closed, then yanked the mask strap over her head and down around her neck. She slipped under the front bow railing, holding on and hanging over the side, her feet slipping against the slick hull as warm sea spray pelted her.

Seemed like a good idea a few minutes ago.

Hoping they didn’t spot her, and that the boat wouldn’t run her over, she took several huge gasps of air and pushed off the bow as hard as she could with her legs.

She dove deep, kicking hard and praying as she felt the boat pass overhead. With the sound distorted by the water, she listened for any indication they’d seen her.

The boat continued on without hesitation.

When she knew she couldn’t hold her breath any longer, she broke the surface and gasped for air. Turning, she spotted the Lucky Break in the distance, continuing on without her.

She pulled the mask up over her face and into position, cleared it and the snorkel like she’d learned in the introductory scuba class, and looked around. She located the lights on land again and headed that way.

No fins to help her, she tightened the strap on her fanny pack and started swimming. The Gulf water felt warm, at least. She’d lettered three years in a row on her high school swim team, even if she hadn’t done much of it lately.

Still, it would be a long fucking night.

Chapter Two

 

When Alan Walker heard the sound of the key in his front lock a little after eight-thirty that evening, he didn’t rise from the couch.

He’s right on time.

“Please tell me you cancelled your charter tomorrow,” Jerald grumbled as he walked into the living room. He’d already showered and changed out of his uniform into a T-shirt and shorts. He pulled his gun from his holster belt, removed the magazine and chambered bullet, and put his belt on the table. He took the gun into the bedroom, where he planned to lock it in the gun safe in the closet.

Besides his toothbrush and deodorant, the gun safe was the only thing that Jerald had moved into Alan’s house. They’d been together a little over two years, and Alan still hadn’t convinced Jerald to move in with him, despite his best efforts.

“Hello to you, too,” he called out after him. “And, no, I didn’t cancel my charter. Why the heck would I do that?”

Jerald returned a moment later without the gun. He arched an eyebrow at his lover. “Because it’s supposed to blow twenty knots or more, six to eight-foot seas, and Ruskin has posted a small craft advisory, that’s why.”

If Jerald Carter had any beliefs in a higher power, they would be firmly focused on the National Weather Service’s regional office in Ruskin. Alan grinned the boyish smile he knew could charm the pants off even over-protective, grouchy Florida Marine Patrol officer Major Jerald Carter. “Jer, it’s not going to be that bad.” He started flipping channels.

Jerald reached over, snatched the remote out of his hands, and tossed it onto the couch. “Can’t you please humor me for once?”

You’re going to be out in it tomorrow.”

“I’m paid to be out in it.”

“Yeah? Well, so am I.” They’d had this argument countless times before. Alan knew it would end the same way.

“The state pays me to be out in it, hell-ooo. Me, Marine Patrol. You, fishing guide.”

“Relax. It’s a morning charter. They want to cast, not go deep sea fishing. I’m taking the flats boat, not the big one. I’ll stay close and take them out for trout and snook in the sawgrass flats and inlets around Aripeka. Come on, it’s a September full moon tide. Perfect for hooking into snook and they can keep the legal ones.”

“What if I pull you over and ask to see their fishing licenses and snook stamp endorsements?” he growled. “Maybe do a full safety inspection. Take an hour or more to check your equipment and permits and captain’s license? Make sure you’re legal.”

“If you’re talking about checking my equipment, you’d better be talking about the equipment between my legs, dude.” Alan sat up, grabbed Jerald’s T-shirt, and dragged him down to the couch. “Otherwise, I’ll tell them to ignore you, that you’re just my worrywart boyfriend showing his ass and his badge to get me back on dry land because the water’s a little choppy. You ready to pay my mortgage on my boats if I can’t work?”

Jerald’s rugged jaw set in a firm clench. Alan loved the way the older man looked when he got angry. His blue eyes, creased at the edges by years squinting against the sun, his deep tan, his short brown hair sun-bleached almost a reddish blond…

His protective temper.

“Maybe I should cuff you to the bed and call Todd at the marina and tell him you’re out sick.”

