Divide & conquer, p.35
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       Divide & Conquer, p.35

         Part #4 of Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux
Page 35


  Tys fingers were on his cheek again. He was holding Zanes head as he kissed him, pushing down and against his body, his kisses more frantic and breathless than they had been. Zane was swept up in it, giving himself over to Ty, dizzy with his orgasm and overheated by the press of their bodies. It took him too long to realize that Ty was actually speaking in between the almost frenzied meetings of their lips. What he was saying Zane couldnt decipher, but he knew he heard the words “missed you” and “love” among them, and suddenly his eyes prickled and his chest tightened. Throat choking up, Zane reached out to wrap his arms around Ty to pull him closer.

  Ty actually growled. He rutted against Zane, using the hard muscle over Zanes hip for friction. He slid both hands under Zanes arms, under his body, and gripped the backs of his shoulders again. It was a position theyd found themselves in plenty of times before, and their bodies melded well. Of course, usually Ty was buried to the hilt inside Zane at this point, and the feel of his cock sliding instead against the curve of his groin was both exciting and erotic, like Ty wanted him too badly to take more care in how they both came. Ty bit at Zanes lower lip, thrusting his tongue into Zanes mouth the same way he probably wanted to thrust something else into him.

  It filtered through the passion that Zane felt wanted and needed and loved, and it pulled another groan from him. “Ty,” he moaned once their mouths broke apart.

  Ty ducked his head and pressed his cheek against Zanes, ceasing the frantic movements for a moment as the world moved a little slower around them. Then Ty gasped against Zanes ear and moved over him, their bodies sliding together. Zane tried to focus on what Ty was doing, but he was still woozy and weak. He managed to spread his legs, giving Ty more room between them.

  Ty turned his head again, laughing breathlessly. “I wouldnt make it five seconds if I fucked you right now,” he told Zane tightly. “I totally understand,” Zane said on a half laugh. “Let me help, baby. ” Ty pushed up, then rolled them instead, and he pulled Zane with him until they both lay on their sides again. Zane reached out to press both palms to Tys chest, feeling its rise and fall.

  Ty threw his leg over Zanes hip again, thrusting himself hard against Zanes body. “Yes,” Zane hissed, gripping Tys thigh and adding a little push to his hips.

  “Christ, Zane,” Ty gasped out desperately. His fingers dug into Zanes back, his blunt fingernails scratching their way down one side as he sought release. Ty had never been one to cause pain intentionally in bed; he had to be so far gone into the pleasure he didnt know he was doing it. Zane squeezed his eyes shut and shuddered. The sting easily blended with the thrill still lapping through him. He felt himself going hard again, and he groaned aloud and clutched at Ty, trying to twist to get more stimulation, even if nothing would come of it. This time, anyway.

  Ty arched his back, and the movement of his hips became more erratic. His cock slid against Zane, hard and demanding. He pulled Zane closer, kissing him possessively, his fingers digging in. He broke the kiss with a sharp gasp and groaned loudly, the sound almost desperate, as Zane felt the warm come spreading against his belly. Zane kissed along Tys jaw and throat, silently awed by how incredible they were together.

  Zane pushed his face into the sweaty skin at the crook of Tys neck and held on tight. Ty was still breathing hard, shivers running through his body as he hugged Zane to him. They stayed that way for what seemed like a long time, long enough for Ty to get his breathing under control again and for the cool air to become noticeable on their bare skin.

  Finally, Ty moved, but only enough to shift his arm into a more comfortable position and pull Zane closer. “What brought that on?” he asked quietly.

  Zane wasnt sure he could vocalize the words that were whizzing through his mind like a Tilt-A-Whirl. “Missed you,” he got out. But then he tacked on, in a bare whisper, “Afraid of losing you. ”

  Ty sighed heavily, his shoulders slumping as his grip on Zane loosened. “Were too naked to argue right now, but were definitely having a talk about the sexual-favors-to-keep-my-interest issue,” he mumbled. His words were teasing, but the tone was decidedly less cheerful.

  “Wasnt all about apologizing or keeping your interest,” Zane tried to offer in his defense. “Id gotten so riled up just thinking about what it would be like to suck your dick that I could hardly stand it anymore. ”

  Ty was silent, not even breathing as he apparently mulled over what Zane had said. After a few tense moments, he let the air out in a rush and laughed. “Hell, Zane, why didnt you say so? I could have helped you out earlier. ”

  Zane wrinkled his nose and shrugged slightly under Tys weight. “Took me a while to work myself up to the idea. For some reason its more… I dont know. Intimate, I guess. Even than fucking. ”

  Ty turned his head, looking at Zane thoughtfully. He just nodded minutely and reached up to run his fingers through Zanes hair. It felt like the place for “I love you” again. Zane suspected that was what Ty wanted to say.

