Trent returns from Iraq intent on claiming the man he kissed five years ago, only to find the war left a powerful obstacle in his way.
Cameron was sixteen when the hunky Trent Anderson kissed him and spoiled him for all other men. The next day, Trent left for a tour of duty in the Middle East without so much as a wave goodbye. When Trent returns five years later, he's a changed man. Can Cameron put aside his long-held fantasies and accept the flawed solider he's always wanted for Christmas?
Trent Anderson served for four years in the U.S. Army and then signed up for one more as a security contractor. He bears no physical scars from Iraq, but he secretly fights an invisible enemy. A sound, a look, a situation can trigger a flashback and send him right back into combat mode. When Cameron's attacked, his PTSD escalates, and Trent must get help or else forfeit the man he left behind forever.
The front door opened and admitted a blast of cold air. The sudden chill caught Cameron right in the chest. He narrowed his eyes as he pivoted to see what stupid jerk had joined Mike's early Christmas party so late. When the man passed by, Cameron zeroed in on the broad, meaty shoulders that swayed sexily above a tight hard ass. Cameron's cock tingled with interest, but the second the guy turned his head and he got a good look at that unmistakable profile, his dick swelled so quick it sapped all the blood from his brain.
"Oh holy fuck." Cameron sucked in a shaky breath, almost dropping the cigarette he was holding right on the carpet. "Shit. Fuck."
Trent Anderson walked past him to the small house's kitchen as casual as could be, not even sparing Cameron a straight-on glance. But Cameron's nerves flew apart in his wake. Adrenaline stirred him into overdrive, every emotion he'd secretly harbored for the former soldier slamming into him at once. Lust. Anger. Frustration. And more lust.
"Is that...who I think it is?" Bobby seemed just as surprised as Cameron to see the guy again.
Guts churning, Cameron gave a quick nod. "I gotta get outta here." He lurched toward the front door on unsteady legs and scrambled outside. Behind him, the party's host, Mike, called his name, but he kept on going. He needed fresh air and a moment to get himself together too badly to perform the rights of courtesy.
The frosty temp made his lungs hurt as he settled with his back against the house's wall. For a few seconds the weather made him regret not grabbing his parka first, but then the memories took over and kept him plenty warm.
As he shivered in his worn denim jacket, he relived every damn time he'd ever jerked off to Trent's hot frame while alone in his tiny apartment. Then he backtracked to that fateful night five years ago when Trent had kissed him after driving him home from Mike's party--the one where to his embarrassment and dismay, he'd accidentally gifted Trent a nine-inch purple dildo. The holy-shit-level passionate lip lock had seared Trent's masculine appeal onto Cameron's body and soul permanently. Even now, he quivered at the mere thought of Trent's touch. The way he'd laid his arm across the seat, slipped his hand onto the back of Cameron's head and closed the space between them...
Trent had smelled like experienced older man--spicy aftershave, and adventure waiting to happen. As their tongues had slipped inside each other's mouths, Cameron had tasted beer and Christmas cookies, a vanilla and hops combination he had never forgotten. The soft yet demanding pressure of Trent's lips and his possessive grip had incited a fire in Cameron that had left him breathless.
Only sixteen then, Cameron had almost come in his boxers at his first seriously delicious contact with another guy. The fact he'd been kissed by the very man he'd desperately dreamed for years would be the one to pop his cherry made it seem too good to be true, and it was. Fate had been cruel to him. Trent had shipped out the next morning for four long years of active duty which had seemed like an agonizingly long wait to Cameron already. But then Trent had signed on as a security contractor for another twelve months. The way Cameron had counted, Trent wasn't supposed to come home until February. What was he doing here now? Cameron felt totally blindsided by his appearance. Not that I'm still interested or anything...
"Hey, man, whatcha doing out here?" Mike's younger brother and chief miscreant, Bobby rolled his shoulders as he stepped off the porch and walked to Cameron's side. At least he had a down jacket on. He seemed chilly but not miserable.
Cameron hissed. He was miserable, but not from the cold. "What's he doing here? Did you know he was back?"
"Nope." Bobby probably didn't know much but his brother, Mike, was one of Trent's oldest buddies. "He just showed up unannounced."
"How can that be?" Annoyance heated through Cameron, taking the edge off of freezing to death. Everybody in Halliday, Montana had thought Anderson had slipped a mental gear when they'd heard he'd chosen to stay in the Middle East voluntarily. Cameron had simply been pissed and frustrated while suffering the worst case of blue balls anybody had ever experienced. Yes, he'd had lovers, but nobody had elicited the same amount of interest in him as Trent.
Bobby blew out a frosty breath. "I don't know. He never said anything to Mike."
"That's weird, don't you think?"
"Yeah, I guess." Bobby shrugged. "Look, everyone is gonna watch the football game. Are you coming?"
"Nah. I'm gonna take off."
"Okay. I'm going back in. See you later." Bobby kicked the snow off his boots and clambered back up onto the porch.
Left alone once more in the frigid air, Cameron dropped the cigarette that had long ago gone out and considered lighting another. But his hands were trembling too much to fetch them out of his jacket pocket, so he just gave up, wrapping his arms around himself and glaring at the streetlight. So he's back. No warning. Just appears.
