I’ve got a real treat for you today. A guest appearance by Heloise West, with an exclusive sneak peak from her book Hitting Black Ice.
Thanks so much for popping by Heloise and for the extract!
“Hitting Black Ice” from Loose Id December 2, 2014
Violence spills into the local ER, catching Hunter and Shawn in the crossfire. In the aftermath, buried passion explodes, pulling them into a hot encounter that leaves both men wanting more. Each man has good reason to keep his distance, but when the past catches up with Shawn, they must run for their lives.
At least they’re running together…
Chapter One/Part One
Hunter had a crush, a big one.
In the cafeteria late one night on his break at the hospital, he sipped at coffee and focused on Shawn, the night desk clerk for the ER, sitting a few tables over. With long black hair tied back neatly and eyes of faded denim blue, Shawn was lean, his face long and bony. Tonight he wore a brown turtleneck under a white-and-green-striped button-down. The rolled sleeves revealed muscled forearms dusted with golden hair, as mismatched to the dyed black hair as his pale eyebrows and lashes. A silver skull ring and silver studs in his ears appeared at odds with the lanyard and dangling ID card.
Hunter drank more coffee, barely tasting it. He’d tried to talk himself out of it, but he couldn’t squirm away from the attraction. When he’d walked past the registration desk to the water cooler—again—or hung out there a moment too long with an empty clipboard in his hands, he caught those tiny flicks of interest in Shawn’s eyes. Hunter must have given away his interest, because the nurses smirked at his pretended obliviousness.
Hunter bent to the not-very-engrossing crossword in the newspaper, imagining what tattoo might lie beneath Shawn’s cool demeanor. Maybe gargoyle wings across a broad and muscled back, or a snake wrapped around his thigh. Something more esoteric—a phrase in Latin, like Hunter’s own primum non nocere, or a bit of wisdom in Chinese characters. Or an old-school Aerosmith tat? Hunter glanced up from filling in the little squares with black ink blocks. Shawn, Hunter could swear, hurriedly looked back down at the paperback in his hands. He turned the page and shot a second glance at Hunter. Gazes locked and jumped away.
Heat rushed through Hunter all at once and climbed up to his face. Too aware of the black-haired man with biceps to die for, the tight ass to squeeze, and long legs to—well, never mind. Taking a boner back to the ER was not a good idea.
He had touched those biceps once when he’d given Shawn a flu shot back in the fall. Shawn had taken the needle without a flinch.
Shawn stood with his tray in hand and walked toward the trash container behind Hunter. The back of his neck prickled as if Shawn breathed on the little hairs there. Hunter picked up his coffee cup once more, but it was empty.
Good thing he’d decided to become a physician’s assistant and not an actor. The worst giveaway of all was that he talked to everyone at the front desk but Shawn, unless he absolutely had to. Hunter wasn’t shy; everyone knew that. Yet conversation led to more conversation, to flirting, and the next thing he knew, they’d be going on a date, Hunter falling head over heels, and then the asshole—
Stop. You know how that story ends.
Behind him, Shawn cleared his throat. Hunter didn’t turn around. Shawn returned to his seat, picked up the paperback, and slumped down into the chair with a scowl.
Marisa slipped into the seat across the table from Hunter, and he smiled.
“I’m onto you,” she whispered.
“Uh-huh.” Hunter moved his body slightly so he could still see Shawn around her.
“You’ve been taking late lunch for three weeks now. I know why—or who—that is.” She smiled, a small Hispanic woman with curly chestnut hair and hazel eyes in a heart-shaped face. If Hunter weren’t himself, and she weren’t married, he thought he’d be with her. Her lips always gleamed with gloss, and her eyes snapped with fire when she got pissy. He loved it, most days, even when she aimed for him.
She leaned toward him. “Shawn, right?” Her eyes took on a warning snap now and dared him to contradict her.
“I don’t even know if he’s gay.” Which wasn’t true, but he knew better than to deny it to her face.
She sipped at her coffee with her gaze on him. Her mouth left lipstick smiles on the rim of the cup. “There’s something different about this one. And he’s lovely to look at.”
“Lovely.” Hunter snorted. Shawn was dead sexy. Hunter had seen him out at the clubs twice now but avoided him there too. Shawn undulated easily across the dance floor, like a wet dream. The tops wanted to conquer him, and the bottoms wanted to be conquered by him.
“Talk to him, honey.”
“Please. Don’t.” He must have spoken louder than he’d meant to. Shawn looked up at them and away again.
“You’re letting Jerry’s death run your life.”
Hunter slapped the magazine down. “I’m too sober for this conversation.”
“It’s like he’s locked your heart away.”
Mindful of the potential audience, he lowered his voice. “You’re jumping way ahead here.”
She shook her head. “I know you. You have so much love to give, and I hate to see you suffer.”
Her probing questions about Hunter’s past, family, present situation were all familiar ground. Friendship he could manage; he recognized that when it was offered to him. He’d been out since he was nine. Always been out was what he told people. She was one of the few friends to whom he could confide nearly everything. Jerry’s addictions had killed him, but his family and friends blamed Hunter, and on a deeper emotional level he blamed himself too. Marisa knew this, and it worried her. She wanted him to find someone and move on, someone to be a couple with. She knew, but she didn’t understand.
He wasn’t abstinent now, not at twenty-five, but never got involved with anyone beyond one- or two-night stands. Hunter didn’t want to take responsibility for another heart.
* * * *
To read the rest of this chapter please hop on over to Kimber Vale’s Blog on December 1 and Kate Lowell’s traditional Tuesday Tickle on December 2 for parts two and three.
December 1: http://kimbervale.me/
December 2: http://thebluntinstrument.wordpress.com/
Thanks for having me here today, Skye 😀
Have a great weekend, all!
Love, Heloise West
You can also find me here: