THE BROTHERHOOD 11: NOTHING LIKE EXPERIENCE
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This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id® e-books are for sale to adults ONLY, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers. ***** This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable (homoerotic sexual practices). The Brotherhood 11: Nothing Like Experience Willa Okati
This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Copyright © February 2007 by Willa Okati All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the purchaser of this e-book ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced or shared in any form, including, but not limited to printing, photocopying, faxing, or emailing without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC.
ISBN 978-1-59632-407-7 Available in Adobe PDF, HTML, MobiPocket, and MS Reader Printed in theUnited States of America Editor: Olivia Wong Cover Artist: P. L. Nunn Dedication
To Jet, JL, Ally, LM, & Kimber -- couldn’t have done it without you! Chapter One
“I already told you; I’m not going.” “Ah, so you say. I think you may change your mind.” Allen sighed. “Look, Liam, it’s not that I’m ungrateful for the tickets, but a dance club? You should know that’s really not my thing.” “That is your opinion at this moment. Again, I say that you will see things differently soon.” Liam
sounded deadly serious; he wasn’t messing around with this whole group outing to Amour Magique. “Say, at least, that you will consider attending.” “Will that make you happy?” Allen asked in exasperation. “If your answer is honest. You are, as you often remind us, thirty-seven years old, not a youth who can get away with pretty white fibs. Go on! Get back to your work, but keep me in mind. I am a hard fellow to forget, yes?” Liam teased. “I have a feeling that your life will soon take a turn for the better. Perhaps even before Saturday night.” “You and your feelings.” Allen drummed his fingers on the edge of his desk. “I’ll think about going. Seriously. And I’m hanging up now.” “My work is done here.” Liam sounded supremely satisfied. “Fare you well, Allen.” “’Bye, Liam.” Allen clicked his cell phone off and shoved it into the hip pocket of his loose pants. He stayed seated for a moment, shaking his head in dismay and amusement. A gay dance club? Him? Not inthis lifetime. But there was something damnably hard about telling Liam no. He’d see what happened. Either he’d end up going, drinking something fruity while being miserable in the midst of hot young studs, or he’d stay at home with the latest shipment from his subscribers-only mystery book club and be absolutely content. Gee, what a choice. Allen decided that he’d thought about the big outing long enough. His answer would be “nuh-uh.” With that decided, he turned back to his computer to focus on what he’d been writing before being interrupted by Liam’s phone call. His promotional blog. Allen didn’t like talking about himself, but his agent insisted that he do this. Usually it amounted to “I went to work today. I went home. Then I slept. Whee.” He’d give it a try, though. One for the home team.
Location:Charleston,South Carolina.CharlestonRegional Animal Clinic. Date: None recently.
Allen frowned and corrected the entry.
Date: T-1 and counting.
Comments: If I can’t talk Liam out of this dance club thing, I’m going to hang myself with my own tie.
He paused, his thumb resting on top of his keyboard’s space bar. The cursor blinked in servile obedience, waiting for him to add a spectacularbon mot or perhaps a profound observation about life. Too bad he couldn’t think of a damn thing to write about. After erasing what he’d typed and closing his blog, Allen sat back in his office chair, rocking into the misbalance of one missing wheel. He tucked his hands behind his head, running his fingers through his somewhat overgrown brown hair. Well, most people wouldn’t consider it too long, but it’d been a while since his last shearing, and it had grown out just enough to be hopelessly messy. Hetsked when he encountered a tangle. For the hell of it, he opened a Word document and entered:Get a haircut. Soon . Allen sighed and reflected that as days went, this one had been pretty bad. Not one of the deep-down, bone-rotten kind that could have a man looking for a bottle of sour mash whiskey with a chaser of self-pity, but foul enough. It hadn’t been a long day, but he had aches on top of his aches. First, he’d wrestled with an overgrownNewfoundland , and then he’d done a fun little fandango with a cantankerous cat who didn’t want his ears cleaned out. The rough animals he could deal with, though. It was their overprotective owners who’d given him ahead ache to go along with the kinks in his back and legs. He’d also been reminded ofEverett , his forever love who had been taken all too quickly by cancer after they’d spent ten years all but joined at the hip, when he had come across a photo of the quirkily handsome man in the bottom of a desk drawer. The sight ofEverett ’s face never failed to stir him into a yearning wistfulness and provoke regret over what a short time they’d had together. Then there was the “hit me baby, one more time” call, quickly aborted, from a slightly psychotic one-night stand, the one who’d been so determined in his homicidal attempts to keep Allen for himself that Allen had had to get involved with sad-sack Simon -- who was, despite his demeanor, a devil in the courtroom. Simon was also the founder and leader of the Brotherhood, which consisted of other men who had gone to the lawyer for help for one reason or another. Allen’s nephew, Alex, the poor confused kid, was a member as well. At some point, Liam had managed to join their group but Allen wasn’t exactly sure when. In any case, following Simon’s advice, Allen had taken out a restraining order against Joey, the ex, but that hadn’t stopped the guy too well. Then there had been an e-mail from Ellie, the woman who had wanted more from Allen than he had been able to give, even though he’d tried to be what she needed -- whoo, what a mistake that had been -- which had made him feel guilty all over again, even though Ellie had been nice, as she always was. And, of course, there was his aborted attempt to get seats for a concert when the ticket website refused to put the spots on sale until a set time. Small things, but they did add up. Still, Allen couldn’t indulge in any kind of navel-gazing. He had business to conduct and patients to see.
Possibly one patient, not plural, if there were no walk-ins. Allen glanced up at his plain white, standard office variety, plastic wall clock, which read4:40 p.m. His break had five minutes to go, but it wouldn’t hurt to be early. He straightened his tie -- or tried to -- by feel, made a futile attempt at trying to brush the worst of the dog hairs off his white lab coat, and then headed out into the sheer unadulterated chaos of a busy veterinary practice’s back rooms. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” he exclaimed, putting his hands up as a technician charged past with a Siberian Husky that looked like he was aiming for a cat whose leg was being shaved for a blood sample. The tech with the cat yelped and tried to ward off Attack Dog. Another tech, lugging a huge parrot cage, wrestled by Allen, followed by a fellow vet with a harried expression and an invoice clutched in her hand. Yep. Looked pretty much like a normal day in the bowels of Charleston Regional Animal Clinic. But even though they were busy -- nay, frantically rushed -- each employee took the brief second they needed to flash Allen a quick smile. He grinned back, appreciating the good nature of the staff and their easy camaraderie. This was a great place to work, even though he could have lived off the profits from his syndicated column about a gay professional and his day-to-day life. Navigating the white-walled room with blue-and-gray tile and stepping over the drains, Allen headed out to the front desk. As he’d hoped, his favorite tech, Miranda, was behind a computer terminal. Young, pretty, and completely resistant to bullshit, she was one of the delights in Allen’s life. He liked all the other techs just fine, but this one -- Miranda just had a special quality. Allen liked to think of her as an occasionally bratty younger sister. Looked to him like she’d just finished checking a patient out. “Thanks for choosing Charleston Regional for your pet’s needs,” she said with a smile that made the young male spaniel’s owner gulp visibly, his Adam’s apple bobbing up and down. Allen held back a chuckle. If he had swung toward women, he knew that smile would have had the same devastating effect on him, too. As it was, Miranda just looked like a good buddy to him. Pretty, sure, but not his type. Allen snuck up behind her chair and put his hand on the stiff dark-blue upholstery on the back. “So?” he asked without preamble. “Did we get lucky?” “Shit! Don’t scare me like that. And, no, not yet.” Miranda stabbed a few keys on her plastic-protected keyboard, shook her head, and frowned. “You gotta quit coming out here every ten minutes to check. The tickets don’t go on sale until five. I promised I’d wait in line for you, but the key word here iswait , you know what I mean? So ease off, Doc.” Miranda gave Allen a playful shove. Allen pushed right back, chuckling when Miranda grunted and swatted at him. “Just keep your eye on the clock,” he warned. “I want those tickets. Or ticket, singular. Doesn’t matter to me if it’s just one, but if you can get two, go for it. You still have my card number?” “By now, I have the digits memorized. You better be glad that I’m trustworthy.” Miranda gave Allen another nudge and swung her long, nearly black hair back off her shoulders. “Patient coming.” She directed the full wattage of her smile on a probably thirty-something man who held a cat carrier. He looked like he had been confident before the advent of Miranda, even if she was wearing the practice’s dark-blue shirt, which was covered in various animal hairs. “Hi, welcome to Charleston Regional. Who
are we seeing today?” Now the guy was melted mush, stammering out the name of his pet and the complaint. “Nothing but net. Go get him,” Allen stage-whispered. Then, before Miranda could turn around and smack him, he made good his escape. Only when he reached the end of the faux-marble counter did he remember what he’d originally come out for, and turned around. “Miranda? Do I have afour forty-five appointment, and is she the last one?” “Excuse me just a second,” Miranda said to the cat owner, who looked like he would have given Miranda the world on a silver platter. She swiveled around to face Allen. “He and, yeah, you do.” She passed over a new-looking chart, crisp and thin, with only a few pages inside. “He’s in Exam Four already since it was freed up. Nice dog.” “Yeah, and how’s the owner?” Allen didn’t think he could handle another white-haired, thimble-sized senior dwarfed by his massiveNewfoundland who insisted that the massive, snarling animal was really gentle, really, and that his growling meant he was happy to be in the doctor’s office. Miranda gave him an annoyed look, which Allen ignored. She had a stricter code of office decorum in front of the clients than he possessed, preferring to let people know right off that while he could be all business, he was also an approachable guy. “The owner’s patiently waiting,” she said, drumming her short nails on the desk. A slightly wicked gleam entered her eyes. “Better move it, Doc. You’re on the clock. Tick-tock.” Allen rolled his eyes at her limping rhymes and nodded. With a casual wave to the cat owner, who was now looking completely puzzled, he straightened his tie yet again and headed for Exam Four. How his ties kept getting loose when he wore the things was always a mystery to him. Today’s neck-choker featured a dancing chicken. Maybe it had boogied too hard. Then again, he had the same problems with the playing card ties and the cartoon ties... The protocol was to go in through the back door, but Allen figured it wouldn’t hurt to do things the other way around for once. He flipped open the chart that Miranda had given him and read through the standard opening notes written in sprawling cursive blue ink. Dalmatian. Young, just over a year old. Slightly overweight. Owner’s name, Chance Masterson. Allen snorted. Chance. The guy sounded about as young as his dog. God, the names people gave their kids these days... Eyebrow slightly raised in anticipation of anything the new client could bring, Allen headed into the room. “Hi, I’m Dr. Michaels. And what are we seeing...” he checked the name “...Spot for today?” He looked up and nearly dropped the chart. The young man eagerly hopping to his feet was... Well, good God probably best described most people’s reactions to him. Allen knew he felt his own heart stutter inside his chest. Tall and slim, long-legged but graceful, the guy had the almost androgynous beauty of a male model’s face with wide blue eyes and a mop of tousled honey-brown hair that flowed over his shoulder down to his chest. Soft-looking, clean hair. Allen’s fingers itched to touch, to see if the locks were as smooth and pettable as they appeared, but he managed to hold himself back.
Easy, Allen. This guy has to be God knows how many years younger than you. Definitely not in your age bracket, even if he is good-looking. And besides, no perving over the clientele. It’s against ethics. I think. Allen regained his composure with an effort, pulling an entirely neutral smile onto his face and reaching out with one hand to shake the other man’s. Chance gave him a grin in return that made him look even younger than before, and let go of his dog’s leash to shake back. Spot took advantage of Allen and Chance’s distraction and tried to make a break for freedom. Allen managed to shut the front door just in time. “Easy there, boy,” he said as he helped Chance ease Spot back to the center of the room. “You’re a live one, aren’t you, Spot?” Allen returned the leash to Chance, who took it gaze down, clearly embarrassed, and apologized. “He’s just a little scared. I don’t think his first owner ever took him to a vet. That’s why when I saved up enough money, I brought him right in. I think he probably needs all his shots and everything.” Allen scanned the notes again, noting how Miranda had recorded that bit of information as well. She was good on the intake and better on the uptake. Allen scowled a little as he read the attached Post-it note:If you don’t take him, I will . Chance faltered. “Is something wrong?” “What? Oh. No, there’s no problem.” Allen crumpled up Miranda’s note, tossed it in a trashcan beneath the sink, and patted the surface of the mottled black-and-gray exam table. “What do you say we get this big guy up here so I can take a look?” He’d meant to give Chance a hand, but Chance lifted the big Dalmatian as if he weighed nothing more than a sack of feathers. “You’re strong,” Allen remarked as he helped settle Spot into place. God, but he had a weakness for strong men. Down, boy. And you, too, Spot. Allen patted the Dalmatian’s rump. The dog seemed to have accepted the inevitable and was being a good boy regardless of the fact that he was trembling a little. “Looks like he’s a young dog, doesn’t he? Says in the chart he’s only about a year old. Is that correct?” “As far as I know. I first saw him when he was a half-grown puppy.” “He’s not a biter, is he?” Chance widened those devastating baby blues and shook his head. “Oh, no. Not at all. That’s why I wanted him. He was always so nice when I took my morning run past his owner’s place. When I saw the ‘free to good home’ sign, I zoomed in as fast as I could. They had him staked out on a long tether on a picket.” Chance’s expression clouded. “I don’t know too much about Dalmatians, not really, but I figured that couldn’t be good for any dog. It’s not a kind thing to leave a dog by himself all day long and not even leave him water. They didn’t, you know.” “No one should treat a dog like that,” Allen replied as his hands ran over Spot’s head and trunk. “Especially a Dalmatian. They’re friendly dogs. Absolutely love human interaction.” The primary examination looked promising, with nothing out of the ordinary that he could find. If Spot had been an
outside dog, Allen would have expected to find some dirt or fleas, but the Dalmatian’s coat was squeaky-clean and the skin underneath was nice and pink. “You’ve been taking great care of him, looks like.” Chance nodded eagerly. “I gave him a bath the way that Dalmatian Club website said to,” he announced as if he were proud of getting the basics right. “From the head back, and then between his toes, since that’s where fleas can hide. With special shampoo I bought at the big pet store on Maple. That was the way I should have done it, wasn’t it?” One of Chance’s fingers came up to tangle in a lock of his golden hair. “I mean, I wanted to make sure he was okay and all. Right?” Allen glanced up at Chance with what he hoped was his friendliest expression, a look that would betray nothing of the weakness he felt whenever he looked Chance in the face. The man gazed back at him, looking worried. “He's just dandy,” Allen reassured him. “You did the right thing. You wouldn’t believe how many pet owners don’t bother to bathe their animals.” “I didn’t give him any heartworm medication, though. I didn’t see any in the store.” “Good thing, too. That can be dangerous.” Allen ran his hands over Spot’s ribs. “Did they weigh him? I didn’t see it written down. We can take him back out to the scales if we need to. Or do you recall his weight?” “Seventy-five pounds.” Chance beamed, clearly pleased with himself for remembering. Then he sobered again. “The helper said that he was a little heavy.” “By about five pounds. Not too bad.” Allen looked at the dog with a critical eye. Spot did seem to lean toward the plump side. “Did he come to you a little chunky?” Chance blushed, an attractive strawberry pink spreading over his cheeks and down his neck. “No,” he admitted in a small voice. “But I thought he was kind of skinny from when the other people had him.” “So you’ve been fattening him up?” Allen chuckled to keep the sting out of his words since Chance seemed to be sensitive, and swung his stethoscope off from around his neck. He hooked the earpieces in and raised the chestpiece to the dog’s well-padded ribs. A steadythump thump rewarded him. “Good heart on this guy despite the bit of extra weight.” Allen couldn’t say the same about his own heart. The longer he stayed in the exam room with Chance, the more his nerves started to take over his good-natured, yet professional demeanor. Damn, how could one man be so cute and yet, apparently, so completely unaware of it? He took a step back as Chance twined his finger in his hair again, looking far more adorable than any grown man had a right to be. “Like I said, Dalmatians are people dogs,” Allen added quickly, trying to keep his mind focused on the job at hand. “They love attention, and they like plenty of company. He probably looked forward to your visits every day.” Chance nodded eagerly. “He did! He’d always perk up and run for me with his tongue hanging out.” He stroked down the length of Spot’s back. “I can’t believe I got so lucky. He’s with me now all the time.” “Really?” Allen moved the stethoscope’s chestpiece down, listening to all the dog’s bodily functions in order. Everything seemed to be whooshing away just fine. “You don’t have to leave him alone when you go to work?”
The blush threatened again. “I don’t exactly work. My pack, um, family’s kind of against it. They say I need time to figure myself out. They don’t really like me the way I am.” Allen resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Family issues -- lovely. Chance was definitely not the type to grow a crush on, regardless of whether or not the sight of him would set even a straight man’s eyes bulging. As it was, it set other parts of a gay man’s body to wanting to pop out -- much to Allen’s dismay. Professional. Gotta keep it professional, he reminded himself. Removing the earpieces, Allen hooked the stethoscope back around his neck. He petted the dog, who seemed to be more at his ease. “Good boy,” Allen said affectionately. Spot seemed to be a prime example of a happy, healthy dog, except for the weight. “Lay off the extra food and the treats. They’re called treats for a reason. Start taking Spot with you on your runs.” Chance frowned slightly. “I go pretty fast. It won’t hurt him?” “What are you doing, training for a race?” Allen asked. When Chance shook his head, Allen went on. “Okay, no problem then. If you see Spot starting to tire out, slow down. But an ordinary run should be fine. Dogs love a chance to stretch their legs.” “I could take him with me when I go walking downtown,” Chance said, brightening. “Most places won’t let animals inside, but I mostly just window shop and sightsee.Charleston ’s an awesome city. So many things to look at and do. Did you know that--” Laughing, Allen cut Chance off. “I’ve lived here my whole life. And it is a great place, agreed. But I think this big guy is all taken care of except for his shots. You’re sure he hasn’t had any before? And what about neutering?” Chance blanched a paler shade of white. “Neu-neutering?” Ah. Not the first virile young man who’d had that reaction. Allen rested his hand on the Dalmatian’s back and resisted the urge to launch into a pat lecture. “It’d be better for Spot unless you plan to breed him,” he said frankly. “Male Dalmatians tend to go a little crazy if they smell a female in heat.” “Oh.” Chance’s color began to come back. “It’s just I hadn’t thought about...” He swallowed. “Will it hurt Spot?” Again, not a new question. “Hardly at all,” Allen reassured Chance. “With the new procedures, he’d only have to stay overnight -- and that’d just be for observation. He won’t notice anything’s missing.” Chance shook his head, biting his lip. A picture flashed through Allen’s mind of leaning over and nibbling the tempting piece of flesh for him. His cock gave a twitch, as if to cast a “yea” vote in on the idea.Bad boy , he scolded that errant body part.Behave! “If you’re sure...” “I am,” Allen replied, firm as he could be. “When you check out at the front desk, talk to the woman there. Miranda can help you set up an appointment to get the procedure done. We usually do them on Fridays, so you could get in as early as next week.”
Chance swallowed, but nodded. “Okay...” He petted Spot. “If you’re sure it won’t hurt.” Allen ached with the need to reach over and stroke Chance as if Chance were the dog. One smooth, slow glide over his shoulder and down his arm. Allen cleared his throat to cover his reaction and his body’s eager encouragement to go for the touch. If he followed through, it would only lead to tears. He’d been down this road before. The young and gorgeous were not for him. For innocents like Chance, men with time on their side just didn’t get an older guy, even if the latter was wise enough to know what he was -- or wasn’t -- doing. Oh, yeah, Allen knew from personal experience what a mistake it would be. Joey...Ah, hell, don’t think about Joey. Damn brat. Great sex, shitty attitude. God, I’m glad he’s gone. That’ll teach me to have one-night stands with men who have the potential for turning into psychos. But don’t start dredging those memories up. Just... don’t . With a reaffirmation of his position on dating firmly in place in his mind, Allen nodded. “Trust me.” “Oh, I do.” Chance’s blue eyes came up, full of nothing but admiration. “I’ve been watching the way you handle him. He likes you. You must be a good man.” “I try.” Chance wet his lips with the tip of a small pink tongue. “Do you ever run?” he asked, sounding completely innocuous. “Maybe you could go with me sometime to make sure I’m not working Spot too hard.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, would be a bad, bad idea. “I don’t run,” Allen lied. “Really?” Chance’s forehead wrinkled. “You look like a runner. You’ve got the build.” He’s been checking out your build!a part of Allen’s brain celebrated. He firmly squashed it down. Professional. Ethics. Professional. Ethics. Remember these words . “Nah. I like to use the treadmill, but that’s it.” With a final pat and scratch to the Dalmatian, Allen turned to the chart and wrote down a series of notes for the techs. “Full course of shots, including rabies, and make an appointment for him to be neutered.” Chance gazed at Allen. “Will you do it?” he asked earnestly. “You have a gentle touch.” He’s been noticing your touch!that same contrary voice exulted. Allen mentally kicked himself in the ass just as his cock twitched again. “Sorry,” he said, going for “sincere” but ending up uncomfortably close to “relieved.” “I only work three days a week, and I’m off on next Friday. But Dr. Lancaster is working then, and she’s great. Really gentle. I’m sure Spot will love her.” Chance looked doubtful -- or was he a little disappointed? Allen couldn’t tell. The other man nodded with what seemed to be reluctance. “Okay. But when we come back in for follow-ups, I want you to be Spot’s doctor. Can you?” “You can always ask for me,” Allen said, mentally making a note to have a line written in Spot’s file that he could not, absolutely not, see this dog again. He liked the Dalmatian just fine, but the urge to fling himself at Spot’s owner was more than a little tempting, a complication he just didn’t need. “Now, I really do have to go. Take it easy, okay?”
