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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

First Chapter of Zane's Inferno


Zane's Inferno was part of the His Hero Anthology with Total-e-Bound. If you love hot firemen you'll love Zane. Purchase Zane's Inferno from Amazon ARE TEB

Zane's Inferno

Chapter One

Zane Wilson inched forwards, barely able to move. Heat from the fire was baking his brain through his helmet. They were going to call him back any second. The swirl of the fire and the intense heat meant only one thing—this building was about to collapse. The stairs were engulfed in flames, blocking access to the upper floors. This had to have been deliberately set.

“Portable One, this is Command. You copy?”

“Command, this is Portable One, Zane here.”

“Heat’s built up in the attic. Come out now. Over.”

“Portable One exiting the building. We’re coming out. Over.”

James, his hose man, slapped him on the back. They’d moved back three feet when he heard the loud crack over the roar of the fire. The three-storey mansion was coming down around them.

“Run!” James shouted over the intercom just before he slapped Zane again, this time on the shoulder.

Zane dropped the hose then turned to run. They both dashed for the door. Zane saw a huge beam fall and he shoved James out of the way before he jumped back.

A wall of fire surrounded him, blocking his exit. His oxygen tank alarm went off, signalling the end of his air supply. He would die in a few minutes if he didn’t escape the raging beast. Smoke seared his lungs, leaving him nauseous and dizzy. His tank should have lasted longer. Someone had given him an empty one. His stomach turned as he fought to remember who had given it to him. The flames grew stronger so he forgot about the tank and searched for a way out.

The fire died down to his right for just a few seconds. He braced himself for the heat and leapt through the uneven wall of flames. The fire burned him but he kept going, pushing his way into the living room. The heat was less intense as he made his way through the smoke-filled room. On the far wall he saw a window. He grabbed his hooligan tool and tried to smash out the glass. The bar bounced back, smacking his visor. Shit, Plexiglas.

Zane pulled the lock on the window and tried to shove the pane up, but it wouldn’t budge. The heat, maybe paint…something was making the window stick. He tried again as chunks of house dropped to the floor behind him like bombs on a battlefield.

He reached up, grabbing the sides of the window frame. There was a security rod preventing the window from rising. He pulled out the metal rod then slid the window up. Oxygen rushed in, fuelling the fire. The blaze snaked its way across the ceiling, straight towards him.

The curtain around the window burst into flames. He jumped back. Pain seared his shoulder as a beam fell and crashed into him. This was his one chance. Zane jumped forward, diving through the smoke and fire, landing and rolling to his knees. He ignored the pain racing through his body as he crawled to a standing position.

Noise split the air as an explosion ripped through the house. Heat pushed him forward, and for a brief second he was airborne. He hit the ground with a solid thud. Fire and ash rained down around him.

Three of his buddies circled him, one opening his coat while the other two pulled off his helmet and other gear. Bill stood above him and for a second Zane thought the man looked disappointed. That he’d made it out of the fire? The heat had done a number on him. Exhaustion was making his brain fuzzy and his stomach sour. He wasn’t going to throw up, but he sure as hell didn’t feel good.

“Zane, you with us?” Mike, his captain, asked.

For a moment Zane thought about making a joke about his hard-ass captain going soft with concern but he couldn’t muster the energy. “Yeah, I’m good.” A cough started deep in his lungs then spilled out in one giant hacking fit.

“Lance, Bill, take our hero over to the ambulance. When they’re done with him, make sure to belt him upside the head for scaring the shit out of me.”

Bill and Lance laughed as they helped Zane to his feet. The world was swimming in front of his eyes but he didn’t go down. His crew deposited him at the back of the ambulance. Lance slapped him on the back and fist-bumped him. Bill walked away then shot a glare back over his shoulder. Maybe he hadn’t imagined that look from Bill earlier. Nick Dubois, the paramedic, forced him to remain still while he checked his vitals. Zane ignored Nick as much as possible, staring at the fire and watching the men on his crew work.

“You’re a little dehydrated. Your temp’s up a bit. But I think you’re fine. Oxygen saturation is a little low, though.” Nick stepped back in the ambulance after patting him on the shoulder.

