Cut and run, p.40

Cut & Run, page 40

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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  The leather was broken in and beaten up, well-lived in with a few scuffs here and there, a couple rips, and one gash across his upper arm.

  Abused, but loved. “Do you, now?” Zane asked innocently.

  “I would have taken better care of it,” Ty responded haughtily as he reached up to finger the gash in the arm that didn’t look near as worn as the other rips and tears. “This new?” he asked seriously.

  Zane looked at his arm. “Last night. Didn’t move out of the way fast enough. Even I can’t dodge two bullets at once. ”

  Ty tutted and shook his head sadly. “Not the man I thought you were, then. ” He sighed sorrowfully as he tugged at the slice in the leather and peered in at Zane’s arm. Zane shook his head and obligingly held his arm out.

  The white bandage was still there, extending out from under the red T-shirt he wore under the black leather. What he didn’t know was that a few splotches of dark blood colored the gauze. He hadn’t checked it since he had stopped for breakfast about ten hours ago.

  “You’re bleeding,” Ty told him matter-of-factly as he tilted his head toward the front door. “Come on. I’ll pour some rubbing alcohol in it and make me feel better,” he offered with a grin.

  “You want your eardrums broken, too? You’ll finally get to hear me scream,” Zane muttered, closing his palm over his arm protectively and looking petulant.

  “Bonus,” Ty crooned as he took Zane’s good arm and led him forcefully to the door. Zane grumbled under his breath but didn’t resist as Ty pulled him along. “You look like you’ve been somewhere rough,” Ty observed as he unlocked the door. “They put you undercover?”

  “Yeah,” Zane said, just looking at the other man, soaking in his features. He’d thought about him so much the past four months, he still couldn’t quite believe he was here looking at him. “Inner Miami. ”

  “Explains the accent. It was a waste of your time,” Ty muttered as he pushed the door open and gestured for Zane to go in. “Only thing that’ll fix Miami is a fucking nuke. ”

  “True,” Zane agreed with a shrug. “Kept me busy and out of Burns’

  nonexistent hair, I figure. ” He walked into the house and paused a few steps inside the front room. The rooms were immaculate, completely at odds with the façade Ty showed to the world. The furnishings were comfortable and well-kept—not to mention actually matching—and not a single item seemed to be out of place. Framed pictures lined the walls of the little living room, each frame identical to the next. They were all black-and-white prints, and told the story of Ty’s life and career, showing him smiling and laughing with a variety of heavily armed, uniformed individuals in various exotic and not-so-exotic locations. There were several others that Zane felt certain were of Ty’s family.

  Ty watched Zane from behind, letting him observe. Zane’s lips pressed together hard. “You sure you got the right house?” he finally asked.

  Christ. This was nothing like what he would expect from the man he thought Ty was. The dichotomy of the man he had known had run deeper than he had ever suspected.

  Ty frowned at him. “I’m a neat guy,” he pointed out softly.

  Zane slanted him a grin. “I’ll have to check the hospital corners on the bed, Jarhead. ” He unzipped the jacket and slid it from his shoulders, pinching the bandage.

  “You can bounce a quarter off my bed,” Ty boasted as he led the way into the kitchen. He dug under the sink and brought out an antique metal First Aid cabinet. The red cross on the front was faded and scratched, and the metal was dented and scarred. When he opened the door the contents were all modern, though, and he pulled out some gauze, a tin of Rawleigh’s medicated salve, and some medical tape.

  Zane tossed his jacket over the bar and pushed up his sleeve as he plopped himself onto a stool. He jerked the bandage off in one go with a grimace and poked at the oozing gouge. It was a good three inches long across his upper arm, and had taken out quite a chunk of flesh. He supposed now that a few stitches might not have been a bad idea.

  Ty glanced over at it and immediately groaned softly. “What the hell?” he muttered. “I’m not stitching you up in my kitchen,” he insisted.

