Authors: K. A. Mitchell
Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Gay, #Fiction
who brought Gavin to life by throwing him off a bridge.
Gavin was far too hot for his own skin. He didn’t care if it was barely March. He needed the cold, the distance looking at the sky could give him.
He reached over and tugged at the latch for the roof release, and the Bentley’s soft convertible top tucked itself away quietly.
Unlike the driver. “I’m freezing.”
“It’s my car,” Gavin pointed out, tipping his head back and watching the stars spin through the black sky.
“Which I am driving at your request.”
“Are you sure you’re all right to drive?” The stars’ weird leaping patterns and the streaks they left on his eyelids made Gavin dizzy. He clutched the silky leather armrests and looked over at Beach in the driver’s seat.
“I’m fine. I only had two drinks, and that was more than an hour ago,” Beach scoffed.
Gavin had seen Beach slam down a hell of a lot more than two drinks and function. While studying Beach for signs of impairment, Gavin was struck by the way Beach’s straight hair blew around his head until he looked like that teen idol Gavin had caught his youngest sister staring at on her tablet.
An utterly unfamiliar giggle threatened to escape Gavin’s lips, and he knew there had to be more than Jäger in the shots he’d been handed. He should have known better than to trust any of Beach’s good-old-boy friends. Did that mean Beach had drunk the same thing?
It was hard to tell for certain. Beach high wasn’t that different from Beach with a plan, or Beach looking for something to do. Gavin had known Beach for more than half their lives, and there was always a barely contained mania in him. Even before his dad had to leave the country.
None of that meant Gavin wanted to risk taking a swim in the Chesapeake, considering they were speeding toward the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The water was a long way down from there.
“Can I put the top back up now?” Beach asked.
“I like the stars.” Keeping the fresh air flowing would clear both their heads. “There’s a special heating vent in the seat.” Gavin leaned forward, and Beach pressed him back.
“Stay on your own side there, son, and don’t get handsy.” Beach’s South Carolina accent rolled that into a drawl. “Hate to break it to you, but there are no stars, Gavin. It’s the city and it’s cloudy.”
Maybe it was the bridge lights, or a plane or another car. Damn. He shouldn’t be this fucked up. Beach had been wrong. Gavin didn’t need to have a good time. He needed new friends.
The lights behind Gavin’s eyes swung violently, then shook as the car lurched to a stop. Why were they stopping? On the Key Bridge?
Beach shut off the ignition. “It looks close here.”
“What does? What the hell, Beach?” The Bentley was black. They were likely to get rear-ended in a second.
“Fort Carroll. Bet I could swim it.” Beach got out of the car.
Gavin looked over the barricade at the vague shape of the manmade island fort. No boats cut the black water. The interstate was deserted. Even at two on a Wednesday morning, shouldn’t there be more cars? Other people? He pushed open his door and climbed out. “Beach, get back in the car. I’ll get us off the bridge and call Dad’s service.”
Beach leaned over the divider as casually as if it were a balcony rail in Venice. “I could definitely swim it,” Beach said, more to himself than Gavin.
Gavin turned to scan the road in both directions. Headlights. Finally. “Beach, get in the damned car.” Gavin took a step toward the crazy bastard, easing his phone out of his pocket.
“I’m not high.” But since Beach made that announcement while leaping on top of the concrete divider that was all that separated the asphalt from a drop of seventy feet into the Chesapeake, Gavin was inclined to disagree.
Adrenaline cleared away the weird sensations from the buzz, providing a crystalline moment of focus. “Beach.” Gavin pressed nine and held it as he approached the spot where Beach was now shaking one foot out, then the other, like a sprinter preparing for a race. “C’mon. It’s freezing. You’ll kill yourself, man.”
“Nah. Citadel hazing was worse. Call someone to pick me up.”
As Beach turned toward the water, Gavin lunged for his legs. But the adrenaline-fueled mental clarity did not extend to his coordination in that instant.
The leather of Beach’s shoe burned across Gavin’s freezing fingers as he made contact.