  So now, that left the words to Zane. It was time. Hed thought it to death, tried to reason out if he was right or wrong, worked to let go of the past and live in the now, chewed over his fears about being worthy of Ty. Zane swallowed hard, taking a quick breath to quell the rush of adrenaline. Fight or flight, he thought distantly, his pulse roaring in his ears.

  “You okay?” Ty asked, reading him well. Zane squeezed his eyes shut for a second, then blinked them open and started to nod, but he stopped and gave a half-shrug. “Im a little… overwhelmed,” he rasped.

  Ty reached up and ran his fingers lightly over Zanes face, trailing them gently around his eyes. “Have you been sleeping?” he asked grimly, as if he already knew the answer.

  Zane turned his cheek into Tys hand, seeking more contact. Ty knew him very well, better than Zane knew Ty by far. “Not really,” Zane admitted. “Too anxious to relax, I guess. ”

  “I figured,” Ty responded with a slow nod. He pushed himself up, pulling his arm out from under Zane, and he sat up. “Stay,” he told Zane as he got up and headed out of the bedroom.

  Zane lay back against the pillows and closed his eyes. He could practically hear his heart beating, it was thumping so hard. He turned his face into the pillow and breathed in Tys familiar scent. Nerves still sparked through him, and he knew hed have to deal with the panic soon. The intense relief from the momentary reprieve was tinged with an odd disappointment, and he found he wanted to grasp at the moment and bring it back, do it differently.

  Zane didnt open his eyes until a towel flopped onto his belly. “You have that look,” Ty observed as he stood at the edge of the bed and looked down at Zane in concern.

  Zane fought the reflex urge to wipe his emotions off his face and offered a small smile. “Do I?” But Ty didnt return the smile. He sat down instead, then stretched out beside Zane on the bed. “You look like youre about to cut and run,” he observed in an almost offhand manner.

  This time Zane did clamp down on his outward reaction. “Im the one who came here looking for you, remember?” It was nearly impossible to decipher what Ty was thinking as he took in Zanes features, and Zane felt a moments frustration that Ty could block him out so easily. Ty sat up suddenly, bending and stretching to the end of the bed where he always kept a spare quilt folded up. He shook it out and lay back with it, pulling it up over them as he turned toward Zane and rested his head on Zanes shoulder.

  Unsure of what to do or say, Zane simply closed his arms around Ty. He turned his head and pressed a kiss to the crown of his lovers head. Suddenly there were all sorts of words crowding on Zanes tongue, and he couldnt get a single one out, much less three that would prove he knew the best thing to happen to him in his entire life lay right there in his arms.

  Chapter Fourteen

  “THISis WBAL TV 11 News at 6, and Im Alicia Harrison. Good evening. ” A mugshot of a rather attractive young blonde woman with a neat bob haircut appeared over the rep
orters shoulder. “Baltimore FBI Special Agent Lydia Reeves has died at age twenty-seven. Reeves was one of six law enforcement agents injured in the first shoppingcomplex bomb at the Inner Harbor just over a week ago. After eight days in a coma in the University of Maryland Medical Center ICU, she passed away last night as a result of her injuries. She is survived by her husband. ”

  The video cut to a shot of a somber-looking man in a brown suit. The titles labeled him as FBI Spokesman. “Agent Reeves was a fine example of the FBI and law enforcement,” the man said with a flash of bright white teeth. “Her service to the city is to be commended, and she will be greatly missed. ”

  The reporter reappeared. “Reeves is the third death in the as-ofyet unexplained string of bombings terrorizing Baltimore. Police now suspect that a recent, unsuccessful bank robbery may be related to the bombings. ”

  The shot changed to display the Baltimore police chief. “We are pursuing all leads, and the possibility of the perps using divide and conquer tactics wont be ruled out. ”

  “So the recent rash of bank robberies and the bombings might be connected?” the reporter asked. “Were not ruling anything out at this time,” the chief repeated with worn patience. “Contingency plans for emergency response remain in place. ”

  “What do you mean by divide and conquer tactics?”

