They say a baby bird imprints on the first creature it sees when it’s born. I wasn’t a baby bird, but I had imprinted on Hank the moment he stood over me with his fists raised, protecting me from playground bullies.
I had been five.
Hank had been seven.
He was my hero from that day forward. If he laughed, I laughed. If he hurt, I hurt. If he got a brain freeze from eating his ice cream too fast, my head ached, as well.
Hank was everything.
And then one day, he wasn’t.
He was just gone.
I watched the casket being lowered into the ground with a sense of the surreal. It didn’t seem possible that a man so full of life could simply be gone. Hank was bigger than life. When he walked into the room, there was always a pause as if the air had been sucked right out of it. His mere presence made people around him pulse with life.
I couldn’t believe he was dead.
It just wasn’t possible.
Logically, I knew I was suffering from shock. The news had come just two weeks ago. Hank’s helicopter had been hit by a missile and gone down. It had spun in the air before crashing to the ground and exploding on impact.
There had been no survivors.
Proof of that was currently being lowered into a grave marked by a headstone that stated this was sacred ground belonging to a hero who died in combat.
Hank had been there for me for over twenty years, a constant at my side. Where there was one of us, there was the other one. We skipped school together, celebrated birthdays together, discovered sex together. We’d even had chicken pox together.
We had done everything together.
What was I supposed to do without him?
Who would keep me out of trouble? Who would get me into trouble? Who would stand beside me as I walked into the future or held my hand when it felt as if the future was going to crush me?
Who would listen to my secrets?
When the honor guard shot their rifles in tribute to the fallen soldier, I jerked. I clenched my hands together until they ached to keep from jerking when they did it again and again.
I knew it was meant as a sign of respect, but I never understood why they shot a rifle for someone who had died in war. I didn’t think rose petals needed to fall from the sky, but gunfire seemed out of place to me.
But what did I know?
I hadn’t decided to go into the service when Hank signed up. What I knew about serving my country could fit in a thimble. I was very good at supporting someone who served, however. I had sent monthly care packages and letters every week. I had spent countless hours waiting for Hank to call.
And now, he would never call again.
How was I supposed to deal with that?
I drew in a shaky breath as I watched Hank’s mother clutch the flag that had been draped over his coffin to her chest. I knew his parents had been proud of him. I had no doubt the flag would be treasured as a symbol of his service as were the medals he had received.
It seemed like cold comfort compared to having the living, breathing man at my side.
When everyone started to walk away from the gravesite, I stood there and stared. I couldn’t seem to force my legs to work. Everything inside of me was frozen in place.
I swallowed tightly before raising my eyes to look at the older woman standing beside me. Even faded with age and sorrow, her dark brown eyes gutted me.
They were Hank’s eyes.
“It’s time to go, Ian.”
“I know,” I whispered as my gaze went back to the grave. “I just...”
I didn’t have an answer Juliana Moore would understand. She had lost her son in a senseless accident of war. I had lost my everything.
“He is gone, Ian. You have to let him go.”
“I can’t.” Tears welled up in my eyes, the first I had felt since I received the news.
I should have cried before now. I knew that. That was the normal reaction for someone who had suffered a loss. I just hadn’t been able to.
I don’t know why.
“Come on, honey.” Juliana tugged on my arm. “The others are waiting for us.”
I cast one more look at Hank’s grave before allowing his mother to pull me away. As we walked back toward the long line of black limousines, I couldn’t help but think Hank would be amused as shit at all this fanfare.
He was kind of a simple guy. He liked watching football with his buddies, backyard barbecues, and burping contests. His idea of gourmet eating involved not eating with his hands. He owned a suit, but only because his mother bought him one. And he never met a beer he didn’t want to drink.
He was also the best man to have at your back if there was trouble. He would give a stranger the shirt off his back. He was always willing to lend anyone a helping hand, and he had a smile and kind word for everyone.