Zane pulled together his gear. He would finish up with the fire and pull his weight cleaning with the crew. Doing his share of the work after the fire was top priority. Nothing pissed him off more than some lazy guy trying to get off with a free ride. Zane moved to stand but Nick’s hand was heavy on his shoulder.

“Oh, no you don’t. You’re not going anywhere.”

Zane tried to shrug off Nick’s hand but failed. “But you said I was fine.”

“Your temp’s up and you’re dehydrated. You should be sweating but you’re not. I’ve got an IV with your name on it. Now sit down before I stick this in a vein you don’t want exposed.”

Zane grumbled as he crawled up into the ambulance with Nick’s help. “This is ridiculous. I’m fine.”

“Sure you are, big guy. You do know your coat is toast and your helmet almost melted to your head? You’re lucky to be alive.” Nick placed his hand on Zane’s chest and pushed him back onto the gurney.

The desire in Nick’s eyes almost brought Zane up off the bed. It had to be the lack of oxygen in his blood because he knew Nick was as straight as they came. Zane closed his eyes and let Nick work on him, doing his best to ignore the aching desire he had for the man.

No one in the fire department knew he was gay. Going into the academy had been a tough choice. Gay firemen weren’t the norm, especially in Texas, but he loved the rush of fighting a fire. He’d kept his sexuality a secret for the last four years. No one at the station knew he played for the other team. Hell, he hadn’t heard of a single fireman in all of Texas who did.

Zane took a deep breath and pushed erotic thoughts of Nick out of his mind. The guy would probably kill him if he knew what he was thinking. The gentle touch of Nick’s hand on his face and chest made it difficult to stop his impure thoughts but he’d be damned if he’d get a boner laying on a gurney in an ambulance. Talk about a loser moment.

Nick’s fingers slid down his arm to check his pulse again. He shivered and cracked open one eye. Sure enough, Nick was all business. Get this guy out of your head. He’s straight.

He drew in a deep breath and directed his thoughts to all the tasks that had to be completed at the firehouse this week. The back door should be repainted. The locker room needed attention. Someone had to clean out the fridge. The science experiment growing in the back of the vegetable drawer was enough to cool anyone’s libido.

Zane felt Nick’s fingers on his face and he popped open his eyes. Nick had leant over, and his lips were only inches from Zane’s. His breath tickled Zane’s cheek. Their gazes locked and the air in the back of the ambulance seemed to grow thick.

The boner Zane had been fighting won. Reaching out and touching Nick would be wrong. He couldn’t pull the man into a kiss even though every cell in his body was screaming for him to touch Nick in that way.

Nick jerked away and cleared his throat. “I think you need to take a ride to the hospital.”

Zane started to sit up and remembered his stiff dick. Damn the sexy bastard for exciting him so. Nick was only doing his job, not coming on to him.

“I don’t need to see a doctor. I’m fine.”

This time Nick not only placed a hand on Zane’s chest to force him to lie back, he reached for a zip strip and held it up. “You’re going to the hospital even if I have to handcuff you to the bed.”

Zane swallowed over the lump in his throat. So much for getting his stiffy under control. If Nick would stay with him, he would gladly let the man handcuff him to the bed or to the shower rod. Anything he wanted.

Zane’s face heated and he was forced to look away. Nick’s beautiful brown eyes and square jaw were too damned attractive to ignore. Sexy didn’t even come close to describing how wonderful Nick looked.

Nick ran his hand down Zane’s chest to his waist, cupping his side and holding him like a lover would. “I know you don’t want to go. Hell, firemen are the worst patients, but you might have a concussion.”

Zane closed his eyes and blew out a huge breath. A concussion would explain the confusion he was having about Nick. The man wasn’t coming on to him. It was all just some bump on the mix-up that had him thinking sexy thoughts about Nick.

“Fine, I’ll go.”

“Good boy. I’ll go get Andy and have him drive us over.”

Zane watched Nick step out of the ambulance and walk over to Mike. The captain glanced over to the ambulance and started walking towards it. Zane’s boner had gone down some, but it still showed through the black material. Crap, I can’t let Mike see me like this.

