Cross and crown, p.14

Cross & Crown, page 14

 part  #2 of  Sidewinder Series


Cross & Crown

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Page 14


  Kelly had Nick’s book in his lap, reading it in the light coming from beneath the galley cabinets.

  When Julian had mentioned the Rosicrucians, Nick hadn’t even flinched, although he’d obviously felt Kelly’s eyes on him. What the hell was Nick up to? Kelly hated being out of the loop, and he hated even more feeling suspicious of his boyfriend.

  He flipped through the pages until he came to the one bookmarked by the slip of paper he’d found the other night, the one with the pigpen cipher on it.

  He still had it in his hand when Nick stepped into the salon and shuttered the doors and windows. Kelly watched him silently, waiting until Nick became aware of his presence.

  Nick finished the last lock and turned, taking a sip of water from a plastic Red Sox cup that was half-faded from so many washings. He stopped short when he found Kelly sitting on the love seat.

  “Hey,” he whispered. “What are you doing up, are you okay?”

  “Couldn’t sleep,” Kelly admitted.

  “Makes two of us. ” Nick came around the coffee table and thumped down beside Kelly on the sofa. He handed Kelly his water, and Kelly took a sip before giving it back.

  “Are you reading in the dark?” Nick asked with a quiet laugh.

  Kelly held the book up. “Why are you playing this so close to the vest?”

  Nick frowned, the shadows casting lines across his face.

  “What are you talking about? What is that?” He tilted the book toward the light, trying to read the title.

  “It’s a book about secret societies. ” Kelly leaned across Nick and turned the lamp on. He set the book in Nick’s lap.

  “You knew what Cross was talking about earlier. What are you up to?”

  Nick picked it up, glancing at the paper in Kelly’s hand.

  “Nothing,” he said, sounding hurt.

  “Nick. ”

  “Kels. The department puts on a summer camp every year. ” Nick tossed Kelly a wounded look. “I was on desk duty for weeks until I was cleared by the liver docs, so they put me on it. I’m making up a scavenger hunt for them. I’m running out of ideas, so I was trying to think up new clues. ”

  Kelly pointed at the cipher. “This is a clue for a kid?”

  “Yeah. I got the book out because the example they have of that symbol there is kind of ornate,” Nick said. He flipped to the right page and tapped the drawing in the book. “I traced it, then added symbols from the other clues in the scavenger hunt. It looks like gibberish to us, but the kids will know what the symbols mean by the time they find that one. ”

  Kelly bit his bottom lip, trying to smile. He just nodded instead. Of course Nick wasn’t up to anything nefarious. He was making a game for kids. Kids he claimed to not be fond of. Kelly finally huffed.

  “What’d you think I was doing?” Nick asked with a teasing smirk.

  Kelly shook his head, embarrassed to have brought it up.

  “I don’t even know. I’m sorry. ”

  Nick set his cup down, then leaned back, sinking into the soft couch. He put his feet up on the table and raised his arm for Kelly to lean against him. Kelly did so gladly, resting his feet next to Nick’s and his head against Nick’s shoulder. He covered them both with the blanket Nick kept on the sofa.

  Nick squeezed him, then buried his nose in Kelly’s hair.

  “I promise the next time I’m doing anything wicked, you’ll be my partner in crime,” he whispered.

  Kelly snorted. “It’s sad how true that is, dude. ”

  They stayed that way for a long while, with Nick’s arm wrapped around Kelly and Kelly’s head on his chest. “I’m sorry about this,” Nick finally said.

  “What for?”

  “This case. It’s ruining our time together. I should have taken vacation days. ”

  Kelly turned so he could see Nick. He rested his chin on Nick’s chest, peering up at him. “I think we needed this,” Kelly admitted.


  “I think we’re based off murder and mayhem. ” Kelly pushed up, sitting cross-legged and facing Nick. “We’ve never known each other in times of peace. ”

  “Sure we have,” Nick argued. He tried to sit up, but Kelly put a hand on his chest and shoved him back down. For some reason it was easier to talk to Nick when he was lounging, wearing a pair of Red Sox pajama bottoms and little else.

  “No we haven’t,” Kelly countered. “Even after being discharged, every time we got together, we got in trouble.