  “Its quite simple,” the police chief replied. “By dividing our response, theyre hoping to get away with their crimes. ” The video returned to the studio shot. “Following this most recent tragedy, local, state, and federal officials announced that every available resource is being diverted to find the source of the bombs. ”

  The FBI spokesman appeared again. “Were doing everything we can to protect all the men, women, and children of Baltimore by stopping this threat. And we wont rest until we do. We owe that to Baltimore, and we owe that to Lydia Reeves. ”

  The final shot of the reporter displayed an American flag flying over her shoulder. “The funeral for fallen FBI agent Lydia Reeves is at noon tomorrow at Green Mount Cemetery. It will be closed to the public. ”

  W ITH a soft grunt of frustration, Zane undid the tie he was trying to knot for the third time and started over. Hed been a little off all morning, but he wasnt surprised he was shaky, shaky enough that hed simply trimmed up his beard and mustache instead of getting rid of it altogether. Funerals did that to people, even when you werent close to the deceased. In his case, it resurrected memories he wished would stay buried, memories of another womans funeral in the unseasonably cold and wet Texas fall. The fact this morning had dawned cool and gloomy, with the potential bite of sleet or snow in the air, definitely didnt help. Lydia Reeves funeral was in two hours, and it would be a long, uncomfortable, emotional day.

  Zane gave up on the tie when he heard a steady knock and walked out of the small bathroom and through the living room. He picked up his Glock from the bookshelf before opening the door. They still didnt know how the note writer had found him.

  A Marine stood on the stoop. A white cover with a black brim bearing the golden eagle, globe, and anchor shadowed his eyes. Brightred piping on the high-necked midnight-blue blouse stood out against clean-shaven skin, and round gold buttons ran down the front seam. A stack of ribbons hung over his heart, and a red patch on each of his arms displayed three gold chevrons and one rocker above two hash marks. He wore pristine white gloves that disappeared into the long jacket sleeves. The jacket extended to hip length, close-fitted and cinched by a spotless white belt with a gold buckle bearing the branch insignia. The trousers brighter blue, a royal blue, contrasted with a long scarlet stripe down the outside of his legs, and his black shoes showed a high shine.

  Zane stared for all he was worth. Ty Grady in dress blues was a glorious sight to behold.

  “Damn,” Zane said in sincere appreciation. Ty cocked his head, the barest smirk twitching his lips. “Morning,” he offered, his eyes taking in the mangled knot of Zanes tie.

  Zanes gaze followed his, and with a huff he yanked the tie off and stepped back, waving Ty inside. “Need some help?” Ty asked as he stepped over the threshold, shutting the door behind himself. He swept the cover off his head and tucked it under one arm, a motion Zane had seen many times before but never appreciated to its fullest until now.

  “Apparently,” Zane agreed as he shut the door. “But not with this one. ” He meant to turn to the second bedroom to get another tie, but he couldnt make himself look away just yet. The last time Zane had seen dress blues had been on the groom at his sisters wedding. He knew enough about chevrons and rockers to identify Tys rank as Staff Sergeant, but he didnt know what any of the impressive stack of ribbons stood for aside from the recognizable Purple Heart ribbon on the top row. Zane reached up to cautiously ghost his fingers over it.

  Ty smiled gently, letting him touch. “Flashy, arent they?” he said wryly. He didnt sound like he was boasting. “No medals?” Zane asked. He knew most of the ribbons had corresponding medals, though not why servicemen wore one or the other or both.

  “Theyre at home. The ribbons dont clink. ”

  Zane nodded. “Looking sharp, Marine,” he complimented with a small smile. “Any rules about getting kissed in uniform?”

  “Not that Im aware of,” Ty answered, smiling wider. Zane chuckled and leaned down to kiss Ty carefully, not wanting to get snagged on the ribbons or buttons. He could feel Ty smiling against his lips, and Ty pulled him closer. Zane hummed in appreciation and wrapped his arms around Ty loosely. The wool of the jacket was smooth under Zanes fingers, the embroidery of the patches less so, but Tys lips were still warm and soft against his.

  “You look pretty good yourself,” Ty murmured against his lips. Zane kissed him again as a thank-you. It was just a nice suit, but one he didnt wear often, being an intense black—so much so it almost picked up a midnight blue or indigo sheen in the right light—and more closely tailored than he preferred for work. Hed chosen a soft gray dress shirt and had been messing with an understated silver tie.
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