  “That needs a doctor. ”

  “Just bandage it up,” Zane said stubbornly. “Another scar won’t matter. ”

  Ty frowned doubtfully, but he cut the tape into strips and stuck them to the side of the counter, then opened the tin and slathered a good deal of the salve inside the wound without waiting to see if Zane would allow him to touch it. He worked quickly and finally pulled the wound together, placed a thin piece of gauze over it, taped the damaged skin as close as he could, and wound it all up without a word. Zane sat there unmoving, gritting his teeth. It hurt. A lot.

  “Glass of water?” he requested after Ty was done.

  Ty simply nodded and went to a cabinet near the refrigerator to retrieve a glass. He filled it from a bottle that sat on the counter and handed it wordlessly to Zane. Reaching over to the jacket, Zane dug into the pocket and pulled out a battered bottle of Tylenol, got a couple pills, and swallowed them down.

  “Tough guy, huh?” Ty asked sarcastically. “I bet you got all kinds of action with that routine in Miami,” he muttered as he watched with a frown.

  Zane lowered the glass and looked at Ty appraisingly as he tucked the bottle away. “Depends on what kind of action you’re talking about,” he said, being deliberately vague. Ty could be talking about fighting “action. ”

  Possibly. If Ty were true to form … that wouldn’t be it.

  Ty just raised one eyebrow and shrugged. “If you got called papi more than once, then I want blood tests before I touch you again,” he said as he turned to the sink behind him and began washing his hands.

  Chuckling, Zane pushed off his stool and reached out to snag Ty around the waist and start pulling. “Not even once. Didn’t pay anybody, either. ”

  Ty huffed a laugh and let himself be pulled closer, swatting the faucet off before he was out of reach and pulling away only enough to make it seem like an effort. “Bucking the trend, then,” he drawled. “How proud you must be. ”

  “Mmmmm. ” Zane reached out with his other arm to drag Ty closer, facing him, then slid his lips along the curve of Ty’s neck. “I got some ass,”

  he admitted before scraping his teeth on Ty’s skin for a moment. Then he added, “No men. ”

  Ty lowered his chin until his cheek brushed against Zane’s, and he frowned and nodded. “Good,” he replied softly.

  Closing his eyes, Zane inhaled Ty’s scent slowly and let himself fall under the sound of his voice. It aroused him like nothing else. “The ass? Or the no men?” he rasped, moving slightly to rub their cheeks together.

  “I don’t care,” Ty breathed in answer as he turned his head and pressed his lips to Zane’s in an open-mouthed, hungry kiss.

  Zane’s hand closed around the back of Ty’s neck as the other man beat him to the kiss, one he joined with just as much desire. Christ, he’d missed this, missed Ty. He’d never expected it, and he’d lied to himself about how much it had hurt to be without him, unable to understand how he’d grown so attached to this man in the space of seven hectic, awful days. His other hand tightened around Ty’s waist, hauling him up against his body.

  Ty flailed briefly, trying not to grab the upper arm he had just bandaged, and he groaned softly into the kiss. He had tried not to think about their brief stint in New York together. Parts of it he still didn’t remember, and that just made it worse as he tried to force the memories out. Now, though, it all seemed to come rushing back and he let it, wrapping his arms around Zane and pulling him closer until there was no room left between them.

  Ty’s soft sounds made Zane’s gut cramp with more than just passion; it was powerful enough for him to shudder. Emotion he’d packed away in a tiny little box somewhere inside broke free, and everything he’d tried to deny bubbled u
p. Once the kiss finally broke he dropped his head to Ty’s shoulder, turning his face into Ty’s neck, and he clutched him tightly, unwilling to let go. Not just yet. Not until the lonely ache that had been building the past four months faded.

  Ty gave a little whuff of surprise when Zane clung to him, but he slowly slid his arms around him and hugged him, resting his chin against Zane’s cheek. “You okay?” he asked in a whisper.

  Zane slowly nodded, waiting a few heartbeats before admitting, “I am now,” in a matching whisper. There was so much he wanted to say but didn’t dare.

  Ty closed his eyes as the answer sent a shiver through him. He had been afraid of this. Terrified of this. He had known Zane had meant something more to him than just a weeklong partnership or a few wild fucks.

  He had known, given the chance, that Zane could mean quite a lot to him.