“I’ll take the cuffs, you know I love that game. But you try to mess with my charters, you’ll have to figure out a way to keep me cuffed because once I get loose I will kick your ass.”

Stalemate.

As Alan suspected he would, Jerald backed down. He sat next to him on the couch and draped his arm around Alan’s shoulders. Jerald, only eight years older than his own thirty-four, sometimes positively acted like his damn father.

Not that he minded too much.

“Please don’t go out far.”

Alan knew he’d won at that point. He leaned in and kissed him. “I promise. I’ll be careful, you know I will. If it’s too bad, or if they wimp out, we’ll come in.”

“You call me as soon as you’re at the dock.”

“I will.” He glanced at the time. “It’s almost nine. You staying?”

“If you want me to.”

Alan reached for the remote and shut off the TV. “Yep. You know I want you to.” He stood and grabbed Jerald’s hand. “Since when have I ever not wanted you to? You got someplace better to be?”

“Not really.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Jerald’s face broke into a wide smile as he rose from the couch. Alan stood six inches shorter than Jerald’s six-four. Jerald pulled Alan to him. “You know I’m just messing with you,” Jerald rumbled. Then he slanted his mouth over Alan’s and kissed him, hard, his evening stubble scratchy against Alan’s cheek.

Alan reached down and grabbed the front of Jerald’s shorts. His lover’s hard cock strained against the cotton fabric. “Yeah, and I’m ready to mess with you, too.” Gently tugging on the taller man’s bulge, Alan led him to the bedroom where they both quickly stripped and fell into bed.

Alan ended up on the bottom, his wrists pinned over his head. “Maybe I should cuff you,” Jerald threatened.

“Then you’d have to stay here with me.”

“There are worse things.” Alan tried to kiss him, but Jerald lifted his head out of the way, teasing him. “Sometimes I think you enjoy those games a little too much.”

“As long as it’s you and not the real thing, I’m fine. I’m always up for a game of Marine Patrol poking the Poacher.”

Jerald groaned, then laughed. “You’re too fucking much.” He stared down at Alan. “Maybe I should shove my cock in your mouth to shut you up.”

Alan opened wide, sending Jerald into another laughing jag. He lay on the bed next to Alan. “Get down there, then.”

Alan grinned as he sat up. “Does this qualify as police harassment?”

Jerald’s tone sounded light. “Shut the hell up and suck my cock, goddammit.”

“Such a sweet talker you are tonight.” Alan bent over the other man’s member, which had grown to its full length. With a glance up at Jerald’s hungry expression, he swiped his tongue over the swollen head. “Like that?”

Jerald groaned. “Don’t tease me.”

Alan’s own cock throbbed, desperate for release. Alan knew what his lover wanted. He kept his eyes trained on Jerald’s face as he wrapped his lips around his cock. Jerald’s gaze burned as he watched.

Jerald always loved to watch. And he always wanted Alan to look at him, to never close his eyes while they made love.

Alan slowly engulfed Jerald’s cock with his mouth, teasing it with his tongue, using one hand to stroke the base of his shaft, the other to palm his sac and gently play with him.

Jerald moaned. He folded one arm behind his head, supporting him so he could watch Alan going down on him. With his other, he reached down and fisted his hand in Alan’s shaggy hair.

Working his tongue around the head, Alan teased his lover, his tongue caressing the outline of every throbbing vein as he deep-throated him. When Jerald’s hips started thrusting in time with his mouth, Alan knew he was close. After a few long, sweet minutes, his cock hardened even more, growing slick against his tongue.

He pressed a finger against Jerald’s rim, not breaching it, but the sensation sent him over. Alan swallowed as his lover’s tangy, hot seed filled his mouth.

As Jerald’s cock softened, Alan eased up, finally releasing him.

Jerald’s eyes had dropped closed, his chest still heaving. “Good?” Alan asked.

Jerald nodded.

He licked a trail from Jerald’s cock to his chin before he kissed him. “Roll over,” Alan said, his voice deep and husky. “My turn.”

Without opening his eyes Jerald did, arching his back so his firm ass stuck in the air.

