Caught by Surprise
Genre: Gay (m/m) Romance, Red Hot!
Length: Short Novella
Suddenly wide-awake, he realized that a stranger’s hand was still loosely wrapped around his prick.
“Oh my God.” Covering his mouth, he closed his eyes briefly, hysterically searching for an answer, a memory, an explanation of how he’d ended up in a stranger’s bed -- and having sex -- with a man.
“Damn…what the hell’s wrong with me?” the other man muttered groggily.
His heart chilled; he recognized that voice. Jason. Oh my God, I’m in bed with one of my agents… Shit!
Inching away from the hot, sweaty body behind him, Noah staggered off the bed, feeling decidedly hungover, his mind in a fog. Bracing himself against the mattress, he glared at Jason, who was reclining against large pillows and apparently searching for something to wipe away the cum dripping from his hand.
Noah flushed when he realized it was his cum on the blond’s hand.
Cheeks flaming, Jason kept his gaze averted as he picked up the edge of the nearest bedsheet and wiped his hand clean.
Staring down at himself, Noah could see a trickle of Jason’s semen trailing down the insides of his legs. He’d never seen anything more disturbing in his life. After grabbing one of the sheets, he wiped at the sticky mess, his actions a bit rougher than necessary. When he’d cleaned up as best he could, he gingerly wrapped the sheet around his hips.
“What the hell happ--”
He slapped a hand over Jason’s mouth, silencing him abruptly. Waking up in a strange place, under strange circumstances -- it was best not to let anyone know they were conscious.
When blue eyes met his gaze, Noah shook his head and pointed toward the open door. Nodding, Jason got up from the bed and dragged a sheet around his body, making a loose knot at his side.
Both stepped away from the bed and did a quick search of the room, looking for their guns and clothes. When nothing turned up, Noah reached for an ornate candlestick, and Jason grabbed a slim, dark statue from the nightstand. Approaching the open doorway cautiously, they were met with silence and stillness from the outer room.
Noah gave Jason instructions using familiar hand signals. At the blond’s nod, he inched around the door frame, taking in the cream-colored walls and extensive bookshelves that lined two walls. A wide window was set into the longest wall, letting weak winter sunlight stream into the room. Cushy armchairs were placed around an unlit fireplace, and an elegant area rug protected Noah’s bare feet from the cold hardwood floor.
Cautiously, they explored the room, checking for anything that would give them a hint of their whereabouts and whoever was responsible for their current predicament.
Their search revealed a phone with no service and no other way to get a message out. The windows and doors were locked, and no amount of force made them budge a centimeter. If there were bugs or cameras in the room, they were undetectable, even to agents with law-enforcement training.
Noah and Jason were all alone in the expensive cabin with no viable exits -- a gilded cage of sorts.
“Noah, you need to see this.” Jason stood by massive glass doors framed by snowy white curtains.
Coming to stand by his friend, Noah gazed out at the frost-covered woodland surrounding the dwelling. No matter which direction he looked, there was nothing but naked trees and cloudless sky. Wherever they’d been taken, the location seemed fairly remote.
Frustrated, Noah tried the doorknob, but it twisted uselessly in his hand. “Shit. Did you see any other exits?”
“Yeah, two, but they’re locked from the outside and state-of-the-art. Nothing we can jimmy or pick.” Jason shook his head, still scanning the clearing for any sign of guards posted around the perimeter.
“Fuck!” Noah smacked the glass hard, but the pane didn’t even vibrate under the force of the blow. “I can’t believe we got ambushed so easily. They got the drop on us like we were a couple of rookies.” He hated making mistakes, especially ones that endangered his life and the lives of his men. “Let’s see if we can find something heavy so we can break the glass.”
“We can try, but then we’ll be out in twenty-degree weather with no clothes, shoes, money, guns, or cell phones. I don’t think we’ll get very far. Besides, we’re not in imminent danger.” Jason’s expression was neutral, typical for the ex-soldier. “So, any theories on how we ended up here?”
Noah rubbed his eyes. “Not a clue. None of the cases we’re working fit the profile for whoever owns this place, and none of the perps we’ve put away in the last three years are anywhere near parole. We must be missing something obvious.” He tried to focus on the few facts they had, but he was having a hard time concentrating with everything that had already happened that morning.
“Still,” Jason said, sarcasm tingeing his voice, “it can’t be a coincidence that we’re both here, groggy and naked. Where did you get taken?”
“In a downtown parking garage,” Noah said vaguely. “You?”
“Coming out of the diner near the office.” Jason smiled wryly. “Do you think anyone’s realized we’re missing yet?”
