Hell & high water, p.12
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       Hell & High Water, p.12

         Part #1 of THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet
 
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  been one hell of a first week. It had started out rough, but when he thought about the last few days, he found himself smiling. He liked his new team. They were far from perfect, but they were a good bunch, and he was slowly starting to earn their trust, helping them understand it was okay to keep on living without their fallen comrade. Ash was still being a dick, but he hadn’t brought up Dex’s relationship or anything personal that hit a sore spot. He figured Sloane had something to do with that. The problem was, they were waiting for permission, permission that should have come from their Team Leader.

  Dex opened his locker, got out his toiletry bag and tossed it on the steel bench behind him. Maybe one of these days he’d try to have a talk with Sloane. It was still too early in their partnership for him to not get flung out a window for broaching the subject. It had only been a week, but they were definitely getting along better, and Dex had even managed to make the guy laugh on more than one occasion. Smiling suited Sloane. It was a shame he didn’t do it more often. There was a pretty wicked sense of humor and who knew what else buried underneath all the pain and anguish. Dex wondered, if he dug deep enough, if he might be able to find the guy Sloane used to be. His phone rang, snapping him from his thoughts. Picking it up, he frowned at the unfamiliar number.

  “Hello?”

  “Daley?”

  “Speaking,” he murmured, trying to place the familiar voice.

  “It’s Isaac Pearce.”

  “Oh, hey, man. Sorry, I’m a little out of it at the moment.” He began to undress as he spoke, his muscles protesting every movement.

  “Rough day?”

  “Rough week,” Dex replied with a groan, wrapping a towel around his waist and taking a seat on the bench, his bare feet chilled against the rubber-tiled floor. “How’ve you been?”

  “Good. I hope you don’t mind that I got your number from the captain. I realized I forgot to ask you on your last day. I was calling about that coffee.”

  Dex blinked. “Oh.”

  “If you’re busy, I understand.”

  “No, sorry. I thought maybe you changed your mind.”

  “Why?”

  That was a good question. Why had he assumed Pearce wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him? “I guess I figured you might not want to now that I’m a THIRDS agent.”

  There was a pause before Pearce answered, the smile evident in his voice. “You thought I wouldn’t want to hang with you because you’re one of the cool kids now?”

  Dex let out a soft laugh, embarrassed for having dismissed Pearce so quickly. “Something like that. I’m going to take a shower, maybe catch a nap when I get home so I don’t fall asleep on you. How about meeting up for a beer instead?”

  “Even better. How about we meet at Poena over on Second around eight? That’s only about five minutes from you so you don’t have to rush.”

  “Thanks, man. I appreciate that. See you then.” With a smile, he hung up, left his phone in his locker and headed for the showers. A little nap and he’d be good as new. The thought of inviting Sloane for a few drinks crossed his mind, and then he remembered why that wouldn’t be a good idea. Something told him having Pearce and Sloane in the same room might be more than a little awkward.

  Turning on the shower, he adjusted the temperature, making it nice and hot before stepping under it. He moaned with contentment, lingering a little longer than he should have, but his muscles were finally starting to relax for the first time that day. When his eyes started drifting shut, it was time to get out. Dressing in his jeans, a comfy, long-sleeved tee, his Chucks, and his favorite black leather jacket, he grabbed his stuff, closed his locker and realized there was no way he could drive in the state he was in. He was practically falling asleep standing up. He remembered the sleeping bays and silently thanked the THIRDS.

  The sleep bay was basically a long hallway with rows of doors on both sides. If a room was unoccupied, the door was open, which most of them were at the moment. He picked a room and closed the door behind him. Talk about a sweet setup. The last time he’d slept at the office, it had been at his desk at the HPF. He’d woken up with a stiff neck and half his paperwork stuck to his face.

  The room had a double bed and beside it, a desk with a chair. There was a lamp, outlets for several gadgets, a small safe on one of the shelves underneath the desk and even a mini fridge. There was a communicator attached to the wall beside the headboard, and the wall across had stylish cubbyholes with everything from extra linen to coffee mugs. With a grin, Dex removed his jacket and chucked it on the chair before flopping down onto the bed. He could get used to this. The moment his head hit the pillow, he drifted off into a heavy sleep.