Nick grabbed Mike’s arm and held him back. Zane groaned as relief surged through him. His dick deflated even more as he untucked his shirt and did his best to hide the evidence of his desire.

Mike moved closer but didn’t step up into the ambulance. “Zane, boy, Nick says you need to take a trip to the hospital. I’ll stop by after we get this cleaned up. I think you need to take some R&R time too. We’ll talk about some down time for you later.”

“Desk work…great,” Zane grumbled.

“He still has his smart mouth. Proves his skull is thick. Take him in, let the doctors deal with his sour attitude.” The captain tapped him on the boot and smiled. “You’re a pain in the ass, Wilson.

Nick laughed as he climbed up into the ambulance. He closed the door and Andy hopped into the front of the truck.

“Looks like we’re in for a smooth ride, boys. You want all the bells and whistles?” Andy asked.

“Hell no,” Zane said.

“Oh yeah,” Nick countered.

Andy flipped on the sirens and lights, bringing further shame to Zane. He couldn’t believe he was being taken away in an ambulance from a fire he was supposed to be working.



* * * *



Zane didn’t want to dress in the clothes he’d worn during the fire but he had no choice. The doctor had said he seemed fine and released him earlier than anyone expected. They’d asked him to change into a robe because of the stench of smoke in his clothes. He hadn’t blamed the doctors and nurses for not liking that smell.

A few first-degree burns needed care, but he didn’t have a concussion. The IV Nick had started had kept him hydrated. All in all, he was in good shape. He called a cab after he signed the release papers, not wanting to waste any more time sitting there in the stupid hospital.

The drive over to the station was quick. Two of the fire trucks weren’t in the garage but the ambulance was right where it should be. That meant Nick and Andy were somewhere in the firehouse.

He steeled himself against any rogue feelings for Nick as he entered the building. Silence filled the air. The TV was quiet and the kitchen empty. Zane knew the captain wouldn’t allow him to continue his shift after a visit to the hospital. He’d only come back here to grab his clothes and keys. His uniform needed to be washed but he didn’t want to wear it home. He’d been able to keep his truck smoke-free so far, and he intended to keep it that way.

Zane entered the bunkroom and stripped off his shirt and pants. His undies would stink too, so he dropped them into the plastic bag he used to transport his smoky clothes. The door opened and Nick walked in, his head down as he scrolled through something on his phone. Nick glanced up, his eyes going wide when he saw Zane.

For some reason, Zane felt like he’d done something wrong the minute Nick walked in. Hell, everyone in the firehouse, including the women firefighters, had seen him naked. But Nick didn’t look away as the door shut behind him, bumping him on the rear.

Zane’s gaze connected with Nick’s and desire shot straight to Zane’s cock that hung free in the open. Soon Nick would be able to see his desire and that scared the shit out of Zane. He turned around and grabbed his clothes, moving towards the wall at the top of his bunk and behind the line of lockers that separated his bed from his neighbours. He pulled on his underwear and got his legs in his jeans but they were still at his hips when Nick cleared his throat, his footfalls closing in on Zane and his mostly naked body.

“Hey, Zane, glad you’re released.”

“Um, yeah.” Zane pulled his jeans up and zipped them before turning to face Nick. He couldn’t even look Nick in the eyes. The awkwardness needed to go away before his next shift. Hell, maybe he could switch shifts and he wouldn’t be forced to run into Nick every week.

Nick moved closer, trapping Zane between his bunk and the lockers. His breath was ragged as Nick approached, his feet stopping only inches away from Zane’s. Zane glanced up, surprised to see the heat in Nick’s eyes.

They stared at each other for a long moment, neither of them moving. Fear of being caught pinged around Zane’s brain. Was Nick just pulling his leg? He swore he’d heard Nick bragging about his conquests with women before…but that had only been when other men challenged him about dating.

“I thought you were dead when that house started to fall apart.” Nick trailed a finger down Zane’s bare chest to the waistband of his pants.