Chance’s smile flashed out, brilliant and white. “Thank you, Doctor...?” “Allen,” Allen replied automatically. “I mean, Dr. Michaels.” His inner tragedy mask mourned.He didn’t even remember your name. All right, this is getting out of hand . Allen made a few more notes in the chart. He could get a fellow vet to administer the series of vaccinations, and the more left to other folks the better. “Okay. Just wait here, and someone’s going to be along in a few minutes to give Spot his shots.” He put out his hand, for purely professional reasons, of course. All the same, he couldn’t help registering the radiant warmth and odd roughness of Chance’s palm.How’d such a young guy get callused hands like his? Weird. “You have a good day, now.” Tucking Spot’s file under his arm, Allen left, shutting the back door firmly and finally behind him. The wild confusion in the office had died down to a few techs moving back and forth; he was glad, because he had to collapse against the wall and fan himself. Good Lord. If he were closer to my age and gay besides... whoo! Liam can never find out about this. He’d never let me hear the end of it. Oh, yeah. Liam. Allen winced.T minus 1 day and counting. Then I’m stuck spending my Saturday night at a gay dance club. Oh, joy. Given the decision, I’d rather be back in there with temptation incarnate. Allen pushed himself off the wall and scanned the room for a colleague veterinarian who didn’t have their hands full, or at least one who’d be willing to fit this in before calling it a day. He himself had better things to do with his time than moon over blond and blue. Checking with Miranda about his tickets, for one. He’d be better off forgetting about the gorgeous, grope-worthy man he’d just met, because when it came to a guy that age who looked the way Chance did, Allen knew from past experience that at his age, closer to forty than thirty, he didn’t belong with the young and the hung -- sad and shameful as that part of his recent visit to the past had been. He could thank Joey the lunatic for that particular life lesson. Yep. Allen’s head was on straight these days when it came to bent young men, so he knew and was one-hundred-percent certain he had no chance at Chance. Chapter Two
“Susan, hey, how’s it going?” Allen had just stepped out of his office again, but he paused long enough to address their janitor, a woman a few years older than him, maybe in her early forties. He liked Susan, even if she did resemble an older cat: cantankerous and wanting her own way. She reminded him of a thirteen-year-old orange tabby. Thirteen for luck. With a snort, the janitor reached up to pat her wiry sunset-orange bun into place. “Don’t you start flirting withme ,” she said indignantly. “I know which side your bread is buttered on, and it ain’t mine. Go on, get out of my way. I got rooms to clean.” “Love your hair,” Allen said, carefully staying out of arm’s reach. Susan had been known to whack him with the mop handle on previous occasions. “The blond wasn’t working out for you?” “Honey, thisis the blond... right after I went swimming in that damn pool down at the Y. Hairdresser
says I’m lucky it didn’t turn green.” Susan huffed. “What are you doing here after closing time, anyway? Thought you’d be long gone by now. Unless youare flirting with me, in which case you need to see a head doctor.” “I had something to... oh, shit, the tickets. What time is it? Past five? Crap!” Allen darted in to kiss one of Susan’s light mocha cheeks, then escaped before he could be on the receiving end of her dirty mop. “Gotta run!” “You better run!” Susan shouted after Allen as he fled. Through the back room, out a plain wooden door, down the hallway, sprinting all the way to the front desk, where, thankGod , Miranda was sitting in front of her computer with the Tickets, Tickets website brightly colored and live on the screen. Allen skidded to a stop beside her and pulled up one of the stiff new chairs with a rapid spin of its plastic wheels. He plunked down in the seat and reached out an over-eager hand for the mouse. “Did you get them? Are we in?” “Uh-uh! Mine.” Miranda tapped the top of Allen’s hand, pushing it aside. “See that little hourglass? This icon determines your fate when it comes to getting Sarah McLachlan tickets. All the information’s been put in, so be patient.” Allen leaned forward, intent on the spinning glass. “You were there right at five?” he queried anxiously. “Jumped right in?” “Like it was a pool full of hunky young things just ready for a hot night on the town.” Miranda grinned and elbowed Allen. “Sound good to you?” Allen winced. “Not so very.” “We’re not gonna go down that road again, are we? Speaking of which, what did you say to Chance? The dog was stepping light, but that little hottie owner was the one with his tail between his legs when he headed out of Exam Four.” “I didn’t say anything,” Allen said absently. He kept his gaze glued to the screen. “Should it be taking this long?” Miranda shook her head. “I had a hell of a time before now,” she warned. “The site’s almost choked up. Seems like we weren’t the only people staking out tickets. Don’t get your hopes up too high. By the way, Mr. Hot is standing outside, looking like he’s got a problem. You think his car’s broken down or something?” Allen glanced out the window. Chance stood with Spot’s leash in one hand, anxiously looking to and fro across the parking lot. He didn’t seem too happy. Appeared to need a hand with something. Bad, bad idea. He’ll be okay. Allen glanced back at the screen. “Wait, wait, wait -- there!” He pointed in excitement. “The browser’s redirecting you. Maybe...” The two of them waited, Allen holding his breath. From what he could tell, so was Miranda.
Then, miracle of miracles, a screen came up with a confirmation number. Tickets for two to an intimate acoustic concert with the famous singer! Allen let out a whoop, raising his hands to the skies, as Miranda slapped her palms together in victory. “You got ’em, Doc!” Allen began singing a few lines from Sarah’s latest. He didn’t have a bad voice if he said so himself, a nice light tenor, and he could stay in tune. Miranda giggled and joined in, the two rocking out until they reached the chorus and she stopped, tossing a wave of dark hair out of her face. “This is beyond awesome. So, who are you taking? Do I have a shot at that second ticket?” Allen cleared his throat and deliberately looked away. “I’m not going,” he muttered. “They’re for Ellie.” “Aw, man.” Miranda reached out to touch Allen’s hand. “God, that’s sweet. You should have said. I’d have tried even harder.” “I didn’t want to make it more of a thing than I already did.” Allen leaned back and loosened his tie. “Ellie loves Sarah more than I do.” “Pretty interesting statement from someone who plays for the other team.” Miranda cut him a purely innocent look, as if butter wouldn’t melt when slipped between those perfectly shaped lips. “You and your attempt at living the straight life are still spending time together? I know of at least a dozen marriages where the couples don’t get along as well as you and Ellie.” Allen shrugged. How he felt about his futile go at dating the “fairer sex” was a source of confusion, a mixed set of emotions running the gamut from past shame to honest pleasure in her present company. “I see her now and then. We keep in touch mostly via e-mail.” “She going out with anyone?” “Ellie says no, she’s not. But I figure she can take a friend.” “Hmm.” Miranda drummed her nails on the counter. “So you don’t mind hanging out with your ex-gal-pal?” Puzzled, Allen shook his head. “No. We even had brunch a couple of weeks ago.” “Good.” Miranda began to type again, her fingers flying over plastic-shrouded keys, hand darting out for the mouse. “Because we’re getting you tickets, as well.” “Miranda!” Allen yelped, reaching to stop her -- too late. She’d already pulled up his credit card information and requested two more seats. The hourglass began to spin again. “Jesus, woman. How do you know I can even afford those?” He resisted the urge to give her a thwack. Men didn’t hit ladies, not even in fun. Men who were men didn’t hit anyone, no matter what the probable cause. He’d learned that the hard way with Joey. Miranda gave Allen a sidelong look. “You work here, don’t you? And, last I heard, that column of yours was doing pretty damn well.” “Yes, I work here, but what I’m paid doesn’t amount to a pile of pesos.” Allen paused with a frown. “How many pesos to the dollar, anyway?”
“Got me,” Miranda replied absently. The “working” icon continued its lazy spin. “Don’t worry. I doubt we’ll get lucky a second time.” The bell over the front door sounded. Allen glanced up, but before he could react Miranda put her hand on his arm. “This one’s all mine,” she said with a quick, wicked grin. “Chance? Did you forget something?” The young man, sans dog, stood uncertainly in front of the check-in desk. “Um, can I use your phone?” he asked, twining his finger in his shiny golden hair. Allen deliberately refused to notice how cute the habitual movement was. “I don’t have a cell, and my car is kind of...” “Oh, tough luck,” Miranda said sympathetically. “Sure.” She lifted up the black plastic office phone, resting it on the wooden part of the counter. “Just dial ‘9’ to get out, and you should be set.” Chance bit his lip. “Is there another phone? I kind of... well, it’s sort of private...” Miranda raised one neatly plucked eyebrow. Allen could read her thoughts without even trying. But to her credit, she rolled her chair back and merely said, “Down here at the other end.” As Miranda helped Chance to a more private phone, Allen focused on the Tickets, Tickets screen and its bouncing logo that ran the length of the monitor. No other movement so far. God, the site had to be crowded with people wanting to see the singer with the voice that sent you straight to heaven. He began to sing again -- under his breath -- just a few lines of that latest hit and waited for something, anything, to happen. He refused to look over at Chance, even though he could damn wellfeel it when Chance glanced his way with those big, earnest eyes. Tuning out the sounds of the young man’s sweet, shy voice speaking in low tones, he directed his attention to the returning Miranda. “Nothing yet.” “Figures.” Miranda sighed. “Well, at least you got lucky with the tickets for Ellie.” She nudged him. “Not many guys would do something like this, even for someone they’re currently dating.” Allen squirmed. “Like I said, we parted on good terms. We’re... friends. Once I was honest with her, we got even closer. Go figure, huh?” “Sometimes separation is what’s needed to make a man and woman come together.” Miranda looked down at her empty ring finger. “Which is something I’ll probably never know about myself.” “If you start dating again anytime soon, run the man past me first so I can assess him with a weirdness meter,” Allen warned. “You have a way of picking out the ones who aren’t for you. Or sane.” “Do not.” “You remember Hairy Pete, the biker? Wild Dick, the porn shop clerk? Or what about--” “I get it, I get it.” Miranda held up her hands. “Sheesh, you make a couple of mistakes...” “A couple? Miranda, your dating history is more checkered than a red-and-white tablecloth. You’re worse than me.” “God, thanks.”
Allen ignored her. “All I’m saying is, be careful who you choose next. And for goodness’s sake, think long and hard about who you marry. If he turns out to be a dud, I get to say I told you so. A lot. But if, worse, you find a decent man and you decide to let go of him, I’ll have to punish you.” “Oh, yeah? Sounds kinky. What did you have in mind?” “Bad ribaldry. Can you think of a better pun-ishment?” “Oh, Lord, help me now. No, thanks. I’d stay with Hannibal Lecter if it meant escaping your jokes, Doc.” “May you live to not eat your words,” Allen said solemnly. Miranda gave him a look, then groaned and cracked up. “What, cat got your tongue?” “Sheesh, Doc. Oh, wait, hey. Hey! Look -- yeah -- look at that!” Miranda thumped the desk in excitement. “Shit! You got lucky twice!” “No way.” Allen rolled his chair closer. He stared at the confirmation screen. “I don’t believe it. Two more tickets to the concert.” “Not bad, huh?” “Not bad? Try effing unbelievable!” Allen couldn’t help reaching out to grab Miranda in a death hug. “You’re the best.” “Sweet Jesus almighty, don’t choke a girl.” Miranda coughed and pushed at Allen. Then she grinned broadly. “I know how to get the job done, huh?” “That you do.” “I’m finished with the phone now,” Chance said, startling them. Allen took a glance at the edible young man, who looked both embarrassed and hesitant. “I’ve got someone coming to give me a ride, and someone to fix my car.” “Glad you were able to get some help.” Miranda tilted her head to a side. “Where’s Spot?” Chance ducked his head. “Out in the Bug. His leash broke. I got lucky and he didn’t go running anywhere but into the backseat.” “I’d recommend something stronger,” Allen said absently, not able to restrain himself.Get it? Restrain? his mental joker gibed. “We have some for sale here. Miranda? Grab one from the stockroom.” Chance shook his head. “I can’t afford that.” Allen raised an eyebrow. “It’s only fifteen ninety-five. You don’t want Spot going off alone.” “Oh, no. No.” Chance shook his head emphatically, sending honey-blond hair tumbling across his shoulders. “It’s just that the office visit took all my money. I don’t think he’d leave me, but this is a busy road. I’d really hate it if he got too excited and went out into traffic.”
“What would you do if he did?” Allen asked, surprising himself with the question. He heard the bristly prickliness in his tone and hated that it had to be there. But, God, he needed Chance to keep his distance. Chance blinked, his blue eyes mildly hurt. “I’d follow him,” he said slowly, as if he knew his answer was right but wasn’t sure that Allen wouldn’t snap his head off no matter what he said. “I’d try to stop the cars.” “Good.” “Good?” Miranda echoed, swiveling around to stare at Allen. “Shows he cares. If you don’t want a leash, then good evening, Chance. We’re closing down, but you can wait outside. Miranda, would you mind printing off my confirmations?” Miranda gave Allen a dose of hairy eyeball, but nodded. “’Night, Chance.” Chance wavered. “I can’t stay inside?” He rubbed his arms. With nothing but a thin T-shirt on, he suddenly looked very small and cold. “I won’t be a bother, I promise.” “Outside,” Allen said firmly. “Yeah, but Doc--” “Outside.” Miranda sighed. “Okay. Sorry, Chance. Hope your ride gets here soon. Thanks for choosing Charleston Regional. Good luck with the new dog.” She kicked Allen under the desk. “Good luck, right?” “Absolutely,” Allen said, focusing on the computer screen. “Best of it.” Chance hesitated for a minute, something clearly on his mind that he couldn’t bring himself to say. He nodded slowly, then turned around to go. Allen took a peek and saw that the young man’s shoulders were slumped, as if he’d been deeply disappointed about something. A part -- a big part -- of Allen wanted to vault over the counter and go give the kid a hug. But, no, God, no. He was never getting involved with a younger man again if he could possibly help himself. Allen knew that Chance was too big a temptation to resist unless he kept iron control over his own impulses. As the doors closed behind Chance, Miranda rounded on Allen. “What the fuck was that all about?” she demanded as she clicked on the “print” icon. “A gorgeous young thing who is clearly interested and you kick him to the curb? What is wrong with you?” Allen shook his head. “Don’t start, Miranda.” “Like hell I won’t.” Miranda reached down to tap the printer as it hummed, warming up. “You can’t keep everyone at arm’s reach, Allen. Not if you ever want to get laid again in this lifetime.” Those were words that could cause any man to squirm. If Miranda had been a voodoo priestess, her little speech would have sounded like a curse. “I don’t push everyone away,” Allen protested. “Just...”
“Just the cute ones who happen to be slanted your way?” “It’s not like that.” Allen adjusted his tie a bit more. It hung loosely around his neck now, the chicken at a lopsided angle against the carefully toned muscles of his stomach. “Besides, how do you know he’s gay?” Miranda grinned wickedly. “Because I didn’t faze him.” “Okay, point. A good one. But, Miranda, you know how I feel about dating... and he’s one of the clients. I mean, come on.” “What? It’s not like human/doctor relationships. The patient in question is a dog. And so are you for sending him on his way.” “I know better, that’s all. There’s nothing like experience.” Allen stood and held out a hand. “Got my confirmations?” Miranda snatched two sheets of paper out of the battered office printer and thrust them into Allen’s hands. “I’d have thought you’d be over that crazy Joey by now. Not all guys are like him. I mean, what about that bunch you do group therapy with?” “Oh, God. Donot mention them. Never mention that crowd again in my hearing.” Allen folded the papers into a neat square and shoved them in the pocket of his business slacks. “They’re not group therapy. They’re an exercise in how to make men feel two inches tall.” “What about long?” Miranda cracked. “Seriously, Doc. You’ve gotta get back on the horse sometime. Sure, Joey knocked you out of the saddle, but--” “One more equine-related cliché and I’ll have your job.” “After I got you these tickets?” “Miranda, dear, I adore you. But leave my personal life alone, okay?” Allen headed for the small closet where everyone hung their jackets and peeled out of his lab coat. He should take it home for a wash, covered as it was in fine animal hair, but the evening looked to be a warm one. Allen frowned. What the hell was up, then, with Chance’s “cold” act? Shaking his head, he hung up the coat, shut the closet, and turned around to face Miranda, who was looking at him with a wounded expression. “Miranda, don’t be like that. Ido adore you. I’d never take your job. But you have to learn when enough is enough, okay?” She took on a skeptical look. “Funny how it wasn’t too much when we were talking about Ellie. Then suddenly the subject changes to people you might have a chance at hooking up with, or at least be interested in, and then I’m pushing. Doc, do us all a favor and get over yourself, okay?” The comment stung. Allen sighed, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. “Miranda... I’m sorry. I just... I can’t get involved with someone right now. Especially not someone Chance’s age. I’m not ready.” Miranda picked at the mouse mat, which was curling up at one corner. “So if he were closer to your
age?” “That might make a difference. Maybe.” “The guy can’t be more than ten years younger than you. It’s not such a big difference.” “Try about fifteen years younger.” Allen folded his arms and shook his head. “Miranda, I appreciate what you’re trying to do. But, seriously, stay out of this one. I’m dealing the best way I can since that catastrophe with Joey. It takes time, that’s all.” “Hmph.” Miranda turned back to the desk and picked up a chart. “Okay, I won’t push, but I will say that you’re being a jackass. Then we’ll call it even.” “Can’t argue with that, and far be it from me to mince words with a pretty lady.” “Flattery gets you nowhere. Save it for someone you want to have a chance with.” Miranda chortled. “Chance, get it?” Allen rolled his eyes. “I’m starting to rub off on you.” “Again with the kinky.” “Goodnight, Miranda.” Allen crossed to the computer, affectionately tousling Miranda’s glossy waves of dark hair. She made a noise of protest and reached up to knock his arm away. “You’re one of the good ones.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” she grumbled. Her expression did soften, however, and Allen figured he was out of the doghouse. So to speak. Confirmations safe in his pocket, all accoutrements of the job tucked away in lockers and closets, he was ready to go. “See you next week,” he offered, testing the peace salvo. Miranda looked up with a dimmed version of her usual grin -- but, still, a benevolent look. “Go on. Get outta here, will you?” “I’m so gone.” Allen did vault the counter, pleased at himself for being able to do it in one leap without even pulling something or knocking anything down. Miranda whistled. “Damn, you’re in good shape. ’Course, I’d have had to whip the shit out of you if you’d made a mess.” “Good thing I didn’t, then, huh?” Allen chuckled and ran his thumbs beneath the once-crisp edge of his shirt lapels. “Take it easy, Miranda.” “Take your own advice. G’night, Doc.” “’Night.” A quick check to make sure he had his wallet and keys and Allen was on his way out the front door. The bell jingled overhead, and he reached up to give it an extra tap. The chimes followed him out into the earlyCharleston evening, where the moon was just beginning to be visible at partially full and the skies were turning a slightly darker blue. He paused to admire the thick clouds scudding across the horizon, then looked down at the row of cars toward his restored classic Chevy.
