Recovering from a car accident in the sleepy little town of Cade Creek should have been a dream come true, but for Noah Helmond, it has been nothing but a nightmare. Ostracized by everyone for things he couldn’t prevent, Noah is trying his level best to make amends. But even he has his limits and when the man he starts to fall for rips the truth out of him, Noah has to decide if it’s worth the risk to stay and fight for what they could have together or run.
Paul Rafferty loves being a fire fighter. It fulfills his need to protect those that can’t protect themselves. When he meets Noah and learns who the man is, he’s prepared to think the worst. But there’s something compelling in Noah’s sad eyes that make Raff think that there is more to the story than what he has been told. Getting Noah to admit that might be the hardest battle he’s ever fought.
When trouble comes looking for Noah, asking for help means revealing secrets Noah has kept hidden for years, ones that will not only tear his family apart but have a significant impact on more than one resident in Cade Creek, and that may be asking too much.
Paul Rafferty stood by the door and watched the sandy blond haired man that sat in the corner talking softly on the phone. He was trying to be professional and not drool, but damn, the guy was simply gorgeous. Raff could eat him up.
The furtive glances the man kept sending him made Raff wonder if the man might be interested in more than a simple hello. He quickly looked at the man’s ring finger. No ring. Hopefully, that meant no significant other as well.
Raff didn’t do married man.
He watched the man hang up the phone and hand it back to Elijah. The two men talked for a moment before Elijah went running out the door. As close as he knew Elijah was to his secretary, Raff had no doubt the man was on his way up to the hospital.
When the man stood and grabbed his backpack off the floor, Raff knew he couldn’t let him get away without at least introducing himself. If he was lucky, maybe he could make a date to meet the man for coffee later.
Raff glanced around to make sure none of his fellow firemen were watching before approaching the gorgeous man. He wasn’t ashamed of his desire to meet the stranger but he was technically on the clock. Flirting while on duty was a big no-no.
“You did good.”
The man’s jaw dropped for the briefest moment as he looked up, and then snapped shut. His eyes rounded as if he hadn’t expected anyone to talk to him. “Thank you,” he said in a rather subdued voice. “I didn’t do all that much.”
“You probably saved her life.” Raff grew curious when he heard the man’s soft inhale when Raff smiled.
“Where did you learn CPR?”
Raff found himself riddled with curiosity when the man’s face paled. What was that all about? “Are you okay?”
Maybe he was suffering from an adrenaline crash?
“Here, why don’t you sit down?” Before he fell down, because he looked like he was on the verge of collapsing. Raff started to reach out and take the man’s arm to lead him to a chair when he caught a flash of white and red. “You’re bleeding.”
“Oh this?” The man held up his hand, staring at it as if bleeding was an everyday occurrence for him. “I was in a car crash a couple of weeks ago. I must have busted the stitches open when I was giving Sandy CPR. It’s nothing.”
“Here, why don’t you sit down and let me take a look at that.”
“It’s nothing, really.”
“Sit,” Raff said in a stern tone.
Surprisingly, the man sat.
Raff grabbed the medical case and brought it over, setting it on the floor before reaching for the man’s injured hand. “Tell me if this hurts,” he said as he began unwrapping the bandage wrapped around the man’s hand. “I’m Raff.”
Raff grinned again. “Hello, Noah. It’s nice to meet you.”
The man blinked up at him. “Hello.”
He grimaced as he finished unwrapping the man’s injured hand. Noah’s fingers curled in toward his palm. From the way they were twisted, Raff wondered just how much use the man had in them. It didn’t look like much. There were also several small cuts sutured together, some of them bleeding. Raff cleaned them up and the covered the bleeding ones with butterfly bandages before re-wrapping the entire hand again.
“Are you new to Cade Creek?” As much as Raff wanted to keep Noah distracted with the random questions, he also wanted information. Like, did the man even like guys? From the way he stared and the occasional flaring of his nostrils, Raff was pretty sure he was on the right track.
“Um, sort of. I’m just here taking a care of some business.” Noah breathed in deeply and then kind of folded in on himself as if the weight of the world rested on his shoulders. “I’m not staying.”
“That’s too bad. I was kind of hoping we could have coffee.”
Noah’s jaw dropped.
“Is that so strange?” Raff asked. “You are a very attractive man.”
“Do you know who I am?” The words were almost hissed out, the man’s blue eyes watering.
“You said your name is Noah.” Raff wouldn’t have forgotten that.
Noah stood, grabbing his backpack again before backing toward the door. Raff could tell he was going to run. Whatever was bringing tears to the man’s eyes must be so big that it was overwhelming everything else. Noah looked like he was about to collapse under his anguish.
“My name is Noah,” he whispered. “Noah Helmond.”
With that one name, Raff understood why the man had been so shocked by Raff’s interest. Jack and Hank were both enraged with Noah. They scowled every time they saw him or heard his name.
