As Aidan unlocked the front door Liam said, “Not bad. Though I expected you to be staying in a hotel.”
The tiny, metal-grilled elevator had been out of service since Aidan had moved in, so they climbed the two flights to his apartment. Aidan’s pulse was racing, all thoughts of the dead man in the street gone. He imagined how quickly he and Liam would strip their clothes off, how good it would feel to be in the big man’s arms, how much he wanted to kiss those full, dry lips.
The skinny brown dog was lying in front of Aidan’s door, as she had been every time he’d come home since he moved in. He wondered if she had lived with whoever had the apartment before him, or if she’d adopted him as a soft touch.
“Your dog?” Liam asked, as Aidan bent down to scratch behind her ears, and she rolled over.
“I guess. I feed her, and she sleeps with me, but she’s on her own during the day.”
“Dogs are good,” Liam said. “She bark?”
“Don’t know,” Aidan said, opening the door.
Liam’s cell phone rang as they walked inside, and he stepped over to the French doors that led out to a narrow balcony to take the call. While he did so, Aidan pulled bottles of cold water from the half-size refrigerator. He poured some water into a bowl for the dog, and she lapped it up eagerly.
His dick strained against his shorts and he felt trapped by his T-shirt. He was ready to strip naked and offer himself up to Liam as soon as the big man got off the phone.
As Aidan returned to the living room, Liam snapped his phone shut and looked at him. “Who the fuck are you?” he asked.
Aidan’s romantic fantasies evaporated in an instant. They had been too foolish to come true anyway, he thought.
What kind of mental case was this guy? First the take-charge attitude, now this about-face to anger. And Aidan had done the stupidest thing imaginable. He’d brought this stranger back to his apartment. This was what being out of the dating pool did; it dulled your senses, let you get caught up in a moment too easily. You wasted your time on fantasy when you should have been alert.
Aidan remembered a personal safety training course he’d taken at one of the colleges where he’d taught. If a student became angry or violent, you had to talk to him calmly, try to defuse the tension.
“I’m sorry. I guess I never told you my name. Aidan Greene. I’m from Philadelphia, and I just got to Tunis three days ago. I start teaching ESL at the École International on Monday.”
“Fuck me,” Liam said, but from the tone of his voice Aidan could tell it was an expletive rather than an invitation. “No chance you’re also a courier from New York planning to head out into the desert? Go by the alias Charles Carlucci?”
“I think you should go,” Aidan said, trying to keep the tremors out of his voice. He walked over to the door and put his hand on the knob. “I won’t say anything or do anything. I promise. Just don’t hurt me.”
Liam looked disgusted. “I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. “I’m a bodyguard, and I thought you were my client.” He stood framed in the bright glare from the French doors.
Light cascaded off his perfect body, and Aidan could see his square chest under the loose vest. He even thought he could make out the shadow of a semi-erect dick beneath the loose cotton of Liam’s shorts.
Aidan stepped toward Liam. The light in the living room was beautiful, dazzling and slightly yellow. Behind Liam, through the French doors, Aidan saw sunlight glinting off the dome of the Zitouna mosque. In the distance he heard a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer.
“You always meet your clients in bars?”
“This one was twitchy. He wanted to meet me on my turf. Didn’t trust anybody.” He grimaced. “Turns out he was right. That must have been him who got shot in front of the bar.”
Aidan was confused. “Then you’re not gay?”
Liam snorted. “What the hell does that have to do with the situation?” He looked at Aidan, and then burst into laughter. “You thought I…” He laughed again.
Aidan thought he would fall through the floor with embarrassment. What a fool he’d been to consider that this god of a man was gay—and interested in him. Not only had Blake betrayed him—now he knew for a fact that he couldn’t even trust his own body, his own instincts. Look at how he’d narrowly escaped danger the day before, running from those boys.
He needed to lock himself up in his apartment, play with the dog and teach his students, and shut down everything else. “Thank you very much for that charming opinion of my sexual attractiveness,” he said. “And now, like I said before, I think you should leave.”
Before Aidan realized Liam was moving, the big bodyguard was right next to him, his arms wrapped around Aidan, his lips on Aidan’s lips.
Aidan hadn’t kissed anyone but Blake in years, and it had been a long time since Blake had really kissed him. Liam’s lips were chapped, and his beard was rough, but there was such passion in the kiss that Aidan’s head spun. With his big hands, Liam pulled Aidan close, their bodies meshed together, and Aidan felt the smooth leather of Liam’s vest, the heat rising from his bare chest.
Aidan understood the meaning of the word swoon. He felt light on his feet, his heart racing, all sensation gathered at those points where his body met Liam’s. Inhaling Liam’s lavender scent, mixed with sweat and musk. Those lips! Pressed against his own, at first confused, now yielding, his mouth opening a little against the assault. Liam’s arms wrapped around him, pulling their bodies close.
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More About author, Neil Plakcy
Neil Plakcy has written or edited over three dozen novels and short stories in mystery, romance and erotica. To research the Angus Green series, he participated in the FBI’s sixteen-week citizen’s academy, practiced at a shooting range, and visited numerous gay bars in Fort Lauderdale. (Seriously, it was research.)
He is an assistant professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, and has been a construction manager, a computer game producer, and a web developer – all experiences he uses in his fiction. His website is www.mahubooks.com.