Resting his head against the window, Noah sighed. “They might not miss me right away since I’ve been ducking out of the office lately, but you’re like clockwork. They’ll miss you before they miss me.”
“Are you all right?” Jason watched him carefully.
“Yeah, of course, I’m fine.” He delivered the line automatically, closing down that line of questioning immediately. But in the back of his mind, Noah heard his shrink telling him to trust his friends and teammates with more than just his life.
Noah took a deep breath. “I’ve been seeing someone -- a doctor --”
Alarmed, Jason interrupted, “What? Are you sick?”
“Not that way.” He hesitated, touched by the blond’s concern. “After the shooting a few months back, I had to get a psych-evaluation release.” Noah blushed and looked away. “Once I got the all-clear, the shrink asked me to come back. He thought there were other issues I needed to work through.” Noah cleared his throat, embarrassed that he’d visited a shrink for personal reasons.
As Noah’s words sank in, Jason teased, “Noah Black is in therapy?”
“Fuck you,” Noah shot back without any real anger.
Before Jason could respond, the phone rang, making a shrill noise in the cavernous room.
“I thought the line was dead,” Jason said as he approached the desk in the far corner.
“It was when I tried it. No dial tone and no dialing out,” Noah replied, standing next to Jason. Reaching out, he pressed the Speaker button.
An arrogant, satisfied voice came over the line. “I hope you liked my gift, Jason.”
* * * * *
They both recognized the voice instantly: Nicholai Popov, Jason’s best friend.
Jason snarled, “What the hell were you think --”
“Now, now…is that any way to speak to a friend?” Nick interrupted, his tone annoyingly superior. “It’s time for you to make a change, Jase, and what better way than to take matters into my own hands?” Their benefactor chuckled. “You are in a family cabin outside of Asheville. There is no one else around for miles, so don’t bother trying to escape. It’s one of my personal hideaways, so there are no bugs or cameras anywhere. Someone will be by at five p.m. to release you. Your clothing and personal items will be waiting for you outside of the door. Until then, you’re on your own.” A heavy sigh came across the phone line. “I suggest you make the most of it, Jase.” With a click, the line went dead.
He stared at the phone in disbelief. Where did Nick get off playing God like that? Of all the stupid, crackpot ideas --
“You want to explain that?” Noah’s warm brown eyes betrayed his confusion.
“I think it has to do with Nick’s sick sense of humor.” Jason’s face heated when he saw the wary expression on Noah’s face. Groaning, he closed his eyes for a moment before opening them again. Maybe he should just ask for a transfer now and save Noah the trouble of firing him.
Sitting on one of the fancy chairs in the extravagant living room, Jason racked his brain for a suitable explanation, something that wouldn’t incriminate him further. He never should have confided in Nick. He should have known his friend would have seen his crush on Noah as a challenge.
Noah raised a single eyebrow, shooting down his inane rationalization.
“Nick called me and asked me to stop by his place. He wanted to give me something to make up for getting shot three months ago.” Jason massaged his shoulder, feeling the puckered scar where a single gunshot had ripped through flesh and muscle. He’d gotten lucky the shooter had been such a lousy shot. “We got to talking, and you know Nick. Once he gets a stupid idea in his head, he won’t consider any other explanation. That man has way too much time and money on his hands.”
Noah rolled his eyes, probably remembering his run-ins with the outrageous Homeland Security agent.
Jason raised a hand. “Don’t say it! It should be enough that I want to shoot myself right now. That should be my punishment for trusting him.”
Shaking his head, Noah snorted. “So what happened when you met up with Nick?”
“Nothing.” Too agitated to sit still, Jason stood up and began pacing, his hand clenching the sheet around his waist.
“Where do I come into this?” Noah eased back on the sofa, a curious expression on his face.
“I’m not sure.” Jason tried to gauge how angry Noah was with the situation, but his thoughts were sidetracked when he took in his friend’s dark tousled hair and sparkling brown eyes. There was a flush to his cheeks that contrasted with the creamy skin revealed by the lack of clothing. It was all Jason could do to stop staring at the arousing trail of wispy hair that disappeared beneath the blue sheet tied around Noah’s hips.
Noah narrowed his eyes, which he only did when he was deep in thought. “So, he wants to give you a gift, and somehow I end up here, locked in a room with you -- and we’re both naked? And you have no idea why he would conclude --” His confusion cleared up in a second. Standing up, he approached Jason. “I’m the gift, aren’t I? Your gift.”
Jason winced at his question. “No. Absolutely not,” he replied, except his voice lacked conviction.
Scoffing, Noah pointed to the phone. “I heard him ask if you liked your gift.” Waving an arm around the room, he continued, “I don’t see anything else resembling a gift.”