Alan’s cock throbbed at the sight. He reached over to the bedside table and grabbed the lube. They’d done away with the condoms after six months and getting tested. Neither of them were interested in sleeping with anyone else anyway.

Alan worked lube into the other man’s tight rim, teasing him, wondering if he could get Jerald hard a second time. After a few minutes of playing, Alan couldn’t stand to wait any longer. He lubed himself and pressed forward, moaning as he felt his cock tightly fisted inside Jerald’s ass.

“Fuck, yeah,” he whispered once seated all the way in.

“Do it,” Jerald growled. “Fuck me hard.”

If he was asking for it hard, experience told Alan seconds would be had shortly. Alan grinned and grabbed Jerald’s hips. “You got it.” He fucked him, hard and fast, the sound of skin slapping skin filling the air. Jerald moaned as he flexed his ass and hips against Alan’s onslaught.

“Harder, goddammit.”

“Ooh, someone wants to play tonight.” His balls bounced against Jerald’s ass at the bottom of every stroke. It wasn’t long before he felt them tighten and tense, his climax close. He pounded into his lover, fingers digging into his hips until the final stroke took him over and he buried himself deep, his come flooding inside the other man.

Out of breath, he propped himself up with one arm.

Jerald bumped his hips against him. “Get on your back. I want to fuck you.”

Smiling even as he still panted from his effort, Alan pulled out. He stepped into the bathroom to clean up, then returned to bed.

Jerald sat up on his knees, the bottle in his hand, his own cock already hard again and slick with lube. Alan lay on his back, knowing what Jerald wanted. He hooked his hands behind his knees and drew them up to his chest. “Like that?”

Jerald nodded, his large fingers probing and lubing him.

Alan kept his eyes on Jerald’s, never wavering from his lover. Jerald seated himself, slowly stroking his stiff shaft inside Alan. “How do you make me so fucking horny?”

“I know what you like and I’m not afraid to give it to you.”

Jerald leaned forward, pressing Alan’s thighs further into his chest. He hungrily kissed him. “I could fuck you all night long.”

“Who’s complaining?”

In the dim light spilling through the bathroom doorway, Jerald’s blue eyes looked dark, like the midnight sky. “I guess if I lived here it would give me more time to fuck you, wouldn’t it?”

Alan’s heart skipped, his hope blooming. “You could have it whenever you wanted, tough guy. When have I ever told you no?”

Jerald braced his hands on the headboard and took another hard stroke. “I could walk in from work and tell you to drop your shorts and bend you over the kitchen table.”

Alan reached up and brushed his fingers over Jerald’s nipples. “Every night, anytime you want it. But who says I’d be wearing clothes? I’d run around naked if you wanted.”

Jerald laughed. “You probably would, wouldn’t you?”

“You better believe it, if it means you living here. You could wake up to me sucking your cock every morning.”

“Or me sucking yours.”

“Oh, fuck yeah!”

Jerald sat up and grabbed Alan’s thighs for leverage. He took long, slow strokes out, followed by hard, fast deep thrusts in. “Maybe I could try it temporarily. See if you still want me after a few months.”

“I’ll always want you. Now shut the hell up and pound my ass the way you know you want to.”

Jerald grinned. He liked it hard and fast. The entire bed shook with the force of his thrusts. It didn’t take long for his climax to build. “Oh, fuck yeah! I’m coming!” he cried out as it washed over him. A few minutes later they lay tangled together in a sweaty heap on the bed.

Alan wrapped his arms around Jerald. “I love you.”

Jerald kissed him. “Love you, too.” He finally moved, slowly, and stepped into the bathroom to clean up. When he returned they curled together in bed, Jerald’s arms around Alan. He brushed his fingers down Alan’s arm. “I’ve got Thursday and Friday off. I can bring a load of stuff over.”

“I don’t have any charters on Thursday. I can help.” If he had his way, he’d back a truck up to Jerald’s freaking shit hole trailer and completely empty it before burning it to the ground.

“Okay. Then we’ll start on Thursday.”

