Let me start by introducing Alex Dominguez and Rory Drummond by way of a couple of images. They’ll form in your imagination soon enough, I hope, as you read the opening chapters of Sleeping with Danger (Nevada Highlander 4). Warning: adult content!
In the Arms of the North Sea
Friday, April 5, 2014
Alex slowed his mountain bike to a wobbly roll and finally braked to a complete stop. The worn leather seat jutted from his groin like a tired but still serviceable cock. He grinned down at it, thinking about this morning with Rory, and shifted his gaze to the shimmer and blur of blue where the waters of Montrose Harbor met the vast canopy of sky.
“Suck my balls, Alejo.”
He’d awakened to the musky smell and velvet fist of his lover’s sac thrust in his face. Still full of sleep, abruptly aroused, he’d groped for Rory’s ass cheeks and opened his mouth, letting the testicles invade the inside of his cheeks. Slobbering and spitting, he let them slide out, then sucked them inside again while his fingers found his lover’s asshole.
“Quiet, lad. Now the cock.”
A week ago, Spring had hit Scotland’s east coast in a rush of temperate days and cloudless skies. From what Alex read on the net and heard in the conversations around him, the only place in Scotland still ass-numbing cold was the only place he’d rather be—in the Highlands. In the highest and probably most beautiful spot in his adopted country. In the Cairngorms.
Almost six months ago, following Rory, he’d left his beloved Snake Range in Nevada’s high desert. Not that he’d spent a lot of time there since he was a kid. But those stark glacial peaks had a grip on his psyche that he now recognized. Only now, after leaving them far behind.
Using the pedal as a fulcrum, he jumped from the bike and flicked the kickstand, letting it sit like a good dog on the side of the narrow path while he ambled to the steep roadside and lost himself, as usual, in a flood of raw beauty.
Montrose promontory lay before him like a thumb jutting into the North Sea, its tip punctuated by the lighthouse. Using the rocks as footholds, he walked a ways down the bluff, closer to the sea. Now, at low tide, Alex turned his gaze from the land and looked down at the foaming tide pools left by retreating waves. His eyes followed the seabirds sweeping in for their prize, shellfish left every twelve hours by the ocean’s circadian promise.
He stood erect, letting the wind buffet him, thinking about the odd fact of a Nevada highlander embracing the Scurdie Ness headland on Scotland’s eastern shore, five thousand miles from home. Correction: what used to be his home.
His mind flicked over the past few months, how a tide pool like one of these had led to a killer and his own near demise. And Rory… He’d put his own fiancé in a dangerous trap then, and on other occasions too.
Por diós. My fault, for being a cop. Anything and everything’s a clue. Every face might hide a criminal.
He wondered for the millionth time whether he was doing the right thing. Two months ago he’d agreed to marry the man he adored. But would marriage put Rory in the crosshairs again…and again, and again? Would the tough Scot end up being another victim of his lover’s relentless cop-heart?
Or was coward Alejo still masking the real reasons for his suddenly cold feet?
The Scurdie Ness Mess. That’s what the local online newspapers called it. He and Rory had escaped with no more than a few scars—Rory on his muscled chest, where he’d crawled like a snake for a kilometer. And Alex? There was still a dull ache in his fingers and on his kneecaps too, still swollen and stiff from—
“Yo! Alex, right?”
His thoughts were interrupted by a familiar voice behind him. As much as he craved solitude, he liked the man who’d spoken his name, and he turned with a smile. The bony youngish man had taken the incline like a pro. Hell, Alex hadn’t even heard his approach. Or I’m getting old before my time…
“Good to see you, Peter James. Or James Peter. Were you named after two favorite uncles?” He stretched out his hand and let the other man pump it.
“Hilarious. The kids in school had a blast with ‘Peter,’ but I outgrew them, and Nebraska too. How’ve you been, Alex? I haven’t seen you since—”
“Since the mess. Um, the Scurdie Ness case. Did I ever thank you for your role in tracking down a killer, Peter? I owe you a big one.”
Peter shook his head, letting a hank of straight brown hair fall across his lively eyes. “Fuck that, Alex. All I did was show you my photo files.”
The tall, lanky midwesterner had an infectious grin, and an easy way about himself that Alex liked.
“That was huge. Your photos cracked the case.”
Peter, thumbing back the fugitive lock with a bony thumb, laughed out loud. “Yeah, because you looked past the crap into the facts.”
“Anyway, Peter, how come you’re away from the Reserve this morning?”
The photographer, not paid by the Montrose Basin Wildlife Reserve, was actually their best wildographer, a term he’d learned from Peter himself. Alex had seen his work. The man could make his feathered subjects fly off the page.
“Day off, kinda. I should be home sleeping in, or sucking up java, or working on my computer files. But the warm weather and all… I thought today would be a good time to shoot some stuff for myself.”
Alex had already noticed a compact leather case slung over his shoulder with a long strap and figured it was a digital camera. Peter lived in a dump, but his equipment was top-notch.
“What about you, Alex? Here on police business, or…?”
For some reason he wanted to apologize for not wearing his constable’s uniform. But he simply shook his head.