  Dex gasped, his back arching at the feel of strong hands kneading his ass cheeks, pushing them apart as the head of his lover’s slick cock aligned itself then pushed in slowly, the pressure both painful and exhilarating. God, it had been too long. Dex palmed his erection as he was entered, his lover burying deep inside him inch by inch. Hard muscles pressed up against his back, lowering Dex onto the mattress, his breath coming out ragged as his lover buried himself to the root and started rotating his hips, drawing out then pushing back in painfully slow. Dex moaned, his stomach filled with butterflies, the anticipation building like nothing he’d ever felt before. His whole body was on fire, and he writhed with need beneath the deliciously heavy weight. He couldn’t remember Lou feeling like this. Had it always felt this damn good?

  Dex moaned when lips pressed against his skin beneath his ear.

  “Easy there, Rookie.”

  Dex’s eyes flew open and he bolted upright, his fists grabbing handfuls of the unfamiliar bedding as he tried to get his bearings. Shit. Oh fuck. He shook his head and quickly got to his feet. No, this couldn’t be happening. He did not just dream of getting fucked by his Team Leader. If Tony got so much as a hint that Dex was dreaming about sleeping with his partner, a brand new level of shitstorm would rain upon him, and Dex had enough on his plate at the moment.

  With a frustrated groan, he dropped onto the edge of the bed and ran his hands through his hair. He was still painfully hard, the images of his very vivid, very hot dream replaying in his mind. Checking his watch, he let out another groan. It was quarter to ten. So much for a quick nap. Shit. He was supposed to have been at the bar almost two hours ago.

  He quickly put on his jacket and rushed from the room, turning the lights off on his way out when he slammed straight into something hard. Strong hands grabbed his arms to keep him from losing his balance, and he found himself staring up into deep amber eyes.

  “Whoa, where’s the fire, McClane?”

  “Uh.” Dex opened his mouth then closed it, the heat rising to his face as very inappropriate images of the guy before him flashed through his mind. It didn’t help that Sloane was looking pretty damn hot, showered and shaved, a clean-cut look in jeans, a black V-neck T-shirt under a preppy gray cardigan, and biker boots. His hair was wet and combed back, his full lips slightly parted, and his head cocked to one side in question.

  “You okay? Your face is all red. You coming down with something?” Sloane put his hand to Dex’s forehead, and Dex let out a choked noise that startled the both of them. “Okay. You’re weirding me out.”

  “Sorry.” Dex snapped himself out of it and took a step back, trying to act normal and not like a complete basket case. “I was supposed to meet a friend after a short nap, and that was two hours ago.”

  “Oh.” Sloane gave him a broad smile, which went straight to Dex’s groin, and stepped aside. “Well, don’t let me hold you up. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

  “Thanks.” Dex motioned to the bays around them, hoping he didn’t sound as nervous as he felt. “You heading for a nap yourself?”

  “No, getting my backpack.” Sloane shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged. “If you spend as much time in one of these as some of us do, it’s easier to get reception to assign you a room. You get a personal keycard and can leave your st
uff in there. It’s better than having to go home for clothes or supplies.”

  “Kind of like a dorm, without the keg parties and orgies,” Dex snorted then realized what he’d said. He really needed to learn to think before he spoke.

  Sloane arched an eyebrow at him. “Wow, wild times at Berkeley, huh?”

  “Not really, I—Wait, how’d you know I went to Berkeley?” Dex’s eyes widened. “You read my file?”

  Sloane scoffed. “Of course I did. It’s your personnel file, Dex, not your secret diary. What? You thought I was going to take on a new partner without knowing anything about him?” He leaned into Dex with a smirk. “Wake up, Rookie. This isn’t a buddy-cop movie. We’re part of a military organization operating as law enforcement under the eye of the Secretary of Defense. No one cares that someone stole your juice box or didn’t invite you to their Star Wars birthday party.”

  “Are you done? Or have you got some more bad metaphors you want to throw my way? No? Good, because I’ve got somewhere to be, with big-boy drinks and company void of passive-aggressive jerks.”

  Sloane’s jaw muscles tightened as he pulled back, his expression denoting he was less than pleased. It was best to walk away. Why was it that whenever Dex thought he was finally getting along with his partner, the guy did something to confirm he was as big an asshole as Pearce claimed him to be?