Alan felt a Cheshire cat grin crease his face. He decided to test the waters. “What do you feel like doing tomorrow evening?”

Jerald shrugged. “Hadn’t thought about it.”

“Tom Kelly invited us over. He’s having a barbecue tomorrow night. Invited a bunch of people.”

Jerald’s face darkened as he looked away. “Go if you want.”

“I wasn’t asking your permission. It’s an invitation extended to both of us.”

Jerald let go of him and rolled over, facing away from Alan. “I’ve got things I can do. You go have fun.”

Alan tried to drop it and couldn’t. After stewing for five minutes, he sat up. “Are you fucking ashamed of me or something?”

“What the fuck? Where’s that coming from?”

“Well, answer the question. Are you?”

“Christ, no! I told you I’ll give living here a shot. What more do you want?”

“Is it because I’m a guide? Or because I’m a guy? Be honest.”

Jerald rolled onto his back. When he finally spoke, his voice sounded quiet, unlike his normal rumble. “All right. I’ll go to the barbecue with you. Happy?”

“No. I want an answer.”

“I haven’t been out as long as you, okay? There’s still a lot of people who don’t know. I’m not ashamed of you. I’m just…still learning and getting used to this. Okay? Kate fucked me over hard, you know that. It took me a long time to get to the point where I knew another shoe wouldn’t hit the floor with you.”

That was some of the deepest emotional honesty Jerald had ever copped to in their two-plus years together. Despite being an eloquent man, Jerald rarely expressed his emotions like that. He usually kept them carefully hidden behind a solid fortress.

Huge breakthrough for the tough guy.

Alan propped himself up on one elbow. “If you want,” he quietly offered, “we can go tomorrow night in separate cars. I’ll behave myself. Hands off. Just friends.”

It wasn’t what Alan wanted, but after Jerald agreed to try living together, and then opening up like that, Alan wanted to give ground to reciprocate. If nothing else during their relationship, Alan had learned the fastest way to draw Jerald out was to always back down when Jerald gave ground rather than trying to bully him into something. Jerald always followed him and gave ground of his own when he did that, because then he didn’t feel pressured.

“We don’t have to go in separate cars. I do want to go with you.” He took a deep breath and slowly let it out before looking at Alan. “How can you be so patient with me? I know I’m a pain in the ass.”

Alan kissed him. “You’re my pain in the ass, that’s why.” Alan knew he was the only one who ever got to see Jerald vulnerable like this.

“I love you,” Jerald whispered.

Alan smiled. “I love you too, tough guy. When you going to let me totally move you out of that shit hole trailer and in with me?” After Jerald’s divorce, Kate had gotten the house and nearly everything in it. Fortunately, Jerald only had to pay her a year of alimony. Financially, he was still recovering from the debacle. Jerald had rented the cheap place south of Bayport from a friend of his. Alan owned his house, which he’d inherited from his parents. Built only seven years earlier, they’d paid it off with the sale of other property they’d owned, taking advantage of the real estate boom before the market tanked.

“Give me a little more time for that, okay? Let’s see how a trial arrangement goes. I’ll keep the trailer for now, keep my other crap there, my books and stuff. I’ll start bringing my work truck home here. Deal?”

“I’d like to wake up next to you every day.”

“You’re going to get sick of me. You just wait and see. I’ll drive you nuts.”

“That’s a short trip, buddy. One I’m happy to take with you behind the wheel.”

“I’m set in my ways and a pain in the ass to live with.”

Alan smirked. “So? You give great head. I’m willing to overlook other imperfections.”

Jerald laughed. “I’m still waiting for you to come to your senses and get rid of me.”

Alan sat up and grabbed Jerald’s chin. “Listen to me. I’m not going anywhere. If you want to run away, go ahead. Get it through your head I’m always going to be right here waiting for you to come back.”

Sometimes Alan wondered if Jerald would ever fully overcome his fear of their relationship. Alan knew Jerald didn’t fear him so much as he couldn’t let go of past heartaches and betrayals. Alan didn’t know a lot about Jerald’s past because the man didn’t want to talk about it. Alan knew only that Jerald’s parents had died violently, and he spent most of his childhood frequently shuffled between distant relatives and foster homes. It was also one of the reasons he’d gone into law enforcement.