“I come out here maybe three days out of seven. Four at the most. No set days. A Special Constable is not so special, Peter. But at least they let me set my own schedule.”
“And pay you a little more than I get paid—bird shit.”
They both cracked up. It was true. Peter worked for the love of wildlife, the hope that someday his tagline on the web would attract more than fleeting praise. And Alex was a former Nevada State Trooper, new to Scotland, who’d pretty much lucked into this rent-a-cop gig on the promontory. The money he got was minuscule, barely enough to cover the non-rent on his non-home. The thought made his mouth twitch a little, and he turned his head, pretending to gaze out at the harbor.
“Not trying to be too personal Alex. But I was wondering if you and Rory, um, if you guys have set a date.”
He turned his head and allowed his eyes to smile along with his mouth. “Paperwork. We’re drowning in paperwork. Just because the Parliament said it was okay to have same-sex marriages, that doesn’t mean Scotland is ready for us. They seem to have their heads up their asses. We have to register, then wait. Then fill out more forms, and wait some more. Hell, Peter, we’ve gotten word that no marriages at all will be granted until the end of the year.”
“Ouch. Because they’re stalling? Or because they just don’t know how to handle the rush?”
He grinned. This guy was straight, but he was cool.
They stood in silence for awhile, soaking up the rare morning sun, allowing the salt wind to lift their hair in cartwheels and somersaults.
“Alex? Everything okay?”
“Absolutely, my friend. I was just thinking… One of these nights, I’d like you to come over to the—to Castle Drummond for dinner. You’ll like Rory’s parents. And I promise to keep Thistle from devouring your shirt tail. Or worse. How ’bout it?”
“Damn. I’d love that. It’ll be good to see Rory again. I liked your wolfhound too. She’s a beauty.”
Hoping he wasn’t being too obvious about the brush-off, he offered his hand again. “Then I’ll give you a call after I check with Rory. Howzat?”
“Can I bring my girlfriend? Well, kind of. She’s a girl, and we’re friends…”
“I’m looking forward to it, Peter.” He meant it. But he had a job to do right now, and stuff he needed to sort out in his head before Rory’s sexy taunts sent him into helpless laughter and his strong arms pulled him again into a frenzy of lust.
Alex walked ten feet up the embankment and rescued his bike, which had managed to stand upright in the stiff wind. Turning to wave at Peter, he smiled back at the man’s open grin and wave of farewell. He mounted Old Paint—his fond nickname for the cheap refurbished bike—and pedaled up the promontory toward “his” lighthouse.
Damn right Scurdie Ness was his lighthouse, the iron nautilus where he’d managed to trap a determined killer. The famous beacon was part of his beat, actually, a destination for tourists and so a possible target for vandals as well as sight-seers. It loomed ahead of him as he rose and bent forward on the mountain bike, trying to keep the salty sting out of his eyes.
It was not lost on Alex, that the places he responded to most deeply were high ones. His mountain, Mariah. His lighthouse, the Scurdie Ness. And his personal aerie, Hunter’s Point. He was still amused that he’d thought of Rory as a highlander, when in fact he was a flatlander from Arbroath. The real highlander was Alex Dominguez.
Again he thought of the Cairngorms, Scotland’s answer to his old turf. As much as he and his lover had day-tripped in the Scot’s vehicle of the moment, they were holding off a trip to those mountains. Alex thought he needed a good three days just to take it all in—half a week, three whole days in a row that he reckoned his Special Constable job would not allow.
Rory had teased the shit out of him. “Alejo, they don’t even pay you. You have every right to tell Finley she can stick it in her wrinkled—um, she can afford to be without you for two or three days. Och, am I going to marry an old lady, or a real cop?”
But Alex had a work ethic, a dedication to duty he couldn’t seem to shrug off. Even if the “duty” of the moment was helping a poor fisherman prepare smokies, or keeping this road clear of possible trouble-makers…both for pennies a day…once he’d made a promise, it was fossilized in granite, an ancient bristlecone at the treeline of Mt. Mariah.
His smile bit into the wind, and he tried to concentrate on the present. The lighthouse, looming in front of him, and his marriage too…
In real life, as opposed to blogville, this first chapter continues for a few hundred more words. But I wanted to “end” with a nice photo! 😀
Chapter 2 is also on this blog, starting here: https://bit.ly/2lk3o9U
and if you keep following the prompts, you’ll find a total of eight chapters, first draft quality.
Here’s the book that precedes this one…HUNTER’S POINT…a promo I ran on Facebook today:
The brass balls have become more vulnerable as Rory’s association with Alex proves unsafe at any speed. This is the third NEVADA HIGHLANDER title.
Sexy and explosive! HUNTER’S POINT: A Scot, a cop, and a killer…at a point of no return.As Scotland is about to pass a same-sex marriage bill, two headstrong men have their own problems to solve: a case of murder, a coming to terms with a troubled past, and a possible long-term commitment to each other, even in the face of a third man who apparently would love to end their torrid affair.
Rory and Alex follow murder clues from the lighthouse complex on Montrose Promontory to one of Scotland’s most prestigious prep schools … while a killer, not content with one victim, waits in a place none would suspect.