  Walking off, Dex called out over his shoulder. “Go home, partner, get some sleep. Or better yet, get laid. Might help relieve some of that tension.” Dex smiled to himself. That ought to learn him.

  “Or maybe I’ll take a long nap and dream of getting laid.”

  Dex kept moving despite the butterflies in his stomach. “Screw you, Brodie.”

  “Actually, it sounded more like screw you, Daley. Maybe in your next dream.”

  Keep walking, Dex, just keep walking. He could hear Sloane’s laughter getting further away until it was lost behind a closed door. Okay, so somehow he must have said something in his sleep and Sloane had heard. The bastard knew Dex’d had a sex dream about him. No big deal, right? It wasn’t like Sloane was going to tell anyone about it. Would he? Dex stopped in his tracks. Swallowing his pride, he spun on his heels and walked back down the hall to the only other closed door. His fist hovered over the white door before he bit the bullet and knocked. Sloane opened the door, a smug smile on his face. He was cursed. He had to be.

  “What can I do for you, Agent Daley?” Sloane leaned an arm against the doorframe. “Are you here to discuss the sex dream you had about me?” He licked his bottom lip, his pupils dilating as he leaned into Dex. “So, how was I?” he asked, his voice low and raspy. Dex lifted his chin, his gaze never wavering.

  “I’ve had better.”

  “I doubt it.” He leaned in, his warm breath tickling Dex’s ears. “You’re still hard.”

  Two could play this game. Dex turned his head so his lips brushed against Sloane’s stubbly cheek. “Maybe, but unless you’re prepared to do something about it, get the fuck off my back.”

  Sloane pulled away, his eyes dark and filled with something dangerous. Dex licked his lips and waited. They both knew there was an attraction between them, but they also knew what a mistake it would be to give into it. Sloane wasn’t merely some guy Dex had picked up at a bar, a fun but brief night of getting off before they each went their separate ways. Maybe that’s what made Dex feel so bold, knowing nothing would come of it.

  Sloane gave him a pat on the cheek. “Not going to happen, Rookie, but don’t worry, I won’t tell the rest of the team about my being cast as the porn star in your sex dream. Maybe.”

  “I see.” Dex smiled sweetly. Sloane still had the upper hand, and Dex couldn’t allow that. Removing his smartphone from his pocket, he stepped back and snapped a picture.

  “What are you doing?”

  Dex waved his phone at him. “You really are a nurturing partner letting me have this. It’ll do nicely.”

  Sloane’s eyes widened. “For what?”

  “What do you think? For jacking off, silly.”

  “You son of a bitch! Give me that!” Sloane lunged at him, and Dex barely slipped out of his grip, making a break for it. As Dex sprinted through the bullpen, he admitted that perhaps he might have been a wee bit rash with this decision. He hit the button on his communicator as he zigzagged between offices. The lilt of the friendly Therian receptionist on their floor came through.

  “Yes, Agent Daley?”

  “Lisa! Open the doors.” Dex dodged a swipe from Sloane as he rounded a corner. “Fuck!”

  “Come here you little shit!”

  “Sir, is everything all right?” the receptionist asked worriedly.

  “Yep, peachy, open the doors. All the way to the elevator please.” He rounded another corner, slipping out of Sloane’s reach by a hair.

  “Are you sure—?”

  “Yes, yes, yes!” The doors opened and Dex sped down the path straight through, calling out behind him. “I owe you a Coke, Lisa!” He tore down the hall toward the elevator at full speed.

  “You know you’re going to have to stop when you get there, then I’m going to kick your ass!” Sloane hollered.

  Damn, he was right. Considering all his options, Dex made a split second decision, faking his trajectory toward the elevator before making a sharp turn, slipping past Sloane and heading to the stairwell instead. He grinned as he threw the doors open, Sloane cursing up a storm from somewhere in the distance. Dex took the stairs two at a time, jumping the railing and landing on the set of stairs below. He heard the door slam open above him and he didn’t wait around, jerking open the door to the twentieth floor and dashing to the elevator. The doors pinged and slid open. He put his hand to the panel, cursing at the elevator, urging it to hurry the hell up. The doors closed as Sloane reached him. With a breathless laugh, Dex leaned back against the wall feeling victorious. That had been a close call. Too close.

