sticks & stones (cut & run 2) - Page 56

“There aren’t many things left that truly scare me, Ty,” Zane said softly. “But that’s one of them.”

“What is?” Ty asked without looking back at him. There was a hint of dread in his voice as he stared devotedly at the ground.

Zane looked at him longingly, the words on the tip of his tongue: Not being in time. Losing you. But just the sound of Ty’s voice carried a warning; they were too close to a line neither of them wanted to cross.

“Hell freezing over because you actually said thank you,” he tried instead.

The tension in Ty’s frame ebbed some as he looked at Zane, and he seemed almost relieved to accept the out, as weak as it may have been. “Well,” he said after a moment. “Quit being a scaredy-cat,” he advised in an almost gentle voice.

“I’ve had lots of practice,” Zane tried to joke as Ty reached out and smoothed down Zane’s shirt again. It was a tender gesture, one Zane wasn’t sure Ty was even aware of performing. Zane felt the knot in his chest relax as Ty touched him. They so rarely shared tender moments like this. When they came along, they were at the same time welcome and disturbing. Zane was never sure whether he wanted more of them or wanted to run from them. Tonight, though, he decidedly wanted more of this one. When Ty was done fussing over the collar of his shirt, Zane lowered his head until their foreheads touched, and he brushed his nose against Ty’s.

“Quit it,” Ty muttered despite the smile Zane could feel on his lips. He pushed Zane away half-heartedly and stood.

Zane got to his feet, stepped over the log, and caught Ty’s arm to pull him close again. “No more nuzzling,” he agreed.

Ty gave a token struggle just like he always did as Zane wrapped him up into a hug. He enjoyed the game they played when it came to control and power and was often disappointed when he succeeded in eluding Zane’s grasp. But it was obvious in the way he let Zane pull him closer now that he’d been missing the contact as much as Zane had while they’d been on the mountain. Zane closed his eyes, the feeling of relief almost palpable as he soaked in Ty’s touch, his scent—even though neither of them had showered in days—and the warmth of his body. He smiled as he slid his arms around Ty’s waist.

Ty sighed loudly and rested his chin on Zane’s shoulder as he slid his hands under Zane’s arms and around him. He gave his back a few manly pats. Zane knew Ty was humoring him. But at least he cared enough to be doing it.

To Zane’s surprise, Ty’s arms tightened around him, the humor of a moment ago turning into a true embrace. Ty turned his face into Zane’s neck and hugged him close, his fingers pulling at the fabric of Zane’s coat as he did so. Zane smiled in the dark as some little knot of tension inside him unfurled and began to flutter like butterflies instead. “I’ll be glad when we get home,” he murmured, his lips against Ty’s cheek.

“Shut up,” Ty muttered as he extricated himself and gave Zane’s unhurt cheek a pat. A hard one.

Zane grinned but kept his mouth shut. He reached to grasp Ty’s chin, turned his head, and claimed a short, solid kiss before letting him go.

Ty swatted at him as soon as he was free. “Just… don’t get carried away,” he reminded with a small smirk as he pointed in the direction of their camp.

Zane nodded as he tried to calculate just how many hours it would take them to get back to civilization and get naked somewhere nice and private. He’d even settle for semi-private at this point. Ty nodded as if he was thinking the same thing, but then he glanced off into the dark woods, squinting as if trying to find the campfire. They were far enough away that they couldn’t see the glow of the flames, nor could they hear anything from the other men through the dense woods.

“Actually, f**k it,” Ty decided as he reached out to Zane and pulled him close again to kiss him.

Zane’s pulse picked up immediately, just like it always did when Ty kissed him passionately. He wrapped his arms around Ty and pulled him closer, equally comforted and aroused by having him so close.

Ty gave a low groan as they pressed against each other. “Been missing this,” he said in a harsh whisper.

Zane squeezed his eyes shut and nodded before covering Ty’s mouth again, his tongue pushing in to taste him, both hands dropping to grip Ty’s ass and lift him until he stood on the tips of his toes, his arms wrapped around Zane’s neck to meet his height and kiss him possessively. Zane was addicted to Ty’s kisses. They were much like Ty himself: unbridled and spontaneous, warm and gentle at times, but with just enough bite to set them on fire.

One kiss from Ty never failed to make Zane want more.

Shifting his weight, Zane moved to press his groin against Ty. Despite being exhausted, dehydrated, and hurting, he was hard already. He wanted Ty to touch him so badly he was shaking. Ty’s hands slid down his body, finding Zane’s skin under all the layers. It seemed he wanted to take this further just as desperately as Zane.

“You sure you wanna start this way the hell out here?” Ty asked roughly, though. And he had a point. He was thinking about the logistics of it all: the hard ground was littered with sticks and dried leaves and God knew what else; the cold air would assault their bare skin as soon as clothing was removed; and it wasn’t just Deuce or Earl who could interrupt them with their pants down. There were any number of other obstacles they were sure to find as soon as they went too far to turn back without parts turning blue.

Zane groaned as he ran through them in his mind. He didn’t care about any of them. “Need it,” he managed to say as he moved his lips along Ty’s neck. “Need you.”

“Did you come out here with a condom, Zane?” Ty asked in amusement as he continued to kiss Zane slowly, almost as if he was humoring him again.

“For f**k’s sake, Ty, just touch me… please,” Zane gasped out between the kisses. “That’s all it’s gonna take.”

Ty took a small step back and searched Zane’s face in the darkness. They could just make out each other’s features in the moonlight. He rubbed his hands together vigorously, then cupped them and blew onto his palms. He smiled crookedly as he unbuttoned Zane’s jeans and pushed them down. He reached through the opening of Zane’s boxers and slid his fingers along the length of Zane’s erection. His fingers were still cold, though, and even though it was such a relief to be touched intimately again, Zane was almost afraid it was too cold for the results they wanted. Then Ty kissed him one last time and dropped to his knees without warning.