“I know,” Jerald softly said. “I know you are.”

Jerald kissed him goodnight. Alan closed his eyes, content and happy to know he’d moved one step closer to having Jerald Carter living with him full time.

* * * *

After a few minutes, Jerald heard Alan’s breathing slow and deepen, indicating he’d fallen asleep. He studied the other man as he lay in his arms. How did Alan put up with him? He must be in love. Alan was the “what you see is what you get” kind of guy, laid back and easy going. And then him. Barely out of the closet. In fact, standing in the closet doorway with one hand on the doorknob, ready to yank it shut and lock himself inside at the slightest hint of trouble.

As much as he hated Kate, she did him a favor by screwing around on him the way she had. She made it impossible for him not to embrace his anger, at least for a little while. Then a month after the divorce was final, Alan invited him to go fishing in the Keys for three days. Jerald took the time off and they drove down there towing Alan’s flats boat.

They’d known each other professionally for a few years before that. He’d chatted with Alan at the dock nearly every day, even had lunch together countless times. Jerald had been out on his boat as a passenger a few times too, when Alan had room, to fill in a paying charter group. He knew Alan always brought in legal catch. Checking his coolers was just a formality to make it look like he didn’t play favorites among the guides. Alan Walker always played by the rules.

He’d never found anyone with a bad word to say about Alan. Even the people who didn’t care for him didn’t speak badly of him, other than snide comments behind Alan’s back about his sexual preferences.

Jerald had known Alan was gay from third party chatter, but nothing in the man’s demeanor ever screamed “flaming queer.” If he hadn’t heard it from more than one source, he never would have believed the gossip. Alan just didn’t show up on his radar one way or another.

Until the Keys trip.

All the way down I-75, across Alligator Alley, and down the Florida Turnpike to U.S. 1, Alan let him talk. And talk.

And talk.

He knew Alan never spread rumors, never gossiped. Jerald felt fucking lonely and angry and needed to vent to someone. Anyone. He had no close friends and no family. The friends he thought he had were Kate’s, not his. From the way they avoided him after the divorce, even though she had cheated on him, he knew she’d gotten custody of them as well.

By the time they reached the resort in Marathon that first night, Jerald had done more talking to Alan than he had to anyone else. Ever.

Alan sat there and listened.

They went bonefishing the next morning. Jerald still talked. Alan quietly listened as he poled the boat across the flats while Jerald cast when and how Alan told him to. Jerald started drinking beer before lunch, loosening up even more.

Still, Alan listened.

By the time they returned to the dock a little before sunset that evening, he saw Alan in a new light. Maybe because of his own beer buzz, or Alan’s shaggy blond hair made even more yellow by the sun. Maybe it was those huge brown eyes, “doe eye,” his momma would have called them. Or the way his tanned and slimly athletic body looked in his baggy guide shirt and shorts, or the way he gracefully moved, like a cat. Even in a pitching boat, Alan never seemed to lose his balance.

After ordering a pizza for dinner and downing a few more beers, Jerald vaguely remembered staggering into Alan’s bedroom in their rented condo and falling onto his bed.

“I’m sick of women, and I’m fucking sick of being alone!” he screamed.

Then, for the first time in his adult life, he cried. He remembered curling up against Alan and sobbing like a fucking baby while Alan held him and softly murmured comforting words.

When he awoke the next morning, hung over as hell, he still lay in Alan’s bed. Fully dressed. Alan, also dressed, lay propped on one elbow and stared down at him with those big brown eyes. For the first time, Jerald noticed Alan’s long, blond eyelashes, almost like a girl’s.

Jerald sat up too quickly, then realized his mistake as his hangover headache pounded a bongo rhythm inside his skull. He lay back down with a groan.

“What happened?” Jerald croaked, the nasty morning after taste of beer coating his mouth with a thick, disgusting slime.

