The sun’s rays burned through the morning dampness, heating the beach to a toasty warm. He followed the length of his long, tan legs and watched his feet with their high arches and long toes push through the grains of sand.
A breezed brushed past his face and through his growing sun-bleached hair. A glance at the water showed the wind was already pulling up some gnarly waves that soon would beckon him to try his skills at riding them without taking a header.
He tensed when a large man sat down next to him. His fingers closed around the knife Lee had given for him to use if he felt threatened. He kept his eyes staring straight ahead at the sea and waited. Many times, men had tried to pay for or take from him what he wasn’t willing to give them. He only trusted Lee enough for any kind of intimate contact.
“We’ve been searching for you.” The man’s deep voice held the power of a leader.
“I didn’t know I was lost,” he answered. It was a lie, and they both knew it. “Have I been gone long?”
“Almost two months,” the man stated.
His mind raced to figure out what he had been doing for these two months, but failed. Time held no meaning. He knew a day was beginning by his beloved sun’s appearance on the horizon and ended when he had wept or now danced as it disappeared, sinking into the ocean.
“Ricky!” Sand sprayed behind Lee’s feet as he ran toward him.
Gone were the laughing, dark brown eyes and bright wide smile, made whiter by Lee’s light brown skin. Instead, Lee’s mouth curled up at one corner, and his thick eyebrows drew together in a straight line.
When Lee reached them, he planted himself in a protective stance over his legs and raised fisted hands. “Leave Ricky alone.”
If the situation weren’t so confusing, he would have laughed at the much shorter and stockier Lee defending his six-plus, muscled body.
One of the large man’s dark eyebrows rose over his dark blue eyes. “His name isn’t Ricky. It’s Reece Palmer. I’m Roman Marshall, his boss, and the leader of Rescue for Hire West. Who are you?”
He froze. A deep rumbling roar rose up in his ears. This man claimed to know him. The ever-present fog pushed in around the edges of his vision. He said his name was Reese. He began to pant and couldn’t stop.
Familiar hands massaged his shoulders. “Come back, Sunshine. Take it easy. I’m here and nothing is going to happen to you. I will keep my promise and stay with you.”
The man leaned over his shoulder and placed his lips next to his ear. “What do you need?”
“I don’t know what to do,” he admitted.
“You don’t have to do anything.” The big man spoke up. “Now that we’ve found you, we can get you the help that you need.”
He jumped to his feet and whirled around to face this Roman. “I am fine. I don’t need any help.”
“They think you do,” the man stated.
“Leave me alone,” he shouted.
He turned to run. A line of men stood in front of him. Instincts kicked in and he crouched, ready to fight his way to freedom.
“Reece, what are you doing?” A small pretty man asked.
“Move,” he ordered.
A tall man raised his hand. “We are your friends. We’ve come to take you home.”
He studied this man with thick brown hair and hazel colored eyes. The guy had to be burning up in boots, jeans, and a white-T-shirt along with a long-sleeved flannel shirt.
“The sun is my friend,” he declared and looked at Lee who had moved up next to him. “Lee is my home.”
Hurt flashed in the man’s eyes before he schooled his features into a blank mask. He wondered if he was close to this man.
“My name is Morgan,” the guy said. “Don’t you remember me at all?”
“Ricky…” Lee began.
“Reese,” Morgan interrupted. “His name is Reese.”
“Reese,” Lee corrected, “doesn’t remember anything.”
The pretty man stepped forward and took one of his hands. “I’m Parker. You and I are the medics for Rescue for Hire West. We, along with the rest of the guys, go out and save people when they are in trouble.”
“Now I’m the one in trouble,” he stated.
He was surprised that he hadn’t jerked his hand away from Parker. That didn’t stop him from moving his other hand until Lee’s fingers closed around it.
“May I look at your head?” Parker asked. “That scar looks as if you received a pretty terrible wound.”
He wasn’t sure he wanted a stranger so close. “Parker, do I have a family?”
Lee’s fingers squeezed his hand tight. He squeezed back, waiting for Parker’s answer.
“We consider everyone at Rescue for Hire West not only a team, but a family,” Parker responded.
“Your mother and father died years ago,” Morgan said. “You’ve never mentioned any sisters or brothers.”
“You have no siblings,” Roman moved over next to the other guys.
“Do I have a wife, husband, or someone I’m in love with?” he asked and held his breath for the answer. Lee’s fingers strangled his hand.
“You aren’t married or involved with anyone,” Roman answered. “You don’t have any children either.”
He had one more question.
“Are you all sure, without a doubt, that I am Reese Palmer?”
All of the men either nodded or said yes.
Roman was the one whose firm answer sealed away any doubts he had.
“You are one hundred percent Reese Palmer.”
Reese smiled and tried to pull Lee around the line of men. Parker’s hand still on his stopped him.
