Burning for Him
by Kristine Cayne
Valerio DeLuca, firefighter and single father, is struggling to juggle his demanding job, his young daughter, and his dreams of working on Seattle Fire Department’s technical rescue team. Most of all, he’s been struggling to hide his bisexuality from his family and coworkers.
In walks Chris Edwards, the tall, black, and incredibly handsome firefighter determined to forget the past, forget the breakup that left his heart in tatters, and start afresh at Station 59. Never again will he get involved with a man who has children. Losing a child he’d come to think of as his own just about killed him.
When Chris meets Val, he knows that Val is the man who can bring him back to life, the one who can help him to feel joy again. That is, until he learns Val’s secret.
Burning for Him © Kristine Cayne, 2018
Val’s head hurt like a motherfucker. He cracked open an eye and was immediately seized by an intense feeling of disorientation. The bright paint on the walls seemed to attack his brain like a madman with the pick end of a Halligan. Why were the walls yellow? They were supposed to be gray-blue. The walls in his own bedroom were the soothing color of the ocean, not this aggressively happy sunshine color.
Rolling his head to the side, carefully, he spied a brown shoulder attached to a broad muscular back. The skin was so smooth and perfect he wanted to lick it.
That’s when he remembered—he had licked it. The man’s back and so much more.
Oh God. He hadn’t wanted to sleep with Chris. Okay, he had wanted to, but he hadn’t planned to.
It had been good though. So damn good. He smiled at the memory of Chris’s mouth stretched wide, that plump bottom lip he’d fantasized about cushioning his cockhead while the man’s tongue rolled around and around. Val let out an involuntary moan as his dick hardened and his belly clenched with need.
Sex with Chris had been amazing, even if all they’d done was give each other blow jobs. He could only wonder how good it would be when—no! Yes, when—Chris took his ass. His cock was long and thick, and Val wanted it inside him.
Damn. Val scratched at his already too long beard. He shouldn’t be here. This was going to be nothing but awkward at the station.
Chris rolled over. “Morning.”
Before Val could force enough blood back into his brain to respond, Chris pulled him against that wide muscular chest. His warm brown skin was smooth, almost hairless, and the dark, flat nipples made Val’s mouth water. He inhaled sharply, and Chris’s scent—a mix of cologne, sex, and Chris himself—invaded his nostrils. Val wanted to burrow under the covers and draw it deep into his lungs, mark himself with it. Jesus. What the fuck was wrong with him?
“You okay?” Chris asked in a sleep-laden voice that had Val’s morning wood jerking against the man’s leg. Chris snorted. “Ah… I see. That I can help you with.”
And without another word, he rolled them over so Val was on top of him. It felt as good as it had the previous morning. He loved that he could lie on Chris like this, their entire bodies connected. It was so completely different than being with Francesca. Thank God.
You don’t have time for this.
Shit. He didn’t want this, not a boyfriend or even a friend with benefits. Hell, he barely had time for the occasional Grindr hookup.
And the longer he lingered, the harder it was going to be to let Chris go.
“I-I’ve got to…” Val said, climbing off Chris. He stood and scanned the room for his jeans. After finding them hanging off the back of Chris’s dresser, he hurried to pull them on. With a feeling of déjà vu, he hopped around on one foot, nearly tripping and falling on his face. Damn it. He’d done this exact same thing two days ago when Holly had been banging on his door.
Holly. “Oh shit. I really need to go.” He glanced at his watch. It wasn’t a lie. He had to be at her place in fifteen minutes to pick up the kids or she’d be late for work. Holly was going to fucking kill him.
Looking like a mouthful of sex, Chris leaned against the headboard, the white sheet falling nonchalantly over his naked hips. Val swallowed his tongue.
“You free tonight?” Chris asked. “We could go out for dinner or back to O’Riley’s for a drink.”
Hell no! Val bent down to pick up his shirt and tugged it over his head so Chris couldn’t read his expression. The last place he wanted to be seen alone with Chris was at a firefighter hangout. “I can’t tonight. Sorry, dude.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. He’d be watching Mia and Charlie while Holly was on shift.
“Dude, huh?” Val heard the creak of the bed as Chris got up. His large hand clamped onto Val’s shoulder and spun him around. “How about tomorrow then?”
“Nope. Already got plans… Family stuff, you know?” Not a lie either.
Completely undeterred, Chris persisted. “Okay, well, the day after is out because we’re both working. What about the day after that?”
Val quickly averted his gaze and scooped up his shoes. “Sorry. Got plans then too.”
Chris took a step back and crossed his arms over that ripped chest. Val went through great pains to avoid staring or letting his gaze drop a few feet lower to take in that glorious erection in all its sleek nakedness. He should just leave. He wanted to leave. But Chris was blocking the way to the door.
“What I can’t figure out,” Chris said, tapping a finger on his lip, “is whether you’re blowing me off because you think you’re straight and that last night was a mistake, or whether you’re blowing me off because I’m black and last night was a mistake.”
“Fuck, Chris,” Val said, his chest heaving with shock. “I knew you were black when I came home with you.”
“And now the thought of dating a black man scares the shit out of you.”
“Dating?” Jesus. He didn’t plan on dating anyone, especially not Chris.
“I like you, Val. And I want to get to know you better.”
Breathe. Val hugged his shoes to his chest. He really shouldn’t have come here last night. He should’ve had one or two drinks, then gone to Holly’s to pick up Mia. That was what a responsible father did. But he hadn’t done that, because being with Chris had felt too good. Sure, they were next to strangers, but if he allowed it, they could be so much more. He knew it, felt it in his bones. And therein lay the danger. “I-I’m sorry. I really can’t.”
“Are you seeing someone?”
“No.” Val bent down to put his shoes on. When he straightened, Chris’s gaze was on him. His head was tilted to the side as though he were scrutinizing an intriguing problem, trying to determine the best way to attack a challenging fire.
After a few long, tense moments, Chris’s lips pursed. “You’re not out, are you?”
Kristine Cayne is the author of romantic suspense, erotic romance, and lgbt romance. Her books have won numerous awards and acclaim. Her first book, Deadly Obsession, was an RT Book Reviews Top Pick and won Best Romance in the 2012 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Her second book, Deadly Addiction, won two awards at the 2014 eFestival of Words and 1st place in the INDIE Awards, Romantic Suspense Category (a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests).
Her book Under His Command won Best BDSM Romance at the 2012 Sizzling Awards and was a finalist in the 2013 eFestival of Words and 2013 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Awards, and her book Everything Bared was a finalist in the Erotic category of the I Heart Indie awards.
Facebook Reader Group: