Beck took a breath, calming himself down before he did something stupid, like storming into Billy Walker’s home and holding a gun to the other man’s head. Bad idea. Definitely Option C material, and there was never an Option C.

Well, never a good Option C, anyhow.

Staring at the rich house, a mansion really, Beck noticed the guards through the windows, armed as they always were: heavily. Billy himself wasn’t visible, but he knew the man was there, somewhere in the house. Taking another breath, Beck hopped out of the truck and strode up the cement path and stairs to the main door and pressed the doorbell.

The door opened a second later and one of the guards, John, Jack, whatever his name was, gave him a surprised look. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I’m here to see Billy,” Beck answered pleasantly.

“He don’t want to see you. You’re lucky he didn’t give any ‘shoot on sight,’ orders.”

Which was true, but that wasn’t going to deter him. His smile tightened as Beck informed Jack, or John, “Let me in, and you get to keep your teeth.”

John, or Jack, faltered at the threat, backing down as Beck had known he would; most did when confronted with a pissed-off Beck. And Beck was beyond pissed off at this point.

Brushing past the man, Beck stopped in the living room and waited. It wouldn’t be long until Billy arrived, and that was a fact. He looked around, but wasn’t surprised that the house hadn’t changed since the last time he’d been there, which was only three months earlier. He’d walked Travis in the front door, just like they’d agreed, and Billy had kept his part of the deal too, surprising the shit out of Beck considering the Konlabos incident.

Not that he’d gotten to start his restaurant, even with the 250 large, since keeping Travis out of trouble was a full time occupation in and of itself, but the last three months had been…fun. And that surprised the shit out of him, too.

“What the hell are you doing in my house, Beck?”

Facing Billy, keeping his face in a pleasant façade, Beck answered, “Where’s Travis?”

Startled, Billy paused a moment, then all expression dropped from his face. “How should I know?”

“Don’t play games, Billy. He’s a grown man and you can’t keep kidnapping him when he pisses you off!” Beck exclaimed.

Billy eyed him for a long moment, then said, only mildly curious, “Someone kidnapped Travis?”

And in that simple admission, Beck knew that Travis was fucked. At least if it had been Billy to kidnap him, there wouldn’t be any permanent damage. Instantly all business, Beck questioned, “Who would take him?”

“How detailed of a list do you want?” Billy countered, dry. He motioned towards the kitchen and headed for the fridge. “Don’t be offended if I don’t ask you to whip us up something.”

Beck shrugged. “None taken. And detailed, Billy, very detailed.”

Tossing Beck a beer, Billy grabbed one for himself and opened it to take a long swig. Setting the bottle on the counter, he announced, “That kid is going to be the death of me, but he’s my son. What’s Travis to you, Beck? Why are you still hanging around him?”

“His friend,” Beck answered without hesitation.

Billy stared at him for a long time, then nodded slowly and said, “Try O’Brien in Chicago. That’s the guy whose wife he screwed. Local businessman, powerful, but no real connections outside the legitimate world. Or, he didn’t as of three months ago when I bought him off.”

“How much forgiveness did you buy?”

“Enough for O’Brien to open a new office and hire thirty new full-time employees.”

“That’s a lot of forgiveness.”

“I thought so.”

Beck thought about it for a few seconds, then asked, “Would he really renege just because Travis shtooped his wife?”

Sighing, Billy replied, “I wouldn’t think so, but you never can tell. She’s a hot ticket. Other than him, I’d say the top three choices are rounded out with Lyle Miller, an academic out of BU that claims Travis stole his work and outed him from a cushy grant, and Josh Reynolds, a drug-dealing scumlord who has no more better things to do than nip at my heels.”

“But you haven’t been contacted,” Beck stated, more than guessed. “That means it’s personal to Travis. I’ll start with O’Brien and then get to Miller.”

“You need any traveling money?”

Which was as close to an open hand of friendship as Billy would ever show him again, Beck knew. Shaking his head, he answered, “I’m good, thanks. I’ll call you when I have news.”

Billy nodded and offered, “Happy hunting.”

Oh Beck was definitely going hunting, but he doubted anyone would be happy by the time he was through.