Instead, he saw Chance standing in front of a small, dented, red VW Bug. Spot was visible in the backseat, trying to thrust his muzzle out the partially opened window and whining as if he were in serious distress. Allen’s veterinary instincts drove him to step in that direction before he got a good look at the two men talking with Chance. Although they didn’t seem to be talking so much as... intimidating. Allen frowned as one of the pair, big and bulky with buzz-cut black hair, jabbed a thick finger into Chance’s chest. He said something too low for Allen to hear, but from the way Chance’s eyes widened and he shook his head frantically, it couldn’t have been good. The other man, shorter and scragglier, with a loose flannel shirt covered in stains, snickered, the noise carrying through the air. Allen knew better, but his damn big mouth decided to open on its own. “There some kind of problem here, Chance?” Chance looked in Allen’s direction. There was a flash of relief, a glimpse of something like hope, and then those baby blues shuttered as if he had decided he couldn’t trust Allen with this... whatever it was. “No problem,” he said in his sweet voice. “These are my... well, they aren’t exactly--” He gave up. “They’re my brothers.” “The hell we are,” Buzz-cut grumbled loudly. “I swear, Chance, if you get in trouble one more time, you’re out.” “I don’t mean to.” Chance’s hand stole up to his hair. “It’s just my car...” “We don’t give a shit about your car. You call us up, it better be on important business.” Buzz-cut poked Chance again. “You’re on thin ice, kid. Watch yourself before someone takes care of you.” Now why doesn’t that sound reassuring?Allen felt himself bristle. “Chance, are these men threatening you?” He kept his voice level. “I can call the cops. There’s a cell phone in my pocket.” “You’d better not call no fucking cops,” Scraggly Guy snarled. “We can take care of ourselves.” “And Chance, too?” Allen’s hand went to his pocket. “You take one more step toward him, and the men in uniform will be here in a heartbeat.” Buzz-cut rolled his eyes. “Jesus, Chance. You go and get involved with every fucking queer in the city?” “Excuse me?” Allen blurted just as Chance said, quickly, “No!” “Better not,” Scraggly butted in. “You’re a damn humiliation as things are. Don’t go dragging the rest of us down.” “With you, it wouldn’t be a big trip,” Allen said before he could censor himself. “Chance, step away from those two. Get your dog and move along to the blue Chevy.” All three men hesitated, giving Allen the advantage. “Go on, Chance. Move.” Chance darted a look at Buzz-cut and Scraggly, then ducked his head and opened the backseat door of his car. “Come on, Spot,” he whispered. He got his hand around Spot’s collar. “Come on. It’s okay. Yeah, it’s okay.” Those beautiful fingers stroked the Dalmatian’s glossy coat. “Come with Daddy.”
Buzz-cut made a noise of disgust. “God, you’re sick.” Allen shook his head. “My finger’s just about on the speed-dial button,” he warned. “Get away from him.” Scraggly and Buzz-cut exchanged glances, seeming to come to some decision. “Fine,” Buzz-cut said impatiently. “Chance, don’t think you’ve heard the last of this, understand? We’ll finish up later.” Chance turned red. All the same, he kept his mouth shut and started herding Spot toward Allen’s car, moving slowly and carefully with his hand hooked in the dog’s collar. He flicked his gaze up as he passed Allen. “Thank you,” he whispered. Buzz-cut and Scraggly snorted in unison, then moved toward a rusty black Jeep with mud splatters decorating its sides. “Don’t you be late for the next pack meeting,” Buzz-cut warned. “We’ll be discussing all of this mess.” “I won’t,” Chance promised. “Miss it, I mean.” He faltered. “I’m sorry.” “Sorry don’t mean shit,” Scraggly said in disdain. “Come on, let’s get out of here.” “He isn’t a threat.” Buzz-cut jerked his head toward Allen. “But, Chance, you know what we can do. Pick your sides more carefully next time.” Allen bristled again. “Move,” he ordered flatly. “WOLF-0012. That’s your license plate number. I can have you tracked.” Buzz-cut and Scraggly looked startled for a moment. The big, bulky man shoved his smaller friend. “Come on,” he grunted. “Let’s get the fuck out of here.” They piled into the Jeep and took off, not even bothering to put their seatbelts on. Allen watched the two go, uncharitably hoping that they’d have a nice little one-car run-in with a tree. Then, reality sinking in, he turned back to Chance. The man stood by Allen’s car, his hair rumpled around his face and his eyes wide. His expression was troubled despite Spot’s licking his hand as if he were trying to reassure him. Allen took a deep breath and faced the gorgeous young man down. Great. What have I gotten myself into now? Chapter Three
“Buckle your seatbelt.” Damned if the short words weren’t all Allen trusted himself with. Simple sentences were great. Monosyllables would be best. With a guy like Chance in his car, nothing more than polite, mundane, and completely boring conversation would be the absolute safest course. Now why don’t I think that’s within the realm of possibility while I’m in the company of this guy?
Allen thought as Chance wriggled a little on the smooth leather seat, the perfect curve of his ass settling in as if the passenger side had been made for him. Chance gave Allen a questioning look before reaching for the safety harness. “I always wear my seatbelt,” he said in that voice which made Allen want to throw Chance down on the floor, cover him with chocolate sauce, and lick it all off. “I know it’s safer.” “Also the law,” Allen bit out. Almost all single syllables; good. “Let’s go.”Hey, I’m not bad at this. See? I can even do it when I think. Although I’d better not ramble on to myself -- damn, two syllables -- or he’ll start staring -- damn -- like he is now . Sure enough, those big blue eyes were gazing at Allen in frank curiosity. Allen swallowed down a lump in his throat. He’d seen that kind of look before in a Siberian Husky’s eyes. The dog had been sweet as sugar pie, but he’d still given Allen a measuring look, as if trying to decide whether he was lunch, a friend, or just plain nuts. Allen had an uncomfortable feeling that Chance was leaning toward the “nuts” side. “I’m not angry,” he said, gripping the steering wheel so hard that his knuckles turned white. “Where to?” Chance clicked the end of his seatbelt into the holster and nodded. Still very much wary. “It’s not far. Since, um, the guys who showed up weren't any help... do you think I can call a tow truck this late to come and get my Bug?” He took on a worried air. “I don’t have much. The car is the biggest thing I own.” Spot chose that moment to whine and poke his muzzle up between the seats. Allen automatically reached out to pet the animal. As luck would have it, Chance chose that moment to do the exact same thing. When their fingers collided, Allen sat utterly still. Logic told him to move his hand back, but his idiotic body wasn’t listening. It felt thesnap! crackle! pop! of electricity between himself and Chance and told Allen in no uncertain termsUh-uh. We’re staying right here . Chance made a small noise Allen couldn’t interpret and began rubbing Spot’s nose. The way his fingers flexed and moved beneath Allen’s couldn’t help but make Allen wonder what it would be like if Chance’s hand were on the younger man’s no-doubt thick, solid cock, Allen’s hand wrapped around his, stroking hard up and down and... “Whoa, momma,” Allen whispered out loud. Then he mentally smacked himself. Way to go in the not-insane department. But then again, what did he care? He was driving Chance home, dropping him and Spot off, and with any luck he’d never see the kid again. He didn’t think Chance would jump out of a moving car even if he was riding with a madman... but he wasn’t all too sure how Chance would react to the nascent erection starting to prod at the back of Allen’s zipper. So, why did he care? I don’t, Allen told himself firmly. He readjusted himself with his free hand for a little ease and to hide his condition, knowing that the move made him look like a jackass but frankly not caring all that much. “Ready?” he asked, moving his other hand to the keys dangling from the ignition. “You have to tell me where to go.” Chance ducked his head, peeking up through his eyelashes. “It’s not far, but it’s kind of complicated to get there,” he murmured. “A lot of twists and turns. I’m really, really sorry.”
Allen shrugged. In for a penny, in for a pound. He’d just have to be careful about retracing his steps. He started to turn the key, and then a thought occurred to him. “Chance?” Chance was still looking at him through that thick fan of lashes. “Yes?” he asked, his voice tremulous, as if he expected to be hit. A large part of Allen’s emotions directed themselves in the direction of serious ass-kickings for those who had made Chance this uncertain of himself. With those thoughts in mind, Allen tried to gentle his voice. “How far is ‘far,’ exactly?” Chance turned the most appealing shade of pink yet. He was a bigger blusher than anyone Allen had ever seen, and Allen hadn’t ever thought he’d see someone topping that gentle bear, David, another member of the Brotherhood. Okay, nottopping him, topping, because that led his mind down all sorts of paths he just didn’t feel up to navigating at the moment. “It’s outside the city,” Chance said apologetically. “But we’re pretty close to the outskirts anyway, right?” “Actually no,” Allen pointed out, proud of himself for remaining calm. “We’re in the dead center, hence the name of the veterinary clinic. We cover the region. Regional. Seeing a connection?” Chance’s flush darkened. “It didn’t seem like that far when I was driving in,” he apologized. “But I guess I got distracted.” “I’d never have guessed,” Allen said dryly. “Okay, which direction do I head in?” “Out of the parking lot first.” Allen cut Chance a sharp glance. Was the kid actually making a joke? “Very funny,” he replied just in case Chance had been teasing. “Don’t nettle the driver. Which way, once we’re on the road?” Chance shifted again in his seat, that damnable leather molding against his ass. Allen couldn’t help staring. Forget the chocolate sauce; he’d just like to throw Chance down and lick him without condiments. Allen’s erection agreed.Behave! he scolded himself. If his cock had been capable, Allen knew it would have laughed at him. He grimly acknowledged the surge of blood to his prick as inescapable, repositioned himself once more and turned the key in the ignition. “Okay. Heading out now. You navigate and tell me where to turn.” Chance nodded demurely, then added, in that too-tempting voice, “Yes.” He rubbed Spot’s nose again, smiling gently as the dog lapped his fingers. “Sit, Spot. Sit.” “Good dog,” Allen wasn’t able to stop himself from saying. At Chance’s puzzled expression, he qualified his statement. “You know, like Ubu? Sit, Ubu, sit? Good dog?” Chance frowned and shook his head slowly. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.” “That’s probably a good thing,” Allen said, feeling glum and old. But, hey, a little unbridgeable culture gap was all to the good, right? If Chance didn’t get his jokes, it was a fair bet that Chance wouldn’t get him either. No getting of Chance. The logic was flawless.
Allen shifted gears and began to drive. A thick fog was settling overCharleston in the evening as the air outside cooled, making it increasingly difficult to see as he manipulated his car in and out of traffic. He spared a devout prayer of thanks to whichever saint took care of men in trouble that Chance was quiet except for an occasional “turn here” and “turn there, after the stoplight.” His cock decided it wasn’t happy with the lack of conversation. It wanted more of Chance, to say nothing of some additional physical contact, and it nudged upward insistently as if to draw Allen’s attention to his condition. Allen resisted the urge to thwap himself. One, because it would hurt like hell. He knew this much from past experience. Two, because it would draw Chance’s attention to his burgeoning hard-on, and that wouldn’t do in all kinds of ways. Oh, no. Hell, he didn’t even know for sure that Chance was gay. Gay and interested in a man like Allen. There wasn’t any kind of magical Rainbow Connection going to happen between them. Not lovers, possibly dreamers -- damn it -- but just him. Driving a client home.See? I can be good, even if certain parts of my anatomy disagree. Shame to waste a hard-on, though, wasn’t it? At thirty-seven, Allen prided himself on his stamina, usually able to get it up on demand, but there were nights when his trusty right hand wasn’t enough to ease the tension. He’d thought about buying some kind of simulation sex toy, then discarded the idea because he knew he’d end up laughing his ass off at the fake... well. And that didn’t go a long way when it came to improving the mood even when you were by your lonesome. Which he was beginning to wish he was. Chance just couldn’t seem to sit still for the life of him, constantly moving one part of his body or another. Restlessly bouncing his leg, foot making a soft staccato rhythm on the floorboard, leaning up to peer through the low-visibility air, or crossing his arms over his chest and then uncertainly lowering them to his sides. Even his gorgeous, shiny, pettable hair spilled over his shoulders and chest, moving as if it were alive. The urge to reach over, thrust his hand through those fantastic locks and pull Chance to him for a good hard kiss was getting -- harder. So were other parts of Allen, despite his chiding. Before long, he had a full-blown erection, one that got more and more demanding as he began to pick up Chance’s scent -light, natural, woodsy. Allen paused for a brief second to imagine, against his will, burrowing in against the inviting little curve where neck met shoulder... and nearly rear-ended a Buick. He cursed and swerved, ignoring the indignant honk and the flashed finger sent in his direction. Blasted if Allen couldn’tfeel Chance’s curious and intent stare on him after that. “I’m... sorry,” the young man said after an awkward pause. “This is really putting you to a lot of trouble.” “No problem,” Allen lied. “Happy to help.” Good, he was back on mostly single syllables. Then again, that could just mean his brain wasn’t functioning well enough to manage the big words. Sex now?his cock begged hopefully. Allen sighed. “Are you sure?” Chance shifted in his seat so that he was likely looking full-on at Allen’s profile. Allen
felt the querying weight of Chance’s gaze taking him in, from tousled brown hair to the glasses he’d worn for the road to his chicken-dancing tie. “I don’t want to be a bother. I could... I don’t know... get out and walk?” Allen managed a laugh, one that sounded friendly to his own ears. “How much further?” Not that he’d actually put Chance out of his car before the guy was safely home... Spot barked sharply. “Easy,” Allen murmured. “Calm down, big guy.” Spot gave a low growl as if to protest a stranger chastising him. Chance twisted around, probably to glare into the backseat. “Spot, behave!” He turned back and those eyes were focused on Allen again with a load of contrition, as Allen saw with a quick sidelong peek. “He’s not usually like this. He’s so friendly, and he loves to play and, oh, God, he’s going to ruin all this nice leather in your backseat... I’mso sorry.” Chance’s hand came out to rest on Allen’s upper arm. “Let us out. I can’t believe I didn’t think about his nails and this upholstery.” Allen cleared his throat a few times. Every instinct he had was telling him to pull away from Chance. Hadn’t he learned his lesson about the young ones, Joey being a case in point? Yet, for some reason, he couldn’t seem to make Chance move, or bring himself to shrug Chance off. “Honest.” Chance’s hand moved slowly away. Even without looking, Allen knew that the finger would be coming up to twine in Chance’s sunshine hair. He bit his own lip hard. God, it should be illegal for a guy to be that innocently appealing. Made him feel like a dirty old man. Allen made a noncommittal noise. “It’s not far, is it? Does Spot need to be let out to take a walk?” “He should be okay. And it’s not too far now,” Chance admitted. “But this is the tricky part. Take the fork to the left and keep turning left every chance you get.” “That’s... an interesting set of directions.” Allen frowned. “Aren’t we going to be going in circles eventually?” “I told you it was kind of complicated,” Chance apologized. He moved again in his seat, the leather sighing against his skin, just the way Allen would like to...Damn. “Honest, I don’t want to be a bother.” The car’s tires crunched on gravel. “No, it’s fine,” Allen managed to say. The air in the car was getting close and uncomfortable. He slipped a hand out to his left and cranked the handle that lowered his window a few inches. Fresh, cool,wonderful breezes drifted through the crack, cooling Allen down considerably. He took a deep breath, savoring the lack of city smells. Chance seemed to like it, too, as well as Spot. Both perked up and then relaxed, Spot giving a satisfied whine before retreating firmly to the backseat. The dog muttered to himself a few times, his trimmed nails pattering on the leather as he likely got busy settling himself down into a comfortable position. Allen took a peek in the rearview mirror and saw that the dog had indeed done so, pillowing his muzzle on his paws. Spot gave awhoof of contentment and closed his eyes. “He’s a good dog,” Allen said without meaning to. But then -- if he was in for that dad-blasted penny, he might as well be in for the whole freaking pound, damn it -- he went on. “You’re lucky. Most dogs
tied out on stakes wouldn’t be this well-behaved. You must have been treating him right.” Allen would have sworn that the smile heknew was suddenly there lit up his car by a few dozen watts. “Thanks,” Chance said, seemingly shy again. “He’s my big buddy. Spot keeps me company when...” The light dimmed a bit. “I’ve never had a pet before. I keep thinking I’ll do something wrong.” “Not with this guy.” Allen took his second left turn. Honesty appeared to be on the menu, the wisdom of it notwithstanding. Besides, he couldn’t be a vet and not appreciate a responsible pet owner. “You give him healthy food, right? Fresh water in his bowl when it runs dry? Got a soft spot for him to sleep?” The lighting went up again. “I do. He has his own, and sometimes he sleeps on my bed. ’Cause I don’t... I mean, I’m still... I haven’t been here but about a year. And my brothers, they’re not... well, I haven’t met anyone.” Allen startled as Chance’s fingers came out again to brush not his arm, but his thigh. “Until now?” he asked, sounding hopeful. Throw the brakes on right there, the last rational corner of Allen’s mind demanded.Do not,I repeat, do notstart letting this kid think you’re interested in him. Lie. Lie like a rug on the floor. Push his hand off your leg. You have no idea if it’s going to start wandering. Bad hand! Allen groaned softly. He immediately realized he shouldn’t have done so when Chance’s hand tensed on his thigh. “Allen? You’re okay, aren’t you?” “Oh, yeah. Fine and dandy.” “I know you’re fine, Allen,” Chance whispered. “Dr. Michaels.” Allen was aware he really shouldn’t be as turned on as he was by the title. But fuck if Chance couldn’t recite the alphabet or a grocery list and still sound like he was begging to be pushed on his back with his cock and his ass saluting the sky. Deciding he’d better stop before he accidentally crashed into a tree, Allen slowed his car down and put it in “park.” Chance’s touch lightened. “Is something wrong?” Allen managed a small laugh, the sound tight in his throat. Answering Chance honestly would no doubt be very, very stupid. But if he couldn’t provide frankness, what was he left with? “You don’t want me to get out and walk, do you?” Chance’s voice roughened a little; it was still a sweet, light tenor but now it took on a note that sent that rational crumb of Allen’s mind screaming and the rest of him perking up like a dog on a... bone. “Er-- I-- um--” “You like this,” Chance continued, strengthening his caress. He kneaded Allen’s leg like an overgrown cat. A little clumsy on the execution, but there could be no denying the intention. Allen took a deep breath and turned to face Chance for the first time since he’d started driving. Chance’s pretty eyes were fixed on Allen’s, hypnotically blue and deep enough to drown in. Framed as they were by his marvelous hair, he looked like a fallen angel who’d enjoyed the trip down.