  Removing his phone from his pocket, he tapped the screen and found the image. Sloane’s pouty face filled his screen. Damn, he was hot. For a complete psycho. The elevator doors to the parking garage opened and he slipped his phone back into his pocket. With a quick scan of his surroundings, Dex hurried up the incline to his car, reaching for his keys when he was slammed against the trunk from behind, one arm pulled up over his back, making him cry out.

  “Give me the damn phone,” Sloane growled.

  “Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me!”

  “Good. Did you really think I was going to let you off that easy?”

  “Don’t you mean let me get off that easy?” Dex said with a snicker.

  “Give. Me. The. Phone.”

  “Nope. You want it, you’re going to have to go in there and get it.”

  Sloane leaned into him and Dex winced, but he refused to give in. “What is your problem, Daley?”

  “I don’t have a problem. I’m a carefree kind of guy. You on the other hand…. You got a lot of pent up sexual frustration, and it’s not really conducive to our partnership. You should think of doing something about it.”

  Sloane leaned into him, the bulge in his jeans pressing against Dex’s ass and making him groan. Oh God, the guy was as hard as he was.

  “Is this what you want?” Sloane’s voice was low and harsh. He rutted against Dex, one hand on his shoulder holding him, the other still pinning Dex’s arm to his back. Sloane’s weight on top of him was making his arm ache, but he didn’t care. He arched his back, pushing his ass back against Sloane. He was asking for trouble, but they had to do something to move on from this little game they were playing.

  “Fuck,” Sloane breathed. He dragged Dex around to the side of the car, pushing him against it. The huge black SUV parked next to him provided enough shadow to conceal them. Before Dex could ask what Sloane was doing, their mouths were crushed together in an ardent kiss.

  Sloane kissed him hungrily, and Dex returned the fervor, sucking Sloane’s bottom lip between his teeth before slipping his tongu
e inside. Sloane’s hands were on Dex’s belt, and Dex inhaled sharply at the feel of Sloane’s hand closing around his dick, his thumb brushing across the head to wipe at the precome. Dex didn’t say a word, afraid if he did, Sloane would stop. Instead, he thrust into Sloane’s hand, their breathing coming out ragged as they kissed. Dex fumbled with Sloane’s jeans, unfastening his belt and pushing his pants down enough to pull out Sloane’s thick, hard cock. Sloane pressed against Dex, his large hand palming both of their erections and jerking them off.

  “Oh God,” Dex gasped against Sloane’s lips, his fingers digging into the hard muscle of his chest. Sloane moved his lips from Dex’s mouth onto his neck, biting down, then licking the sore spot and kissing his way up his neck. “Sloane,” Dex warned. There was no way he was going to last long, not with the images of his dream lingering and the very real, very excruciating heat building up inside him.

  “Come in my hand,” Sloane murmured softly, taking Dex’s earlobe between his teeth and sending a shiver through him. He grabbed Sloane and thrust into his hand, his movements fast and erratic. He could feel his abdomen tightening, the heat spreading through his whole body as his orgasm slammed through him, his body tensing as he came. “Fuck, oh fuck….” he gasped, hearing Sloane’s low groan as he gritted his teeth, his head pressed to Dex’s and his free hand grabbing a fistful of Dex’s hair, gripping it painfully as Sloane’s orgasm hit. Sloane gave them a few more gentle tugs, drawing out their release until Dex sucked in a sharp breath. Sloane released him, tucking Dex back into his boxer briefs. Their heads were still pressed together as their pulses slowed and their breaths steadied.

  Dex opened his eyes, meeting Sloane’s, the pain in them not at all what he’d expected. Then again, what just happened was as far away from anything he’d imagined would happen as a result of his attempt to drive Sloane crazy. Sloane used the end of his T-shirt to wipe his hand before giving Dex a hard look.

  “There. I did something about it.”

  “But—” Dex’s words were cut off when Sloane loomed over him, his tone clipped when he spoke.

