...Balt drew in a long breath. A fleeting concern danced through his eyes. “Would you rather I left?”
Yes. No. Oh hell! “No, you came to see me, so the least I can do is be polite, I guess. I was just surprised. I’d been thinking about you.”
A faint blush spread across Balt’s cheeks. “I think about you a lot. I guess you’ve become a kind of hero in my mind.”
“Don’t do that,” Jayce said harshly. “There’s nothing here to idolize, little to admire.”
“No!” A shadow of distress crossed Balt’s expressive face. “No, you’re a good man, a good officer. Brave, yet compassionate and caring. As I rise through the ranks, I hope I can be such a man.”
Jayce stepped back, sank onto the foot of the narrow bed. “Why are you here? Why did you really come to see me? I don’t need anyone’s hero worship. That’s stupid. You know better…or you should.”
Balt flashed a brief smile. Hesitancy colored his expression. “I—I’d like to think we could be friends,” he said. “At least friends…” He held both hands out to Jayce. “Please.”
As if pulled by a force beyond his resistance, Jayce stood again and moved closer, not stopping until he stood chest to chest with the younger man. Balt reached, wrapping both arms around him. Then Jayce found himself embracing Balt as well. They were of a height, which made it seem awkward. In spite of that, it felt very right.
He could feel the rhythm of Balt’s heartbeat, faster than he’d expect. He smelled the spicy scent of aftershave, an odor not sweet but tangy, like lemon mixed with cinnamon.
Then he found himself gazing into the younger man’s dark eyes, mere inches away from his own.
What he saw there both comforted and frightened him. His reflection was there, of course, but somehow altered by another’s perception. He also saw a longing much like his own, an urgent need that couldn’t be ignored or denied.
They both moved at the same instant, two heads angling smoothly into the kiss. It occurred as if carefully choreographed. No noses bumped, and there was no clumsy twisting or shifting to find the right connection. Something deep within each of them knew, responded as if programmed to do so.
Balt’s lips were firm and warm, softening slightly as Jayce’s met and meshed with them. Surprise, arousal and delight flashed through Jayce in an instant. This was not part of his dream. He’d dreamed of their naked bodies entangled, of clumsy hands fumbling with cocks and clutching hard cheeks, but not this. How could it feel so right, so utterly pleasing and yet so strange?
I never kissed another man before. The vague thought slipped through his awareness to fade away as they both opened their mouths in an urgency to draw more air into lungs suddenly depleted.
At that point, it seemed completely natural to taste the inside of Balt’s mouth, sliding his tongue along the even white teeth and into the hollows on either side, beneath the strong, high cheekbones. A faint hint of mouthwash and coffee lingered, but neither repelled Jayce. He suspected his mouth tasted dry and dusty, as if he’d been on the desert for a long time. But Balt didn’t seem to mind...