  Now, it seemed that Zane returned at least a portion of that feeling. Maybe more. And Ty didn’t know how to handle it. He didn’t even know if he wanted it.

  He swallowed heavily and slid his hand up Zane’s back into his hair, cradling his head as he ran his fingers through the short, messy curls.

  “You need a haircut,” he murmured finally, unable to say what he really wanted.

  Zane shrugged slightly, not willing to move unless Ty pushed him away. He was trying to memorize the feel of the other man’s body against his.

  “And a shower,” Ty continued in a soft voice. He turned his head and pressed his nose and mouth against Zane’s cheek gently. “And some sleep, I bet. ”

  Zane knew he was exhausted, but he was so used to it he hardly felt it anymore. He’d been numb until he saw Ty again. Or maybe he’d lost his mind. “All of the above?” he answered. “And food?”

  “Yeah,” Ty laughed as he smiled against Zane’s skin. “What do you want to eat?”

  “Anything but Cuban,” Zane said immediately before grinning and gnawing a little on Ty’s shoulder.

  Ty laughed again, louder this time as another shiver ran through him.

  “I don’t have any Cuban in me, but I doubt I’ll taste great,” he warned as he pulled away. “How about pizza?” he suggested. “I’ll go get it while you shower. ”

  “I suppose,” Zane said reluctantly, meaning Ty leaving rather than the food choice.

  “You don’t sulk as well as I do,” Ty informed him dispassionately as he moved away.

  “I just need practice,” Zane objected, leaning forward to snag Ty’s arm before he got too far away. “How about a counter offer?”

  “Depends on which counter you’re talking about,” Ty answered warily as he looked from Zane’s hand up to his eyes.

  Zane tugged gently. “How about you shower with me, and then we’ll both go get pizza?” It was overt, Zane knew. An outright play for attention.

  But now that he had Ty this close he didn’t want to let him out of reach. He could feel the heat spiraling between them and all he wanted to do was stoke the flames.

  Ty raised an eyebrow and stepped closer with the tug. “You want me to shower with you?” he asked in amusement. “Need help reaching your back, do you?” he asked with a smirk.

  “And other places,” Zane said, looking Ty up and down significantly.

  “I can go next door and ask the lady neighbor for her loofah,” Ty teased gently. “Bubble bath, maybe?”

  “Whatever gets you in there with me,” Zane responded earnestly.

  “Subtle, Garrett,” Ty laughed softly. “Man, you really did shed the fake layer, didn’t you?” he observed.

  Zane shrugged. “Somebody reminded me it was best to be myself,”

  he said seriously, tugging on Ty’s arm again. “He seemed rather fond of me that way. ”

  “Must have been a genius you were dealing with,” Ty said cheekily as he remained a few steps away.

  “Yeah, I have to admit, he was pretty smart, though I teased him otherwise,” Zane said, curling his arms back around Ty and relaxing as he moved closer. “I regretted that, later. The teasing, I mean. ”

  Ty frowned and leaned back so he could look into Zane’s eyes without going cross-eyed. “One of the advantages of teasing a man with a cracked head is that he doesn’t remember it after,” he offered.

  Zane’s face went still. “How much do you remember?” he asked quietly, eyes filled with silent questions.

  Ty licked his lips nervously and shrugged. He hated when people asked him that. He hated admitting when he couldn’t recall something.

  “Enough that I know kissing me wasn’t a really weird thing for you to do,” he answered vaguely.

  Rather than being surprised or confused, Zane looked disappointed.

  So, Ty remembered they’d had a good time. Sort of. But that was all, apparently. Zane nodded and offered a small, forced smile. At least he had that. It would do while he figured out how to make the longing for that fire between them to stop.

  Ty watched his reaction carefully, confused by it. “What am I missing?” he asked in frustration. He had worked for weeks to regain the memories he had lost. He knew he was still missing quite a few, some that he would never get back, but until right then he hadn’t come across any holes that had seemed important, either to him or to someone else.

  Zane swallowed hard as he slid his hand to take Ty’s and lace their fingers together. “Are you feeling this, too?” he asked, echoing what they’d asked each other months ago, only to have it pushed aside. But not forgotten.
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