Walking Wounded

Walking Wounded

Lee Rowan

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 Alone in the world, John Hansen joined the British Army to be a part of something bigger than himself, and do some good in the world as a UN peacekeeper. He did not expect to meet the love of his life during officers' training.

Kevin Kendrick had something to prove to himself and his career-officer father. He had never met anyone who meant as much to him as John, but he had doubts about his lover's career decisions... and he was driven to join the SAS because it was the one military achievement his father had tried for and failed.

Torn apart by their ambitions, they find themselves together years later--and what feels like centuries more battered. Both are eager to seize their second chance at happiness, but Kevin's past isn't through with him yet, and they must face an enemy from his past to win back their future.

 
PUBLISHED BY: Bristlecone Pine Press
ISBN: 978-1-60722-012-1
PUBLICATION DATE: 2009
WORD COUNT: 58916
SEXUAL CONTENT RATING: 4 4 4 4
EBOOK READER RATING:
CATEGORIES: Romantic Fiction, ManLove
KEYWORDS: contemporary, romance, gay, England, military
 

EBOOKS BY Bristlecone Pine Press

EBOOKS BY Lee Rowan

 
EXCERPT
COPYRIGHT Lee Rowan/2009

 Reunion

“Sit down, then.” John put a bottle in his hand and pointed to the futon. “I’ll dish this up.”

Kevin had finished the beer before John got the plates filled. He’d found a set of television trays at a thrift shop, though this was the first occasion he’d had to use more than one of them. He balanced both plates on one tray and dropped the second onto his friend’s knees, sliding Kevin’s plate down when the tray stopped joggling. “Here. Get some of this into you, I’ll get you another bottle.”

“‘Malt’,” Kevin said, “‘does more than Milton can, to justify God’s ways to man’.”

“Glad to hear it.” He put the food and beer cartons on a third tray, and settled himself down on the futon with everything in easy reach. If Kevin needed to get drunk, this was the safest time and place he could find. Safe from the world? a mocking voice in his head inquired. Or safe from you?

I’m not going to hurt him. Of that, he was sure. But how could he judge? Here he was, still trying to get himself back to something approaching normal, presuming to know what was best for his dearest friend and erstwhile lover. Yes, he wanted to take Kevin in his arms, take him to bed, reach back to that time before they were both so badly damaged. But his own motives should be examined. The ethical injunction against treating one’s own family had a sound basis.

Then again, if Kevin had wanted an army psych doc, he would surely have had access to one. The SAS might even have insisted on it. But he came here instead. Or maybe after they were through with him.

He came to me. The thought simultaneously warmed and frightened him, and he set it aside for a little while to enjoy the Indian food. Interesting that Kevin had chosen this echo of their first time, the same sort of food but not the same selections. He had brought all John’s favorites, too. He’d remembered.

They both ate ravenously and finished off a few more beers. “I forgot dessert,” Kevin said at last.

“Too full right now.” John set the tray down beside his feet. “There might be ice cream in the freezer.”

“You’re right. Maybe later.” Kevin relaxed against the cushions, staring upward. “D’you know there’s a spider on your ceiling?”

“Good. It’ll keep the flies away.” He leaned back, too, suddenly aware of how close Kevin was. He could smell Kevin’s aftershave, something new that blended deliciously with the food’s aromas, could hear the faint exhalation of his breath, even sense the warmth rising off his body. He turned slightly, just to look at him, and saw that Kevin was watching him, too.

“Your hair’s longer.” Kevin touched John’s short pigtail. “I like it, but—?”

“I didn’t want to look like a soldier anymore. Saves on haircuts, too—I can trim the front myself.” He ran his fingers through Kevin’s shorter, military cut. His hair looked nearly brown now, not the dark blond it had been years back. “You need to get out in the sun more often.”

“I suppose I do. It’s been like living under a rock, this past year.”

“And I don’t suppose you’re allowed to talk about it.”

“Not much, no. This last mess—yes, some of it. But not right now.”

The expression in his eyes said well enough what he’d like to do now; it didn’t need to be spoken. They slowly leaned in toward one another, but John’s scruples got the better of him, and he put a hand on Kevin’s cheek. “Kev, not that I don’t want to—but are you sure?”

In answer Kevin seized him by the hair and devoured his mouth. Right or wrong, he was clearly sure. And John had never been more certain of anything in his life. He’s using you, that nasty little voice in his head told him smugly. He wants to feel alive, and he knows you’ll do that for him.

Yes, he acknowledged. I suppose he does. And if I can, I will! And what’s wrong with that? A fierce resentment at the whole notion of clinical detachment flashed through him, and he let Kevin’s need pull him out of his intellect and back into his body. How long had it been? Too long. Years. It was all very well for a psychiatrist to say that he needed to work on his own emotions first, but unless you had someone else to exercise those emotions with, what was the point?

And it was so sweet, better than his favorite memories. There was nothing in the world to match the taste of his lover’s mouth. He ran his hands up under Kevin’s sweater, tugged the tail of his shirt free so he could slide his hand in to stroke that sensitive spot at the base of Kevin’s spine. Kev shivered, and the two of them started to slide sideways. Then Kevin let out a yelp.

“What’s wrong?” John gasped, untangling himself.

Halfway on top of him, Kevin shifted his weight. “Right arm. I’ve got to be careful. Don’t worry, it’s almost healed.”

"Our last action. We had casualties..." John’s blood turned to ice-water. “My God, you were shot?” His hand shook as he reached to touch the sleeve. “How? When—?”

“Tell you later. Not now, Johnny, please...” Kevin grabbed John’s sweatshirt with both hands, demonstrating that he could use the arm. It was not terribly obvious that the right arm didn’t move quite as easily as the left and John pretended not to notice, shivering as the cool air of the room hit his bare skin. “It’s nearly well,” Kevin said. “Just don’t flop over on it.”

The hem of the shirt caught John’s chin; while he was untangling himself Kevin took advantage of the distraction, pushing him flat and lunging on top of him like he was going for a goal, nuzzling hungrily at the juncture of neck and shoulder, and John had to laugh. “Kevin, if you want something just ask.”

He pulled a cushion under his own head and held Kevin close, careful this time to let that right arm dangle over the edge. He’d been surprised, their first time together, at how strong Kevin was despite the difference in their height. He wasn’t surprised now, just relieved that Kevin seemed his old eager self. Whatever else had befallen them, that at least had not changed.

He stopped trying to think and just let himself feel—the warm mouth and cool breath on his throat sending shivers down his spine, the soft brush of the sweater on his belly, the hardness against his thigh. It was happening faster than he expected, faster than he’d hoped, maybe faster than he wanted—but he would have died sooner than stop it.

Kevin’s mouth slid up the side of his jaw; their lips met again and he was overwhelmed, wrapping arms and legs around his lover, hardly believing it was real but determined to hold on. He should get his pants off, he should get Kevin out of those clothes, they really should— and what about a condom?—but it was too late, he had Kev’s arse in both hands and they were rocking together, lunging against each other.

 
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