* * * *

Groaning in pain, Travis tried unsuccessfully, again, to get free of the ropes around his wrists and arms. The upside to cuffs was that he was limber enough to get out of them, but ropes that wound all the way up his arms? No, not a chance. The worst thing was, he still didn’t know why he’d been taken. He did know it wasn’t his father, though, because Billy would’ve just called one of his lackeys and brought him to the house. And since they were still traveling after at least a day, they were definitely not in L.A. anymore.

No, scratch that. The worst thing was that Beck would be going nuts looking for him by now. The other man might even have gone to Billy to check if his father had had him kidnapped again. Probably had gone, much as Travis hated to think of Beck asking that bastard for anything, ever again.

Gritting his teeth, Travis struggled futilely in the cramped space of the car trunk, thumping his feet against the seat as he did so.

“Hey! Knock it off, back there!” someone shouted back.

Someone he didn’t recognize, unfortunately.

Sighing, Travis squirmed into a slightly more comfortable position and shouted back, “Who the fuck are you and where the fuck are you taking me!?”

“Shut your mouth before I put a bullet in your leg!”

Funny how ‘shut your mouth,’ sounded much nicer coming from Beck.

Trying not to give in to the fear roaming through him, though he knew it was a seriously losing battle, Travis thought, Come on, Beck. You can find me, honest man! This is a piece of cake for you! Any time now. Really. Please?

* * * *

On the flight to Chicago, Beck had tried his best to relax, but there was no real chance of that happening until he found Travis safe and sound. It galled a lot, how much the little jerk had come to mean to him. The last three months had been more than just fun, they’d been a time where he could relax his guard a little. That he could just hang around and cook in Travis’ surprisingly well-kept apartment while the younger man went from scroll, to ancient book, to mummified artifact. That he could tease and bully the other into eating when and how he was supposed to and actually take care of himself.

And that was when Beck had had a realization. On that flight to Chicago, he’d been hit with the epiphany, Oh fuck! I’m in love with the little bastard!

Being in love wasn’t something that Beck did. Not successfully at least, which was a good part of the reason he was still single. The other part being that people in his line of work didn’t have the best track record for keeping their significant others alive, given the enemies made over the years. He kept things simple and he kept them uncomplicated. Sex was great. Straight, gay, threesome, whatever, as long as all parties were happy and interested. And not to brag, but all parties were always interested, and happy, when he was involved.

In the cab on his way to O’Brien’s main office, Golden Investments, Beck blanked out the unwelcome thoughts and concentrated on getting Travis back. Once the kid was safe, then could come the soul-searching.

Stepping out of the cab, he leaned towards the driver’s window and said, “Stay here. I’ll be right back.”

Beck strode to the building and pulled off his sunglasses, allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkened interior.

The receptionist looked up at his approach and her eyes widened in appreciation and trepidation as she asked, “May I help you?”

“Yes. I’m here to see Mr. O’Brien,” Beck replied pleasantly.

A little more at ease with his manner, the young woman said, “I’m afraid Mr. O’Brien is on a conference call, Mr…?”

“Beck. Tell him that Billy Walker sent me. I’m sure he’ll want to see me.”

Frowning a bit, she nonetheless picked up a phone and had a soft conversation from which, she looked up again and said, “You can go right in, Mr. Beck. Can I bring you some refreshment?”

Beck shook his head and smiled. “No thanks. Right through there?”


Walking down the short hall and stepping into the office at the end of it, Beck took in his surroundings at a glance; expensive carpet, glass and metal furniture, modern art. There was no sign of a violent person in the room décor, but Beck knew how deceiving appearances could be. He observed O’Brien, a fit, healthy man in his thirties with dark hair and eyes, and the too-pale complexion that burned. The eyes were what interested Beck because in them, he saw anger, a healthy dose of fear, and honest confusion.

Fuck! O’Brien doesn’t know anything about Travis’ kidnapping!

“What does Walker want now?” O’Brien demanded.

Forcing a smile, Beck replied, “Nothing. Just a misunderstanding is all. Sorry to bother you.”

The confusion grew as Beck turned around and left the office, but he didn’t care. Leg one of finding Travis was a wild goose chase and he wasn’t all that sure that leg two would be any less of one. Billy was right. Travis pissed people off just by how he breathed, sometimes. Figuring out who was ticked off enough to kidnap him, or worse, would take a lot more time than the younger man had.

When his cell rang, Beck pulled it out and snapped, “Beck.”

“Having a nice time in Chicago, Beck?”

Freezing in place at the all-too-familiar voice, Beck paused a moment before asking, “Is he even still alive, Gallagher?”

“Of course he is. What good would he do me dead? There’d be nothing to hold over your head now, would there?”

Motherfucking asshole! Beck hissed silently to himself. Aloud, he only said, “What do you want?”

“I want you to kill someone.”

“I don’t do that anymore.”

“Oh, I think you will. Say hello to young Mr. Walker.”

Travis’ shaky voice asked, “Beck?”

“Travis? You okay?” Beck countered immediately.

“I ah, yeah, so far. But, this isn’t cool, Beck, really not cool.”

“I know, buddy. Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of it.”

“Beck, I…sonovabitch! Goddamnit! Oh, shit!”

“Travis!” Beck exclaimed at the pain-laden shout.

But it was Gallagher who answered, “Young Mr. Walker now has a nice, long scar cut into his abdomen. It’s a fairly deep cut that requires stitches to stop the bleeding, but I’m not certain that I have the medical facilities on hand to treat him.”

Fury made Beck very calm and he stated, “You’ve got two options here, Gallagher.”

There was ample amusement in Gallagher’s voice as the man replied, “And they are?”

“Option A, you let Travis go without any further harm. You drop him off at a hospital where he gets treatment and is taken care of and left alone forever.”

“And Option B?”

“I make you.”

There was a long pause before Gallagher said, all amusement gone, “I’ll take Option C, which is you doing exactly what I say, when I say it.”

A wolfish grin surfaced at Gallagher’s statement and he informed the other man, “Ask Travis about what happened to Hatcher when he chose Option C.”

“Go to the Downtown Marriott Hotel and register as Greg Warren. Your equipment and instructions are waiting for you. I’ll call you in exactly forty minutes. Be there, or young Mr. Walker receives another scar, a more visible one…this time I think he might lose a finger.”

“You should’ve taken Option A, Gallagher.”

“Forty minutes, Beck.”

Hanging up, Beck strode to the cab and climbed back inside it. “Downtown Marriott as fast as you can go.”

* * * *

Holding a shirt to his midriff, Travis was able to stop the bleeding, though he was woozy from the blood loss. He definitely didn’t need some goon holding a gun on him to keep him seated. It wasn’t like he was Beck, or something, escape wasn’t his strong suit unfortunately. The man who’d taken him was someone he didn’t know and had never seen before. From the conversation he’d overheard, he was an old enemy of Beck’s, weirdly enough, and was using him as a hostage. He’d missed the first part of the conversation, so he didn’t know what the asshole wanted Beck to do, but it couldn’t be good.

He was being kept in a room without windows, so there was no telling where they were. All Travis knew was that he’d been in that damn trunk way the hell too long, and now he was in some kind of warehouse in an unknown city.

The door opened and the guard opened it on the man who was holding him hostage. “Out.”

The guard left, shutting the door behind him.

Eyeing the man warily, Travis asked, “What’s going on?”

“What’s going on is that you’re going to stay here and be a good boy or Beck finds himself minus a friend, and you find yourself minus a life.”

Travis swallowed again a fear-dry throat. “O-okay. I can manage that. Sure.”


When the man didn’t leave, but continued to look him over, Travis prompted, “What?”

“Just trying to figure out what the hell Beck sees in you,” the man replied.

“Um…not much.”

The man laughed and said, “Beck does not get involved, Walker. He never gets involved. He does the job and he leaves, end of story. He doesn’t like getting tied down, or complications.”

Ah crap.

Travis hadn’t spent his entire life studying other people not to recognize the ‘woman scorned,’ tone when he heard it, even from a man. Great. Just great. “We’re not, you know, together or nothing. He’s just a friend.”

Stepping closer, the man said, “Beck doesn’t have friends, Walker, and you’re way more than that to him. Takes one to know one, after all.”

Oh yeah. Definitely a jilted lover, Travis confirmed silently. Beck, I’m gonna kill you just as soon as you rescue me!

The man turned and headed back for the door, but paused to look back at him once there. “Who’s Hatcher, and what’s Option C got to do with it?”

Travis paused for a second at the question, then grinned.

* * * *

Beck wasn’t surprised when Billy picked up before the first ring was done. He and Travis might be at each other’s throats, nine out of ten times, but in his own fashion, Billy did love his son.

“What’ve you got?”

“A mercenary named Gallagher has him.”

“Mercenary…what the fuck? The only mercenary Travis knows is you, unless you’ve broadened his horizons.”

Wincing, Beck admitted, “He’s an ex-partner of mine. My last partner, actually.”

“If anything happens to Travis…”

“I need you to do just one thing for me and then I can get Travis back.”

“What’s that?”

“Do you have any snipers in Chicago?”

* * * *

Beck took out the first two sets of guards without breaking a sweat. He simply tranquilized them and waited until all four men were on the ground before moving on. He’d tracked Gallagher to a warehouse just out of Chicago. Once he knew who he was looking for, it had been easy to track the other man down. He’d’ve thought it too easy if he was dealing with anyone else, but Gallagher never did know how to cover his tracks.

This time, it was going to cost him.

Beck slipped inside, lining up his next shot as he jogged down the wide, utilitarian hallway. No security cameras, but plenty of guards with guns, so it was a mixed bag. Peering around the first corner, Beck saw that it opened up into a large office and that that room held several doors that led to either other halls, or rooms where Travis might be held.

Pulling back as a guard approached, he only just caught a glimpse of Gallagher entering the room from a door at the opposite side…wiping bloody hands on a towel one of the guards held out to him.

Cold rage surged inside him, thrumming for vengeance and blood. It was the same cold rage that had taken out an entire town in Brazil. The cold rage that had been provoked by Travis shouting for his help while the bus he was pinned down in, was riddled with bullets. The cold rage that always hovered just below the surface where Travis’ well-being was concerned. It was a rage that he feared and welcomed, because it simultaneously focused him and made him do things he knew were wrong.

He hadn’t brought any guns, hoping to avoid killing anyone. A massacre was a lot more difficult to get away with in the States, than in a lawless Brazilian town.

Keeping a tight rein on that rage, waiting until a guard came around the corner, Beck grabbed the semi by the barrel and yanked the man forward, slamming the base of his hand into the man’s chin. As the man fell, Beck aimed the semi at one guard after another, taking them down with clean injuries to kneecaps, shoulders, and thighs, nowhere vital, but all extremely painful.

Six men were down in less than fifteen seconds and Beck strode forward, the gun aimed on Gallagher. He kicked the guns away from the guards on his way over. “On your knees, Gallagher.”

Gallagher spat on the ground and snarled, “Kill me standin’ if you’re going to.”

Beck moved within reach, replying, “If I wanted to kill you, you’d be dead and you know it. Can he walk?”

Sneering, Gallagher answered, “Find out for yourself.”

“Still going for Option C,” Beck observed. He shook his head before slamming the butt of the semi into Gallagher’s stomach.

Dropping like a stone, Gallagher tried to draw in a breath and couldn’t at first.

Not wanting to hang around, Beck shouted, “Travis! You in here!?”

The silence that met his call was deafening.

Beck aimed the gun at Gallagher’s temple. In a soft, deadly voice, he asked, “Is he still alive?”

Swallowing nervously, Gallagher nodded. “Yeah, he’s alive, just unconscious. He’s in that room, over there.”

“Listen very carefully to me,” Beck said, meeting Gallagher’s eyes. When the other nodded, he continued, “Travis Walker is off-limits. To anyone. You spread the word that the next person who tries to get to me by going through him, is going to beg me for death for a very, very long time. Are we clear?”

Pale and shaking, Gallagher nodded again.

“Good. Consider this Option D.”

Beck slammed the butt of the gun into Gallagher’s head and the man collapsed the rest of the way to the floor. Slinging the gun over his shoulder, he crossed the office to the room Gallagher had indicated and entered it, almost afraid of what he would find.

Sprawled unconscious on a narrow cot, blood-soaked bandages barely wrapped around his midsection and shoulder, Travis’ face was filled with bruises and gashes, along with some cuts from a knife that his sharp gaze picked out. Moving carefully, Beck scooped Travis into his arms and left, pausing only to kick Gallagher in the ribs on his way out.