Seeing Noah’s reaction reminded Jason of Fort Benning all over again. A lump of fear lodged in his throat. He didn’t know if he could go through that again. Losing his family, his friends, and his career once was more than enough in a lifetime.
When Jason remained silent and refused to meet his gaze, Noah headed to the small kitchen located off the living room. The polished whitewood cabinets and shiny appliances had been a bit intimidating at first, but since it was Nick’s food he was about to eat, he purposely looked for something expensive the other man would miss. Served him right.
He dug through endless drawers, not recognizing most of what he found. He’d give good money for a pizza or a can of spaghetti -- the extent of his culinary skills.
“Do you need help?” Jason stood in the doorway, his posture rigid and face expressionless.
Noah was tempted to call out, At ease, soldier, just to see if he’d get a reaction from Jason. “Do you know how to cook?”
“Well, look through there,” he said, waving at the cabinets over the sink, “and the fridge and see if you recognize anything edible. Most of the packaging is foreign, and the bits that aren’t still sound disgusting.” Sighing, he opened a pantry door. “Where’s a pizza-delivery service when you need one?”
When he turned back, Jason had amassed various ingredients on the counter that ran the length of the spacious kitchen.
“What’s all that?” Noah grabbed a couple of fancy plates from the dishwasher and put them down near the stash.
Smiling, Jason continued to open the packages. “We can make sandwiches with this. It’s the same ham and cheese and stuff, just more expensive.”
“Yeah, okay,” he muttered, completely out of his depth, reminded that while Nick and Jason never flaunted their wealth, it was still apparent they hadn’t grown up in a tiny, rural town like he had.
As they ate their sandwiches, seated at the breakfast table near the window, Noah broke the silence. “I think we need to talk.”
Sighing, Jason put down his half-eaten sandwich. “I’m so sorry. I had no idea Nick would plan this…” His voice trailed off.
“Gift?” Noah completed the sentence, starting to find humor in the situation and Jason’s obvious discomfort. “I’ve got to admit, it’s kind of flattering to be someone’s idea of a gift.”
Hearing Noah’s amusement, Jason looked at him, surprise clearly on his face. “You’re not mad at me?”
“Did you plan this with Nick?” he asked matter-of-factly.
“Then why would I be mad at you? It seems like we both got caught by surprise, which reminds me: we need to develop better safety protocols when we get back to the office. The fact we both got taken with so little effort is shameful and dangerous.”
Frowning, Noah leaned back in his chair and and aextended his legs. He was alarmed at how easily Nick had tracked and caught them both in a short amount of time. As a federal agent, he’d known he could be the victim of a kidnapping or a hit, but being taken in broad daylight while he was distracted was nothing short of suicidal. That it was a friend behind the plot didn’t make it any less perilous; he sincerely hoped he never forgot this fiasco. It was obvious he’d grown too complacent since moving back home to North Carolina.
Now that they were no longer in danger, Noah put his mind to the matter of what to do about the situation with Jason. Knowing he’d been kidnapped as a gift for Jason -- now, that was shocking -- and since Jason hadn’t denied the claim, that was all Noah had to go on.
For his part, Noah couldn’t deny there had been times when he’d admired Jason’s intense blue eyes and muscular body, his boyish charm and dry humor. Noah had chalked it up to simple male competition, but maybe there was more to it.
He certainly wasn’t offended by Jason’s indirect admission, and his orgasm that morning had been one of the best he’d ever had. Was that because it was Jason, or because it was a man? Damn, his mind felt like it was about to explode.
“Jason, can I ask you a question? Something personal.”
The blond nodded, but his expression hardened faintly.
“Are you…” He didn’t quite know how to phrase the question. Despite being good friends with Jason and Nick, there were some things one simply did not ask another officer or agent.
“Gay, Noah? Are you asking me if I’m gay?” Jason couldn’t help the anger in his voice.
“Yes, I am.” Jason’s tone was downright frosty.
Finding an opening, no matter how small, Noah continued, “How did you know?” Jason probably wanted him to drop the subject, but he couldn’t pass up the chance to ask the questions that had been driving him nuts for years. Especially when he had someone he trusted to answer them. And he did trust Jason.
“I always knew. I was pretty typical in that respect.”
“What does that mean?”
“When other boys started noticing girls,” Jason explained, “I kept noticing boys. It wasn’t until much later that I realized I was different.”
“So you were never interested in women?”
“Nope.” Jason shrugged. “Not even slightly curious.”
“Really?” Noah bit his lip. “Does anyone in the office know?”
“Only Nick,” the blond replied, his face clouded.
Swallowing hard, Noah muttered the question he’d been building up to before he lost his nerve. “Whatdoesitfeellike?”
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