His thighs hit the edge of the concrete divider, slamming his torso forward in a nauseating blur of black and gray and lights flashing on the water.
Beach was gone, and Gavin was flying after him. In the non-pharmaceutical sense.
His stomach lurched in free fall, and he called on the muscle memory of a thousand goofy diving games he’d played with his brother and cousins, taking belly flop after belly flop to not be called a wuss.
He managed to get his feet aimed down as the winter air rushed up past him. For all that speed, it took a long time to hit the water.
Plenty of time to wonder if anyone would notice if he ever came back up. Plenty of time to wonder how relieved his father might be if Gavin simply disappeared.
The cold shock of the surface slammed up into his bones with such force he wasn’t sure he hadn’t actually hit a chunk of ice, but then the water closed over his head with a blast of thunder.
Jamie shifted the mixing straw he’d been chewing on to the other side of his mouth and pictured his dad wasting away with lung cancer. It didn’t matter. He still wanted a fucking cigarette.
The Arena was non-smoking—every place in Maryland was. But slipping out for a smoke would give him a reason to escape all this bullshit Mardi Gras stuff everyone was pretending to enjoy in order to get laid tonight. At a signal from the DJ, the center of the club erupted in a shower of green, purple and gold confetti. Even over at the bar, Jamie had to duck out of the way of the shiny crap the dancers were flinging around by handfuls.
A club rat wearing eyeliner and flecks of the confetti bounced up to him, one hand suspiciously and conspicuously behind his back.
Jamie’s hand shot out to grab the kid’s wrist before the glitter bomb struck. “Don’t try it, Eli. I’m not in the mood.”
There was a brief pout on Eli’s pretty mouth. “You’re never in the mood.”
“Not for that.” Jamie chomped on his straw. “Where’s your boyfriend?”
“Dancing.” Eli flung the handful of color toward the dance floor.
Quinn’s height made him easy to pick out. He was dancing—if that halting sway could be called dancing—with a vaguely familiar, tall, slender blond.
“Thought you two went off to…” Jamie jerked his head as he let it trail off. Despite the fact that Eli’s mouth had been especially shaped to make a guy think of getting his cock sucked, Jamie preferred not to picture what his friend and this kid half his age were getting up to.
“Nah. He actually did have to piss. I offered to hold it for him though.” Eli shook his hair out of his face. The goth black bangs and pale skin showing through the mesh shirt made him look perfectly at home under the glitter and spiraling club lights.
“Worried someone will steal him away?”
“Not at all.” Eli’s tongue flicked over his lips.
Jamie glanced away. No wonder Quinn was so fucked.
“You know,” Eli began.
Dread snaked its warning through Jamie’s guts until his balls pulled up nice and tight. In the year since Eli had moved in with Quinn, Jamie had been subjected to all kinds of statements from his friend’s far-too-perceptive-for-a-brat-Quinn-had-taken-in-off-the-street boyfriend. And they always started with those two words.
“If you’re looking for something else to suck on to take your mind off cigarettes, my friend thinks you’re hot.” Eli nodded at the tall blond with Quinn.
Jamie realized why the blond looked familiar and straightened from his slouch. He didn’t often get to win a round with Quinn’s boy toy. Drawing the straw from his mouth, he said, “Don’t get me wrong, your friend was enthusiastic, but…sloppiest blowjob of my life. Don’t think a repeat’s happening.”
Eli cocked his head as he stared at the dancers through the bursts of confetti. “Huh.” In a flash, his grin was back. “Maybe you were a little much for him.” Eli turned back, staring at Jamie’s crotch. “I’ve always wondered if you’re packing enough to back up that attitude.”
The kid was sex on legs, past jailbait and almost as good at the game as Jamie was. Almost.
Jamie grabbed Eli’s wrist again. “Don’t be shy, then.” Dragging him forward, Jamie placed the hand right on his crotch. “Satisfy your curiosity.”
He knew he’d won when Eli froze. Jamie slid the straw back between his lips.
Then Eli’s fingers wiggled as he cupped Jamie’s dick through the denim of his jeans. “Not bad.” His hand slipped free. “If you’re more of a grower than a shower.”