“You got stinking drunk, stumbled in here, said you’re sick of women and sick of being alone, and cried in my arms. Then you passed out.” He looked vaguely amused. “And has anyone ever told you that you snore like a freaking chainsaw when you sleep on your back?”

For some reason Alan’s final remark, delivered in that exact tone of voice, with those brown eyes staring at him, hit just the right combination of notes inside Jerald. He laughed, then moaned as his head pounded, then laughed again.

Alan smiled. “Glad to see you’re feeling better.”

“I’m sorry, man. I’m a sloppy drunk. Normally I don’t drink a lot for this very reason.”

“Gee, ya think? Besides, what are you sorry for?”

“For last night.” He groaned as he rubbed his face with his hands. “You must think I’m a fucking douche.”

Alan shrugged. “There’s a couple of reasons I brought you down here, Jer. For one, you’ve been acting like you’re about to rip someone’s head off. All the guides in the area are talking about taking up a collection to buy you a hooker or a hit man, whichever would do the most good. You’ve been acting pretty shitty for the past few months. We all understand why, believe me. It just didn’t make it any easier for us to deal with you on our end.”

Alan sat up. “For another, we’ve always had a good rapport, and I think you’re going through a rough time and need a friend. Add to that the fact that I like you. I’m not saying I’m going to put moves on you and freak you out and fuck up a good friendship, but I hoped maybe you’d loosen up a little. What happens on this trip stays on this trip, whether it’s you baring your soul or your ass or maybe both. I figured you needed a chance to cut loose without worrying what anyone else would say. Whether you simply want a friendly ear to talk to, or actually want do something, that’s up to you.”

Jerald laid there and blinked, stunned, as he stared at the younger man.

After a few moments, Alan spoke again. “I’ve watched you for a few years now. I don’t know if you’re straight or gay or bi or curious. I don’t care. I do know I’ve noticed you checking out asses a few times, whether you were aware of it or not.”

Jerald felt a deep heat fill his face, but he didn’t speak.

Alan continued. “Like I said, I’m not going to put moves on you. I especially won’t take advantage of someone who’s drunk. However, be advised the next time you show up in my bed, please do it sober, and definitely do it naked, because after sleeping next to you all night I’ve got a fucking hard-on right now that would cut glass. Unless you’re a cock tease. If that’s the case, you should have warned me so I could go whack off.”

Jerald harshly laughed. “Do you ever think about what you say before you say it?”

“Yeah. Doesn’t stop me from saying it. You’ve known me long enough to know I’m a no bullshit, no drama kind of guy. If you’d like to dig a little deeper and explore some options, feel free to make a pass at me. Normally I’m not this forward with someone like you who’s never been with a guy before.”

“Who said I’ve never been with a guy before?”

Alan arched an eyebrow at him.

“Okay, so no, I haven’t.”

Alan stretched, then pulled his shirt off as he stood. Alan had a nice, tight body. Naturally muscled and tanned from being outside all the time. “Now that I know you’re not going to puke in your sleep and choke on it and leave me with an embarrassing situation to deal with, having a dead officer of the law in my bed, I’m going to go take a shower and take care of this woody.” He stopped at the bedroom door and turned to Jerald. “I’ll leave the bathroom door open if you feel like having your back scrubbed. Or your front. No strings attached. If you want, we can pretend it never happened. It’s up to you.”

On that note, he walked into the bathroom.

Jerald lay there, stunned, his heart now pounding even harder than his headache.

His own cock had hardened, throbbing at the thought of taking a shower with Alan.

What the fuck?

He sat up again, carefully this time. Yeah, okay, so Alan had nailed him mentally in a few ways he’d never wanted to admit before.

Jerald couldn’t feel the floor under his feet as he walked into the bathroom. Alan had already started the shower and stood, naked, brushing his teeth at the sink. He had a nice, tight, firm ass a few shades lighter than the rest of his body. Alan obviously didn’t sunbathe in the buff. Jerald could reach out and…

Alan caught Jerald’s gaze in the mirror and held it until he finished brushing his teeth and turned around.

“Shower’s big enough for two, man.” Alan stepped in and pulled the shower curtain closed.