A warning would have been nice. Given him a chance to prepare himself before setting eyes on the man of his wet dreams once more. He swore Trent's kiss and the intense but brief groping they'd shared had ruined him for all other men. Even today, one look from the guy and he'd had a hard time restraining himself from jumping Trent's bones. One whiff of his pheromones had flipped Cameron's magnetic poles. Still. After all these years. Crap.
He sucked in a deep breath and watched the frosty air dissipate, searching for self-control. He told himself his body might be interested in Trent but he wasn't. Not anymore. Trent Anderson could go jump in a lake for all he cared. Not one card, phone call or letter from Trent during his active duty was a pretty clear indication of Trent's total disinterest. Plus, Cameron wasn't a moony inexperienced teenager anymore. There was absolutely no reason to get all upset over one little Trent sighting. Just let it go.
He pushed the heel of his hand to his forehead and shut his eyes, trying to shove the memory of that kiss from his mind. Throughout the years he'd been over and over every second of that evening, examining it carefully for any reason to believe there had been more than a passing fancy on Trent's part that had led to the kiss, but he had no way to be sure. If it wasn't for that stupid gag gift...Ugh!
The door popped open and he heard heavy boots on the stoop. Cameron prayed the person would head immediately to a parked car on the street, but he didn't. He came directly Cameron's way, stopping right in front of him.
Butterflies swarmed his stomach and his throat choked closed. Trent's gruff voice, like steel wool over sandpaper, hadn't changed much. If anything it had gotten sexier. It was deeper, and filled with a level of authority that tightened Cameron's cock in an instant, made him eager to submit to any command the former solider issued. Determined not to fall to his knees and beg, Cameron swallowed and dropped his hand, then opened his eyes. His heart thudded to a stop. Oh hell.
Trent stood before him in a hunter green down jacket that made him appear bigger and more edible as it hid his perfect body from view. His murky-water grey eyes focused on Cameron with unwavering intensity, and were filled with worry. Every second Cameron stared into the bottomless depths of those deep pools he fell further and further, until he actually leaned forward, closer to Trent's warmth and security. Realizing his mistake, he pulled back suddenly. The sensation left him dizzy, spellbound. He blinked, but it didn't clear his head. Yep, I'm seriously fucked.
"Are you all right?" Trent swiped a finger across Cameron's cheek tenderly, as if checking for injuries. His gaze swept over Cameron like a field medic's, studying him carefully as though he'd carry him to safety at the first sign of trouble. Cameron prayed he wouldn't faint.
The promise of protection and his simple touch spread a flush of heat from Cameron's face to his upper chest, stuttering his heart. He opened and closed his mouth and then finally let it just hang open. With no words to say, he nodded, and time stood still, a thousand silent moments passing between them. The cool grey waters of Trent's eyes never stilled. Emotions raced through them rapid fire. Concern. Acknowledgment. A kind of distant sadness Cameron couldn't name. He raised his frozen hand to grab Trent's arm, wanting to assure him it would be all right no matter what had caused his pain. But he stopped midway, uncertain. Who was he to think he could help Trent when all he secretly wanted was another kiss?
As if Trent had read his mind, he moved even closer and pressed a chaste buss to Cameron's forehead. "Good." Trent gave a faint, slightly troubled smile before he turned and left, walking away into the dead of night through the crunchy snow. Wherever his car was, he didn't seem to be using it. Perhaps after all that time in the desert, he needed to cool off. Cameron did, too.
Trent's touch poured liquid heat through his veins. Overloaded on desire, Cameron combusted, right there in Bobby's brother's front yard. So hot he could have melted snow for three miles around. Gulping in air, he had to concentrate on icicles and Betty White to keep from bursting into flames. Damn, Trent. Damn him.
He'd done it again. Disappeared and left him a hot mess.
Once he could breathe normally, Cameron stumbled to his car and turned over the engine. He needed to put some distance between himself and Trent so he could think. Nodding to himself at the benefit of his plan, he gripped the steering wheel as though it might run away, his fingers not bothered by its frosty temp. In fact, he hardly felt the cold anymore. So much heat had infused him it shook him from the inside out, and he vibrated so hard he feared he might shake to pieces before he got home. Gritting his teeth to hold himself together, he pulled out into traffic.
As he drove toward the main road, he caught a glimpse of a dark figure to his right, passing under a streetlight. He knew it was Trent at first glance.
Trent turned his head and looked at him, his gaze sad and tired. They stared at each other for a few seconds before Trent resumed his trek.
Cameron exhaled a long breath, his emotions torn by their short, silent connection that had carried the wattage of a bolt of electricity. Even though they hadn't touched, the tension between them stretched like a sinew about to snap. Or maybe he was just imagining things once more and the attraction was all on his side. If it was, he was in for a world of hurt now that Trent was finally home. "Shit."
Studying the street in his rearview mirror, damn if he didn't want to throw the car into reverse and offer Trent a ride despite the very real risk of a badly broken heart. But before he could hit the brakes, Trent rounded the corner and vanished into the night.
Forcing his attention back to the traffic ahead, Cameron went straight at the light, pounding his dash in frustration at still being a fool for Trent after all these years. The Christmas music seeping from his car's radio mingled with his distress until one thing was certain. This was going to be a terrible Christmas.