The Protectors #9
By Sloane Kennedy
Hosted by Jo&Isalovebooks Blog
All I ever wanted was to serve and protect my country. It ended up costing me everything…
At 49, Vincent St. James has learned to live with the choices he’s made, even if he isn’t always proud of them. After the military he was practically born into decided his sexuality was more important than his impeccable service record, Vincent lost everything, including the man he’d planned to spend the rest of his life with.
And a man with nothing to live for has nothing to lose.
With a bone deep hatred of all things government, Vincent found another way to serve his country, but it too came at a steep cost that he never could have foreseen. Dealing in secrets and death means there’s always someone waiting around the next corner trying to either take his place or bury their secrets along with his body. Even if he wanted out, it’s far too late for that.
When he’s given the chance to help out a friend who once had his back when others didn’t, he jumps at the chance to repay the favor. Even if it means protecting the kind of man he despises most…a power-hungry politician looking to push his own agenda on an unsuspecting public.
I made a terrible choice three years ago and it cost me the only person who ever really mattered to me. But maybe there’s another way I can make things right…
30-year-old Nathan Wilder can’t take back the moment he betrayed his twin brother, but he can try to make sure that the legacy of hate that drove him to turn on Brody never has a chance to rear its ugly head again. And if that means going against his powerful father’s right-wing political constituency in a down and dirty race for a seat in the U.S. Senate, then so be it. But when the threats that had been limited to harmless emails start taking an uglier turn, culminating in a violent attack that leaves no doubt as to the assailant’s intent, Nathan is thrown into the direct path of a mysterious and dangerous man who may end up forcing Nathan to confront truths he just isn’t ready to face yet.
Protecting him was supposed to be a favor for a friend and nothing more. Once he’s safe, I’ll let him go. I have to…
Protecting Nathan was supposed to be a walk in the park for a guy like Vincent. But nothing about the younger man is what he’d been expecting, especially the long-dead feelings Nathan stirs in him.
The feelings that aren’t just about protection.
Which is a problem, because while the threat against Nathan is temporary, the danger that’s become a way of life for Vincent is just waiting for the next thing it can take from him. Caring about someone means painting a target on their back and Vincent is done losing people he loves.
But letting Nathan go may not be as easy at seems…especially when Nathan decides to finally stand up and fight for what…and who he truly wants.
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As I was tucking my phone into my pocket, I saw Nathan grab his off the floor.
When he went to put it in his shirt pocket, I shook my head and said, “No, that stays here.”
“I need my phone,” Nathan said.
“You need it more than you need to breathe?” I asked impatiently. “Because it’s traceable.” I reached for it to take it away from him, but he stepped back. I got into his space and ripped the phone from his hand. “Is your career really more important than your life?” I ground out. “Because it sure as shit isn’t more important than mine.” I dropped the phone to the floor and made a move to crush it under my heel, but Nathan suddenly lunged forward.
“Don’t!” he yelled. My instincts took over and I grabbed him by the arms and swept his legs from underneath him, taking us both to the floor. He let out a whoosh of air as my body crashed down on his. Too late, I remembered the way he’d been holding his side after the earlier attack.
But I didn’t apologize.
“You lay your hands on me one more time-”
“My brother’s messages!” Nathan shouted, his voice thick with emotion.
“What?” I asked, startled.
Nathan drew in several breaths. “I want the phone because it has my brother’s voicemail messages on it,” he whispered. His whiskey-colored eyes met mine. “Please,” he murmured.
I suddenly became very aware of his hard body sprawled beneath mine. During the scuffle, one of my legs had gotten wedged between his, putting our cocks precariously close to one another. I had his hands pinned to the floor and I could feel his body trembling beneath mine.
I knew it was likely just the lingering shock, but I couldn’t deny what having him completely at my mercy was doing to me. Especially since he wasn’t fighting me. I hadn’t given much thought to whether or not Nathan was gay like his brother, but I sure as shit was thinking about it now.
“Please,” Nathan repeated, and a perverse part of me wondered what he was actually asking me for. I knew I needed to get off him, but I found myself reluctant to move. Nathan’s fingers flexed, drawing my gaze to them. It would be so easy to move my hands up to link my fingers with his. I shifted slightly to take the pressure off the knee that I had wedged between his legs, but the move caused my dick to brush his. I jerked my eyes to Nathan’s when I heard him let out the tiniest of whimpers.
“Let me up,” he suddenly said, and then he was pushing at me. I could have easily kept him there on the floor like that and taken what I wanted…a taste of him. But I shifted off him instead and then snatched his phone off the floor. Nathan struggled to his feet, but didn’t try to grab the phone again.
My brain told my fingers to drop the damn thing so I could crush it, because anything less wasn’t safe. But my body disobeyed the order and instead, I turned the phone off and handed it to Nathan. “Leave it off.”
I turned to head towards the hallway leading to the front door, but stopped when Nathan said, “Wait.”
I forced myself to turn around. “What?”
“I don’t even know your name.”
There were a million things I could have said to him, none of which included actually giving him my name. Just like with the phone, it wasn’t safe for him to know who I was.
“Vincent,” I said.
“Vincent,” Nathan murmured, more to himself than anything else. “Thank you, Vincent.”
I didn’t want his thanks. I didn’t want anything from him except to eliminate the threat against him and then get the hell away from him.
“Let’s go,” was all I said, though, and then I turned away, not really caring if he followed.
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