Zane glanced down at Nick’s hand and then back up to his eyes. The pleading in them shocked him. His mouth was dry and his tongue wouldn’t move. Usually he dated twinks, but those dates weren’t for real. They were really just a way for him to get off. He’d never kissed anyone he’d ever really wanted.

“When I had you in that ambulance all by myself, it was so hard not to kiss you.”

Zane’s body went still and his head swam. Oh damn, no way. “How do you know I would have let you?”

Nick threw back his head and laughed. “I saw you at Barron’s church down in Spring three weeks ago. Some twink was flitting around you.”

“I didn’t see you there.” Zane reached out and placed his hand on Nick’s hip.

“I snuck out once I saw you. None of the other guys know.”

“Same here.”

“Sounds like we have a problem.”

“Yeah.” Zane wanted to lean in and kiss Nick but fear held him back. Any moment, another guy could come waltzing in here. He glanced down at Nick’s lips imagining how they would taste.

“I’m sorry,” Nick whispered.

“What?”

Nick leaned in, pulling Zane into a crushing kiss. His tongue invaded Zane’s mouth, taking pleasure as he pushed Zane up against the wall. Nick’s hands were down Zane’s pants, grabbing his ass and squeezing hard as he ground his pelvis against him.

The kiss ended all too soon and Nick pulled back, leaving Zane totally bereft. Their breath came in gasps, heating up the tiny space where they’d hidden their little liaison.

“That was totally unfair.” Zane grabbed his shirt off the bed and pulled it on, pushing Nick out of the cramped space beside his bed before he got any ideas about Zane and his bunk.

“I know, but I’ve wanted to do that for a long while now.”

The rumble of the fire trucks returning to the station made Zane’s heart race. He turned, intent upon leaving Nick alone.

“Wait, I want to see you tomorrow.”

Zane turned back, unsure if hooking up with Nick was the best idea. A hot flash of desire snaked its way through him. He wanted to say no, but in the end he couldn’t turn down Nick’s offer.

“Come over when your shift ends in the morning.”

Mike and James burst into the bunkroom, their clothes stinking like bad fire and sweat. Both of them broke out in huge smiles when they saw Zane. Bill bumped into the room then frowned before he left without grabbing anything from his bunk locker.

“Zane, buddy, you’re out. I thought for sure the docs would want to keep you overnight.” James walked up to hug him but Zane put out his hand.

“You stink worse than a sewer rat. Change clothes and shower first.”

“Bet you’re super picky about the girls you date too, Zane. You ain’t going to find one worth marrying unless you stop being such a baby,” Mike said.

“Sure, Mike. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Nick laughed out loud and Zane glared at him. Had he not wanted to suck Nick’s cock only minutes ago, he would have blown off Nick’s response, but now the guy knew his dirty little secret and could expose him.

“What’s so funny, Nicky?” Mike asked.

“Zane’s way too particular. No girl will ever be good enough for him.” Nick gave him a knowing gaze.

It wasn’t too late to back out of meeting Nick tomorrow. The fear of being found out made his knees weak. But Nick’s smile broke down his walls of doubt.



* * * *



The phone rang, waking Zane from a deep sleep. He rolled over and grabbed the offending device, answering just before it rang over to voicemail.

“Zane here.”

“Mister Wilson?”

“Yes, that’s me.” Zane sat up, scrubbing his face with the sheet draped over his naked body.

“It’s Doctor Stewart from the ER—I’m just checking in to make sure you’re doing fine.”

Zane stood up and stretched. “Yeah, I’m good.”

“No dizziness or nausea?”

He patted his belly and shook his head. “Nope, everything is in working order.”

“Good. You’ll probably need to make arrangements to visit your doctor. Go get checked in a week or so.”

“Will do, and thanks for calling, Doc.”

“Take care, and thank you for doing your job. I’m glad there are firemen like you out there.”

Zane hung up the phone and glanced at his alarm clock. It was a quarter after eight. Shift ended at seven. He guessed Nick wasn’t coming by.

After taking a shower and getting dressed, Zane glanced through his refrigerator and realised he had nothing to eat. He checked the time, wishing like hell that Nick had shown up. It was close to nine, two hours after he would have checked out of work. There was no excuse for him not to be here.