The ride to the hospital was torturously long. Travis was stretched out the entire way, unconscious with his head on Beck’s lap so Beck could keep pressure on the stomach wound.

One of the stomach wounds.

Jaw clenched so hard that he was sure he heard a tooth crack, Beck pulled into the emergency drop-off lane and carefully pulled Travis back into his arms as he got out of the truck. Striding through the automatic doors, he shouted, “I need help here!”

A nurse saw him and hurried over with a gurney, other nurses and doctors right behind her.

The doctor, a man in his mid-thirties, demanded, “What’s his name and how long has he been unconscious?”

“Travis Walker and since I found him about twenty minutes ago,” Beck answered.

“Didn’t regain consciousness once?”

Beck’s jaw tightened more. “No.”

“Who are you? Do you know him?” a nurse questioned.

Hesitating a moment, Beck met her dark gaze and answered, a bit helplessly, “I’m his…friend.”

Her eyes were knowing as she tugged him away from the gurney, stepping in front of him physically when he tried to follow as Travis was pushed into the ER. “Well, Mr. Friend, I need information from you.”

Focusing on the situation, trying to erase the very unnatural sight of a too-still Travis on the gurney from his mind, Beck answered, “What? What do you need to know?”

“Any medical allergies or conditions we should know about?”

“No,” Beck replied. “He’s healthy. Not on any drugs or medications.”

“How old is he?”


“Does he have any family?”

For the first time since leaving the hotel, Beck thought about Billy. Grimacing, he had to nod and admit, “His father, but they’re not on good terms.”

She took a clipboard from a nearby counter and held it out to him. “Fill this out and contact his father. He should be here.”

Beck blanched at the kind, sympathetic look in her eyes more than the matter-of-fact tone. It was the voice of a nurse who’d seen a lot and knew from a glance the chances of an arrival, he could tell. “I…please, let me know how he’s doing?”

Nodding, she lightly gripped his arm and steered him towards the men’s room and ordered, “You need to clean up before you scare the rest of the people in the waiting room. And move your truck from the loading zone. Once you’re done, fill out these forms as completely as you can. I should have news by then.”

Even knowing that she was giving him busywork, Beck agreed, “Sure. Okay. Thanks.”

“I’m sure your friend will be all right.”

Beck really hated polite lies.

* * * *

When the fog and darkness cleared enough for Travis to feel a lot of pain all over his body, he could also make out the sound of quiet, but very angry voices.

“I want you away from Travis! This happened because of you!”

Dear old Dad. Great.

“Billy, I told you that nothing like this was ever going to happen again, and it won’t, but you don’t have to worry, because as soon as I know he’s out of the woods, I’ll leave.”

“Th’ell youwill,” Travis slurred. “Fkoff, Dad.”

There was a long silence before strong hands rested on his shoulder and Beck asked, “Travis? How do you feel?”

Forcing his eyes open, Travis brought the large lump into focus enough to see that Beck looked as bad as he felt. “Terr’bel. Wha’ppend?”

“You were kidnapped, remember?” Billy reminded.

When Travis looked at his father, he was surprised that Billy looked like he hadn’t slept in a while too. Maybe the old buzzard did care for him after all. Tucking away the thought for a pain-free day, Travis looked back at Beck and said, “You okay?”

A faint grin surfaced on Beck’s tired face as he replied, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

Travis summoned a grin of his own and ordered, “Good. G’home. Look like shit. But come back. Later. But soon.”

Beck hesitated, looking serious at him. “Travis, you’re not safe around me.”

“Don’t care,” Travis said stubbornly. Grabbing Beck’s hand, he continued, “Option A, you come back. Option B, I find you.”

Beck’s dark eyes brightened with momentary humor. He gave in with, “Okay. I can’t have you going out actually looking for trouble, you find enough without adding to the mix. We’ll talk about this when you’re better.”

Travis was already responding to the siren call of the drugs in his system, his brief strength used up in that short conversation. He held tight to the other man’s hand, though, not sure that Beck would come back if he let him go, even though he’d just told the other man to go home.

Better not to take the chance.