Jerald’s head still throbbed, but he also brushed his teeth to get rid of the nasty, stale morning after beer taste.

Then he stripped and stepped into the shower.

Those huge, brown eyes. Alan turned to him and pushed him so Jerald’s back pressed against the cool tile wall. When Alan dropped to his knees, he palmed Jerald’s sac with one hand. With the other, he slowly pumped Jerald’s now-throbbing cock before putting it in his mouth.

Fascinated to watch his cock disappearing between the other man’s lips, he couldn’t look away. Alan’s eyes closed.

“No,” he hoarsely said. “Look at me. I want to see you’re with me.”

Alan looked up, their gazes locked as his tongue and lips worked at his stiff shaft. Jerald wound his fingers through the other man’s wet hair as he thrust his hips in time with Alan’s movements.

He felt connected to him. Something he’d never felt with his ex. Or anyone else.

Ever.

Jerald had always felt Kate was somewhere else when making love to her. She wanted the lights off and never did it in the daytime. He barely remembered what she looked like naked. He could count on both hands the number of times she went down on him during their marriage. Usually only once a year, on their anniversary. She made it seem like she did him some big fucking favor for even considering it.

Because of his hangover, he wasn’t sure if he’d make it, but his balls tightened as his orgasm spiraled from somewhere deep inside him.

“I’m coming,” he gasped.

Alan never looked away. He took him deeper into his mouth as he reached behind Jerald and grabbed his ass. As he felt the explosion rip through his balls, he let out a loud moan while he watched Alan watching him come, watched Alan’s throat work as he swallowed.

After a moment Alan rocked back on his heels. “Better?”

“Holy fuck.”

“Is that a good holy fuck, or a what the fuck did I just do holy fuck?”

“Both.”

Alan arched an eyebrow at him. “Should I take care of myself, or would you like to help?”

Coherent thought slowly returned to his brain. Jerald heard himself say, “I’d like to help.”

Alan didn’t look away as he stood and pressed close. He grabbed Jerald’s hand and put it on his cock. “How about I go easy on you and you let me do the heavy work?” Then he leaned in and kissed Jerald as he wrapped his own hand around Jerald’s, holding it on his shaft.

Alan thrust his hips, fucking Jerald’s hand. After a few minutes Jerald regained enough of his senses to help. As Jerald took control, Alan released his hand and held on to Jerald’s shoulders for balance. Jerald used both hands, one on Alan’s cock, the other on his balls.

“Look at me,” Jerald grunted. “I want to see your face when you come.”

Alan tipped his head back. Jerald studied him, wanting that feeling back, that connection of a moment ago.

To feel connected to another human being in a way he never had before.

Alan was there, with him.

It took his breath away.

He watched as Alan’s lips parted, his skin flushed. Then his thrusts quickened, more jerky. “I’m almost there.”

Jerald squeezed harder as Alan cried out, his hot juices coating Jerald’s hands.

Alan rested his head against his chest as Jerald enveloped him in his arms and held him for several long, silent minutes. He didn’t miss how good Alan felt in his arms.

“What now?” Jerald croaked, still not sure how he’d gotten to this point, and yet knowing he could never go back.

He didn’t want to go back. He didn’t want to lose that connection with Alan.

Alan laughed as he looked up. “Whatever you want, man. I told you, what happens here stays here.” His gaze flicked over Jerald’s face, studying him. “Unless you want to do something when we get home. Then I’m happy to oblige you there, too. I’m not going anywhere.”

He wanted to kiss Alan again. He wanted to taste him, feel his stubbly cheek coarse against his own, run his fingers over the sandpaper texture on his face. He slanted his lips over Alan’s and kissed, nipping, biting, deep and hungry.

He didn’t want to lose him and didn’t know how to hold on to him.

He just knew he had to for his own sanity.

 

They never made it back out on the boat the rest of the trip. After their shower, they returned to Alan’s bed. Alan grabbed a towel, a bottle of lube, and a box of condoms. Then he spent nearly half an hour playing with Jerald, teasing him and slowly loosening his virgin ass with his fingers, playfully torturing him before he finally rolled a condom onto himself.