Zane grabbed his keys off the counter. He’d eat breakfast out, and if he missed Nick then too bad. The guy should learn some manners about being on time. Zane pulled open the door and almost ran into Nick.

“Hey, I brought some food.” Nick pushed his way into Zane’s kitchen, unloading seven grocery bags on the counter. “I hope you’re hungry.”

“You’re late.”

“Sorry, bad crash last night. Seven-year-old. I had to stay at the hospital until she made it out of surgery. Poor kid. I would have called but I don’t have your number.”

Zane relaxed—he understood emergencies on the job. Hell, he was always coming home late after a full shift. “She make it?”

“Yeah. Lost her foot, but she’ll live.”

“What about the parents?”

“The aunt was driving. She died at the scene.”

Zane went to Nick and pulled him into a tight hug. Losing someone at the scene sucked. Nick wrapped his arms around him and buried his head in the crook of Zane’s neck. They stayed like that for a long moment, holding each other.

“I’m starving.” Nick pushed away first. “Eggs and bacon? Do you like spinach in your eggs?”

“I can do spinach.”

“Good. Go sit down and let me cook.”

“No way, I’m fine.”

Nick laughed and shoved the spinach at him. “Fine, be difficult but you get to wash the greens while I load your fridge up.”

They ate a huge breakfast, barely saying a word to each other. Zane stole glances at Nick, taking in his thick fingers and his strong jaw. His cock jumped in anticipation as he thought of what Nick’s fingers could do to him.

Nick wasn’t one to parade around naked, but Zane had seen him once and knew the guy was well hung. He couldn’t wait to get his lips around that cock. He did love sucking dick. Most of the guys he’d dated were bottoms and they sucked his cock. Zane doubted that Nick had ever played bottom for anyone.

Zane cleaned off the table and loaded their dishes into the washer. He turned around and was shocked by the predatory hunger in Nick’s eyes. Usually he was the predator in the sex games he played. Suddenly he felt small and helpless against the power Nick unleashed with his gaze.

Zane dried his hand on the dishtowel while waiting for Nick to make the first move. They stared each other down, Zane’s dick growing stiffer with each passing second. He glanced down at Nick’s pants, glad to see that Nick had a huge boner too.

“Get over here,” Nick growled.

Zane hesitated but couldn’t deny that he wanted to be next to Nick. His steps slowed as he neared the other man. Nick was slightly taller and more muscled than he. Zane’s legs shook and his hands trembled.

Nick reached out and ran his fingers through Zane’s hair. His touch was initially gentle and soft then he grabbed Zane’s arms and spun him around, slamming him against the wall. He trapped Zane’s hands behind his back and held them there with one hand while his other hand unbuttoned and unzipped Zane’s pants before shoving them down below his ass.

The slide of his hand over Zane’s dick was rough and aggressive. Nick punished Zane’s mouth, demanding entrance then sucking hard on Zane’s tongue. Nick let go of his boner and grabbed Zane’s ass, separating his cheeks enough to slip one finger into Zane’s hole. Zane cried out in pleasure and pain as Nick’s finger found his prostate and played with it, taking Zane from rock hard to about to blow.

“You like this?” Nick asked.

Zane tried to buck off Nick’s hold, but Nick wouldn’t budge. He let go of Zane’s hands, grabbed his dick and squeezed. That did it. Zane came, squirting his cum down Nick’s hand and the wall.

Nick leaned against his back, his breath hot on Zane’s ear. “I want you so bad.”

Zane couldn’t respond. He’d never had anyone take him like that before. He couldn’t believe that his dick had already spent its load on nothing more than a finger fuck. Usually he lasted a long time. The twinks he dated dumped early…never him.

Nick dropped his pants, the belt clattering against the tile floor. “Bed. Now.” Nick pinched Zane’s ass.

“Ouch. You like it rough? Huh?” Anger and lust brewed together in Zane’s belly as he bucked back against Nick’s body.

Nick countered by taking Zane’s hands and holding them against the wall. His cock teased Zane’s hole. Zane’s dick was growing hard again, presenting itself at half-mast. He would be ready to show Nick a thing or two about fucking in a few minutes.