  Or we made trouble. It’s in our nature, babe. And then New Orleans happened. It took me taking a bullet in the chest and almost dying to realize I was attracted to you. I just . . . I think our foundations are built on gunpowder and I’m just afraid they’re going to . . . ”

  “Kels,” Nick whispered. “Jesus Christ, are you breaking up with me right now? Because that’s kind of what this feels like. ”

  Kelly smiled gently. “Do you want me to?”

  “Well, no!” Nick sat up again, and this time Kelly didn’t stop him. “I swear to God, we’ll go somewhere soon where it’s not fucking possible for us to be shot at. Vacation in . . . Amish country or something. I’ll prove we don’t need it. ”

  Kelly laughed and shook his head. Nick gripped the back of his neck, pul ing their faces closer. “If our foundations are built on gunpowder, then so be it. They’re foundations all the same. ”

  Then his fingers loosened, and he dragged his thumb over Kelly’s cheekbone, letting the backs of his fingers drift along Kelly’s jaw and then trailing the tips down his neck.

  “I love you,” Nick whispered. “Has nothing to do with the circumstances, or our history, or how close to death we’ve come together. I would love you in any incarnation of yourself. ”

  Kelly hadn’t been expecting such a heartfelt declaration from his lover, who usually erred on the side of humor when something needed to be said. He found it hard to swallow, and he couldn’t tear his eyes away from Nick’s.

  The longer Kelly’s brain chugged for a response, the softer and more amused Nick’s expression became. He finally ran his thumb across Kelly’s lower lip, then pulled it down like he was making Kelly talk. “Love you too,” he said in a poor imitation of Kelly’s voice.

  They both burst out laughing, quieting quickly so they wouldn’t wake the others. Kelly wiped his lips and reached for Nick, pul ing him in for a kiss. “You’re fucking insane,” he murmured.

  Nick nodded, and he wound his arms around Kelly’s waist and dragged him closer. He leaned back again, stretching out on the couch. Kelly lay out on top of him, kissing him for all he was worth. He had the presence of mind, though, to remember that he hadn’t finished making his point yet. He’d been awake when Nick and JD had been outside the cabin door talking. He’d heard their conversation. He pushed up, frowning down at Nick.

  “What?” Nick asked, voice full of dread. “Are you seriously going to try to break up with me twice in five minutes?”

  Kelly chuckled and shook his head. “I just want . . . I want you to know if you wanted to try something else—”

  “Kelly!” Nick sat up again, taking Kelly with him despite Kelly trying to shove him back down. He had his arm wrapped around Kelly’s waist, and he rolled him into the back of the couch, pinning him against the cushions. Kelly didn’t try to fight it, and soon enough Nick had him under him.

  Nick’s face was shadowed, but Kelly could still see his almost desperate frown. “I’m not here with you because I don’t have other options. You understand? This is not something I’m taking lightly, it’s not a jaunt through the park for me. ”

  Kelly licked his lips, trying to swallow. His mouth was too dry.

  “Doc. There is no ‘something else’ for me. There’s no second option. It’s you. It’s just you. ”

  Nick rested on his elbow so he could glide a finger across Kelly’s cheek. It brought their faces closer
together. Kelly lifted his head and kissed him, almost exploratory, tentative and gentle. Nick returned it with the same tender attention, holding Kelly’s chin between his thumb and forefinger.

  “Okay,” Kelly whispered after several long moments of the lingering kiss. “Okay. So let’s go downstairs and you can prove it to me. ”

  Nick hummed contentedly. “As you wish. ”

  They had the presence of mind to finish battening down the hatches and for Nick to wake Hagan for the last shift before they headed down to their cabin, and they also had the presence of mind to be quiet when they reached the cabin. Barely. Nick pressed Kelly against the wal , holding him tightly with one arm, meeting his lips over and over as he closed the door with a quiet snick.

  Kelly wrapped both arms around his neck and lifted one leg to hitch it over Nick’s hip. He was still exploring all the ways that sex with a guy was new. Some things he loved, other things he missed. But one thing he would never get enough of was the size difference between him and Nick. He loved the fact that he had to reach up to kiss him, that Nick’s muscles were bulkier than his own. He especially enjoyed that Nick could pick him up, and did so with great frequency during their foreplay. He’d once briefly fucked Kelly that way, holding him against a wall and entering him over and over until he’d wanted harder and faster and tossed Kelly onto a nearby couch instead.