“You like this,” Chance repeated, moving his hand a little further up. “I can smell you.” Huh?Allen shrugged off the second part of the other man’s statement and tried to backpedal. “Look, Chance, I know you’re probably grateful to me for taking care of your dog and giving you a ride and everything but, honest, you don’t have to--” “Shh,” Chance whispered. He lifted his hand only long enough to undo his seatbelt. Theclick set off alarm bells and buzzers in Allen’s mind, but he could only watch, captivated, as Chance moved in his seat so that he had most of his weight on one hip. The younger man glanced up and licked his lips, wetting them. “This isn’t about thanking you. Can’t you feel it? Since I first saw you in the clinic, I’ve...” He shook his head. “May I? Please?” Allen’s self-control wavered over that final step. “Chance, you really don’t have to. I promise.” “But I want to.” Chance looked at him beseechingly. “Ilike you, Allen. Dr. Michaels.” “If you call me that one more time, I’m probably going to--” “Drag me out of the car?” Chance wet his lower lip a second time, the pink tip of his tongue sliding temptingly across the slightly darker skin. “Throw me up against the side and turn me around?” “Chance,” Allen managed around a thick throat. “Don’t offer unless you mean it.” “I do,” Chance said firmly. His hand wandered to Allen’s crotch -- no hiding the insistent erection now. Chance cupped Allen’s cock, which let Allen know Chance was there, male, and definitely interested. “Let me. Please?” “Chance...” “Yes,” Chance murmured, and Allen knew he was lost. As if he were someone else, Allen watched Chance’s long fingers, the fingers of an artist, nimbly unbutton his slacks and draw the zipper down. He danced over the bulge in Allen’s jockey shorts, his touch light as a breath of air but doing unbelievable things to Allen’s thundering libido. “Say no if you don’t want this,” Chance offered softly. “If youreally don’t want this.” Allen knew what he should say. Really, he did. But God help him if he could speak up with any kind of denial. His body answered for him, his hand going to touch that hair, all that glorious hair, at long last. It felt as soft and silky as it looked, with the exception of one slightly rough spot -- the lock Chance must have the habit of twining and twirling. Allen’s hips hitched up slightly, bucking his cock into Chance’s hand. A small moan escaped him. Something like excitement mixed with mischief sparkled in those big blues. “Thank you,” Chance whispered before grasping the waistband of Allen’s jockeys and pulling them down. Allen’s traitorous body moved up to give Chance more room to play. A glance in the rearview mirror told Allen that Spot was asleep, thank God. He didn’t think he could have handled an audience, even one who’d never be able to go up on a witness stand. “Bad idea,” Allen managed. “Oh, fuck, don’t stop.” Chance was sliding his hand inside, reaching for Allen’s stiff cock. “I won’t stop,” Chance said in that sweet, small voice. Allen found the back of Chance’s neck and
began pushing the man’s head down toward his lap, which turned out to be where Chance had been going in the first place. Chance gave a little sigh of pleasure as he pulled Allen’s shorts down far enough to let Allen’s erection spring out, thick and red and somehow out of place but at the same time exactly where it needed to be. Chance stroked the length with one finger. “So pretty,” he observed in what sounded like awe. “It’s been too long. Months and months and months.” Allen offered up a strangled sound. Chance laughed lightly. “This’ll feel good.” Damn right it will. Get on with the sucking. Allen gave Chance’s head another push, knowing that anything he said out loud would be a mix of babbling and things he’d really regret later. Chance breathed over the head of Allen’s cock, the cool air directing itself in a stream up and down Allen’s length. Allen felt his shaft throb, so eager that he was jerking, his prick bobbing up and down. Chance’s mouth descended, ready to take that first taste. Allen jerked himself back to reality. “Wait,” he managed over breathing that was suddenly coming in thick and heavy gasps. “Condom.” Chance sighed. Easily as if he wasn’t stuck in the front seat of a car, leaning over the gearshift with his weight balanced ever so precariously, he reached into his back pocket. Thanking all the saints and the Holy Mother, Allen relaxed when he saw Chance come out with a foil square. “Hold still,” Chance directed, somehow managing to open the packet one-handed and thumb out the square of latex within. Neat trick, Allen thought hazily.Gotta find out how he does-- Fuck! Chance had slipped the condom on Allen’s cock and was sliding it down, the light touch of his fingers nearly driving Allen out of his mind. God, he was ready to go off like a teenager. If Chance didn’t quit playing around, this would be over before it started. Allen tried to convey this without words and ended up with an embarrassing little whine. Luckily, it got his point across. Chance pressed a chaste kiss to the top of Allen’s latex-encased cock. “I can still smell you through this,” he whispered. “You’re wonderful.” Allen’s hand tightened on the back of Chance’s neck. Slowly, almost seemingly rapturously, Chance lowered his mouth, taking Allen’s cock inside. He couldn’t go too far, but he was able to wrap his hand around the base and squeeze while his lips and tongue worked unbelievable magic. Entering that hot, wet, tight cavern was the closest thing to heaven that Allen expected to experience for another thirty-seven years. Allen closed his eyes and leaned his head back but kept his hand where it was, working Chance’s neck as the young man skillfully bobbed up and down. He didn’t know how it was possible to forget how good a blow job could be -- either that, or Chance made everyone who’d come before seem like a complete and total amateur. He groaned as Chance worked his way down with tongue and teeth, ever so lightly with the teeth and
hard with the tongue. He drew back up, the suction enough to make Allen start praying both that this would go on forever and that the unbearable tightening in his balls would find release. Looking down again, Allen could just see Chance’s gaze flicker up at him, so eager to please but so obviously loving this, that with a flip in his stomach and an almost painful spasm in his balls, Allen came, loosing a strangled shout as he jerked out thick shots of semen. He gripped Chance’s head fiercely as his own hips bucked, not giving the young man a chance to let go -- not that Chance seemed eager to draw off in the first place. When he’d finished and felt like there wasn’t a single bone left in his body, Allen somehow managed to pry his hand free of Chance’s neck. His fingers felt rusty and squeaky, like they’d locked into place and didn’t want to let go. He stared at the top of Chance’s head, completely lost as to what to say. From the wet spot on Chance’s jeans, he’d enjoyed this, too. Had he been humping and grinding? Allen couldn’t remember, but he suspected that Chance had. Chance drew off the condom and tied a knot in the end. He glanced around and found a small trash bag on the passenger side floor, slipping his burden inside. Then he looked up at Allen’s face, his eyes wide and shiny, his mouth stretched wide in an almost-innocent smile. Allen gazed back at Chance, and knew for sure, as if he hadn’t already come to this conclusion, he was in deep, deep trouble. Chapter Four
Moving fluidly from one position to the next, Chance raised up and pressed his lips to Allen’s, drawing in Allen’s ragged breaths as if they were the stuff of life. His warm, rough hand wriggled underneath Allen’s shirt and slipped up onto Allen’s stomach, pushing ever so slightly. Allen couldn’t help moving into the touch or kissing back, tangling his fingers in that wonderful hair and holding Chance steady against him. Chance was the kind of man you could kiss all night long; sweet rosebud lips were so soft beneath Allen’s, opening up at the slightest pressure from Allen’s tongue. He let himself be taken over without a hint of a fight, even moaning and wiggling eagerly when Allen began to move inside his mouth, twining their tongues together. The younger man tasted of mint, probably peppermint. The last young guy Allen had seen -- that dad-blasted Joey -- had been a smoker. Allen appreciated the contrast. Hell, he appreciated Chance. What he’d like to do with that nubile, willing body-Put on the brakes again, he thought with a jerk.This is all going way too fast . Allen pulled away and leaned back, releasing Chance’s head. “My God,” he managed, his breathing still a little rough. “What was that all about?” Chance smiled coyly and snuggled down just as if they were in bed together. His fingers drifted over Allen’s stomach in butterfly teases before he drew it back to rest on Allen’s thigh again. “I told you,” he said. “I like you, Dr. Michaels.” “Whew.” Allen jiggled his leg a little to see if Chance would move that hand. Nope; it stayed put. “Okay, after what we just did, I think you can call me Allen.”
“Allen,” Chance echoed, licking his slightly swollen lips. “You’re amazing... Allen.” The way he said the name made it into an aural caress. Allen gazed at the young god, amazed by the situation he found himself in. Chance was a guy you could get way too fond of. Take advantage of. Allen didn’t want to be that kind of guy. “Chance, slow down, okay?” He cleared his throat and forced himself to say as kindly as he could, “I think you’re making a mistake.” Even in the gathering dusk and fog, Allen could see those incredible eyes widen. One finger came up to twine in that hair. Allen found himself missing the hand on his leg and mentally kicked himself for being an idiot several times over. “You’re not upset, are you? I came on too strong, didn’t I? It was bad, wasn’t it?” Chance made a self-recriminating face. “Are you kidding?” Allen couldn’t stop himself from a surprised laugh. “In case you couldn’t tell, the yelling and screaming, not to mention coming -- all of those were clues that I enjoyed myself.” He wanted to reach over and touch the sticky spot on Chance’s jeans, but aborted the movement before it started. Chance frowned slowly. “Then what’s wrong?” Ah, God, Chance came across as so naive; he shoutedpure andinexperienced with every breath he took. Except when he was sucking cock. Then you could fit him with the devil’s horns and hand him a pitchfork. Allen sighed.When I get into hot water, I don’t just dip one toe in, do I? Hell, no, I go all the way into the deep end with a cannonball splash . “Chance... nothing’s wrong. Well, actually--” Time for the ugly truth. “I’m too old for you, and you’re too young for me. I’m not a kid, Chance, and I’ve kind of made it a policy not to date younger men.” “But you do like men.” Chance perked up. “Let’s go back to my earlier comment with regard to having a good time.” Chance chuckled, almost a giggle. “I’m not that young; I’m legal, don’t worry. And I’ll be twenty-three soon, in case you’re curious.” “I’m thirty-seven.” Allen let out a long breath. “That’s fifteen years between us, Chance, pretty much what I’d figured when I first saw you. I may be kind of a goofball and not act my years, but there’s too much of an age difference here. It’s not right.” That earned him a frown. “Why not? We both enjoyed ourselves. And you’re a great guy.” Allen resisted the urge to bang his head against the steering wheel.Give up , a resigned piece of his mind told him.You’re not winning this argument. You might as well sign an oath in blood. Chance already has you wound around his finger, just like that hair . Cock-whipped, another part of his head jeered. Thanks for your support, Allen fired back. Then he wondered, briefly, if arguing with oneself could be considered schizophrenic. But with Chance looking at him, silently pleading for either absolution or approval -- possibly both -- Allen got back on track pretty fast and chose his words with care.
“I feel like I’m taking advantage of you. I’m sure you’re all grown up, Chance -- hell, are you ever grown up -- but there are things you might not understand yet.” “Oh, I know what you’re talking about.” Chance undulated in his seat again. This time, Allen could see a teasing smile start on those far-too-kissable lips. “I know just about everything you can do in bed.” The smile was definite now. “And out of bed, too.” “You know, you really have to stop doing that.” Frown. “Doing what?” “Turning me on. It’s not working in my favor.” Deeper frown. “You don’t like getting excited?” Allen lifted his hand and ran it over his face, knocking his glasses slightly askew. He fixed them and went on. “Believe me when I tell you that I enjoy it just as much as the next guy. But, again, we face a problem here. If I was maybe fifteen years younger, I’d be able to get it right back up and you’d get what you wanted. But it just doesn’t work that way with me anymore.” He tried to be gentle. “This was fun, Chance, but you need someone your own age. And I need--” He swallowed. “I need to be with a person who understands what it’s like to be almost forty years old. Can you accept that?” Chance shook his head, firm and decisive. “Nope.” Well, isn’t this just ducky. Allen tugged at his tie, stalling. He glanced around them, taking in the details of the gravel road surrounded by the slightly rising hills. Amazing that no one else had come along while they were, er, occupied, or even afterward. A brief shiver ran down his spine. Awfully isolated, this road. He entertained the brief thought of Chance being a psycho killer but abandoned that. Spot wouldn’t be such a sweetheart if his owner didn’t treat him kindly, if he wasn’t a good man. AndSilence of the Lambs aside, Allen had a pretty good idea about how pets and owners reflected one another. Allen chuckled at the idea of Chance lowering lotion in a basket. The things he thought about... Chance giggled again, the sound sweet and musical. “So you agree.” Uh-oh. Allen had a sneaking suspicion he’d missed out on something important and freeze-framed the moment. Had Chance been talking while he was lost in thought? “Agree to what?” he asked carefully. “That you’ll come home with me.” The younger man slid forward gracefully, dodging the gearshift, and kissed Allen lightly on the lips. His tongue flickered along the side of Allen’s mouth, just a taste, then pulled back. “For tonight.” “I agreed to this?” Allen blurted. “Chance, didn’t you hear anything I said?” “I heard you. I just figured I’d try a little harder to get you to see things my way.” Chance withdrew, but laid his hand on Allen’s thigh again, dancing his fingers up and down. “Oh.” He did up Allen’s zipper, leaving them both blushing and feeling strangely awkward for a moment. Then Chance leaned his head against the seat rest and looked at Allen, really looked at him, and
suddenly seemed decades older. “I’m not stupid, Allen. I know I’m young, but I’ve seen a lot and done a bunch of things. And I’m not asking for forever. Just tonight.” Allen’s traitorous hand covered Chance’s, squeezing just a bit. He watched his fingers move with a sense of resignation and, oddly, elation. “I know men like you, Chance. It’s never ‘just tonight.’ It’ll be ‘tomorrow night’ pretty soon, and the night after that... until, suddenly, I’m in love with a guy who decides he wants someone his own age. This can’t end well.” “How do you know for sure?” Chance demanded. “I’m not like the men you’ve met before, Allen. I’m different, special.” He winced a little for an unknown reason, but Allen was too busy trying to keep up to really worry about it just then. “I’m my own man.” “You’re just a kid,” Allen said softly, stroking that oddly rough, perfectly shaped hand. “I’m not.” Chance tilted his head to a slightly sharper angle. “Someone hurt you before, didn’t they? Someone young like me.” “I don’t really think that dragging up the past will--” “It matters when it affects what you do with me.” Chance looked offended. “I mean, it’s none of my business, I get that. Honest, I do. But, Allen, I really do like you. A lot. I don’t want whoever did you wrong to get in the way of us.” He turned his hand so that his fingers and Allen’s easily laced together. “I want what’s happening here to be about you and me, not the past. So come stay with me. Maybe just for tonight, maybe for a lot of nights. I don’t know.” Allen regarded Chance, taking in the perfect Cupid’s face, the mussed blond waves, and the hard young body beneath. “Are you always this determined to get your own way?” “Only when it’s something I really want. And I want you.” The other man seemed so fervent that Allen could hardly stand it. Chance growled a little, sexy as hell and just a tiny bit dangerous -- enough to excite. He shifted his head as if he wanted to tug at his hair. “Please? Just tonight?” Allen gave in, gave up, went the whole nine yards, just as he’d more or less known he would when this discussion had started. He literally and metaphorically held up his hands, Chance’s entwined hand going along with his for the ride. “Okay. Okay, you hear? You win. You’re the most delectable man I’ve ever seen, and I know I’d be a moron to turn down your offer. But, yeah, you’re right, someone did hurt me. Hurt me and took away a lot of the things that were dear to me, like trust.” Using caution, he untangled his fingers from Chance’s. “So you’ve got to understand that I have enough baggage for a trip toItaly -but I am coming. Are we clear?” Chance’s eyes seemed to sparkle in the near dark. “As long as you come,” he said, his voice slipping into a slightly husky range. “And you will. Again and again and again.” “And we’re back on me being thirty-seven.” “It won’t matter.” Chance looked earnest, Allen couldn’t help but compare him to a puppy, tail wagging frantically, desperate to play with the big, older dogs. “It’ll be like you’re my age. Just trust me, okay?” “I think you’re getting your hopes built up too high. But fine. Just don’t expect me to be gracious about things when I let you down.”
Chance shook his head firmly. “You won’t. Swear. Pinky-swear, if you want.” “My God, what are you, two instead of twenty-two?” More light laughter. “So that was going too far.” Chance suddenly took on a sly aspect. “But I got you to smile.” Allen realized in surprise that hewas grinning, broadly enough that his cheeks ached a little. “You’re something else, you know that?” “Yep,” Chance agreed, apparently content. “Start the car up again. My place isn’t far now. Just two more lefts and we’re there.” Allen had to ask. “You’re sure? One hundred percent certain that you want to be with me?” “Cross my heart.” “Child,” Allen teased. All the same, he moved the car into “drive” and put his hands on the wheel, his foot carefully on the accelerator. “You’re going to have to warn me when the turns are coming. I can’t see a thing in this fog.” Chance squeezed Allen’s knee. His hand was so warm. “I promise, but you have to swear that you’ll kiss me as soon as we’re inside.” Allen nodded. In for a penny... well, he’d told himself that one before. They’d be doing a lot more than kissing. He’d bet his bottom dollar on that. ***** I would have been a very rich man if I’d wagered more, Allen thought as he pulled into the final left, a space that just seemed like more road to him but which Chance swore was his driveway. Damned fog was too thick to see more than five feet in front of a person, much less the house that Chance claimed was there. No sooner had he shut the driver’s side door than Chance was smothering him with love like an eager young puppy. Lips, there were lips everywhere, kissing him all over in searing hot brands. Allen tried to keep up, admitting to himself how eager he was for that mouth against his own. Chance finally held still long enough for a real good old-fashioned smooch, winding his arms around Allen’s neck. They clung together for long moments and then, with a final flick of his tongue, Chance withdrew. He grabbed Allen’s hand. “Come on,” he said with a happy little laugh. “I want you to see my place.” He whistled for Spot. “Here, boy.” The Dalmatian lifted his head and yipped, as if he were just as anxious to get inside. Allen chuckled and patted the dog’s elegantly shaped head. “Yeah, you know you’re home, don’t you?” “Mmm.” Chance licked his lips. “Follow me. Watch your step, though; it’s a little tricky.” Allen resisted the urge to roll his eyes as Chance moved lightly ahead and left him walking alone, unable
to see more than a few steps ahead in the foggy night. Allen was starting to dread -- and anticipate -- the word “tricky” when it came from the other man. All the same he obeyed, watching the path in front of him instead of trying to make out the details of the small house he hoped wasn’t far away. What was this, a maze? If so, it wasn’t much of one. Didn’t look that complicated to him. Sort of rough, sure, but each step was marked with pebbled stepping stones set in the grass. Spot ran around his legs, yapping, until Chance whistled the dog back to his own side. Allen kind of wished he could get back up beside Chance himself and went so far as to suggest it out loud. “Sorry,” Chance said somewhere ahead of him, too far ahead for Allen to see him, sounding genuinely apologetic. “You sort of have to figure this out for yourself, but it’ll be easy if you just follow me. If you can.” He gave a little gasp. “If anyone asks, I didn’t tell you that, okay? I could get in trouble for bringing an outsider here.” Allen’s eyebrows knit together as he tried to puzzle that one out. In the end he shrugged. “Will do.” Then he paid closer attention to his feet. The path, which had started out as the plain old pebbled stepping stones was changing. The stones stopped abruptly, and a rougher path of dirt and pine needles began. It looked to be well-traveled, though, and wasn’t hard to follow. That was, until he came to a fork in the road. “Uh, Chance? I think we may have a problem here.” “Aww.” Allen heard Chance’s voice, but couldn’t figure out which direction it was coming from, right or left. When he looked up, the fog was too thick to discern any shapes. “I wish I could tell you.” Allen scowled. “Is this some kind of a game?” “It’s not. Really not. But I’ve got to abide by the... you just have to find your own way. I can’t help.” Chance sounded truly regretful. “I want you with me. Please find the right way.” Oh, yeah. This’ll be easy. What the hell is going on here? Maybe I should head back to my car -- if I can find my way there, that is. Is being with Chance worth all this cloak-and-dagger stuff? Very weird, all of it. Damn me for not being able to turn this guy down. Oh, well. In for that penny... Allen let out a deep breath, pondering which way to choose. An idea occurred to him. “Spot! C’mon, boy! Got a treat for you!” He heard a delighted yip, definitely from his left, and laughed as a Dalmatian-shaped blur came zooming through the fog. “Left. I should have known.” Allen squatted down to pat the excited dog, rubbing his ears and running his hand down Spot’s back until the animal’s entire hindquarters were wagging. A treat from Allen’s pocket proved to be quite possibly the best thing Spot had ever eaten. “Good boy,” Allen crooned. “Okay, now go to Chance. Go to Chance!” Spot yipped again and scooted on ahead, this time walking at a sedate pace with a trot back every now and then to make sure the man with the T-R-E-A-T-S was following. He heard Chance’s delighted laughter and mentally patted himself on the back.Way to go with the animal skills , he exulted.This’ll make great material for a column. Well, if Chance agrees, that is. He’s acting bizarre. More so than usual. What’s the big mystery about this place, anyway?
Allen resigned himself to the fact that he’d probably never know, given Chance’s general peculiarity. Instead of fretting, he kept following the dog, even when they entered a row of hedges. He did roll his eyes. “Left,” he mumbled, struggling to hold Spot in sight as the animal ran back and forth between Allen and Chance. “Just keep on with those good old lefts, and you’ll be there in three ticks.” Spot barked. “I know you don’t have ticks, boy,” Allen said kindly. “Go ahead, now.” He hoped like hell that Chance kept some more doggie snacks up at his house. Spot definitely deserved a reward for playing the role of St. Bernard but minus the brandy cask. “Is it much farther?” Allen shouted, still unable to see Chance or anything of the place where they were heading. He took another left. “Nope,” Chance said, sounding excited. “One more turn, that’s all. But, uh, be careful.” Allen paused to consider that, then deliberately went right at the next fork. His shirt sleeves caught at the hedge, but that didn’t matter because he was suddenly bumping right into Chance, who was solid and warm and utterly delightful to have in his arms once more. Able to see the man again, Allen marveled once more at how absolutely gorgeous Chance was. This was still probably a very bad idea, but damned if it didn’t feel good. Kind of like the right thing to do. Chance bounced up and down on the balls of his feet before leaning in for a kiss. Allen breathed in through his nose, scenting the woodsy smell of Chance’s hair. When they broke off to get a touch more air, Chance sounded more breathless than he had a right to be -- unless, that was, Allen hadn’t lost his good old touch. “The fog’s still thick, but if you look right across the clearing, you should see my house.” Allen lifted his head to take a gander. He blinked at the utterly unremarkable small cabin, which was built low to the ground, a neat square of logs fitted closely together, and a light shining out of one window like a guiding star. It looked nice, sure, like... a home. Simple and welcoming, but nothing you needed to hide behind a fucking labyrinth. Chance twined their hands together and bumped hips with Allen. “Race you to the door? First one there gets to feed Spot his treat.” Allen couldn’t help laughing. He reached up to tweak Chance’s nose. “Incorrigible.” Chance stuck out his tongue. “Am not.” He bumped Allen again. “Come on! We’re scot-free now.” With that, he took off running. Allen hesitated for a moment, then grinned and started to sprint, hoping he could quickly close the distance between them. Up ahead, he saw Chance slow down, the wily little bugger, and took shameless advantage by zipping past the younger man. So it was with Allen’s own back pressed to a solid wood door that he welcomed Chance to the man’s house, Spot barking around their calves. Paws scratched at the entrance while Allen got himself a nice armful of wiggling, excited young man. They kissed long and slow, sweet and tender, lingering on one another’s lips. A sense of excitement rose within Allen.To hell with common sense. This is just plain fun . He felt giddy and free at the declaration of independence, and to celebrate, he walked his lover backward, grabbed Chance by the waist, and swung him around. Chance’s delighted giggles filled the air. He even squealed.