With all of his strength he threw off Nick’s hold and shoved him away. He turned around to face Nick and was hit by the raw lust shining in his eyes. Zane’s dick finished stiffening out when he got a good look at the size of Nick. The man had a tool that Zane prayed like hell he knew how to use.

Nick came at Zane, trapping him once more against the wall. Their cocks brushed against each other sending a shiver through both of them. Nick’s eyes brightened with lust as he brushed his dick against Zane again.

Zane moaned and closed his eyes as their bodies pressed up against each other.

“Open your eyes.”

Even if he didn’t want to, Zane was helpless against Nick’s demands. He’d always been the aggressor. Every guy he’d slept with before had been smaller than he. This was the first time he’d ever had sex with a bigger guy. Never before had he been able to be rough for fear of hurting the man he was with. But Nick could take his shit. The guy was tough.

Zane pushed Nick back off him. The surprise in Nick’s eyes brought a thrill to Zane. He ran to the bedroom, hearing Nick right behind him. Zane had been going to jump on the bed but decided to fake Nick out. Zane slid to a stop and jumped out of the way when Nick tried to grab for him.

“Oh, I am so going to punish you for this,” Nick said.

“You can’t punish me unless you catch me. And I’m faster than you, big guy.”

Nick laughed then lunged at Zane. They bumped into the wall and Nick held him prisoner there as he fondled Zane’s balls. Pleasure almost made Zane forget his quest for dominance. He pushed against Nick but lost the battle. Before he could stop him, Nick had both of Zane’s arms held overhead.

Nick stood slightly away from Zane’s body, his eyes focused on Zane’s cock. “I’m going to have fun with your prick. You’ve already come for me once, and now I’m going to make you do it again.”

 Nick locked eyes with him and Zane’s legs started to tremble. He didn’t doubt for a minute that Nick could make him come again before they even had sex but he didn’t want to. He wanted to force Nick to his knees and have his way with him.

“Not likely. I’m going to make you blow your load first,” Zane said.

“Try and make me.” Nick’s smile was cocky and totally needed to be wiped off his face.

Zane fought against Nick’s hold and won, pushing them both onto the bed. They wrestled for dominance, their bodies sweating and their breathing ragged as they pushed and twisted their way from Zane being on top to Nick being the victor.

Nick flipped Zane over face down and held him with a knee to his back. Zane heard the sound of foil ripping and knew Nick was rolling on a condom. He did his best to get out from under Nick but the man had him pinned.

Two of Nick’s fingers were up his ass prepping him for sex before Zane realised what Nick was doing. With renewed vigour, Zane tried to escape Nick’s hold but lost when Nick grabbed Zane’s hips and lined up to push his cock into him.

The first brush of Nick’s cock against Zane’s hole set off a firestorm of sensations that spread throughout his body. Zane bucked against him, trying to force Nick deeper, but the man clamped both hands even tighter around Zane’s hips, forcing him to remain still.

“Hold still, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Zane had been wondering about that. They’d been so rough with each other getting to this position, he’d questioned if Nick was playing or actually serious about the whole punishment thing.

After waiting about ten seconds, Nick pushed further into Zane. The pressure of Nick’s huge dick against his prostate set him off. Zane came immediately, draining all the energy from his body.

Nick groaned as he started pumping into Zane. Tears burned Zane’s eyes. A few times, long ago, he’d been on the receiving end of sex, but it had been years. Nick’s cock moving in and out made him want to shout. He dropped his head against the bed and turned to the side to make sure he could still breathe if he passed out. Tears slid down his face, pooling beside his nose.

Nick stopped moving. “Oh God, are you okay?”

Zane looked back over his shoulder at Nick. The horror on his face made Zane’s heart squeeze. “I’m fine.”

“No way. If you’re hurt, I don’t want--“

“Keep going. It feels so good.”

Nick slid his cock in slowly and Zane moaned as his dick pulsed again, even though he was as limp as a noodle.

“I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Oh, you’re not. Please, keep going.”

Nick slowed his rhythm as he peppered Zane’s back with kisses. His lips moved over Zane’s shoulder to his ear.