“And now you know,” Noah whispered with such rough acceptance of being the object of hatred that Raff ached for the man.
And then he was gone.
“You have beautiful eyes.”
Noah was envious of the easy smile that spread across Raff’s mouth at his words. He couldn’t remember the last time he had smiled or even felt the urge to smile. Happiness was something he had long ago given up. Maintaining his sanity was all he had left.
Raff’s hand moved to cuddle the side of Noah’s face, the touch gentle yet firm. “I’m kind of partial to blue eyes.”
Noah’s breath hitched as his throat grew thick. “Yeah?” His gaze dropped to Raff’s luscious lips. God, the things he wanted to do to those lips. Hell, the things he wanted those lips to do to him. He could build entire fantasies around them.
“You’re all wet.”
The amusement in Raff’s voice was laced with something else, something hot and needy and lust filled. Something that made Noah’s balls clench.
“We should probably get you out of these wet clothes.”
Noah just nodded. He was pretty much beyond speech at that point. Raff was staring down at him with such intensity, almost as if Noah was the most important person in the universe. No one had ever looked at him like that. No one had ever thought of him like that.
Seeing what he hoped was lust in Raff’s eyes, Noah prayed with everything in him and whispered, “Maybe you could help me with that?”
He would totally understand if Raff rejected his advances. What man in his right mind would get hooked up with someone as messed up as he was? Not only did he had a wife, a set of parents that doubled as Satan’s minions, and a woman out there carrying his child, but he couldn’t walk ten feet in Cade Creek without getting an angry glare.
He was the worst prospect in the history of prospects.
Raff really should run.
When Raff began to lift the hem of Noah’s shirt, Noah froze for a second. A quick glance around showed that no one could really see them. They were high enough above the town and far enough off the beaten path to be hidden, especially this early in the morning, and during the rain.
Noah raised his arms and allowed his shirt to be pulled up and off. Noah’s fingers tingled as he settled them on the tight muscles of Raff’s chest. Had there ever been a more perfect specimen of manhood ever built? Raff was the stuff dreams were made of.
Raff’s dark eyes grew steamy as he reached for the hem of Noah’s pajama bottoms, pushing them down Noah’s legs. Noah’s chest felt heavy as he stepped out of the soggy material and finally stood before Raff with no way to hide anything. He felt like he was baring his soul, not just his body.
When Raff growled and reached for him, yanking him close, Noah forgot to breath. When the man’s mouth settled over his in a kiss that curled his toes, Noah forgot to think. And when Raff’s massive hands began sliding over his wet skin, Noah forgot everything except the man holding him.
The press of Raff’s wide muscular body against his back made Noah feel small. The strong thick arms that encircled him made Noah feel safe and protected. The hard cock pushing against his ass through the thin material of Raff’s pajama bottoms made him feel aroused. He really wanted to feel the man’s hard cock against his naked skin.
Hell, he wanted to feel all of Raff against his naked skin, preferably with Raff just as naked.
He was in so much trouble.
Noah shivered at the feel of warm breath blowing across his neck. His eyes dropped closed as he tried to concentrate on the sounds around him, his breathing, the soft patter of rain on the roof, anything to drown out the feel of Raff’s hand stroking his skin as it slowly inched down toward his cock.
Noah ached. He needed. He cried out when that hand finally touched him. His body bucked, arching towards the hand touching him. His movements were met by a low deep chuckle from the man torturing him.
Noah’s head fell back against Raff’s chest when the man reached between them and grabbed his hard cock. The pressure was unbelievable. It was just strong enough to let Noah know Raff’s hand was there but light enough to keep him just on the edge of an orgasm.
It was pure torture.
Noah’s mouth dropped open as nearly silent whimpers of need broke free. Raff had one hand on Noah’s chest, gently pinching and tugging at his nipples. The other hand stroked Noah’s cock.
His body hummed with arousal.
“Please,” Noah pleaded, not really sure what he was begging for but knowing he needed something more.
“What do you need, baby?”
“Touch me,” Noah begged as he grabbed onto Raff’s hips to ground himself. “Please, touch me.”
Noah’s plea was instantly answered. Raff wrapped his hand back around Noah’s cock and stroked him. His other hand caressed Noah’s chest, moving back and forth between his nipples to play with them both. Raff’s lips moved from Noah’s ear to his neck, licking a path around to the edge of Noah’s jaw.
Noah’s body throbbed when Raff grabbed a fistful of his hair and angled his head up. When Raff’s mouth covered his, Noah felt all of the air in his lungs escape, leaving him breathless and wanting. The feel of Raff’s tongue brushing against his sent Noah into a tailspin of desire.
He dug his fingers into the hard thick muscles of Raff’s hips as the pressure building in his balls exploded out the top of his cock. Noah’s groan of completion was loud in the silence surrounding them as he covered Raff’s hand with white pearly seed.
“That’s it, baby,” Raff murmured against Noah’s lips. “Give it all to me.”
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