When Allen set him back down on his feet, Chance surged in for still another kiss. “You’ll like it in here,” he whispered, running his fingers down Allen’s collar onto his skin, giving the chicken tie a tug. “Come inside. This is my den.” Allen mimicked Chance’s earlier growl. It was a little clumsy on the execution, but Chance’s eyes widened and he seemed to love it. “All the better to ravish you in, my dear.” Allen waggled his eyebrows. Chance laughed. Allen thought he’d never seen anything better than the young man’s broad grin. “You’re on,” he said, before nuzzling into Allen’s neck. Allen closed his eyes in contentment.Oh, yeah. Big trouble. But I love every second of this. I wouldn’t go back now if I could . Vive levet, and Geronimo! He launched himself through the open door. Chapter Five
When he walked into a new place, Allen usually liked to stop for a minute and look around. Gather a sense of where he was. Get his bearings. Figure out if there were large, bulky, and uncomfortable pieces of furniture to slam into. Until then, though, he hadn’t had a chance, no pun intended. And, truth be told, beyond the second it took to clean his glasses of the fog that had clouded his vision when he walked into the warm room, Allen didn’t have an opportunity to pause, much less to glance about himself before Chance was in his arms again, almost whining in his eagerness to get at Allen with more of those hot, biting kisses. Allen surrendered to the assault with a laugh, having pretty much expected Chance to act that way. He stumbled backward a bit and, sure enough, ran into what felt vaguely like a couch arm. Wasn’t too hard to lean against for support, though, so he relaxed his muscles and found his balance, all while kissing back as much as he could. Damn, but Chance moved fast, in every sense of the word. He was never still for a moment -- licking here, nipping there, sucking in one spot, flicking in another. It felt like every square inch of Allen’s face got kissed, even down to Chance’s tongue dancing in his ear. When that happened, Allen chortled again and used both hands to push Chance away. His eyes, which had closed automatically when Chance had pounced on him, reopened. He got a good look at the faultless features along with those hazy blue orbs directed at him, blond hair tangled over them. Chance’s lips were still slightly swollen from his earlier cock-sucking and his current activities. He looked dazed but very, very happy. “Slow down,” Allen said, although his own anatomy was taking a definite interest and, in the way of genitalia everywhere, was demanding immediate attention. He lifted a hand to stroke Chance’s face, loving the soft feel of the man’s skin over the sharply cut bones beneath. “We have all night if you want. I don’t think I could drive out of here without help until that fog lifts anyway. Much less find my way out of your maze unless I borrow Spot again.” He frowned. “Where is Spot?” A cold, wet nose thrust itself up by Allen’s crotch. He let out a yelp as Spot barked, trying to push
between Allen and Chance for the best possible petting opportunity. “Now how’d I know you would do that?” Allen rubbed the top of Spot’s head. “A fine dog like you wants to share the love. But, Chance, maybe...” “I’m on it.” Considering what they had been doing, Chance favored Allen with a surprisingly shy smile before backing off and whistling for his pet. “Come here, pal. Here! That’s good. Lie down on your bed. Stay, Spot, stay. Okay? Good boy. Good boy.” Allen took a deep breath while Chance settled down the curious Dalmatian onto a fluffy pillow that resembled the big poufy dog beds he’d seen in pet stores -- luxurious enough for humans to lust after them -- a big circle of well-stuffed black fabric with fake sheepskin on the flip side. Looked nice... if it weren’t dusted with white hairs on one side and currently occupied, it would have been a great place to drag Chance to and have his wicked, wicked way with the man. Whoo, doggie. Allen grinned at his mental choice of words. He rolled his shoulders, stretched, and felt something pop deep inside, a bit of tension releasing.Ohh, that feels good. Yes, baby, yes. Gotta love it. Didn’t realize I was wound up. Huh . Then again, could he wonder why? Not a bit of anxiety in him when it came to pleasuring a young stud like Chance, was there? What did he have to worry about?Except just about everything . Allen undid his tie with a single hand. Chance was a majorly hot potato, and Allen wasn’t sure he’d be up to juggling. After all, a practically forty-year-old starting to gray at the temples matched up against prime young male couldn’t help but compare and contrast to find himself... lacking. Well, sort of lacking. Allen glanced down at his groin, shaking his head at the swollen erection tenting his pants. “Where have you been hiding yourself?” he asked aloud. “You won’t come when I call you on those long and lonely nights, but you get all perked up now?” “Allen?” Chance was staring at him curiously. “Who are you talking to? Me?” “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Allen said frankly. He slid the tie off from around his neck and let the chicken-dancing silk slither to what appeared to be a very nice natural-grain wood floor. The floor looked polished and well kept, although here and there he saw the marks of Spot’s toenails. Glancing around himself, Allen finally took in the details. Battered old furniture, dusted with dog hairs -although it was obvious from a few lint brushes placed on end tables that Chance tried to keep the place comfortable for his pet but still tidy. A couch, two chairs, all in various stages of raggedy with a few holes taped over. A bed, neatly made up with what looked like an old mountain crazy quilt and plumped pillows. There was a small kitchen to one side, although it didn’t have more than a few cabinets, and a microwave on a stand next to a tiny dorm refrigerator. Other than the kitchen, the place appeared to be a single room except for a couple of doors that could be a closet and a bathroom. Since one of them had raw boards nailed across it in an X and he saw clothes neatly hanging on nails in the wall, Allen suspected the other one to be the bathroom. He hoped.
There was definitely something not to like about the blocked-off door, though. Allen scowled at the crossed boards.Out of the closet, huh? That’s... odd. Did Chance do this himself? Only one way to find out. “What’s with that?” Allen asked, pointing just in case Chance were confused. “And, yes, I’m talking to you now.” Chance giggled -- at least until he followed the direction of Allen’s finger. Then, his expression clouded. “Oh. I forgot.” A faint pink colored his cheeks. “I didn’t do it. It was... well, that doesn’t matter.” Allen didn’t like that answer. “You didn’t do it, huh?” He tapped one foot on the floor with a rat-a-tat sound. “Looks like whoever did was sending you a message.” “It’s not a big deal.” Chance shrugged, but his finger came up to tangle in his hair. “I think they meant it as kind of a joke.” “They?” Allen asked with remarkable calm. Thoughts of ass-kickings filled his mind again. “Who’s they?” The blush deepened. “I really shouldn’t say.” “Actually, you should.” “Promise you won’t tell? I could get in trouble.” Allen folded his hands over his stomach, trying to be patient. “Swear.” “My brothers,” Chance admitted. “They did it when they found out -- when I told them that I like men. And they’d get mad if I took it down. But it’s not a problem. I have plenty of places to hang my clothes, and it’s not that ugly.” He paused. “You’re not mad, are you?” That finger twined a little more rapidly. “I mean, I don’t mind.” “You should.” Allen’s voice was quiet and gentle. “I think it might be up to me to teach you why, though.” He held out his arms. “Come here, Chance.” Chance gave Spot one last pat. The Dalmatian seemed like he was ready for sleep. He gave a gusty woof as he settled down, then a few grumbles and gruffs. Chance smiled at his dog, making such a gorgeous picture that it almost took Allen’s breath away. Then Chance crossed the room, snuggled up to Allen and the breath was pretty much a goner. The earlier rush had disappeared, leaving Allen, and apparently Chance, with nothing more than a desire to just hold each other for a moment. Allen still had to continually wrap his mind around the fact that he was there in Chance’s house, that the other man actually did seem to want him.I could get used to this . “I think you need new brothers,” Allen said after a minute. He chuckled softly, thoughts of the Brotherhood crossing his mind. “Sometimes I think I do, too.” He pressed his hand to the back of Chance’s head, petting him softly, fingers slipping through and tangling in that marvelous golden hair. Chance made an apologetic noise. “You can’t help who you’re related to,” he whispered. “I kind of wish I could, though.” “You have no idea how much I wish the same.” And it was true, Allen did. He’d love to get all those
bastards, however many of them there might be, all lined up in a neat row with their hindquarters raised and ready for a good solid boot. Anyone who made this rare creature feel low enough to just accept a crude mockery of what he was needed to have some common decency kicked into them. “Honest, Allen, it’s fine.” Chance was trembling. “Don’t... don’t make a fuss. What they do doesn’t matter.” He pulled back a little to look at Allen, direct at first and then skittering away to stare at Allen’s mouth. “Just kiss me.” “Since you asked me so nicely.” Allen leaned in to place his lips over Chance’s. He felt that electrical connection again as their mouths touched. Chance must have, too, as he gave a quiet moan and buckled against Allen, surrendering completely and totally. Allen fought not to take control, wanting Chance to be a full participant. Damned if Chance didn’t just go where the wind blew, though, happily letting himself be tasted. “There’s that man who smooched me silly when we walked in here. The guy who sucked me off without a by-your-leave.” Allen teased, dropping both of his hands to Chance’s hips. “I kind of enjoyed all that, you know.” He pulled Chance flush against him from the waist down, pressing his own hardness against a matching bulge. “You took me by storm and made me not mind a bit.” Allen thrust carefully forward, loving the way Chance gasped and pushed back automatically. “I want to please you. What would it take to make you happy?” Allen found himself surprised at how much he meant the question. “Easy answer,” Chance replied instantly. “You. In charge.” “You want me to -- take control?” Allen guessed. Chance’s tremors started up again, but Allen could sense that they stemmed from a different source this time. Chance’s cock jerked against Allen’s even as Chance nodded with a definite eagerness but said nothing. Allen had a feeling that if he were to get a good look, Chance’s face would be aglow with anticipation. He took a moment to consider the notion. Talk about deep waters. Not only do I get involved with a young’un, but I find myself one who gets off on playing the sub. How Liam would laugh his ass off. Bet he’d be right there with the whip and the commands. Probably has some experience. I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing here. But I’d do about anything for Chance. “You’re sure?” Allen asked, keeping his voice low. “Because I’ve never played this way before. I don’t want to go too far or damage you in any way.” Chance dared a small kiss to the base of Allen’s neck. He licked at the hollow where Allen’s collarbones met. “You can’t go too far. Whatever you do, I want it. I know I’ll love it.” Allen had to ask. “Why?” “Because it’s you. I have a thing for older men and authority figures,” he said very seriously. “Besides, you’re so open. Really friendly.” Chance thrust against him again, but carefully, as if he were daring to presume that Allen would like the action. “Please?” “Only because it’s you,” Allen echoed, even as his hips bucked. His pulse was pounding and his head was light as he scrambled for what to do next, first, whatever. “Um... trying to figure this out, here... oh, the hell with it.” He took a deep breath. “Back off from me, Chance. Stand, say, three paces away.”
His gamble paid off. Chance gave a happy jerk and stepped quickly, stopping exactly three paces from Allen. He stared at Allen with a worshipful expression, waiting for the next command. An angel couldn’t have been prettier, fallen or ascended. Chance gave his hair a quick twist, then dropped his hands to his sides, patient. Good God. Allen cleared his throat, trying not to feel like a prime jackass. He rummaged around for something coherent to say, tongue-tied as he was in the face of Chance’s eagerness. “How about you strip?” he suggested. “I mean, uh, strip. Now.” He licked his suddenly dry lips and decided to go whole hog. “I want to see that body naked.” Chance took on a positiveglow . “Yes, sir,” he murmured as he gleamed, his eyes betraying his submissive demeanor with a glitter of excitement. “Whatever you want, sir.” Strong, slim fingers went to the hem of his T-shirt. For the first time, Allen noticed that it had aUniversityofColorado logo on the front, faded with time and many washings, and a small hole directly above where he guessed one nipple would be. “Will you watch me, sir?” “I really shouldn’t be getting all hot and bothered when you call me that,” Allen said frankly. Chance paused. “Did I make you unhappy, sir?” “Definitely not.” Allen gave in. Funny how Chance always did seem to get his way. “I told you to strip,” he ordered with more confidence. “Get to it.” “Yes, sir.” Chance lifted his T-shirt and pulled it over his head in one practiced movement. Unprompted, he let it fall to the floor. Allen felt that in the spirit of the game he ought to have made Chance pick it back up until he was ordered to release it, but what the hell. “Jeans next, sir?” “I didn’t say strip part of the way. Keep going until there’s not a stitch on you.” Allen drank in the sight of Chance’s fabulous bare chest, hard with muscle but probably soft as silk to the touch, with no hair at all, not even a smattering. Did he wax? God, I really have to learn how to shut myself up. Allen crossed his arms over his chest and, improving in his role, drummed his fingers impatiently. “I’m waiting.” Chance quivered happily. “Yes, sir.” He popped open his jeans, scooted the zipper down, and let them slip to his ankles. Allen made atsk noise as the denim puddled around Chance’s sneakers, but the younger man managed to toe the shoes off gracefully. Stepping out of the jeans and kicking them aside, Chance presented himself for Allen’s approval. Allen’s mouth had gone just about too parched for speech. “You, uh, go commando all the time?” was all he could think to say. “Yes, sir,” Chance said demurely. “I like it this way, sir. But you can tell me not to if you want.” “Fuck, no. I’m kind of surprised that I’m surprised, but I’ll take you however I can get you.” Chance beamed. Allen hemmed a bit, stalling for time before it occurred to him to be honest. “Stand still. I want to get a good look.”
Chance froze like a statue. Allen gave a happy sigh and looked his fill from the strong pectorals and abs all the way down long rock-hard runner’s legs... then back up again to Chance’s cock, intriguingly thick and dark with blood as it stood up flush to his lower stomach. “You are a thing of beauty,” he said at last. “Damn. You actually want me?” “Oh, yes, sir.” If Chance had had a tail, it would have been wagging. His voice rose a little. “Don’t you want me, sir?” “More than I know to be wise. But you know what? No more questions. I’m in this, and I’m going to enjoy every second until you come to your senses.” Allen held up a hand. “Don’t say a word.” Chance nodded, ducking his head. He quivered with excitement. “I didn’t mean that literally. Well, no, I did. I meant...” Allen ceased trying. “Chance, you have permission to speak. Whatever you want, when you want. Understood?” “Yes, sir.” “Good.” Allen grinned, starting to get the hang of this. “Now you get to do something else. Move as close as you need to and get me naked. Say ‘yes’ if you want to, but leave off the ‘sir’ if you’re willing, here. Okay, let’s hear you talk.” “Yes,” Chance replied without hesitation. “I’ve wanted to see you naked since the moment I laid eyes on you. I was wishing so hard that you were gay, too. And then you let me suck you.” He kicked up the wattage a few notches. “You smell so good. Kind of like pack... uh, I mean, like pack-chooly. Patchouli. Herbs. In your hair. Is that your shampoo?” Chance bit his lip. “I’ll get you naked now, sir. Dr. Michaels.” He paused. “Allen.” Allen decided that he really had to get Chance to stop talking in circles -- later. In the meantime, they had better things to do. He spread his arms and waited patiently. Then Chance laid those rough hands on him. Fuck this!He gave Chance some assistance, both their sets of fingers shaking on his shirt buttons and tearing them away. Allen couldn’t help but stop long enough to rub his chest against Chance’s, feeling the pebbled nipples grate against his skin. Chance’s throat issued a little growl and his hands roamed through Allen’s thatch of wiry hairs. “I love it when you do that,” Allen gasped. “Again.” Chance snarled playfully and darted in to nip at Allen’s skin. He latched onto one nipple and bit down, soothing the sting with his tongue and blowing warm air over where his teeth had been. Allen groaned. He’d always been sensitive there, and now was no exception. His cock moved as if it had a life of its own, jumping against his zipper with a definite impatience to be free. “The pants now,” Allen managed. “Take them off. Slowly on the zipper. I don’t want anything getting snagged.” Chance said something in a low voice that probably involved “sir” and sank to his knees. He reached up to undo Allen’s pants for the second time this night, seeming just as eager as he had been the first
go-round. Nimble fingers were careful of the zipper’s teeth, then flash-quick when it came to hauling the pants down and tapping at the back of Allen’s calves so Allen would raise one foot at a time for Chance to take off his shoes. “Socks, too,” Allen ordered. “Nothing looks dumber than a man wearing nothing but a hard-on, a smile, and a pair of argyles.” Chance giggled, a joyous, carefree sound, and helped Allen skin out of the socks. The pants and jockey shorts were dealt with in turn, and then Allen was naked, too. A surge of energy bolted through his prick as it hung before Chance’s face. Allen reached down to stroke Chance’s cheek with his forefinger. “I’ve got half a mind to have you suck me off again.” “Yes, sir!” Chance’s head darted forward to get a mouthful of cock. He stopped, though, when Allen pushed at his shoulder. With a whine of disappointment, he looked up as if to find out what he’d done wrong. “Sir?” “I said I had half a mind, not the whole thing,” Allen chided. “I’m not wasting this on a second blow job. Not that I wouldn’t love one. I mean, I’m not a moron either. But I think I want to be, um, oh, damn, inside you.” Allen felt his own cheeks heat up. Talking dirty? Definitely not his forte. But for Chance, he’d give it the old college try. “I want to be inside you,” he said with more clarity and a firm nod. “I want to hear you scream.” Chance threw his head back and keened out a low howl. Sounded uncannily like a wolf cub. Allen blinked, then hastened to approve. Damn, that was hot. “Wait until we see what kind of noises you make when I’m fucking you.” “When, sir? When?” Allen chuckled. “How about now? Lead me to your bed, Chance.” Chance hesitated. “Could you say it, sir?” “Say what, Chance?” Chance smiled like a little devil. “You know.” Allen shook his head, grinning. “I want you. There. Happy?” “Yes,sir .” Chance’s smile could have lit up the room. “The bed’s this way, sir. Follow me.” Damn right I will. Allen walked after the young man, a bounce in his own step as if he were personally twenty-five again. Things could only go up -- in a literal sense -- from there. Chapter Six
Moving lightly and gracefully as a dancer, Chance led the way to his bed. He skirted every piece of furniture in his way with a nimble agility that left Allen feeling uncoordinated as he followed. Not to
mention embarrassed. He hadn’t really done it like this before. When he’d been searching for something to fill the void after his long-time lover had died, it had all been about the furious rush at first. Desperate to convince himself that he could get up, get overEverett , and keep on living, he’d been ready for anything when Ellie came along. Even though he’d never been attracted to a woman before, she was warm and caring, exactly what he’d needed. Sheesh, he’d been all over Ellie like a rash -- she’d even told him to back off on more than one occasion. And as time went by, they’d settled down into going to bed together to sleep, sometimes having sex, but most often holding one another. When he’d finally gotten up the courage to admit the truth to her about how it wasn’t working out and why, she’d already known. The men he’d slept with after Ellie, the casual fucks or... Joey -- they’d pretty much fallen into the same category. Hurry, hurry, hurry, or slow as a snail on Quaaludes. Younger, older, it made no difference. No one really hit his own pace, not that Allen was too sure what that might be. Chance, though... he was the best sinceEverett , God rest his soul. With him, the rushing and the slowing had both been great, perfect for the moment. The games were... okay, a little freaky and worried Allen a bit but, again, fun for the most part, “most part” being the key words. Allen navigated a slightly ripped avocado-colored ottoman and ran a finger around his neck as if he could still tug at his tie in discomfort. Goofing off was fine, but would he be able to keep his momentum going once they hit those worn but appealing sheets? Allen chuckled internally.Such a pushy little bottom . Chance got what he wanted, and he had Allen completely wrapped around his pinky. That little firecracker had actually effectively aroused him to erection twice in one night, and Allen planned on putting the erection to good use. If Chance let him. He could boss Chance around, but somehow it felt wrong to do that in bed. Seemed like Chance had had plenty of dominants in his life already. Allen wanted this to be something else for the young man. Something Chance would be able to remember when the big bad wolves of the world were facing him down. Yeah. He had to call the D/s game to a halt. Telling Chance, now, that would be the hard -- er, difficult -- part. Chance reached the bed and, still agile as an acrobat, stepped up and into the middle. He rested his head on the pillows, hair flying out in a nimbus around his face. His hard-on pressed upward, insistent and mouthwatering. Chance’s fingers fluttered around it as he cast a shy look at Allen and spoke in a small voice. “Are you coming?” “Planning on it.” Allen stopped by the edge of the bed, trying to figure out how Chance had managed to make getting in look like a ballet sequence. “More than once?” Chance sparkled with mischief. “Maybe?” Allen grinned. “You really are a demon. Maybe more than once. We’ll see what you’ve got.” “Oh, yes, sir.” Chance undulated against his sheets, extending one arm. “Get in bed?” Giving up on the idea of being elegant about it, Allen clambered onto the mattress, feeling like a great big
grizzly bear next to a gazelle. Chance licked his lips as Allen came to rest on the bed, then reached out for him with slightly shaky hands. “Can’t wait,” he said, voice husky. “Please, sir?” Allen shook his head. Lying on his hip, he lifted his hand to brush some strands of hair off Chance’s flushed cheeks. Chance turned his head into the caress, a dreamy smile curving his mouth. He grabbed for Allen, but Allen had anticipated the move and caught Chance’s hand in his own. “Allen?” Chance queried when Allen kept him from touching. “Is something... is something wrong?” “Uh-uh.” Allen rubbed his thumb up and down on Chance’s callused palm, slow and reassuring. “No more games, okay? I don’t want this to be all about ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir.’ I’m not saying we can’t play like that some other time, but right now I just want it to be you and me.” Raising Chance’s hand, Allen dropped a kiss on the knuckles. “Can you handle that? Just us two, doing our best?” Chance looked baffled. “You don’t want to be the one in charge?” The expression made Allen’s heart hurt. “No, baby,” he said against the skin of Chance’s knuckles. “I want you to share this with me. We’re equals. There’s age, there’s games, there’s all sorts of things, but right now it’s just us and we match up. Does that work?” “I’m not sure.” Allen glanced up to see Chance biting at his lip. “If I go along with you, won’t I still be following orders? I mean, you could order me not to follow any orders, but you’d still be...” Allen sighed. “Damn logic. Okay, fine.” He regarded Chance carefully. “Answer me honestly, and don’t call me ‘sir.’ Are you happy like this? Do you want me to take charge? I don’t want you to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ because you feel like you have to take one path or the other. Just let me know the truth.” “I can try.” Chance sounded troubled, but determined. “Itdoes make me happy to take orders. I’m a submissive... person. I like what I like when I can get it, but following your lead is what gets me off.” He glanced hopefully in Allen’s direction. “That’s the truth.” Once again, Allen found himself breathless. To be offered so much, to be trusted with still more... Chance was a marvel and no mistake. “Then just do what feels good. No more orders except this: be yourself. And now--” He shifted closer. “Kiss me and make me feel young again?” Happiness spread across Chance’s face like sunlight. He wriggled closer, lifting his free hand to place it on Allen’s cheek, then drew the two of them together and placed his lips slantways across Allen’s, opening his mouth to invite Allen in. Allen growled a little, since Chance seemed to like that, and slid his tongue inside Chance’s mouth. He wrestled with the young man a little, playing, then pulled away for his own shower of kisses. All that eager, willing flesh just waiting to be tasted -- he couldn’t bear to hold off any longer. Rising up over Chance’s body, Allen made hushing and soothing sounds before pressing his mouth over whatever spots took his fancy. The hollow at the base of Chance’s throat, the corner of his mouth, one earlobe. Navel, nipples, and above his heart. It had been a long time since Allen had felt this kind of urgency pounding in his cock while somehow managing to hold off. Anticipation made everything sweeter.
