Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Morticia Knight 2014. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.
“You mean birthday boy? The one with the perpetual frown?”
Zach couldn’t believe that Tom Sherwood—one of the firemen who played against him on Mesa’s cop versus firemen softball league—was actually suggesting Daryl Richards. The man was known by all public servants as the crankiest man on the planet—perhaps the universe. Zach was a guy who liked to have a good time, share some laughs. Enjoy life. Hooking up with Fire Marshal Daryl seemed like an incredibly stupid idea. Even if he only wanted to get laid. However, that wasn’t what he was looking for anymore.
“He’s actually a really nice guy.” Tom cleared his throat. “Once you get to know him.”
Zach smirked at Tom. “Uh-huh. I’m sure he is. Except I’m not into those sadomasochistic types of relationships.”
Tom frowned. “I don’t think that’s fair. He’s been without anyone for a long time. I heard he really got his heart broken and hasn’t been the same since.”
“That he got his heart broken?”
“No. That he has one.”
Tom crossed his arms in front of him. “Fine. Be that way. But you’re the one who sounds heartless right now.”
Zach sighed and bent down to pick up a soda out of the cooler. He straightened then popped the can open and took a sip of the cola. The sounds of kids playing, the happy laughter of families and the sizzle of barbecues surrounded him. It was a warm early September day and there was a slight breeze. There was enough cover from the trees in the section of the park they were in that it made the ever-present Arizona heat tolerable.
Tom had also helped himself to a soda. “Okay what?”
“I’ll…go talk to him.”
Tom shrugged. “Whatever. At the last softball game you were bitching ‘cause you were looking for someone to get serious about and there didn’t seem to be anyone out there like that.”
Zach snorted. “Yeah, get serious about. Not someone who was serious.”
Tom rolled his eyes and opened his own soda. Zach wasn’t trying to be a dick about the whole thing, but when Tom had said he knew the perfect guy for him, Zach had got his hopes up. He couldn’t imagine being in a long-term relationship with someone who looked like he wanted to spit on him every time he was near. Zach didn’t take it personally—Daryl looked at everyone like that.
It really was too bad in other ways, because Daryl was one fine-looking man. He was a little rough around the edges, which was pretty hot. His nose had obviously been on the receiving end of someone’s fist at one time in his life. There was a small stripe of missing hair at the edge of an eyebrow—likely from a cut. His cheekbones were very defined, his chin strong and his blue eyes set deep in his face. He had a scruffy moustache and close-trimmed beard. It was the same colour as his hair—light brown. It was long enough for Zach to hold onto as Daryl swallowed his cock.
He hadn’t even had a chance to dwell on Daryl’s well-built body and already he was about to make an ass of himself by getting an erection at the combination softball and birthday barbecue.
“There you are, Tom.”
Speaking of well-built men.
Eric Anderson—Tom’s lover and West Mesa’s Fire Chief—approached Tom and casually draped his arm on his hip. He leaned over and whispered something in Tom’s ear, and the young firefighter laughed. They looked so happy together, so unconcerned about what others may think. He couldn’t deny his envy.
Everyone knew of Tom and Eric’s relationship—it had been plastered all over the news the previous year when they’d been outed during an arson investigation. Tom had been Eric’s alibi for an overnight arson fire. There were those who disapproved of their union, but, fortunately, they were in the minority. Tom and Eric didn’t seem to care and Zach was glad. He lived openly as well, even when it had been difficult for him at the police precinct. Jake, the detective who had left the force after the Bondage Butcher killings, had always told Zach that people would find something to hate about him anyway, if that’s the type of people they were. He and Jake had pulled some shifts together a couple of times before Jake had been promoted to detective. He’d been sorry to see him go.
“Isn’t there someone you need to go talk to?”
Zach shook his head. “I can see you’re not going to let this go.”
Eric looked confused.
“Talk to who?”
Tom appeared uncomfortable all of a sudden. “No one.”
Zach scrunched his eyebrows together. “No one? I thought he was going to be the fucking love of my life?”
“Oh, now I gotta know.”
“Tom wants me to put the make on Daryl over there. Mr Happy Birthday Boy.”
Eric bent over laughing, slapping his knee. He stood again, wiping under one eye. “Oh, my God, you’re killing me.” He turned to Tom, “Babe, what on earth made you think Zach should get together with him of all people?”
Tom put his hands on his hips. “You’re both asses. Just ‘cause a guy’s not laughing it up all the time doesn’t mean he might not be a good prospect.”
“Yeah, a good prospect at ripping my dick off,” Zach muttered.
“Fine. Screw you both.”
“Ah, babe, c’mere. I’m sorry.”
Eric grabbed Tom by the waist and pulled him over, chuckling. Tom leaned into him—playfully pushing him away—and seemed to forgive his lover, the hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth.
Zach thought of Tom and Eric as two of his closest friends, but sometimes he wanted to punch them. They were so damn cute and cuddly all the time.
He sighed, deciding he might as well get it over with. After downing the rest of his soda, he tossed the can into the recycling bin then wiped his hands on his jeans to get the condensation off them.
“Okay, cover me. I’m going in.”