  Needless to say, Kelly had learned the little cues that Nick responded to, and he abused the hell out of them.

  Nick grabbed the back of Kelly’s thigh as soon as he raised his leg, and then he bent and hefted Kelly up, sliding his back 116 against the wall and holding him there with his own weight.

  Kelly wrapped both legs around him, still kissing him.

  He could feel Nick growing harder through his pajama pants, feel the tension in every muscle as he worked to support Kelly’s weight.

  “Babe,” Kelly gasped. “What do I have to do to get you to fuck me like this?”

  Nick chuckled darkly. “I’d be way too fucking loud doing that,” he admitted, then bit at Kelly’s lip and kissed him hungrily. He put his lips to Kelly’s ear and hissed, “Come ride me. ”

  Kelly groaned. “Yes, Staff Sergeant. ”

  Nick released the viselike grip he’d had on Kelly and let him slide to the ground. As soon as his feet were on the floor, Kelly ran his hands under Nick’s shirt. He’d probably seen Nick shirtless a thousand times before, but this never failed to be his favorite part of getting Nick undressed. The play of muscles on his shoulders and his back, the way the dark ink of his tattoos contrasted with his skin. It was fucking glorious.

  Nick pulled the shirt off and tossed it aside, backing toward the bed with a smirk. He knew what he did to Kelly, but he wasn’t afraid to return the favor and show Kelly he was turned on. He shoved his pants past his hard cock, leaving them when they hit his thighs.

  “Goddamn it,” Kelly hissed, and he yanked his own shirt over his head. He shoved his sweatpants down and kicked out of them.

  Nick was watching him, his eyes predatory, licking his lips as he looked Kelly up and down. Kelly elbowed him to the bed, then climbed on top of him and pinned his hands.

  Nick grinned evilly, lifting his hips so the head of his cock brushed against Kelly’s balls.

  Kelly shook his head. “You’re going to have to work harder for it than that. ”

  When Nick smiled, Kelly could see that he was biting his tongue. “You sure about that?” Nick asked slyly. “Last time you rode me, you came so hard I licked it off my lips. ”

  Kelly groaned and hung his head. It was true, damn him.

  He released Nick’s hands and reached for the pillows where they’d been stashing their lube. The drawer was just so far when they got to the stage where they needed it.

  As he was reaching, Nick grabbed his hips, holding him in place. He licked at the tip of Kelly’s cock, his fingers digging into Kelly’s ass.

  “Oh God, babe,” Kelly grunted. He hung his head, gasping as his entire body pulsed with need.

  Nick tugged at his hips, urging Kelly to crawl just a little closer to the headboard. He licked Kelly’s balls, then went lower, lapping at Kelly’s asshole. Kelly almost shouted. He brought his fist up and bit it to keep from making any noise.

  Nick licked all the way up to Kelly’s balls again and sucked one into his mouth.

  Kelly arched his back, reaching down to grab a handful of Nick’s hair. His thighs were beginning to burn, but goddamn if he was going to worry about that when Nick was about to do what Kelly thought he was.

  Nick’s hands squeezed at Kelly’s ass, pul ing his cheeks apart before his tongue was there again, licking and massaging muscles that kept fighting back as Kelly tensed.

  “Jesus Christ, you do tongue exercises when I’m not around, don’t you?” Kelly said, the last word coming out a moan as Nick’s tongue shoved past those muscles and inside him.

  Nick hummed in response, and licked his way up to Kelly’s balls again. His teeth scraped tender skin, and a small whimper escaped Kelly’s lips before he could stop himself.

  He squirted a liberal amount of lube into his palm, then reached blindly behind him. He grasped Nick’s hard cock and squeezed, coating it with lubricant. Nick moaned loudly, but this time he had a mouthful of Kelly’s balls and Kelly almost came right then and there. His cock was dripping as he contorted his body, trying to jack Nick while still giving Nick’s tongue access. Nick licked at his asshole again, then dragged his tongue all the way up the shaft of Kelly’s cock.

  He sucked him between his lips, licking the pre-cum off the head before releasing him.
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