“Mmm, you are so beautiful,” Nick said. His dick moved in and out, torturing Zane with its slowness.

Zane shivered as Nick fucked him slowly. Nick’s hands roved over Zane’s body, finally moving between his body and the sheets. Nick toyed with Zane’s spent dick. His fingers stroked the ridge around Zane’s tip.

“That feels good,” Zane moaned.

The tenderness of Nick’s touch and kisses brought more tears to Zane’s eyes. He hated being such a baby about sex but this was better than any fuck or blowjob he’d ever had. Even sex with his first boyfriend hadn’t been this emotional.

Nick’s dick grew bigger as he pumped into him. Zane met his thrusts as Nick hung over him, his breathing erratic. Finally he yelled out Zane’s name and collapsed on top of him.

They lay together, neither of them moving. Nick finally pulled out and rolled to his side, facing Zane. “No matter how rough I play, I never want to really hurt you. You swear you weren’t hurt?”

“You didn’t hurt me. I don’t know why I was being such a pussy.”

“You’re not a pussy.” Nick bumped his shoulder with a tight fist.

“That just felt so good. I didn’t want it to end.”

Nick leaned in and kissed him with such tenderness Zane wanted to start bawling again. He pulled back, angry with himself, then noticed the tears in Nick’s eyes. They were both tough firemen who had proved themselves through fire, but here they were—blubbering like girls over sex.

“I’ve wanted to do that to you for years. I understand why you were crying. At least I hope I do.”

“Why?” Zane asked.

“I’m falling in love with you.”

Zane couldn’t move. He’d never used the ‘L’ word with any of the men he’d been with. Love meant something. His parents had been together for thirty-six years before his mom had died, and they’d loved each other. He’d struggled with the concept of love for years, even wondering if two men could love each other.

Nick ran his hand down Zane’s chest before playing with his belly button. His lips travelled over Zane’s chest, toying with one nipple then the other. Nick kissed his way up Zane’s chest to his lips before raising his arms to be above Zane, hanging over him. “You don’t have to say you love me. I just wanted you to know how I feel.”

Zane sat up and pushed Nick down against the bed. He kissed Nick, licking and nipping at his scruffy jaw. He moved so his body half covered Nick’s. They’d been friends for years, closer than brothers in some aspects. Having sex had meant something special to Zane, almost more than he cared to admit…but he needed to. The words running through his brain felt right. He hadn’t been going to say anything—instead he’d planned on keeping his feelings to himself—but when Nick had spoken up he’d no longer wanted to hide.

“I love you,” Zane whispered and held on as Nick flipped him over, bracing himself above him.

“Oh baby.” Nick plundered Zane’s mouth, making love to him with his tongue while he moved his hands all over his body.

They snuggled down together and before long Zane heard a soft snore coming from Nick. The poor guy had been up most of the night taking care of fire and crash victims. Zane slid out of Nick’s hold and left the bedroom. He showered again in the second bathroom and spent the rest of the morning cleaning the house and paying bills. At about two, Nick stumbled in and went straight for the coffee.

“Morning.”

Nick lifted his cup to Zane and took a swig. “Come over here, I need a kiss.”

Zane moved to his lover, thinking the day couldn’t get any better. The brush of his lips against Nick’s brought up new emotions. Nick leant back, searching Zane’s face with his intense gaze.

“I need to know if I dreamt this or if it really happened. But I swear you said you loved me at one point. Please tell me if you didn’t.”

Zane ran his fingers over Nick’s stubble. “Oh yeah, I said it and I mean it. I love you, Nicholas Stafford.”

The smile on Nick’s face brought such pleasure to Zane, he thought he would burst with pride. He loved Nick more than anything.

“I need to go home and take care of a few things, but I want to spend the rest of today and tomorrow with you,” Nick said.

“Sounds good to me.”

Zane’s pager rang the same moment as Nick’s. “That’s got to be trouble.”

They both reached for their pagers then groaned in tandem.

“Looks like we’re going to spend the day together, but not having fun,” Zane grimaced, already wishing that the day was over and that they could go back to bed and snuggle together.

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