Jamie’s chuckle got lost in his throat as Quinn came up to them with the blond in tow.
Quinn acted entertained when Jamie sparred with Eli. Since the kid also made a hell of a housewife with hot dinners waiting, Jamie spent more time at Quinn’s now than any time in the seven years he’d known him. Jamie wasn’t afraid of any fight, but he’d rather not have it out with his best friend over shoving said friend’s boyfriend’s hand onto his dick. Even if it had just been a joke.
Quinn quirked his brows in Jamie’s direction as Eli shimmered over to drape himself on his boyfriend. Jamie smirked back, but he could see there wasn’t any tension in Quinn’s posture. There was in Eli’s though, when Quinn’s hand squeezed that tight little ass. But their cuddly-couple shit left Jamie square in the blond’s target scope. Jamie would have been upfront with the guy about a lack of interest, but he wouldn’t put it past Eli to slip something nasty into his spaghetti sauce as payback for Jamie making Blondie cry.
“Jamie, I think you’ve met Silver,” Eli chirped.
Jamie knew he wasn’t in line for too many favors from heaven. Still, he’d kept the deathbed promise to his dad to quit smoking, and he was planning on giving up cream in his coffee for Lent and not having meat on Fridays. He wasn’t sure he’d asked until he got an answer to his prayer in the buzz against his palm. Keeping a hand on his phone was habit. He could almost always be called in, and he’d never hear it in the club.
“Gotta check this.” He turned away and read the text. He’d expected to have to get wet when the phone buzzed, but even the confirmation that he’d be spending the rest of the night freezing his ass off diving in forty-degree water couldn’t keep him from thinking he was better off than trapped here with Slobber Jaws. Come to think of it, Blondie hadn’t been all that careful with his teeth either.
“What?” Quinn said when he turned back.
“Gotta go in. Jumper off the Key Bridge,” Jamie said. Though from the APB, he’d say it had to be a pretty important corpsicle they were going to be dragging out of the Patapsco River.
Eli’s phone was in his hand. “Probably another poor gay kid killing himself.”
“If it is, it’s one of the governor’s kids.”
“Why?” Eli looked up from his phone.
“They’re pulling in everyone.”
As the outboard motor sent the Zodiac Hurricane bouncing up the chop on the Patapsco River toward the Key Bridge, Jamie spotted the lights first. High up on the bridge, flashing blue and white from at least ten patrol cars, the red and white of the meat trucks waiting on either side of the river, and one from the blinding beam of the city police’s search boat as it swept the waves, which were white capped from all the action. Behind Jamie’s Baltimore County squad, a State Police hard-sided skiff was fighting to catch up.
The sarge’s briefing had covered the water temp and estimated chance of survival before the rescue would be only a recovery, but not whose corpse they’d be diving for.
“Christ. Who took a dive? The governor?” Jamie looked up from where he was running a final check on his gear.
“Worse,” Sarge called over the chop of the water and the roar of the outboard. “A Montgomery.”
Jamie whistled. That would be a fucking media shit storm. As if to confirm it, a chopper thrummed overhead. He hoped it was one of their teams keeping the vultures off. The police had the bridge sealed now, he could see.
“Which one?” Jamie was betting on the one they called Chip. A pediatric cancer surgeon, he had stress enough to send anyone flying off the Key Bridge. Probably not the hippie chick who was always getting picked up at protests, or the other girl, the governor’s daughter-in-law.
“The queer one,” Pendarsky sneered from the opposite boat collar. “Probably know him, yeah, Donnigan?”
Jamie spared him a split-second glare. He could practically hear the gears turning in Pendarsky’s head as he tried to think of something to say, like Jamie being gay was some big secret he’d just been let in on. Pendarsky was new. Anyone else would have known better.
“Listen, rook, don’t go confusing me with your mother. She’s the one knows every dick in town.”
Pendarsky almost took the bait, but the second he pushed up, the boat rocked and dropped him back on the collar, forcing him to clutch the line to keep from flying in.