Hell, Chance did that all on his own. “So handsome,” Allen whispered, roving all over Chance’s torso. Chance moaned and stroked Allen’s head, playing with the slightly overgrown locks. He carefully slid Allen’s glasses off his nose and lifted them away, placing the pair of specs on his bedside table before returning to his fun. “Is this good?” he asked, seeming timid yet filled with an aching need. Allen sighed with pleasure and kept on kissing. He moved down one of Chance’s legs, amused when he found that these were only covered with a light down of pale blond hairs. Tonguing his way back up, he avoided Chance’s cock except for a brief nuzzle into the definite patch of wiry golden hair there. “Condom,” he said firmly, before this got out of hand. “I trust you, Chance, but I have my own rules. No deal unless we’re both protected.” He shook his head when Chance whined a little, like a pup denied a treat. Allen hesitated. “You do have some, don’t you?” Wouldn’t that be a pretty pickle, if he didn’t? Chance sighed and nodded. “Bedside table drawer.” He pointed with one finger. “Can you...?” “’Course.” Allen scooted up and reached for the handle of the drawer. A box of condoms, looking pretty new and, hallelujah, lubricant. Allen pulled out the mostly unused bottle of Glide and set it on the table for easy reach and later use. Then two condoms, one for each of them. Working his way back down with open-mouthed kisses and swirling tongue, he sat up a little when he came to Chance’s groin. “Want me to put this on you?” He held up the foil square, not trusting his voice for anything more. Not when faced with such a fine upstanding erection that made his mouth water just to look at it. Allen tilted his head, waiting for Chance to respond. “Yes,” Chance gasped. He grabbed a double handful of quilt as if preparing for an onslaught, and thrust his hips up. “Please.” Allen murmured something that wasn’t quite words. He carefully pulled the condom packet open and slid out the little latex doughnut. They were just plain old sheaths, nothing flavored or fancy about them, but they’d do. Keeping Chance and himself safe was the priority. Or at least Allen tried to make it a matter of utmost importance. His tongue could all but taste Chance’s musky flavor without barriers in the way, and his cock throbbed so that he was just about afraid that a simple touch with the rubber would send him over the edge. Gotta hold on, Allen boy, he ordered himself.Make every second of this count. You may only have the one shot before he comes to his senses . Which the younger man would, Allen knew. This couldn’t be more than a fling for Chance, a little game of risk and reward. Allen trusted his lover to know what he wanted -- he couldn’t not -- but he didn’t consider himself stupid, either. Chance would go where the wind blew, and Allen would have a memory to keep him warm. Seemed fair to him. The thoughts had cooled Allen down enough that he was able to get up on his knees and place the tip of the condom over Chance’s cock without fear of shooting off, and then the other one on himself -- that was, until Chance raised himself on one elbow and reached out. “Let me,” he begged. “Please?” Allen couldn’t resist the younger man’s hopeful look. “Sure.” He leaned back on his heels with his cock thrust forward, eager for Chance’s touch. “Go for the gold.”
Chance took surprising care with the operation. His forehead furrowed as he cautiously balanced the condom and unrolled it down the length of Allen’s prick. The feel of his hands set Allen on fire again, but it was a manageable blaze. Chance didn’t stop until the whole thing had been smoothed down and petted into place and Allen was just about out of his mind. Good thing, too. Hurricane Chance surged up again, eager arms grabbing, hot fingers pressing, pulling Allen down against that strong young body as if Allen weighed no more than a feather. Allen hooted in surprise as Chance tangled with him, rolling them over and over until they were on the very edge of the bed, then changed directions and flipped back into the middle. “Like to play, huh?” Allen asked when he was on top again, chuckling as Chance chortled. “You are a one for games.” Chance grinned. “Can’t be helped.” He lifted his hips, pressing tight against Allen’s groin. “You play, too?” “Can’t be helped,” Allen echoed, lowering his face for another kiss. Just to see if he could get away with it without going too far, he began to rock against Chance’s cock and belly. The feel of their shafts bashing together sent his mind into the stratosphere, all lingering capability of thought process left far behind. Except for fragments ofmore, harder, faster . Allen heard a moan from beneath him and sensed that Chance was picking up the pace. They bucked against one another, coming dangerously close to the grand finale, slowing down, then picking their pace back up. Allen felt like he was swimming a hundred meters at lightning pace, diving in and out of a charged blue sea. Couldn’t last, though. Riding out the wave of yet another near-orgasm, Allen pulled to a stop. “No more,” he managed. “Now.” Chance looked as dizzy as Allen felt, but gave an eager nod. “Please.” Allen changed positions just enough to reach up and grab the lubricant where it waited patiently for them. “On your back,” he ordered. “Spread your legs for me.” Chance’s lower limbs parted immediately, stretching wide. He raised his hips without being told to, then seemed to change his mind and drew his knees up tight against his chest. His tight little ass cheeks parted, giving Allen a look inside the puckered hole. Chance shook his head, hair going flying again. “Now,” he panted. “Please. Now.” “Don’t want to hurt you.” Allen uncapped the bottle and squeezed a thick dollop of lube into his hands. Good short nails, neatly trimmed, no need to worry about those. He rubbed the fluid together in both palms, warming it up. The cabin seemed cold on his exposed backside, and that slick was definitely chilly. Didn’t want to give Chance the shock of a lifetime, since he was So. Damned. Hot. “Hang on, Chance. Here I come.” He slathered lube between Chance’s ass cheeks, getting him good and slippery. Then, his own hand shaking a bit, he thrust one finger up against the hole, gave it a few taps just to see Chance startle and moan, then slid inside. Chance opened right up for him, easy as breathing, Allen’s finger going inside with hardly any resistance. Encouraged, Allen tried for two.
“Oh!” Chance bucked up almost all the way onto his elbows. “Allen!” Allen stopped dead in his tracks. “Chance? Too much? Too fast?” He stroked the other man’s lower belly with his free hand, feeling it quake beneath his fingers. “Talk to me.” His lover shook his head. “Not too much,” he said, panting. “Just... been a while.” “I can go slower.” That earned him another shake. “No. Feels good. More. Please, more.” Chance’s eyelids fluttered shut. “I like it.” If his erection, pulsating and pushing a few drops of clear fluid against the inside of the condom, was anything to go by, Chance certainlywas enjoying himself. Allen pushed down his own doubts and, very carefully, inserted a third finger, good and lubricated. Chance let out another one of those howls, way too sexy for a single man, and pushed back, swallowing Allen’s fingers up to the last knuckle. He was breathing too quick, too shallow, but making happy little moans as if this were the best ever. Damn, but it did wonders for the ego. And the soul. Those noises put heart in a man. Allen kissed the soft skin on the inside of Chance’s thigh and began scissoring his fingers open, stretching ever so gently and slowly, then laughing when Chance writhed and pleaded for more, muttered curses dying on his lips for lack of air. Allen took his time, but sooner rather than later, Chance was stretched and relaxed enough, his puckered hole demanding the attention of a tongue or a cock. Tongue Allen wasn’t so sure about, so to make up for the lack, he licked a long, teasing streak down Chance’s thigh and nipped him ever so lightly. Another howl. Allen thought that he could really get used to those. “Ready?” he asked, struggling up and getting into position on his knees between Chance’s spread legs, one of which came to lock around his waist while the other hooked over Allen’s shoulder. “Say yes or say no.” Chance opened his eyes, groaned out something that sounded encouraging, and tried to pull Allen closer. He rocked his hips, entreating Allen for cock without saying a single coherent word. Allen felt a small charge of power. “Yes or no?” He insisted, wanting to hear it from Chance’s lips. Chance snarled. “Yes!” “All I needed to hear.” Allen used one slick hand to guide his dick to Chance’s stretched entrance, carefully aligned the head with shaking fingers and began a slow, gentle push inside. “Oh, God,” he said on a long exhale of breath. “Tight. So tight.” “Been a... long time...” Chance repeated, seeming to search with his hands for something to hang onto. He found the quilt again and knotted his fingers in it. “More. Please.”
Allen gave him more, and then some. He couldn’t stop himself. One long smooth glide, and he was buried balls-deep, Chance’s hungry little body gulping him down. No waiting once he was in there, either. Allen’s own muscles took control, and he began thrusting in and out, slippery-fast, pounding Chance into the mattress like he hadn’t fucked in years. Like he’d never fucked a man before. Nothing had been like this in years. Not with Chance’s hands coming loose of the quilt and grabbing tight, urging Allen on silently; not with the tight squeezing of his cock as it disappeared into an amazingly snug channel; not with the feeling that he was almost flying. It only got better when Allen found Chance’s prostate and, with an exhilarated laugh, he changed positions ever so slightly to bump that spot every time he shoved in and pulled out. Chance went positively crazy, howling and keening and writhing, demanding more, more, more. Allen delivered. He felt like this was his first time all over again, like he was young and could go all night. Beads of sweat ran down his forehead, dripping onto Chance’s belly. He felt his hair grow damp with the effort, and recognized the voice swearing things fit to turn the air blue was his own. The orgasm built up slowly, but with a firm insistence that was not to be denied in this final charge. Allen fucked with a crazed determination, wanting as much of Chance as he could get before the inevitable occurred. He couldn’t get enough of the man’s sounds and the way he felt. Soon enough, though, all the hoopla came to its inevitable satisfying conclusion. Pounding as hard as he could through the beginning waves, Allen growled and then shuddered shock-hard as his balls, drawn up solid as rocks, let go with their payload. He felt the warm splash of semen bathing him inside the condom. His instinctive reaction was to collapse and start panting, but damned if he’d be that inconsiderate. Pushing his willpower further than he ever had before, Allen reached for Chance’s twitching dick and began to jack him off, good sturdy strokes up and down. Chance threw his head back and wailed, trailing off into a howl, then shouted as he began to come, his body clenching down so tightly around Allen’s cock that Allen felt himself shake a second time, a dry orgasm that turned out the lights and hung a sign on the door on its way out. When he could see again, things had changed. He lay pillowed on Chance’s chest, trembling fingers combing through his lover’s hair. Allen’s breath came in quick bursts against Chance’s soft skin and, from what he could hear, Chance himself was panting, eyes closed. Allen withdrew and slowly sat up, knowing he had to deal with the condoms but not quite ready yet. He stretched to run his fingers across one of Chance’s sharp cheekbones, murmuring to himself as Chance arched into the touch and kissed his hand. “Good?” he asked after a moment, praying to God that the answer would be-“Oh, yes.” Chance’s eyes opened, hazy blue aglow with pleasure. “Like never before.” Allen felt his lips curving into a nearly stoned smile. “Glad,” he said simply, letting Chance lick at his fingers. “Me, too.” Chance rumbled, a low sound just like a contented animal. Allen let them enjoy the hazy laziness for a moment, then quickly dealt with the condoms and lay back down. He shifted their positions, pulling Chance’s head to rest on his own shoulder, holding the young man tight. Wishing this never had to end.
“Stay the night?” Chance whispered, rubbing his face against Allen’s arm. “The whole night?” “Don’t know if I can go a third time,” Allen admitted, hating to let Chance down. “Maybe if I rest a little.” “Doesn’t matter.” His lover found Allen’s hand and knit their fingers together in a solid grip. “Just stay to hold me. That’d be fine.” Allen threw caution to the winds again; Chance made him want to be reckless. “Mmm. Then I’ll stay.” Tomorrow night’s dance club date be damned. Liam might get pissed off, but the little man would have to cope. The column coming due would have to wait, too. No hours at the practice, so he didn’t have to worry. Nowhere else he wanted to go, and no place else that he’d rather be. As long as this lasted, he’d savor every second. Concentrating solely on breathing and enjoying, Allen let himself relax. He felt boneless and lazy, soaking up Chance’s warmth and even ignoring the tickle of Chance’s blond hair against his chin. Everything was damned near perfect. No, no, that was putting it mildly. Itwas perfect. Nothing could be better. Allen got a tighter hold on Chance, ready to tell him so---and something crashed into the front window. He had one split second to recognize the sound of glass breaking before whatever had been thrown in hit the floor -- then burst into flames! Chapter Seven
Allen’s response was automatic. “Shit!” A quick check to see if Chance was okay -- which he was, since Allen had shielded him from the flying glass -- and Allen’s instincts took over. He ran bare-ass naked to the quickly spreading fire, picked up his own shirt, and began to beat it out. Behind him, Chance let out a low, keening wail. He sounded like an animal in trouble. “It’ll be all right,” Allen called back, slapping at the flames. “I think I’ve got most of this put out. Ow!” A spark had leapt up and singed his arm. “It’s fine, Chance. Don’t worry.” Too late. Chance had rolled out of bed, still graceful as an animal, and run up to Allen’s side. He’d grabbed Allen’s pants and now shoved Allen out of harm's way. “Let me,” he said, albeit with a trembling voice. “I’m -- tougher -- than you.” Allen barked out a laugh. “You? Sorry, Chance, but I think I’d better handle this. No insult.” “None taken.” Chance pushed Allen again. “Please, stop talking. The fire’s just going to get worse.” “Yeah, but you’re using my pants to put it out?” Allen found himself snorting with ill-placed humor. “Figures. I’m moving, I’m moving! Sheesh.” Chance had roughhoused him completely out of the way and was busily, and efficiently, putting the blaze out. Much too easily. Allen frowned deeply, feeling his eyebrows knit together, as he watched the skillful way
Chance moved. It looked uncannily like Chance had had some practice at this. Had someone tried to firebomb him before? Speaking of which, where were the bastards who had chucked this through Chance’s window? Allen sidestepped the mostly vanquished flames and headed for the damaged window, careful of any glass shards on the floor. Luckily, the window was high enough that he didn’t flash more of his goodies as he peered out into the night. Couldn’t see much, though. Damned fog still shrouded everything. Allen thought he heard someone snickering out in the darkness, but he had no way to know for sure. A cold nose thrust itself into Allen’s hand. He looked down to see Spot hugging his legs, tail firmly down as he whined and shook with fear. The veterinarian and dog lover in Allen came to the fore. He squatted, rubbing Spot’s head and back. “Hey, hey, it’ll be all right,” he crooned. “Gotta ask why you didn’t warn us they were coming, but you’re still a good dog.” “Oh, God, Spot!” Chance stomped out the last bit of fire and cast Allen’s pants aside. He rushed close to hold the Dalmatian, nudging Allen out of the way once again. Chance looked up pleadingly. “He... he’s seen this before.” Those big eyes held a world of apology. “He knows better than to make a fuss. I’ll explain later, promise. Let me make sure he’s not hurt first.” “All yours,” Allen said, withdrawing. Happened before, huh? Just as he’d suspected. He’d get to the bottom of this -- Chance had some pretty talking to do. For the time being, though, he’d let it go. When they were safe again. Chance murmured nonsensical words and threw his arms around Spot, stroking and petting the dog. He began to make a low yipping sound that Spot slowly answered, nosing his way against Chance’s shoulder. Allen laughed a little tremulously. “You’ve really got to teach me how you make those noises.” Dark humor rushed in on the aftermath of his adrenaline burst. “They’d come in handy at the office.” Chance ignored him for the dog, but Allen didn’t mind. He sat heavily back on his heels, watching Spot and owner bond. He added his own voice to the soothing sounds, hoping the Dalmatian would chill, but no joy. Spot continued to act as if the bogeyman was in the room and ready to take a chomp out of his hide. Chance looked up, face troubled. “Hold him for a minute? I think someone’s still outside.” “I can look,” Allen offered. “Although I don’t think you’ll see much. The fog’s too thick. I did hear someone snickering, though, so they’re still out there. Be careful.” “Doesn’t matter if I can’t see, I can smell,” Chance said absently. He gave Spot one last rub and raised himself to a standing position. “Watch your feet. I don’t know how I avoided it, but there’s broken glass everywhere. Get some shoes on first.” Allen sat down completely and checked his own soles for damage, but they were remarkably intact. He whistled softly. “I’d have to say this is my lucky night, huh?” he asked Spot.
