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.I want his boss.I want Santiago.”“So do I.We all do.But there will always be someone else.There is always the next boss up the chain.We need to try and have some kind of life besides work whenever we have the time.”“You should go home and be with your family, but there’s no reason I can’t keep working.”“Isn’t there? I would think you might have another way to spend the day tomorrow as well.” He looked over Scott’s shoulder.Then a hand rested lightly on Scott’s arm, and Noah’s slow, soft voice said, “I already asked another guide to take my tour tomorrow.We can use one of the smaller fishing boats.”50Bren ChristopherNoah moved to stand in front of him, face tilting up slightly to smile into his eyes.“You’re not going to make me spend the whole day all by myself, with nothing to do?”Looking from Rivera’s grin back to Noah’s big, innocent eyes, Scott muttered,“I sense a conspiracy.”Rivera snorted.“And you made detective before I did.Where is the justice?” He started for the door.“Don’t worry.I’ll call if I hear anything.”* * *Scott watched as Noah tossed the anchor overboard and then jumped out of the boat, splashing his way on to the white sand beach on the windward side of one of the numerous small mangrove islands in the bay.Scott followed a little more slowly.They spread the blanket on the sand, and then Noah stripped out of his shorts and T-shirt with no hesitation.Scott let his eyes wander up and down the lean, lovely form.“Ah.I wondered why you didn’t have any tan lines.”Noah grinned.“It’s very secluded here.We’re pretty far out, away from most of the tourists.I’ve never seen anyone come close enough for a look.”“You come here a lot?”He shrugged.“You spend a lot of time by yourself, don’t you?”“I guess.”“It seems like you have a great family that really cares about you, and you could have a lot of friends if you wanted.You know everybody in town, but you don’t want to spend time with anyone.”“I don’t know.I guess I need to get away sometimes.”“What about all this time you’re spending with me?”“I like being with you.You’re comfortable.And comforting.When I’m with you, I feel safe.”Big Cypress Crossroads51“Safe?”“I’m not talking about physically safe, although that’s true too.Just…safe.Like you would never deliberately hurt me.”“Of course I wouldn’t.Although that’s a lot to assume about somebody you just met.”“It’s not an assumption.Are you going to take off your shorts? I want to get in the water and cool off.”Scott looked around, still a little doubtful about skinny-dipping where any tourist might come along.Slipping his arms around the still-clothed man, Noah pressed his naked body against him.“What’s the matter?” he teased.“Afraid I’ll ruin your reputation if someone sees us?”Scott drew the bare form close as he stroked Noah’s smooth, sun-warmed back, then reached down to cup his ass.“Afraid I won’t be able to control myself.Could make quite a spectacle right here on the beach.”“That’s the idea.”“Hey, where’re you going?” Scott complained as Noah squirmed out of his arms and went splashing into the water.“What the hell.” Scott quickly stripped and headed for the spot where Noah had ducked under the water to swim.It was still morning, but it was going to be a hot, humid day, and the water felt cool as it washed away the sweat from the boat ride.The sand squishing between his toes made his balance even more precarious than usual, but it felt good too.He felt great being outdoors, being active again.Like waking up from a deep sleep and emerging into the light of a sunny afternoon.During the last couple of days, Scott had felt a knot in his stomach that he hadn’t even realized was there start to slowly loosen.After months of feeling only anger, or grief, or nothing at all, it felt like a revelation to experience other 52Bren Christopheremotions—emotions he did not yet have a name for but which were, nevertheless, growing stronger every day.He struggled not to feel guilty about letting go of some of the anger that had sustained him through the long hospital stay, the painful physical therapy sessions, and the dreams where he woke up yelling futilely for his men to run away from that house of death.Maneuvering through the water to where he thought Noah might surface, he readied himself with a smile, feeling like a kid.When Noah’s head popped up, a naked Scott was there, reaching for him and barely managing to grab him before he squirmed away again.“Damn it,” Scott complained.“Have a little respect for a crippled old man.I can’t go chasing you all around, boy.”Noah snorted and splashed him, then ducked under the water again.They spent the next hour swimming and wrestling.Scott was stronger, but Noah was fast and slippery.When Scott did manage to pin him down, he’d make the young man pay, as he had discovered that Noah was extremely ticklish.Scott did not hesitate to use his newfound knowledge and showed no mercy, even when Noah’s shrieks of laughter made him hope the guide was right and they were really as isolated as he’d said.Anybody would think he was torturing a cat, judging by the noises Noah made when Scott dug his fingers into his ribs.Eventually, they went back to the blanket and collapsed, both of them panting and worn out.After a few moments of rest, Noah sat up.“I’m going to get the cooler off the boat.Here.” He handed Scott the sunscreen.“I’ll do your back after I get the drinks.”“If you let me do yours.”“You can do me anytime.”“I’ll hold you to that.””Beer or water?” Noah asked when he returned.“Water for now.”Big Cypress Crossroads53Noah dug out two bottles and then reached for the suntan lotion.Scott sat, drinking from the cool, wet bottle as Noah moved behind him and started running lotion-covered hands up Scott’s back.“Broad shoulders,” Noah murmured.“Your muscles are really solid.Do you work out in a gym?”“I used to go every morning, but I’m out of my routine now.I have the physical therapy exercises, though.I keep up with those.”“They’re paying off, aren’t they? Did you notice how you got out of the boat today without using your cane?”Scott relaxed, eyes half-closed as he enjoyed the slow stroking of Noah’s hands moving up and down his back gently.As the young man moved closer to smooth the lotion over Scott’s shoulders, a whisper of breath in his ear went straight to his groin, and Scott opened his eyes.Wet hair trailed across his skin, tickling and arousing at the same time.Reaching for Noah, he pulled him around.“My turn,” he said.“Can’t have you getting a burn.What would that do to my plans for tonight?” Noah smiled, stretching out flat on his back at Scott’s urging [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]