“You ready?” Alan asked.

Jerald didn’t trust his voice. He nodded.

He felt Alan press his thick cockhead against his puckered rim. Then Alan smiled down at him. “I’ll be honest. I hope I’m the only guy who ever gets to do this to you.” He pressed forward, breaching his ass, slowly seating himself inside Jerald until his thighs lay against his.

Jerald, on his back with his knees to his chest, stared up into Alan’s big brown eyes.

“You okay?” Alan asked.

Jerald nodded. He felt a hell of a lot better than okay.

He’d never imagined this side of Alan, taking charge, his quiet confidence and security.

“I’m going to fuck you, then you can fuck me, okay?”

Jerald nodded, lost in Alan’s gaze.

The corners of Alan’s mouth curled into a sexy, playful smile. “I have a feeling you’ll normally want to be on top. I don’t mind bottoming, as long as you let me have a turn on top every once in a while.”

“Do you always talk this much during sex?”

Alan grabbed Jerald’s thighs and took a deeper stroke that hit a sweet spot inside him and nearly sent him over the top. “Only when I don’t have a nice, hard cock in my mouth to suck.”

Jerald’s heart raced as he watched Alan’s climax build. “I don’t want to share you,” he blurted out.

Alan stopped, his smile broadening. “Well, buddy, you’re in luck. I’ve been stuck in a dry spell the past six months, and I tend to enjoy the monogamous lifestyle.”

“What about the rubbers and lube you brought?”

He shrugged and took another long, slow stroke. “Be prepared, that’s my motto. You complaining?”

“No.”

Jerald held onto Alan’s arms as he fucked him, felt Alan’s muscles tense as he drew closer to his release. Alan’s lower lip caught under his front teeth as his whole body trembled. He thrust harder, faster, then let out a loud cry as he came.

Almost too fast he pulled out, leaving Jerald feeling empty. He tried to keep him there. “Where are you going?”

Alan leaned in and kissed him. “Condom. Don’t worry, I’ll be right back.”

A moment later, he was.

One thing Jerald quickly learned, Alan always did what he said he would.

Alan rolled over in his sleep, throwing an arm around Jerald and bringing his thoughts back to the present. For over two years now, Alan had shown nothing but patience with him. The worst he thought would be when any of his fellow Marine Patrol officers found out about him and Alan. Only one guy, a jerk named Mark Jackson, tried to bust his chops about it.

“What’s up with you and that guide, Walker?” Jackson said to him late one Sunday afternoon while they stood on the dock waiting to check more boats. Alan’s boat had appeared in the marina basin, prompting the jerk’s comment. “You two fuck buddies or something?” From the man’s tone of voice, Jerald knew Jackson thought he was being funny, busting his balls.

Thankful for his mirrored sunglasses, which hid the anger in his eyes, he slowly turned on Jackson. “Alan’s my boyfriend,” he softly said. “You got a fucking problem with that?” His heart raced. This was four months into their relationship, and the first time he’d openly confessed it to anyone he worked with.

Admittedly, he enjoyed the priceless look of shock on the other officer’s face. “Um, no. No problem. Sorry, man, I didn’t know. I was just kidding around.”

“Shut the fuck up before you dig yourself a deeper hole and I kick your ass into it.”

He did.

Alan even good-naturedly put up with him checking his catch more than the other guides, in his early attempts to prove he wasn’t showing him any favoritism.

He closed his eyes as he lay in bed, Alan asleep next to him. Alan always calmed him, just by his very nature. Jerald never felt stressed when with him. Alan always knew when to stay quiet and let him unwind in his own way from an overwhelming day.

He always had the right words to say to Jerald, knew when to offer him a backrub or a blowjob, when to make him laugh, when to lend an ear.

For the first time in his life, he felt like he had someone who had absolutely no intention of letting him go. Who wanted to be with him and wasn’t there simply because of some perceived obligation.

Family.

Jerald settled in and, with the sound of Alan’s slow and steady breathing to lull him, tried to sleep.

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First Chapter: Sunset Hearts
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