* * * *

Billy had left in disgust after Travis lost consciousness again. He’d taken one look at their joined hands, then Beck’s face, and snarled, “Don’t expect any wedding presents from me,” before stalking away.

Beck had just sighed and dragged a chair close to the bed so he could be moderately comfortable. He could have pried Travis’ hand from his, but didn’t want to. He spent some time just staring at their hands, how Travis’ longer fingers were smoother and softer than his own callused ones. He couldn’t help noting how good they looked together, the contrast in his olive skin tone and Travis’ pale complexion actually complementing each other.

Travis would be safe from further retaliation, that Beck knew with a fair degree of certainty. The people who valued their lives, would steer clear of the young man once word got out just how violently attached to Travis that Beck was. It was the people who didn’t care what it took to hurt him that Beck was worried about. This had been mild, really mild, compared to what Travis could be forced to go through because of him.

Mild in the form of forty-seven stitches in various places over his body, four broken ribs, a severe concussion, and bruises coloring Travis everywhere that he’d been beaten. For the first time in a long time, Beck felt fear and it was just as fucking unpleasant as he remembered.

On the other hand, Travis, just by being himself, did piss off a lot of people. It was entirely possible that, all on his own, the young man could be tortured and killed for something as relatively innocent as screwing another man’s wife. Forget about stealing, sorry, excavating, ancient artifacts and swiping, sorry, liberating, valuable prizes around the world.

Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t.

Sighing, Beck leaned forward and pressed his lips to those long, sturdy fingers and closed his eyes. Time enough to sort it out later, after he’d had more than two hours of sleep in seventy-two hours.

* * * *

Travis sighed happily as Beck wandered into the bedroom with what smelled like heaven on earth. He had to say that having the other man around was causing him to gain weight, but it was all so damn good, he couldn’t say no. “Whatcha got?”

Grinning at the eager question, Beck answered, “Soup.”

“That’s informative,” Travis retorted.

“It’s plain old chicken soup, but with a few special ingredients my mother told me to add a long time ago.”

Travis smirked. “Ah. Well, we can’t go wrong with Ma Beck’s cooking advice now, can we?”

“Hey. Don’t make fun of my mother,” Beck mock-threatened, giving him the tray.

Still grinning, Travis leaned in to inhale the incredible aroma as he replied, “I never make fun of a man’s mother, especially when he’s way the hell bigger than I am.”

“Wise decision.”

When Beck sat on the edge of the bed and hesitated, Travis prompted, “What?”

There was another brief pause before Beck answered, “I have a job, so I need to take off for a couple of weeks.”

Travis froze in place, spoon halting in midair as he looked at Beck, a sense of betrayal flashing through him. Putting down the spoon, and then setting the tray on the bedside table, he said quietly, “You said you were done with that shit.”

“I was. I am. I just…it’s important,” Beck explained.

“So what is it?”

“I can’t tell you.”

“Bullshit! You can tell me, you just won’t!” Travis exclaimed. He climbed out of the bed on the other side, ignoring the jabbing pain in his ribs, and stalked over to the bathroom, slamming the door shut.

Staring at himself in the mirror, Travis grimaced at the ugly picture of himself. The swelling was gone, but the yellow-green of bruises remained. As did the thick red-black scabs surrounding the stitches in three different places. The doctor had assured him that the scars would be minimal once they were completely faded, barely even visible, but for now, they looked hideous.

On top of that he knew he wasn’t some great prize for Beck. He knew that the other man felt obligated to look after him, not because he wanted to, but because he felt he had to, even before the mess with Gallagher.

Beck tapped softly against the door and called, “Travis? You okay in there?”

“Peachy,” he muttered, leaning on the sink. Louder, he replied, “Go the fuck away, all right? I’m fine. You don’t have to babysit me anymore. Go back to your life and do whatever the hell you want.”

There was a longer pause before Beck said, “Open the door so we can talk about this.”

Anger rose and he did just that, rounding on the bigger man with, “Talk about what, Beck? What is there to talk about? You have a job, you should go do it. I have work to do too, you know. I have plenty of shit that I need doing and I don’t need your help with any of it, so just get the hell out of my life, all right!?”

Clearly taken aback by his anger, Beck just looked at him for a second. Then his gaze narrowed and he said, “You’re a pain in the ass, Travis, and yes you do need a babysitter, but that’s not why I hang around here.”