  “This can’t happen. You understand?” He reached into Dex’s pocket and pulled out his phone, tapping the screen until he appeared to have found his image. He paused for a moment, looking at it. He tapped the screen once more, his finger then hovering over what Dex knew was the tiny trashcan symbol. Closing his eyes, he inhaled deeply, and with a shake of his head, tapped the screen again. Then he shoved the phone at Dex and stormed off.

  Dex quickly got his keys out and slipped behind the steering wheel, slamming the door behind him. He swallowed hard, a mixture of feelings running through him, none of which he could decide on. Exhilaration, fear, disbelief, panic, joy… disappointment. He started the engine and looked down at his phone. When he tapped the screen, Sloane’s picture was still there. He hadn’t deleted it. With a frustrated groan, he let his head fall against the steering wheel.

  “Dex, what are you doing?”

  His job suddenly got a lot more complicated.

  Music. He needed music. He tapped his radio and scrolled down his list of albums until he reached the one he was looking for. Ah, a little Eagles was just what he needed. He was about to reverse when a tap to his window scared the hell out of him. Sloane stood on the other side of his door, his expression guarded. Hitting the button for his window, Dex patiently waited for it to lower despite his head advising him to drive off and not look back.

  Once the window was down, Dex calmly looked up at Sloane and spoke with a deceptively cool voice. “Yes?”

  “Hey,” Sloane cleared his throat, his voice thick and unsteady. “I know you’re running late, but could I uh,” he pointed to the passenger seat, “for a minute?”

  Dex nodded and unlocked the car, waiting with his heart in his throat as Sloane slid into the passenger seat beside him. There was an awkward silence as they both sat there looking forward. Why had the guy come back? It didn’t take a genius to figure out Sloane was regretting what happened, but what Dex couldn’t figure out was why he cared enough to come back.

  “I’m sorry,” Sloane finally said, his determined gaze meeting Dex’s uncertain one. “I should never have taken things that far. I got carried away, and it was stupid, and I understand if you want to report me.”

  “What?” This night was full of surprises.

  “I stepped over the line, Dex.”

  “Yeah, well, I did a pretty good job of shoving you toward it. This is on both of us, not just you, and quite frankly, fuck you.” Sloane’s adorable pout frustrated Dex.

  “For what?”

  “For thinking I would go running to Daddy. I don’t need my dad to fix my problems for me, so you can stop with that bullshit right now.” He studied Sloane, for the first time seeing a whole other side to the tough alpha, a vulnerable side Dex hadn’t known existed. There was something going on, something underlying the gruff attitude. It was true, this was on both of them, but there was something eating away at Sloane, something that made him come back when he probably would have gone on as if nothing had happened, expecting Dex to suck it up. Whatever it was, it made Dex feel shitty for having pushed back so hard.

  “Look, sometimes shit happens. It’s been a rough week, we were both a little… tense and pushing each other’s buttons didn’t help any. I’ll admit, there’s an attraction here, but it’s not something we can pursue for a list of reasons. Now that we’ve gotten it out of our system, we can move on. Who knows, we might even start getting along. What do you say?”

  Sloane blinked at him. “You… you’re cool with that?”

  “Yeah.” Dex shrugged and smiled at him, leaning in with a wink. “I mean, I know this is hard to resist.” He swept a hand over his chest.

  Sloane pressed his lips together in an obvious attempt not to laugh, but in the end he gave in. “You’re such an ass.”

  “What?” Dex asked innocently. “It’s dangerous having this much game.”

  Sloane bit his bottom lip. “Stop it.”

  “Okay,” Dex sighed, “but only because I don’t want you getting swept up in the gravitational pull of my awesomeness.”

  With a chuckle, Sloane got out of the car, closed the door before he walked back around to the driver’s side, and held his hand out to Dex. “Thanks.”

  Dex took Sloane’s hand, ignoring the warmth that spread through him. “That’s what partners are for, right? See you tomorrow.”

  Sloane stepped back and shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. “Drive safe.” He gave him a nod before turning and walking off, up the incline. Dex watched him go, a strange feeling he couldn’t explain going through him when Sloane was out of sight. Telling himself he’d done the right thing, he backed out of the parking space and headed out.

  Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out his phone, his eyes on the road as he tapped the bottom of his screen, then the top right. “Call Isaac
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