They can’t deny the attraction…or the danger…
Since losing their beloved third to cancer, Keith Masters and Johnny Lou Reed haven’t thought about filling the void in their lives with anyone else. Until a stormy Christmas Eve, when a half-frozen, newly discharged Army Ranger shows up on their doorstep—with no memory of who he is or how he got there.
The former Marine in Keith is suspicious that he can’t turn up any information about Shane anywhere, not even an address. Direct questioning will have to wait until they’ve gotten the boy well.
Shane knows it’s only a matter of time before Keith and Reed figure out his past. And when they learn the depth and the darkness of the secrets he holds, he could get them all killed.
In the heat of the dark winter nights, the three men discover a passion that heals the gaping wounds in their hearts. And Shane wonders, despite the danger hot on his heels, how he will ever bear to leave…
Warning: Contains secrets, undercover operations and three hot, alpha military men who can set a cold winter night on fire.
Excerpt from Chapter Three
Keith sighed. “When he wakes—”
“You are not going to interrogate him.”
“You’re really going to owe me,” Keith told him mutinously as Reed moved
away and shrugged.
“Not a hardship,” Reed called over his shoulder as he walked across the hall
toward the guest room.
Through the open door, Keith watched his partner rub the young man down with water and alcohol. Managing fever on top of hypothermia took skill, but Reed had dealt with much worse.
After another hour of emails, including hearing back from Dan, his marshal contact, that all their WITSEC men and women were safe and sound, Keith got up and went to the doorway of the guest room, noting the flush of fever on Shane’s face had subsided somewhat. But the boy’s eyes still held that hazy, faraway look whenever they opened to Reed quietly saying, “Hey, Shane, can you open your eyes for me?” And then just as suddenly they’d close again and sleep would take him.
Reed looked up at him. “You okay?”
Keith put his hands up to grab the doorframe above his head, stretched himself as he gave an unconvincing, “Yeah.”
“You’ve got to admit this is weird,” Reed said finally. Of the three of them, he believed the least in that old legend about this house drawing those in need to it, but he couldn’t deny the oddness of this. “I mean, eight years to the day. To the hour.”
Keith shrugged. “’S’what the legend says. Travelers in need find their way here on this day at this time.”
“Like me.” Reed’s blue eyes shone in the soft light, the memories making him smile a little. His blond hair was on the longer side, and he was shorter than
Keith—six-two to Keith’s six-five, but his build was lankier. He was strong as hell, though, as Keith well remembered when he came to that night he woke on the living room floor and immediately tried to punch both Keith and Bobby.
Reed had war in his eyes. Sometimes, when he woke, he still did. He told Keith he always dreamed of the rain.
“There’s no one like you,” Keith told him. “We can’t keep him here longer than tomorrow.”
“There’s your suspicious side coming through,” Reed grumbled.
“You know I’m right to be cautious.”
“I know. He’s beautiful, though,” Reed murmured, and Keith rubbed a handover his shaved skull as he moved forward toward the bed and wondered what the hell they were doing not calling the police.
“Yeah, a beautiful con artist,” he muttered. Reed turned and shot him a sharp look as their patient suddenly opened his eyes and stared directly at Keith, a gaze that made him feel a sharp tug from gut to groin.
Fuck. It had been a mistake to let him in this far.
Shane struggled to sit up, but Reed was pressing his shoulders back down to the pillows. “Easy, big guy. You’ve been out of it for a while.”
Keith held out the cup of water and Shane took a greedy pull from the straw, until he coughed. Reed eased him back, covered him back up and waited until he’d caught his breath.
“What’s your name?” Keith asked.
Shane looked at him, a sudden confusion covering his handsome face. “It’s um…fuck.”
“Um fuck, huh?” Keith started, but Reed interrupted with a glare at Keith.
“It’s Shane Wills. Did you hit your head?”
“I don’t remember,” Shane admitted.
“What the hell were you doing out there?” Keith barked.
Shane pressed his lips together, shook his head as if attempting to clear it. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know? It’s a simple question,” Keith asked, but Reed put a hand against his chest to stop him, asked instead, “What’s the last thing you remember, Shane?”
“I remember walking down a street in Philly…some guys hassled me and I fought them off, but not before I lost my wallet and they got in some good punches,” he started slowly. “A truck driver took pity on me—cleaned me up and took me as far as here, I guess. When he dropped me, he told me there was an inn a mile from here. And then I walked.”
Keith mentally cursed the driver for dropping this kid into the middle of nowhere in this weather. “No one’s ever found that inn.”
Because this is the inn.
He caught Reed’s eye and both men fought a smile.
“And before that?” Keith pushed Shane, who shook his head.
“I don’t remember. I’ve been trying to for the past few days—the whole
ride…I was panicked.”
“Maybe we should call the police—file a missing person’s report—” Reed
“No!” Shane’s hand shot out, grabbed Reed’s wrist. “No.”
Keith’s eyes met Reed’s. No doubt about it—Shane was nothing but trouble.
About SE Jakes:
SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want.
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