“Where are you going?” Parker asked.
“I’m not married. Lee and I have to go home.” Reese tried to tug his hand away.
“Lee, we need to go home,” Reese said. “We have to come back and say good-bye to the sun.”
His fingers twitched before crushing the hem of his shorts. These were strangers to him. This fiery crash didn’t exist for him. He couldn’t understand why they thought they could decide where he was going or what he was doing.
Lee turned to Roman. “Reese needs some time. I’ll give you my address. Why don’t you come over later tonight? I think being in an environment that he is used to will make it easier for him to get to know you better and make some decisions.”
“He slurs his words and has fricken brain damage,” Morgan burst out. “He can’t make decisions. He needs to be in a hospital.”
Lee rushed at Morgan and got right in his face. “Fuck you. Don’t bother showing up at my house tonight. You’re not welcome.”
“Back off,” Morgan growled, “or I’ll lay you out flat.”
“You can try,” Lee challenged.
“Enough.” Roman pushed his huge muscled body between the men, forcing them to separate. “I agree, Reese needs a little time to come to terms with us finding him.” Roman smiled at Reese. “We’ll bring your favorite Chinese takeout and celebrate.”
Reese held back a grimace not wanting to offend.
It seemed Lee didn’t have that problem.
“Reese doesn’t care for Chinese,” Lee said. “We’ve tried several times and he hasn’t found any dish favorable.”
“That’s weird,” Morgan commented. “Reese could never get enough Chinese before.”
“Actually, that phenomenon isn’t unusual,” Parker stated. “The brain is a marvel we don’t fully understand. People respond in different ways after head injuries. Some change eating habits, others their clothing choices. Anger issues and depression can be a problem.”
“I’d say Reese isn’t the one with anger issues,” Morgan sneered, glaring at Lee.
Lee stepped toward Morgan. “I’ll show you a few issues.”
Reese put his hand on Lee’s arm. “I don’t know what his problem is, but I want to go home.”
Lee covered Reese’s hand and smiled up at him. “All right, Sunshine.”
Over Lee’s shoulder, Reese saw Tatum appear and take Morgan’s arm. He pulled Morgan away from everyone and pushed him up against a tree. All the while, Tatum was saying something. Reese didn’t care what was going on between Tatum and Morgan. He was happy to let someone else handle the mouthy man.
Reese’s shoulder muscles relaxed after the other men left, and he and Lee could pack up the cart.
“What are you thinking, Sunshine,” Lee asked and stopped rolling the cart up the path.
“I’m not married or involved with anyone.” Reese lifted one eyebrow. “I want to go home and be alone, with you.”
“Shit.” Lee began to shove the cart up the path. “Let’s go.”
Reese couldn’t stop laughing at the way Lee hurried as they loaded the cart and hopped into the truck. Lee seemed to forget the speed limit.
Once the kitchen door slammed behind them, tension thickened the air. Both men stood and looked at each other. The moment grew huge.
“If I do or say anything that makes you uncomfortable, I want you to let me know,” Lee ordered. “I can be a bit dominating.”
“Do it,” Reese responded.
Hands pulled Reese into a hard kiss. This wouldn’t be a gentle, sweet coming together. Shivers of anticipation rippled over his skin.
Their lips broke apart and Lee shoved Reese’s shirt over his head. His shorts landed in a heap around his feet. Reese’s back hit the wall. Lee’s lips captured, his tongue working Reese’s mouth open, driving him wild.
Fingers cupped his balls before sliding over his shaft to his cockhead.
Reese whole body shook. “Jeez, Lee. What you do to me.”
“I’ve just started,” Lee promised.
Lee dropped to his knees and sucked Reese’s cock in to the quick. Reese cried out and sank his fingers into Lee’s thick, silky hair. He closed his eyes and his head hit the wall behind him.
Lee’s mouth and tongue worked him, exploring his length, dipping into the slit at the top, until his balls pulled up. On the brink of shooting his wad, Lee chose to release him, letting him hang on the edge.
“Not yet,” Lee said.
Reese bucked his hips. “Lee, I need.”
“And I will give it to you,” Lee rebuked. “On my time.”
Lee stood and led Reese by the hand into the bedroom. That Lee still was dressed and Reese bare turned him on even more. His dick bobbed with each step in a morbid dance, as if trying to lure Lee in to give it the relief it needed.
“On your back, Sunshine,” Lee commanded. “I want your knees bent and spread wide.”
Eager to please, Reese scrambled onto the bed. His trust in Lee made the vulnerable position exciting. He wanted more.
Lee knelt above him and ran a hand over his chest, stopping to tweak each of his nipples until they stood proud and felt loud. Those tantalizing fingers traveling down scraping nails along his treasure trail before Lee buried his fingertips in Reese’s pubic hair.
“You are one beautiful man, Sunshine,” he commented.