Hank never made a promise he didn’t keep, which was one of the reasons why I was so upset. Since the day I met him over twenty years ago, Hank had never broken a promise to me.
He had promised he would come home.
I would never forgive him for breaking that promise for me.
I couldn’t keep a moan of pure pleasure from escaping my lips as I was grabbed and held close, Hank’s lips slamming down over mine. I groaned and leaned into Hank, tangling my hands in the man’s hair.
Hank’s lips were hard and searching as they pressed against mine. The pleasure rocketing through my body was intense. Hank stole the breath from my lungs and made it hard to breathe.
What breath I did have caught in my throat when Hank began stripping my clothes from my body. I blushed furiously when Hank growled as my naked body was exposed. Hank had seen me naked before, but for some reason, this almost felt like the first time.
Hank stood back and pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it carelessly to the floor. My breathing came a little faster as hard, rippled muscles were revealed as the man unzipped his pants and pushed them down his thick, sturdy thighs. The more naked skin that was exposed, the less air there seemed to be in the room.
I was panting heavily by the time Hank moved back to me.
My skin felt flushed with arousal.
“On your hands and knees, baby.”
My eyes rounded slightly at the growly sound in Hank’s voice. There was an intensity in Hank’s brown eyes that unnerved me as much as it aroused me.
I quickly rolled over onto my hands and knees. I felt Hank move up behind me and then lean over the top of me. I clenched my hands in the sheets, anticipation riding me hard. I arched under Hank and tried to move into the hands caressing my skin.
Each soft touch was light and tentative.
It was teasing.
I was going out of my mind.
When Hank’s lips started moving down the edge of my jawbone to my throat, I tilted my head back, giving Hank better access. The growl that rumbled through Hank’s chest set my pulse to pounding frantically.
It was the hottest damn thing I had ever heard.
Hank’s hot breath blew across my neck. I heard a snap. A moment later, slick fingers pressed between my ass cheeks. ‘My breathing hitched when one of those fingers brushed against my tight hole.
“Hank,” I groaned when I felt a thick finger breach my ass.
A long shiver of ecstasy rippled through my body.
I pushed up with my hips, trying to get more of that finger in my ass. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it would do for now, especially if Hank would just start moving the damn thing.
“Is this what you want, baby?” Hank asked as he pushed in another finger.
“Yes.” I panted. “Please.”
Hank chuckled as he started moving his hand, pushing in and out with his fingers as he slowly stretched me out.
I started panting again. The slight twinge of pain caused by being stretched faded quickly under the onslaught of pleasure shooting through my body. I barely felt the third finger enter my ass, but I sure felt the fourth one.
I inhaled sharply when Hank pulled his fingers free, but I groaned a moment later when I felt the blunt head of Hank’s cock push against my tight hole. The pressure as Hank pushed into me was overwhelming. I pushed out and Hank suddenly slipped in, the man groaning loudly.
“Don’t move, Ian, or this will be over before it begins.”
I tried to stay still.
Really I did.
I tried not to move a muscle, but my ass was being stretched so far with just the head of Hank’s cock inside.
I held my breath.
“Hank, please,” I begged.
I squeezed my ass muscles as hard as I could, trying to get Hank to move or touch me or something. I screamed in ecstasy when Hank grabbed my hips and thrust all of the way inside.
Something had been unleashed in Hank, something dangerous.
I could feel it.
Hank’s body pounded into me. The man’s massive cock filled me to the barest edge of pain over and over again. I barely had time to feel Hank fill me before the man was pulling out again and then slamming back in.
I screamed as my world exploded into a downpour of sensation. My body seized as ropes of seed shot from my cock and pleasure unlike anything I had ever known swept through my body.
My mind moved in a haze, barely acknowledging the noise Hank made as the man tossed his head back and roared out his release. Hank’s cock thickened as hot lava flooded my ass, filling so much of me that I didn’t think the man would ever leave.
I was good with that.