Spot whimpered and attempted to fit into Allen’s lap. His bare lap, with bits that didn’t appreciate a heavy dog’s toenails. Yelping and wincing, Allen pushed Spot aside and stood up. “Sorry, boy. Let me see if there’s anything left of my pants, and then maybe we can have some quality bonding time.” He glanced at Chance, standing stock-still at the window. “See anything?” The oddity of Chance’s statement struck him. “Smell anything? What do you mean, smell?” “Shh,” Chance came back, apparently absorbed in whatever the hell he was doing. His head was cocked as if hewere scenting the dusky breeze that blew in. “I have to concentrate. They’re good at masking their signatures.” “Uh-huh.” Allen eyed Chance warily. That earlier theory about psycho killers was starting to look uncomfortably closer to the truth than he might have hoped. Chance had definitely gone around the bend -- hell, could anyone blame him? The life he must lead, where he knew how to put out a fire that fast... Allen wasn’t sure why, but he found himself sympathetic instead of freaked out. Maybe it was just the overall effect Chance had on him. The young man brought out his protective instincts. “I can’t tell if they’re out there or not,” Chance said with a shake of his head. “They must be hiding. I don’t think they would do this and just leave me alone.” “Don’t tell me, let me guess. Your brothers?” Allen leaned wearily against the wall. He picked up his pants and sighed at the huge burned spots running down the legs. They’d be wearable, but only just. “Chance, you really do need to reevaluate your family situation.” Chance flicked Allen a regretful look. “Wish I could.” He turned back to the window and started making more yipping noises. And we go from weird to weirder. Allen didn’t bother with trying to find his underwear. He hurried into his pants as quickly as he could, stuffed his feet into his shoes, and rushed to Chance’s side. He tried to tug the younger man from his position at the window. “Hey, come on. If you can’t see anyone or -okay, smell them -- then it’s probably wiser to stay back. They could have something else to throw. I don’t want you getting hurt.” Chance protested wordlessly, his strength surprising as he pulled away from Allen. Allen wouldn’t take no for an answer, though, and kept on yanking, um, doggedly. “Chance, come,” he ordered. “Get back over here. I still have my cell phone in my pocket; that is, if it survived the fire. We’ll call9-1-1 .” “You won’t get a signal out here. And it wouldn’t make a difference anyway.” Chance giggled a little crazily. “They’re out there, and they’re coming. I know it.” Visions ofDeliverance flitted through Allen’s mind. “Your, er, brothers, you mean? Those guys who called themselves pack? Like the Rat Pack? What are they, gang boys? What kind of mess are you dealing with?” “Nothing I got into by choice.” Chance shook his head. “I don’t have time to explain it right now. I’m sorry.” Allen cursed himself for not thinking things through before he’d gotten involved in this whole crazy night. “This has happened to you before. What the fuck do you do when this kind of thing starts up?” Chance’s voice shook as he answered. “Usually? Run. But not with you or Spot to protect. This is my
space. I’ve marked it and everything. They’re breaking the rules to come in like this. But they don’t care about rules, except the ones they like.” “Chance, I do know a good lawyer if you’re in trouble,” Allen began, thinking of Simon. The man had been acting kind of mopey lately. Maybe a good case would a) help him shake off the doldrums and b) get Chance’s ass out of the frying pan. “We can make a break for my car and I’ll drive you back into the city. Put you up for the night. There’s no reason to stay here waiting for something big and bad to come rushing in.” “Every reason.” Chance swallowed, the gulp audible to Allen, who winced in dry-throated sympathy. “If we go outside, we don’t even have the protection of these four walls. And I’m not sure whether they’ll come inside.” A roll of laughter sounded from the heart of the fog. A deep, nasty, sniggering sound. “But then again, they might,” Allen said, voice clipped, feeling his lips thin out over his teeth. “I say we should run.” Chance trembled just as Spot had. “We can’t,” he said in seeming desperation. “They’ll just follow us. And they’re faster on four feet than we’d be on wheels in this pea soup.” “Four feet?” Allen’s eyebrow lifted. Chance had already moved on from trembling to shaking hard, though, and his darn protective instincts kicked in once again. Allen sighed, dropped the question and gathered Chance into his arms, stroking down the younger man’s bare back. “Stop it now, stop it,” he chided gently. “So we’re stuck in a cabin with some possibly armed crazies outside. It could be worse. Granted, it couldn’t bemuch worse, but...” The sound of a gun cocking snapped through the air. “I had to say it,” Allen mumbled. “Get down!” He threw his weight forward against Chance, taking him down to the charred floor just before a shot rang through the window and shattered still more glass. Allen swore as a few shards found a new home in his back, but Chance was okay. That was what mattered. Still, now they’d pissed Allen off. “Gun,” he said firmly, grasping Chance’s chin and refusing to let him look away. “Please tell me that at least you have some kind of firearm around here.” Chance looked guilty. “Don’t tell them. I’m not supposed to.” “I won’t say a word. I’ll let my friend Mr. Ballistics say it all for me. Hey, hey.” He gave Chance’s chin a light shake. “How will they know I didn’t bring it with me?” “The smell...” “Screw the smell. Just tell me where it is.” Chance looked pale, but nodded. “Under my bed. I’m supposed to hunt with them, but I don’t use it for actual hunting, I mean, I don’t think it’s ever been fired, but it’s under my bed and, oh, God, you’re going to shoot them, aren’t you?” He shook hard. “Allen, they’ll kill you.” “They can try,” Allen said grimly. He rolled off Chance and crawled hastily to the bed, avoiding the glass bits, and reached underneath. To his pleasure, he got lucky on his first rapid sweep; his hand closed on
the stock of a revolver. It’d been so long since he’d been out to a shooting range that he didn’t recognize the make or model, but at least he knew how to check for ammo and remembered how to squeeze the trigger, so he was still in the game. “You keep this thing loaded?” he queried, incredulous. “Chance, that’s just asking for trouble.” “I’m asking for trouble if Idon’t keep it loaded. Allen, please watch yourself here. I don’t know what they’ll try with an outsider.” “We’re about to find out.” Standing back up, gun in hand, Allen stomped carefully to the side of the window and fired off a warning shot before ducking back against the wall for cover. “Do you feel lucky, punks?” he shouted into the night in his best Dirty Harry imitation. “Well? Do you?” A wave of angry grumbling answered him. Apparently they didn’t appreciate his humor. Allen aimed the gun out what was left of the window. “Next one doesn’t go over your heads,” he warned loudly. Then, quieter, “Chance, do you have more bullets for this?” Chance nodded. “I’ll get them.” He crawled away, obedient again as if they were still playing their games -- although the way he moved, quick and silent, proved he was taking this seriously. The rumbling outside settled down to a low hum. Allen settled into place with some cover but still managed to get a decent view. He put his finger on the trigger. These bastards might think they had Chance completely cowed, but one indignant vet -- an outsider, like Chance said -- might make them think twice. “Send out the runt,” a voice called. It sounded suspiciously like Buzz-cut from the parking lot at the vet’s office. “We won’t hurt him. Honest.” Allen snorted. “Yeah. That’s convincing.” He aimed and fired the revolver into the fog. A startled yelp followed the painfully loud blast. Allen rubbed his ears as the animal noise faded into a human’s blue-tinted chorus of rough yelling. “Anyone else feel like a taste of this?” Something tugged at the remains of Allen’s pants. He glanced down to see Chance holding up a box of bullets. “Thanks,” Allen whispered. “Hang on to those until I give the word.” Chance nodded, his blue eyes full of unwavering faith. No pressure, Allen griped to himself. He steadied his gun and began to speak, raising his voice to the greatest possible volume. “No one’s sending anybody to you. Who the hell is out there?” More grumbling. “We’re his family,” protested someone who sounded like Scraggly. “We just want to talk with him.” Allen shot again just for shits and giggles. “Family doesn’t throw a Molotov cocktail through each other’s windows. Try again.” “Send out the runt!” Buzz-cut demanded again. “Damn faggot. And you, too. You both have a good fuck tonight?” “Not that it’s any of your business but, hell, yes.” Allen sighted down the barrel, trying to pinpoint the source of Buzz-cut’s voice. “Chance is better than any of you put together, not that I’d touch your nasty asses with a ten-foot pole. Bullets, though, I can hook you up with those.”
Chance tugged at him, quick and anxious. “Allen,” he whispered. Allen glanced down. “What?” Chance tackled his ankles. “Get down!” A second blast of gunshot roared through the window, smashing still more glass. Okay. Now he wasreally teed off. Allen rose from the ground a little clumsily, but the way he fired off his remaining bullets? Pure poetry in motion. He heard both Buzz-cut and Scraggly yelling in pain. Bullseyes , he thought with a dash of dark humor. Grabbing the box of shells, he started to reload. “Get the hell out of here. I hit you once. I can do it again.” The rumbling noise increased, rising and falling like ocean waves. At this point, Allen would realize later, he made his big mistake of moving a couple of steps to the side as he reloaded. The zinging noise of a third shot, directly through the hole caused by the firebomb, didn’t register until his arm jerked back and he let out a startled yell. When he looked at his arm, he saw blood blossoming red and sticky from a flesh wound. The veterinarian in Allen immediately began to assess the damage. The stunned man stared in dumb disbelief. Chance, however... He went absolutely ape-shit. Rising from the floor in one smooth motion, Chance tore the revolver from Allen’s hands, wrestled the barrel back into place, and started firing like Dirty Harry. He barely paused to reload. “My mate! Mine!” he yelled like a man possessed, shouting it over and over again between blasts. “Get back!” Yelps and yowls sounded from what Allen was beginning to suspect was just the two folks out for more of the blood they’d already spilled. He applied pressure to his wound, which was bleeding like a sonofabitch, and watched stupidly as Chance continued to go nuts in front of his eyes. And speaking of eyes... Allen jerked back with a startled sound as he looked at Chance’s face. Those baby blues had changed from the color of a summer sky to a deep golden green, the iris covering the whites. “Fuck off!” Chance shouted, the sound more like a howl. “Mine!” “Aw, lookit the kiddie fight,” a voice jeered in between rounds. “Think you can hit me?” Chance fired off a shot. “Yeah,” he answered grimly when the man’s taunting changed to a scream. “I do.” “Fuck this,” Buzz-cut said. He sounded a little shaky despite his bravado. “We’ll come back tomorrow. The runt better be alone. We’ll take care of him then.” “And his little dog, too?” Allen mocked. “Get out of here. Get!” “The hell with you,” Buzz-cut snarled, but that was the last of it. Feet scuffled on hard-packed earth, the
sounds of men moving in a hurry, an indignant if prideful retreat. There were dragging noises, as if they hauled damaged limbs along with them. Pained sounds. And then... silence. Allen put a hand on Chance’s shoulder, then jerked back with his hands up as his lover rounded fiercely on him. The younger man’s eyes were still a freaky shade of green and gold mixed together, and his lips were pulled back over his teeth in a snarl. “What?” “Chance!” Allen said, thinking fast. “It’s just me, Allen! Put the gun down. They’re gone.” Chance shook his head, then blinked. His eyes bled back to clear, crystal blue. “Allen?” He shivered as adrenaline must have started its fade into ball-numbing terror. “Oh, God. You’re bleeding.” “It’s not a big wound.” Allen stared at Chance’s face, deep thoughts running through his mind at lightning pace. After a few seconds, though, he tossed them aside to be sorted through later. “You think we can get out of here now?” “Yeah.” Chance laughed shakily. He set the gun down carefully. “I think that might be a good idea. If it was just me, it wouldn’t matter how far I ran. But I have you, and you have a car. Let’s go.” “If they didn’t shoot out the tires,” Allen grumbled. “We’re not taking any chances, though. I’ll find some kind of leash for Spot, and you get dressed real quick, huh?” He shook his head at the sight of Chance wearing nothing but some gunpowder and the skin he was born in. “Hurry up.” “There’s a spare leash in his box.” Chance pointed. “By the wall, near the door.” “Let’s go to it, then.” While Allen searched among the rawhide toys and bags of treats for the leash, and then coaxed Spot out from the corner he’d buried himself in, Chance ran to the wall with clothing hanging on its nails. He tried a T-shirt first, then tossed it aside when his hands didn’t seem to work right. Next up was a faded blue flannel bathrobe, which he knotted around his waist. “Oh, that’s inconspicuous.” Allen sighed. “I’m not complaining, though. Let’s go. And you hang on to my hand when we go through that damn maze, you hear? I’m not losing track of you now.” “No way.” Chance sounded fierce, then worried. “Allen... you’re not upset? I mean, about the fight and...” He waved his fingers at his face. “You’re not scared?” “Didn’t say that, but there’s a time and place for everything. Right now, my money’s on getting out of Dodge. Will they be waiting for us?” Chance tilted his head and inhaled deeply, for all the world like a dog -- or wolf -- scenting the air. After a moment, he shook it. “I don’t think anyone’s outside. I can’t hear them or smell them.” “Weare going to have a talk, mind you.” Allen held out one hand. “You say they’re gone; I trust you that they are. We hit that door running, we get through that damn labyrinth, and we don’t look back, understand?” Chance took Allen’s hand and nodded. “I’m with you.” He made it sound like more than a simple
promise. “Let’s go.” Allen pointed them toward the door. “One -- two -- three -- run like fuck!” They ran, Spot barking all the way. Chapter Eight
“Well, this is it,” Allen said unnecessarily as he dug in his charred pocket for the keys to his apartment. He glanced at Chance, who looked like he was freezing to death in the thin robe, and sighed. There were just a world of questions humming in his thoughts, but where did he even choose a place to start? Chance, are you a werewolf?Oh, yeah. That’d be a great opener. Allen wondered, not for the first time that night, if he were going crazy. Still, he hadn’t been drunk or high on anything, and he’d seen what he’d seen. Didn’t mean it made any kind of sense to him, though. Another sigh. Conversations about life, the universe, and everything were best left for another time. He’d better get Chance inside before some nosy neighbor peeked their head out of a door. Allen slid his key into the lock and listened to the tumblers turn over. He pushed the entrance open. “Come in, Chance,” he said, just in case werewo -- er, okay, maybe it was like vampires -- oh, no, because of the not-dead thing... oh, hell. “Go on inside, now.” Chance gave him a quick hunted look, like a dog who knew it was about to get paddled with a newspaper, and hustled in with Spot on his heels. The dog at least had some spring to his step, pausing to lick Allen’s hand and get it all slobbery before he pranced indoors. Allen hoped to God that Spot would keep quiet; leave it to him to pick an apartment building that didn’t allow pets. Wasn’t his first choice, being a veterinarian and all, but beggars couldn’t be choosers, and this was the place that had the most space for his books, plus a home office for writing his column in. At least he could have fish. Stepping into the foyer, he glanced into the small cube he called a den and saw Chance gazing at the ten-gallon aquarium with something akin to awe. Allen’s single Betta fish swam around and around in circles, looking downright perky. Spot’s attention was riveted on the other aquarium filled with African dwarf frogs, tiny quarter-sized things that bounced up and down their little rocks and into the shallow water. Allen couldn’t help a small chuckle at he watched the two. No pets, huh? What about possible boyfriends who could be... He steered himself away from the thought, still not quite ready to contemplate what might be his new reality. Instead, he focused on the good things. How they’d managed to navigate the labyrinth with no problems; Allen had a nasty suspicion about the thing being there to keep Chance even more isolated from the world and at far greater risk to himself. No hassling from the gun-toting peanut gallery. The way the unnatural-seeming fog had lifted on their way back home until, by the time they reachedCharleston proper, they were driving on clear streets.
How Chance had kissed him when he finally believed they were safe. Allen had nearly run off the road but, in retrospect, a kiss like that one -- sweet, hot, and full of excitement -- might have been worth a little fender-bender, even in his beloved classic car. Yeah... there were things to be grateful for. Allen tossed his keys onto a side table and crossed his arms over his bare chest. The small brown-and-white room with its sparse furnishings of a plain dun futon and a nondescript beanbag looked much more like a home with someone else in them. With Chance there. Grinning to himself, Allen slipped up behind Chance and wrapped his arms around the young man, pressing his stomach to Chance’s back. “Hey, there,” he whispered in Chance’s ear. Chance turned his head so that those amazing blue eyes -- yep, still blue -- were gazing up into Allen’s. “I heard you, you know,” he said in a soft voice. “You can’t sneak up on me.” “So I can’t ever surprise you with breakfast in bed.” Allen rocked them back and forth. “Doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy trying.” Chance’s expression turned troubled. “Am I going to be around that long? Allen, you shouldn’t ever have found out. They’ll be back, and maybe they won’t run away this time.” Okay, so it looked like the time for discussions was coming sooner rather than later. Allen turned Chance around so that they were chest to chest. Dozens of ideas flashed through Allen’s mind as possible conversation starters, but after sorting through the lot he discarded them. “It doesn’t matter,” Allen said simply. “Not right now. You are what you are, and I don’t care what that might happen to be. It’ll take me some time to get over what went down tonight. No getting past that. But a mild case of the creeps about what I saw won’t keep me from being at your side.” Allen paused, frowning. “Unless you actually stop and think about how I’m too old for you.” “Would you stop saying that?” Chance pushed at Allen. “You’renot too old. Have you ever stopped to consider that I mightlike a guy with some experience?” He folded his arms over that ridiculous bathrobe, still managing to look tasty enough to eat while being wholly indignant. “The guys my age -- they’re all, wham, bam, see you later, when they don’t really mean a word they say.” Allen hemmed and hawed for a couple of seconds. From what he recalled, Chance wasn’t far off the mark. Joey had been the exception to the rule -- oh, Lord, Joey. The psycho was going to go ballistic if -- when -- he found out that Allen had a new squeeze. The thought surprised Allen a little, despite his earlier comment about breakfast in bed. Did he plan to keep Chance? Actually... he did. There was something so appealing about that wide-eyed innocence, and a rushing instinct to protect the young man. Not to mention his being a, er, tiger in the sack. Fuck Joey. Or don’t, as the case may be. Allen shrugged off the dilemma. “Chance, I guess we do need to have a couple of conversations. But if you don’t mind, I’d like to get this scratch cleaned up first, and those glass shards out of my back.” Chance flinched, gaze shooting toward the blood that had dried in streaks running down Allen’s arm.
“Oh, God,” he said, letting go of his death grip on his own chest to extend his hand. The bathrobe’s worn tie gave way and the whole thing swung open, revealing the glory of Chance from nipples to knees, not to mention other interesting scenery in between. “I can’t believe I forgot you were hurt.” Allen waved Chance’s self-recrimination aside. “It really is just a scratch,” he said kindly. “A little hydrogen peroxide and a bandage, and I’ll be good as new.” He paused. “You can come with me to the bathroom, if you like, and take a look at that glass in my skin. But for God’s sake, hold that robe shut, or I’ll never get this done.” Chance blushed and held the edges of his robe closed. Allen grinned at the guy to show he wasn’t angry. Chance dared a small smile back, a pretty sight. His free hand came up to twine around that one lock of hair. “I won’t be in the way?” “Not at all,” Allen reassured him. “The john’s--” Chance jumped a little at the word. Other nebulous figures in need of ass-kicking coalesced in Allen’s mind. “Just through here. I mean, the bathroom.” Outwardly, though, Allen gave no sign. Chance had had enough for one night. Anything he might decide to tell Allen was Chance’s own choice. “Follow me,” Allen said, keeping his tone light. “Spot might want to stay here, though.” “Spot, stay,” Chance directed. He gave Allen a firm nod as the dog went down obediently, wagging his tail like a whipping lash. Allen led Chance down the short trek into his bathroom, flicking on the lights and examining himself in the mirror over his sink. The place looked somehow smaller to him, where once it had been completely adequate. The shower/tub that was sized for one, toilet, a few shelves all in that stark white over dark faux-marble flooring. It wasn’t big enough to hold him and Chance’s personality, but Allen figured they’d make do. Chance seemed to be hovering on the threshold anyway. “You stay where you’re comfortable.” Allen reached into his medicine cabinet for a small bottle of disinfectant, a gauze pad and some medical tape. When he straightened, he got a look at his reflection -- a good look -- and mentally shook his head. I look like I’ve been dragged through the proverbial and literal hedge backwards. Hair sticking up, blood on my back and arm, possibly on my hands -- metaphorically speaking -- and, okay, we’ll deal with that later, too -- and dark circles under my eyes that are just theperfectcomplement to the rest of the package. Oh, yeah, I’m a real steal. Allen sighed as he began to treat his arm wound, first with water from the tap to wash away those damn blood streaks. As it flowed, the liquid turned pink, then a deeper shade of red, then back to pink while Allen washed. He examined his flesh in the mirror, glad to see that the injury was barely more than a shallow nick. Plenty of blood, but no real damage. He probably wouldn’t even have the smallest of scars, so in his opinion he didn’t need stitches. He especially didn’t need the questions he’d get if he went to an emergency room. Allen added a little hydrogen peroxide that he couldn’t help gasping over, Chance wincing along in sympathy, and then applied a bandage -- better to err on the side of caution. Chance helped him tape it into place without being asked. His touch was gentle yet deft, securing the gauze without causing any undue pain. The glass fragments in his back had already worked themselves out, leaving sore, but small, scratches that didn't need much attention. “This'll be a bitch for a while, especially your bicep,” Chance said ruefully.
