Soldiers live in close quarters day and night. A natural result is the occasional conflict, which can usually be quickly resolved. The trouble with Connor Harris and model sexy Myles Jace is never resolved even after a quick thinking drill instructor tries to use their differences as a learning tool, an experiment that ends badly and widens the rift between the men.
I had never picked up a hitchhiker, but I figured I could take on any trouble that might come my way. A cute little blond named Norman slid into the passenger seat next to me, his wicked grin beaming over at me as he said thanks. I hadn’t picked him up for sex but he turned out to be a little blond lifeboat who could fold himself around me like origami. “That was a lotta fun man, gonna miss you,” Norman said while gathering his gear. We were parked across from the main gate of the base I had been assigned to. End of the road for me. The next day I was due to start my duty and was going to rack out early to be ready.
I heard a shower running in back of the latrine, hooked up my towel and gear, and went into a stall. I hadn’t been paying attention to the other shower, caught a glimpse of someone else in the drying area, and stepped out to face my past. The tall guy turned and I prepared to smile, only to find myself looking up into the face of Jace. We both stopped dead still, and time seemed to stop. The last I had seen of him I was being rolled onto a stretcher and he was standing next to me, chest heaving like a charging bull and dripping sweat. He was still breathtakingly beautiful, couldn’t deny that. There was a moment when our eyes met that I saw a flicker of excitement in Jace’s eyes. A tiny faint smile crossed his lips and I thought in that split second that he was going to give me a full on smile, but it stopped short. Tightly cinching the towel around his waist, Jace simply turned and left the shower room.
Luckily, we were too busy most of the time for me to even think of Jace. I did have some buddies by then. One was a smart, foul mouthed guy from the Company next to us. He had the laugh of a demon, the smile of a swindler, and the charm of a snake handler. A south Texas rancher, Gil did not know a stranger. Everyone was met with that wide, sun bright grin and a “Howdy.” He was one of those guys who connected everyone, which I of course found endearing, and the fact that he was cute as a bug and built like his muscles had been sewn on like a costume drew me to him even more. The one person who, naturally, was not taken with Gil was Jace. Oh, he tolerated the jokes and shenanigans well enough, but it seemed like he bristled whenever Gil would take a poke at me, no matter how lighthearted or even if it was just teasing.
I began finding my space shared with some kind of livestock everyday – a spider in my bunk before bedtime, a scorpion couple that had decided to check into one of my boots for a little R&R in the morning, and several snakes made their way into my locker. I had no set proof that Jace was behind the placement of any of them desert creatures, but since the fight I did suddenly seem to have more than my share of them invading my space.