Playing it safe has gotten him everything – except the one guy he’s always wanted.
As leader of a covert unit of rescue swimmers, following the mission plan is a matter of professional survival for seal shifter Nate Landry. But recent closure on a colleague’s death has Nate recalculating his own trajectory.
It could use a little nudge and a whole lotta juice, and he only has to glance across the cockpit for just the right source of turbulence.
Following orders has kept him sane – until the guy giving them goes full throttle.
Chopper pilot Gil Espinoza has kept his thing for Landry on cruise control for eight long years. That the guy once chose a fellow shifter over Gil stung like hell but kept him on course.
Problem is: the good lieutenant just laid down new coordinates, a radical turn into uncharted waters.
And if there’s one thing Gil can’t do, it’s ignore an order from Nate Landry.
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Gil listened to the muted voices of Pop and Oscar for a moment before closing his door and slumping on the edge of his mattress.
He shouldn’t be this tired. He was thirty-seven, damn it. This was when life was supposed to really start. You were no longer the dumbass you’d been in your twenties, or the cocky asshole who thought he knew everything at thirty. You knew shit but you were cool about it. Nothing fazed you now.
Lying back on the bed, he stretched, then relaxed into the bedding with a groan. He just needed a moment, just a few minutes to cool his jets and refocus.
Nope. Wrong target. Try again.
He thought about what he’d make for dinner, but that only made him antsy. He tried football, but it was off-season, not even to the draft yet. He thought of music, of his mom, of how he needed to get a haircut, of flying…
And he was back to Landry.
Well, so what? What if he let his mind wander, who would know? Only him, and he was past guilt. Besides, it wasn’t like it was the real Landry—what would he really know of that guy?
It was just a fantasy, something to bring him back to level.
He closed his eyes. Thought of Landry’s hands, with their long fingers and neat nails. No sign of dirt, ever. He wondered if the good Lieutenant ever got his hands dirty, tried to picture what might drive him to do so. Gardening, maybe. He talked about his tomatoes as soon as February rolled around every year. Brought some to work sometimes, quietly leaving them on a table in the mess. Gil had sneaked enough of them that he’d begun to associate the flavor of the sun-ripe fruit with Landry’s hands. Sometimes his lips, or a tender earlobe.
Earlobe. What the fuck? But they were there, right next to that jaw when the unit was in a meeting and he was trying really fucking hard not to stare at Landry’s lips. They looked just as soft. He rubbed a hesitant hand over his belly, then gave in and thumbed his dick through his pants. Imagined sucking on one of those earlobes, and the sounds that might drag out of the guy. And what would he say to Landry, if his mouth was so close to his ear? Wouldn’t even have to say it; could just whisper.
You taste good, for starters, because he would.
Uniform’s getting rumpled.
I want you.
And Landry would chuckle softly in his ear—the same way he did in the headset sometimes, when he let down his hair just that much. That chuckle said they were just two colleagues having a laugh during work. If he were nibbling on Landry’s ear, the Lieutenant would huff like that and he might try to say something, but then his breath might catch in his throat, and Gil might chase it, licking lazy swipes at his skin until Landry couldn’t say anything at all.
And what would that look like? He tried to imagine the smooth, calm features of Landry’s face slack with shock, fierce with want. Pupils blown until they looked like black holes that could suck him in and obliterate him. Mouth open, throat working. What would he be trying to say? Would he be bossy, or would he let Gil lead?