“Plenty you can do without involving an arm,” Allen replied absently. “I used to do one-handed pushups when I was younger.” He paused to think. “You really do like older men, don’t you?” Chance gave a bashful nod. “It’s not because I... I just do, all right? I always have.” “Just tell me you don’t have a professor/student kink, because, frankly, I think that with dabbling in D/s and being shot at, I’ve had enough surprises for one night.” Chance pinkened. “Um...” Allen found himself chuckling. “Okay, fair enough. You’re never going to cease to amaze me, Chance.” “I’m not trying to...” Chance began to twirl his hair again. His blue eyes shone with worry. “Allen, about what you saw...” Allen kept his attention carefully riveted on washing his sink clear of blood. “This can’t wait?” he asked, keeping his voice calm. From his peripheral vision, he saw Chance shake his head. “I don’t think so. I mean, you have a right to know.” He was trembling again. Allen made an impromptu vow to get Chance to where he wasn’t jumping at his own shadow every time he got worked up. “Allen, I’m a... I’m not a... Allen?” Allen turned from the sink to lift his good arm and place his hand on Chance’s shoulder, squeezing lightly. “No. I think I should be the one talking here,” he said, kind, but firm. “Chance, as far as I’m concerned you’re a young man who treats his dog right and, for some reason, seems to like me. No, no, hush. I’m not questioning that part of the equation anymore. I’ll take you on faith. Which is saying a lot.” He shook his head. “You might have some other facets to your personality, but they don’t so much matter to me.” Chance bit his lip. “You don’t want to know the truth?” “Maybe someday, I will. But not tonight.” Allen leaned in to kiss that tempting lip, then the upper one, and finally the matched set. Despite his nerves, Chance moaned and leaned into the kiss, his tongue tentatively touching Allen’s own. When he drew away, Allen knew he was smiling. Unable to stop himself, Allen ruffled up Chance’s hair. Chance made a noise of protest and ducked away, but he was grinning. “Whippersnapper,” Allen said without any heat. “Come on, help an old guy to his bed. I feel the need to lie down for a bit.” Instantly, Chance was all Florence Nightingale. He grabbed Allen’s good arm and started supporting Allen’s weight as if it were his leg and not his bicep that had been wounded. “Okay,” Chance said, sober as a judge. “Just tell me what direction.” Allen laughed. “Down at the end of the hall, last door on your right. You really don’t have to--” “I know, but I want to.” Chance smiled uncertainly. “It’s my fault, after all.” He got a better grip on Allen. “I forgot how, um, people unlike me don’t heal that quickly.” “Chance...”
“I’m not talking about it. Honest.” Chance raised his right hand in the Vulcan sign. “Boy scout’s honor.” “Now why do I have a hard time believing you were ever in the Scouts?” They reached Allen’s bedroom door. Chance neatly turned the knob and kneed it open, letting them inside. Allen glanced around with a new take on how bare and brown/white it was all the way down to the comforter and pillows on his bed. No splashes of color anywhere, but with blond and blue at his arm, it, too, seemed easier on the eye. Chance guided Allen to his bed and pushed at him until he lay down. Then he hesitated. “Can I...?” “Can you what? Oh! You mean can you lie on the other side. Sure.” Allen patted the spot. At least he’d invested in a good cushiony mattress. When Chance slipped into place, his robe opened again, but there was hardly a ripple to jostle Allen’s arm. He held the other arm out for Chance to snuggle into, as the lad seemed to need a firm cuddle, and was gratified when Chance zoomed in to be held. Stroking the magnificent head that had found a new home on his chest, Allen breathed easier. “I’ve got my own issues that I’m bringing to the table here.” He reminded Chance of their earlier conversation when they’d been en route to Chance’s place. “A lover who was my whole world, until he died. A sort-of ex-girlfriend. A psycho ex-ex-ex boyfriend, a.k.a. a one-night stand, who went more than a little nuts. I keep crazy hours, what with working at the clinic and my time spent on the column.” Chance popped up. “You write a column? You mean, for the newspapers and things?” “Something like that.” Allen felt a glow of pride as he thought about the e-mails and letters, the commendations, and the print book that he hoped might be coming out soon. “All of the above is a big part of my life. But I’ve got room for someone else. Or I’ll make room.” “You will?” Chance looked eager and hopeful, yet still uncertain. “You’re still interested in me?” “Trust me, Chance, you would not be naked, or nearly naked, in my bed if I didn’t have more than a passing interest.” Allen nudged Chance’s head back into place. “It won’t all be easy. We have to deal with your family, I know, but surely in a city as big asCharleston there’s got to be other... families... you can strike a deal with.” Chance was still for a long time, then nodded. “There are some other relatives,” he said in a small voice. “But my brothers said I wasn’t supposed to look them up.” “Well, you will,” Allen replied firmly. “Tomorrow, or as soon as you feel able. We’ll see about setting up a new-family meeting that’ll keep you safe.” Chance made a happy noise and pressed his cheek into Allen’s chest. “And I’ll be able to stay with you until then?” Allen took a deep breath. “I’m hoping you’ll stay afterward.” Chance stilled. “Allen?” “One day at a time, Chance. We’ll deal with things as they happen. Right now, I happen to be in bed with the cutest young thing to cross my path for, well, ever.” Allen brought his hand up to pet the soft blond hair, chuckling at the involuntary happy noises Chance made.Just like a puppy .
Or maybe not entirely like a puppy. Certain parts of Allen’s body were well pleased to inform him that he had an eager stud-puppy clinging to him. They suggested, firmly, that he ought to take affirmative action and to step on that good old gas pedal while he was at it. Three times in one night? Allen shook his head in disbelief. He wasn’t hard yet, or even getting there, but all signs pointed to his possibly getting lucky again if everything cooperated. That included Chance. Which also meant asking Chance. Allen hesitated. The kid had been through a hell of a lot. Snuggliness aside, there was no reason why Chance would feel up to a re-repeat performance. I won’t ask. He didn’t have to. Chance made another soft sound and began skating his palm down Allen’s stomach. “Allen? Can I?” He circled around Allen’s navel. “I mean, with you hurt and all.” “I should be a better man and say no,” Allen admitted even as his hips gave a small involuntary jerk. “But the hell with it. Far be it from me to stop you from doing whatever you please. Maybe both of us could do with a little stress relief right now.” His lover murmured low in his throat. He moved his hand again, sliding all the way down to Allen’s perking cock. Helping Allen scoot out of his torn pants, Chance made quick work of the singed clothing before hurrying on to the good part. First cupping the balls, rolling them just right, then lifting his fingers to circle the shaft itself, Chance growled softly as if he were perfectly content. “Chance, are you sure?” “Very,” Chance said softly. “I know of ways that won’t hurt your arm. If you trust me?” Allen considered the question. Part of him, he knew, should have run screaming into the night when he first saw Chance’s eyes and kind of figured out what was going on -- and that it wasn’t anyHollywood hocus-pocus. But then, he’d more or less decided Chance was someone worth saving, someone who needed to be cared about as much as Allen knew he himself needed somebody to care for. “I do trust you,” Allen said aloud, stroking Chance’s hair. “Whatever you have in mind, go to it.” He pushed a little with his hips. “I’m more than glad to go along with you, however you’re managing to do this to an old man once again.” “Notthat old,” Chance grumbled. He gave Allen’s cock a reassuring tug. “Just right.” He moved his head. “Well, can I?” Allen let go. “By all means.” Just as Allen had hoped, Chance looked up and flashed him a grin before wiggling his way down Allen’s body. He stopped in what looked like a fairly uncomfortable position, but appeared to be pleased with himself. Allen found himself pretty happy when Chance leaned over his hips and sucked that partially erect cock into his mouth. As Chance’s lips touched Allen’s heating flesh, Allen gasped and reared back. If he’d thought the earlier blowjob in his car was something to write home about, this was worthy of a novel. Light, fleeting glances of tongue followed by good hard suction, never settling down into a rhythm but instead staying irregular
enough to put him on edge and keep him there. Allen couldn’t help grabbing Chance’s head again and forcing the young man’s mouth further down, surging up into that hot, wet mouth. All too soon, Chance drew off, licking his lips. Though he felt dazed, Allen heard himself asking: “That it?” “Nope.” Chance’s tone was coy, as were the fingers running through Allen’s light trail of hair that arrowed down to his cock. “There’s something else we can do. And you’re ready now.” Allen’s pulse quickened. “I really do hope that you’re thinking what I’m thinking.” “Probably,” Chance said with a flutter of his eyelashes. “Do you have any lube?” “Top drawer.” Just as he’d been at the cabin, Allen spoke in short words because they were all he could manage. “Should be a bottle. And a...” he paused. All things considered, he wasn’t sure he should insist on a condom. Chance seemed to read his mind. “I’m clean,” he murmured quietly. “I can’t... diseases don’t spread like that. Not with people like me. And I wouldn’t lie to you, honest.” He paused. “Are you really sure you don’t want to know the truth?” Allen had enough presence of mind to shake his head decisively. “Nope,” he declared. “Not now. Get on with this first.” Chance held still for a moment before nodding. “Okay.” He sounded indecisive, but then squared his shoulders and slithered back up Allen’s body. His grin was anything but hesitant -- in fact, it was blindingly brilliant. “Later we talk?” “Later we do whatever the hell you want. Right now...” “Oh, yeah.” Chance nodded eagerly. “Lube.” He reached over Allen, careful of the injured arm, and pulled the bedside table’s drawer open. With what was possibly a young man’s unerring focus, he found the bottle of Liquid Silk right away and made a sound of appreciation. “Good stuff.” Allen chuckled. “Only the best.” He shifted, his free hand worming its way down to his cock for a few stiff tugs. Yep, he was hard as a rock and ready to roll. “Don’t keep me waiting. I want to be inside you, if that’s where this is heading.” Chance pulled back and leaned down for another one of those dirty, yet sweet, lingering kisses. “Okay,” he whispered against Allen’s lips before lifting off. With one knee braced on either side of Allen’s hips, he uncapped the bottle of lube and poured some into one palm. He rubbed his hands together and then anointed Allen’s cock with reverence. Allen grunted, his dick twitching in excitement. “Your turn. Don’t want to hurt you.” “Uh-uh.” Chance shook his head. “I’m still slick from earlier.” “Doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you touch yourself.” Chance’s expression turned sly. He reached for his own erection, a thing of beauty and a joy forever, and began to stroke the length. “How’s this?”
“Damn tease. You know what I meant.” “And I know I can take you.” Chance gave a shrug, and his silly blue robe fell off his shoulders to puddle on Allen’s shins. “Lusty, lusty, lusty. I’m wondering if I shouldspank you for being such a wanton.” Allen considered.Too much action, not enough satisfaction , he decided, to misquote Elvis a bit. “Bring it on.” “You bet I’m lusty. All for you.” Chance raised up and reached for Allen’s cock to position the both of them. “Ready for me?” Allen groaned in response. It must have been enough, because Chance beamed at him, and then slowly began to lower himself on Allen’s cock. Both men sighed deeply as Allen’s dick slid up Chance’s tight channel, the walls hugging him hard in just the right places. By the time Chance’s ass was flush with Allen’s groin, Allen’s heart was beating ninety miles to the hour and he could barely breathe. He did find enough air to order, “Ride me.” Chance’s eyes were hazy, but his smile bright as ever. “Yes, sir,” he said, beginning to rise up. “Anything you say, sir.” Allen shook his head in mock dismay, but gave that up as Chance began to squeeze him tight with internal muscles. “Sweet mercy!” “Yup,” Chance agreed happily. He bore down again, clenching Allen’s cock closely. Almost all the way off, he slid down with incredible grace. “Faster,” Allen pleaded. He felt like he was going to go off like a bottle rocket. Chance nodded, his head tilting back and eyes closing in pleasure. He rose and fell, his burning hole grasping Allen’s dick so hard that Allen’s head went all swimmy with the sheer pleasure. Allen reached with his good hand and somehow found Chance’s cock -- and then, miracle of miracles, discovered enough coordination to stroke it off in time with Chance’s eager movements. There were no more words then, just the noises of two men breathing hard and slick skin against slicker skin. The sounds of men getting off down and dirty style, pushing and thrusting, undulating and arching. Allen found himself nearly lifted out of his body, feeling like he was flying. He’d only met Chance earlier on in the day? Hell, it felt like a lifetime. When Allen came, it was on a strangled sob of bliss. He tugged Chance’s cock hard as he felt the first spasms; Chance’s yelp of ecstasy and the heated liquid splashing over his fingers shoved Allen the rest of the way. Fucking bareback for the first time in years, Allen felt the incredible sensation of his spunk shooting deep into Chance’s insides while he crested wave after wave of this thrill ride. Chance gave a small sob of his own, a glad-sounding one, as he stopped spurting jism. He sighed deeply, squeezing Allen’s cock a last time, then slipped carefully off and moved beside Allen. He surprised Allen by starting to lick at Allen’s stomach, cleaning off the semen with his own tongue. Darned if he didn’t look as self-satisfied as a man could, though. Allen closed his eyes and enjoyed himself until Chance was done. Then, without any words needed, the
two snuggled against one another and hung on tight. Sleep was coming on fast, but as Allen went under, the last thing he thought was that, sure, he had questions, but they didn’t matter at that moment. He was exactly where he wanted to be. God could sort out the rest, including that benighted trip to Amour Magique. And so thinking, he fell asleep... Epilogue
Allen woke with the dawn, as he was accustomed to doing. Fingers of light began to stretch their way through his plain beige blinds, stirring him out of sleep when they crept across his face. Yawning and stretching as much as he could with Chance firmly attached to his side, he took a slow, lazy stock of his situation and, frankly, couldn’t find anything to complain about. He was crazy, sure, but he couldn’t seem to be bothered with technicalities. Not with a warm lover beside him, no matter what kinds of snips and snails and puppy-dog tails might have gone into that lover’s making. Allen turned his head to brush a kiss across Chance’s forehead. Chance gave a small growl and burrowed harder against Allen. Allen laughed softly and whispered against Chance’s scalp. “Don’t get up yet. Wait here for me.” Chance murmured something and settled back down. He stayed put even as Allen carefully extricated himself from the tangle of arms and legs -- damn, Chance probably had some Velcro in him somewhere -- and rolled out of bed. Landing on his feet, his first thoughts were “coffee” and “weekend,” but then his brain got down to specifics and threw in “Saturday” plus “Liam” with “club date” for good measure. Oh, Lord. What was he supposed to do about that whole Amour Magique mess? Allen scratched at his stomach, undecided, and then determined to let it all go with the same laissez-faire as he’d mostly been feeling all along. Coffee first. Thanking God and all the saints that his caffeine machine was set on a timer and that he’d loaded it before going to work the previous day, Allen followed his nose to the small and depressingly dull kitchen. No doubt about it: he needed some color in his life. A smile drifted across Allen’s lips as he imagined himself and Chance in the aisle of Bed Bath & Beyond or Pier 1. He’d bet a hundred dollars against himself that Chance would go absolutely nuts over the colors and textures. Good thing he had sufficient funds in his bank account for at least a couple of shopping sprees. He’d let Chance have his head with the decorations, and he could also slip the building manager a couple of bills to look the other way when it came to Spot. Spot, by the way, pranced up to Allen as he entered the kitchen. “Sorry, boy, I don’t have anything handy that you might consider breakfast.” Allen crouched down to rub Spot’s ears. “We’ll fix that up in just a minute, but for right now I can at least get you some water.” A Tupperware bowl did just fine in a pinch, and after a quick trip to the kitchen taps, he had a drink all
ready for good old Spot. The Dalmatian dove in, lapping eagerly. Allen gave him another fond pat, then stood up to grab a mug and pour his own beverage of choice, steaming hot and strong enough to knock a bull down.Mmm. Good stuff. Might be too much for Chance, though. Maybe he likes tea instead. Or soda. Do I have soda? As it turned out, a glance in his fridge proved that he didn’t have anything sugary or carbonated. Ah, well, yet another reason for an early-morning trip down to the quickie-mart. First, though, hehad to send a note to his editor to explain why his column might be a little on the late side of the deadline. He could face down a crowd of -- well, a crowd -- but he didn’t care to risk pissing off the boss. He’d just detour into his home office and send off a fast e-mail, then get dressed and head to the corner store... Er, after he got dressed, that was. Damn, he had had a night all right, if he was naked as a jaybird and only just noticing it. Allen whistled softly, shaking his head as he walked. His home office was just around the corner and, really, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d computed in the nude. Didn’t mean the office chair wasn’t cold as a mother when he sat down though. Making littleooh andahh noises, Allen settled into place and powered up the laptop that had a permanent spot on his desk. A good machine, it didn’t take but a few minutes to boot, and then he was logging into hisISP . The IM service beeped into life without his noticing in more than a vague way. Working away at the business of writing a coherent yet calming note, all the while sipping coffee, Allen became so absorbed that when the IM program popped up with a message, he nearly spilled the hot black liquid all over himself.
LiLiLiam:Good morning, my friend! VetAllenVet:Fuck! LiLiLiam:Already? My, but you do move quickly. We do not go to the club until tonight. :) Or is it that you have already found someone to warm your bed? Perhaps a young man with blond hair and deep blue eyes? VetAllenVet:... VetAllenVet:Liam, I’m not even going to ask you how you already know. LiLiLiam:Aha! LiLiLiam:So I was right. You have found your one true love before we even set foot inside the club. VetAllenVet:It’s a little early to be talking about “true” and “love”... LiLiLiam:Do not deny what you feel. You have already grown to care for this one you now do not wish to wake, am I correct? VetAllenVet:I have to repeat, not going to ask.
LiLiLiam:*laughs* VetAllenVet:Fine, be that way. LiLiLiam:I often marvel at how you, the oldest save for myself, can be such a child at heart. VetAllenVet:... VetAllenVet:Still not going to ask. Especially not how old you are. LiLiLiam:Youare in a good mood. VetAllenVet:Chalk it up to the young man who, for some reason, you know I have in my bed. LiLiLiam:Make no mistake, Allen, I am most happy for you. Shall I take it, then, that you do not wish to come to the club tonight? I think perhaps your new friend may enjoy it, even if you are not in search of what most of the Brothers seek. VetAllenVet:Look, I’m still coping with a twentysomething being interested in me. You think I’m gonna risk him with a club full of hot young things? LiLiLiam:I think you can trust him with anything. He has already trusted you with much. VetAllenVet:OK, maybe I’ll ask. VetAllenVet:You know so much. Tell me this.
Allen paused in his typing.
VetAllenVet:Is what I suspect about Chance the truth?
He waited impatiently for Liam’s reply.
LiLiLiam:Find out for yourself, my friend. Everything in due time. But do come to the club tonight, and bring your new lover. I would not have you miss out on the wonders of Amour Magique. There is something for everyone here, and I would very much like to meet this Chance. VetAllenVet:I’ll think about it. LiLiLiam:Very well; I can ask for no more. Simply keep it in your mind. And whether you do come in person or not, there will be no trouble. I will see to that. I have... special gifts. The Brotherhood will have no reason to think you are elsewhere. But, should you choose to join us and bring your new flame, they
will not spot him. Your secret can yet be safe for a while. VetAllenVet:*typing* LiLiLiam:*chuckles*You probably do not wish to ask. VetAllenVet:You’d be right. LiLiLiam:Hurry up and finish your e-mail, then go for provender and return to your young man. He will soon wake without you, and I suspect it would be best if you were at his side.
Allen stopped again, drumming his fingers on the desktop.
VetAllenVet:Okay, I’ll do that. But, Liam... maybe I could ask you for a favor? LiLiLiam:You have but to make the request. VetAllenVet:I haven’t even hinted yet. LiLiLiam:Would it surprise you if I said that I have a fairly good idea? VetAllenVet:Not really. VetAllenVet:Chance had kind of a falling out with two of his own sort-of brothers. I think he’s got more family in town. Don’t think you could finagle a meeting with them, could you? I think Chance is a little shy. LiLiLiam:Ah, now you are talking. Let me see. I do know of one or two, and if you will open a blank document to take down my directions, I will set you upon the right path.
Allen grinned while he did as directed. New day, new lover, new family. And he might even get out of going to that dance club after all. It’d been a hell of a day and night, from Sarah McLachlan tickets to finding a new lover to a gunfight, but Allen decided he was more than content. He felt... happy.
VetAllenVet:Go ahead. LiLiLiam:With great pleasure. The proper man you should meet with can be found at...
Allen felt the warm pressure of a hand on his shoulder. He looked around to see Chance behind him,
bare-ass naked as well, eyes sleepy but smile bright. “Amour Magique? Someone invited you to Amour Magique? And I can come, too?” He started bouncing on his heels, sleep-rumpled hair flopping excitedly. “Oh, my God, we have to go.” Allen tilted back his head and laughed. “We’ll see, Chance. We’ll see.” Chance darted down and kissed Allen on the cheek.
LiLiLiam:Young love is so sweet, yes?
Allen ignored Liam in favor of a hearty good-morning kiss. The first, he hoped, of many. Liam could wait a few minutes. Or maybe more than a few...
Although a relative newcomer to the field of e-publishing, Willa Okati has been writing since before she was old enough to pick up a pen. She thinks she knows where those dictated stories are hidden, but she'll never tell. Willa is also very interested in the paranormal: magery, Wicca, New Age philosophy, transgender studies, and of course, writing. You can drag her away from the computer if you really fight, but you'd better be prepared for a battle. Just so she doesn't sound entirely dull, Willa has her fun: she is a practicing member of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) and is involved in her community. She is owned by far too many cats, all of which have serious attitudes, and addicted to anything made out of chocolate or involving coffee. She is quiet, but has a very wicked sense of humor that springs out when you least expect it. A secretary for eight years, she now writes full-time -- and wouldn't trade it for the world. She loves to hear from readers, and always responds. You can contact her at [email protected]
, or visit her website to check out her work at www.willaokati.com.