Controlling the Burn (MM)
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Drew Ward knows how to keep his head in the game and, now that he’s accomplished his mission to become one of the elite Loveland Smoke Jumpers, he’s turning his attention to the man he’s wanted nearly half his life. Seasoned smoke jumper Wesley Payton might be twenty years older, but he’s one hotbed of perfection Drew aims to have, and he won’t stop his pursuit until Wesley belongs to him.
Wesley has avoided being caught alone with Drew for six weeks, but he hasn’t managed to evade the fire burning inside him for the younger man. Drew is sinfully sexy, dangerously tempting, and Wesley knows if he lets the man get too close he’ll be toast. But Drew isn’t a man who backs off easily, and when Wesley suddenly finds himself in the man’s arms, he knows he’s parachuted into a wildfire he won’t be able to control.
Wesley Payton gazed into Drew’s arctic-blue eyes and felt the effect tingle in his cock. Icy eyes like that should have frozen his blood. Instead, they released a powerful avalanche that started at Wesley’s head, charged through his chest, slammed into his rapidly stiffening dick, and threatened to crush his resistance.
Geezus, why hadn’t he realized?
Head spinning and mouth suddenly dry, Wesley took a deep breath and attempted to pry his tongue from where it had gotten stuck to his palate when he opened the door to his quarters. He nearly swallowed said tongue when Drew’s gaze did a leisurely slide down his bare chest. Blue flames melted the ice of Drew’s eyes, turning them to blowtorches as they burned a path down Wesley’s abdomen and stomach, stopping at the waistband of his blue jeans.
“Hi.” Wesley managed the single word, then forgot how to speak English when Drew’s gaze leapt to his face. Acute desire danced in the flames in his eyes and Wesley’s heart beat so damn fast he wondered it didn’t bounce right out of his chest.
Yeah, no shit, Sherlock. Like I needed that news flash?
Mere minutes ago, Wesley had been gloriously oblivious. Then, a Google search for something he should have long ago put behind him had landed him on Drew’s Facebook page. Suddenly, he’d found himself saying good-bye to obliviousness and hello to utter stupidity.
Drew Ward was positively, brightly, and proudly out-of-the-closet gay. Yet, he’d never said anything. For six weeks, Wesley had been controlling the burn Drew ignited inside him, not once suspecting the man was gay. Befuddlement coupled with a double-healthy dose of disgust had made it easy. Who cared if Drew was gay? The man was twenty years Wesley’s junior, for crying out loud. Wesley was insanely attracted to a frigging kid!
“Hi, back.” The Loveland Smoke Jumpers T-shirt Drew wore strained over the well-muscled bicep he leaned against the doorframe. A small smile hinting at mischief and wicked intents tilted the corner of his too-kissable lips. “There’s speculation among the unit outside that you’re thinkin’ if you stay holed up in here we’ll forget about you and leave.”
“Evading wasn’t my intention.” At least it hadn’t been until he’d taken that spiraling skydive through cyberspace and landed on his head.
“Going wasn’t either.” Another of those pulse-accelerating, hormone-soaring scans of Wesley’s bare chest made Drew’s words more statement than question.
“Naw, you guys go have your fun. The season officially kicks off tomorrow. Who knows when you’ll get another chance to let loose?”
A sandy-blond ringlet fell over Drew’s forehead and his right brow met it halfway. “Case in point. With the predictions of the hot, dry months ahead, none of us may get another chance to step off this base for a night out until October. And you plan to, what”—he tipped his angular chin toward the laptop Wesley had left sitting open on his bed—“spend it in here alone surfing the web?”
“And catching somethin’ mind-numbing on TV before I settle in for a good night’s sleep. I figure I’ll wake tomorrow morning well-rested and ready for the siren to sound while the rest of you will be nursing hangovers and wishing you’d joined me instead.”
Wesley watched the mischief and wicked intents in Drew’s eyes climb to dangerous heights and knew he should’ve chosen his words more carefully. Son of a bitch. He recognized desire, sheer carnal thirst, when he saw it, and damn if the kid was making it blatantly known the attraction wasn’t one-sided.
Six weeks. Six freaking weeks and Wesley hadn’t seen anything in the kid but a sheer determination to be one of the elite, one of the ones who made the cut at the end of rookie training and became a part of the smoke jumper unit. They had started with a class of more than twenty candidates. Six grueling weeks later, only five had survived.
Wesley saw more tonight, though. Drew was one of those five that had made the cut. At the end of the day, he had been embraced by the unit as one of their own, one of the elite, a smoke jumper. With his mission accomplished, at least for the day, the kid had apparently set his sights on a new goal, and damn if it wasn’t looking like Wesley was that target.
Drew straightened, the expression on his flawless face starkly sexual and potently determined. “Then I’ll join you.” He flicked a glance past Wesley and asked, “Do I push my way inside or are you gonna invite me in?”
Shit. Shit. Triple shit. No way. No fucking way could Wesley let this kid inside his quarters. An image of Drew flattening his hands on Wesley’s chest skated through his mind. He all but felt Drew’s strength as the kid shoved him back, pushed his way into the room, and kicked the door closed behind him.
Then Wesley saw himself falling back, taking Drew down with him as they landed on the bed. He all but felt Drew’s solid body pinning him down, the kid’s face a fraction of an inch from his, and saw himself burst into flames as Drew captured his mouth in a kiss that stole the last ounce of his sanity.
Wesley desperately tightened his hold on his resistance. He struggled to keep his expression blank, praying to any power who might be listening that Drew couldn’t see him frantically digging a mental firebreak, hoping to stop the progression of the flames before he spontaneously combusted. “Neither. The unit is waiting for you at the bus. Go have a good time. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Tonya Ramagos is a best-selling author of contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and cowboy novels. She spends most of her time in a fictional world dreaming up hot hunks and head-strong heroines. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. Anything from legal and military non-fiction to any genre of romance can be found on her Kindle. Her music tastes are just as varied with favorite artists ranging from Billy Currington to Disturbed. Her idea of relaxing is curling up on the sofa or her back deck with a book and her favorite beverage. Born and raised in Pascagoula, MS, she is now a resident of Chattanooga, TN where she lives with her boyfriend and their five children.
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