Suspicious, Travis demanded, “Then why do you?”

In answer, Beck put his hands heavy on Travis’ shoulders and pulled him in, bending down to cover his mouth in a swift, hard kiss. It was over before Travis could even really enjoy it, and he stared open-mouthed with shock at Beck.

Beck stared at him for a second, then prompted, “So?”

Blinking a few times, Travis shook his head and answered, “I think the pain pills are making me hallucinate. Did you just kmph…”

This time, the kiss was long and hard, possessive, and Travis moaned in surprised pleasure. Strong arms pulled him flush against Beck and Travis happily opened his mouth to the onslaught. He barely noticed them moving, registering the change in altitude only when his back carefully hit the mattress. Beck stretched out beside him, one hand gently slipping under his shirt to rest warm on his skin. Returning the kiss with desire and need, Travis hooked a leg over Beck’s hip, then hissed in pain and put it down when his ribs protested.

Breaking off the kiss, Beck ordered, “You stay put. Let me do the work this time.”



Travis saw the implacable look in the other man’s dark eyes and grumbled as he gave in, but was secretly pleased. He loved it when Beck put his foot down like that, had since the beginning, and had lived to provoke it since day one. Smirking, he asked innocently, “What?”

Snorting, Beck just kissed him again, his fingers roaming lightly over Travis’ torso. Sighing into it, Travis responded eagerly, twining his tongue with Beck’s and shivering when his nipple was squeezed gently. He lifted up when Beck started tugging at his shirt and the next few minutes were spent getting naked, something that took more time than usual since every time he winced, Beck stopped and waited for the pain to subside. At least he wasn’t suggesting that they stop, because then Travis really would’ve thrown a hissy fit.

When Beck was naked, Travis just gaped at him, lust gripping him as his eyes roamed over the hard, muscled body that really was big all freakin’ over. He squirmed in eager anticipation of having Beck inside him, but couldn’t help saying, “Looks like I guessed right, Big Boy.”

Beck’s eyes rolled, his lips twitching in an effort not to grin as he lay back down on the bed and replied, “Don’t even start, Travis.”

Travis’ chuckle ended in a gasp when Beck sucked on his nipple and a large hand loosely gripped his cock. It was hard not to move around when what he wanted to do was just pull Beck inside him and get fucked into the mattress. He knew there was no chance of that happening, though, Beck was too careful with him being injured.

Moving slowly over Travis’ body, Beck kissed his way down the still-bruised midriff to the long scar over the abdomen. He kissed every scar in silent apology and Travis combed his fingers through the short black hair, murmuring, “It’s not your fault.”

“It is,” Beck countered, resting his cheek on an unmarked area of Travis’ body. “But I’ll make it up to you.”

The hand holding his cock started stroking and Travis moaned Beck’s name. A solid arm lowered across his hips, holding him down, and then Beck’s mouth was on him, wet fire sucking on his cock. Thought fled as Beck went all the way down, and he tried to arch into the sensation, but was firmly pinned down. “Please, oh God, Beck, please, please…”

Beck redoubled his efforts at that and it was only a few seconds later that Travis shouted in release, coming hard in the other man’s mouth. Panting, utterly wiped, Travis just lay there as the aftershocks rolled through him. When he recovered, Travis found Beck jacking himself off and moaned at the sight. Big hand on a big cock, moving fast and sure and then Beck jerked and stiffened, coming and spilling copiously over Travis’ limp cock.

Collapsing beside him, breathing heavy, Beck rested his head on Travis’ shoulder. Travis put his arm around the other man’s shoulder and tugged him up, ignoring the pain that bit him when Beck lay partially on top of him. Kissing the damp head, he murmured, “Love you, Beck.”

A soft chuckle filled the air and Beck answered, “I love you too, Travis, now shut your mouth and let me get some sleep.”

Travis grinned at the exhausted comment and stroked his hand up and down the broad back, loving the way Beck grew heavy in his arms as he fell asleep. Kissing Beck’s temple, he sighed deeply and closed his eyes, feeling that the beating he’d gotten was definitely worth all of this.

All he had to do now was convince Beck to go after the King Pao Lao.