Featuring guys from my Sanctuary Series.
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The party was in full swing by the time Morgan arrived. He’d dropped Oscar at the sitter’s, but when the black Lab gave him what Nik called “sad woobie eyes,” it was all Morgan could do to leave. Still, seeing Nik, added to the appeal of a beer or two and meeting up with old friends, was enough to have him leaving. After giving Oscar one last hug, of course.
First, he spotted Dale leaning against the outside wall. The former SEAL was on the phone and had his head bowed in absolute concentration. Morgan skirted him, not wanting to interrupt, but he sketched a wave when Dale looked up at him.
“Wait,” Dale said quickly. He passed the cell to Morgan. “Joseph wants to say hi.”
Morgan took the handset and announced himself with a teasing “Hey, Frogman.” He’d gotten the nickname from overhearing Nik talk about Dale, and given Dale and Joseph were trained SEALs, Morgan had decided Frogman was a SEAL thing.
“Hey,” Joseph responded quickly.
“Merry Christmas. Why aren’t you here?”
“Spending time with family, coming back up on the twenty-first.”
“Good work on the Canada thing,” Morgan added vaguely. He’d learned his lesson about talking specifics, but he knew Joseph and Dale had joined forces on a retrieval over the border. “I’m handing the phone back to Dale.”
“Have a good Christmas, and give your sexy man a kiss,” Joseph teased.
Morgan returned the phone to Dale, who grinned at him. Then Morgan continued into party central. For some reason, Jake and Sean thought it was a good idea to open up their house for a kind-of party two weeks before Christmas. Not everyone was present. Joseph was with his family, and Manny and Josh were on a case. As far as Morgan knew, Beckett and Kayden were here, and he’d heard rumors that Adam was coming over later if his handover went to time.
Actually, it was Adam who was the second person Morgan met. As he sat on the bottom step of the stairs just inside the entrance, he looked beyond drunk and entirely introspective.
“Morgan!” Adam called as soon as he saw him. He high-fived Morgan, which was awkward given he was sitting way down. “Nik’s in the kitchen doing something weird with popcorn.” He spoke carefully as though his lips were unreliable. “And I’m drunk, and I wish Lee would hurry up so he can look after me.”
Morgan ruffled Adam’s hair. The hard edge action man didn’t look so hard when he was all happy-drunk.
In the main room, in front of the largest TV Morgan had ever seen, Kayden and Jake were having a heated debate.
“It was my Nintendo,” Kayden said heatedly.
“No, it was mine. I was the one who scratched my name on the back so you wouldn’t take it.” Jake stabbed his finger toward Kayden to emphasize the veracity of the point.
“Yeah, right,” Kayden slurred.
Beckett moved to stand between them but relaxed when Jake and Kayden fell back on the sofa, laughing like loons.
“I never get this sibling shit,” he muttered to Morgan as he handed him a beer.
“Jake and Kayden are a law unto themselves,” Morgan commented. “You need to get Sean in to mediate.”
Beckett huffed a laugh. “It was Sean who started it, but he fucked off to the kitchen as soon as Jake and Kayden started in with the sibling rivalry. I’m surprised they didn’t whip out their dicks and compare sizes.”
Morgan and Beckett exchanged grins and a Christmas-type hug, and then Morgan moved on to the kitchen in search of his lover.
He found Nik and Sean in deep discussion, both drinking soda, with not a beer in sight. Nik smiled when he saw Morgan come in, and he held out an arm for him to hug under.
“Hey, babe,” Nick murmured. “Oscar okay?”
“Pining already. A bit like Dale and Adam, who are both out front missing their guys.”
“Speaking of which,” Sean said. “I’m going back out to see if Jake has forgiven me bringing up the old Nintendo disagreement.” He grinned broadly. “It never fails to end up with Jake and Kayden wrestling on the floor, which is damn funny.”
“Last I saw they were upright,” Morgan commented.
Sean left, and abruptly Morgan and Nik were alone. Nik cradled Morgan’s face and stole his first kiss since this morning when they’d separated for work, Nik to Sanctuary to clear paperwork, Morgan to his small studio at the back of their house. Their fortified, security-overkilled house.
“What do you think of the party?” Morgan asked.
Nik pressed a kiss to Morgan’s head. “Better now you’re here.” Nik maneuvered Morgan and helped him sit on the counter among glass jars of pasta and a pile of Christmas cards.
He stepped between Morgan’s legs, and Morgan wrapped his arms around Nik’s neck. Nik was on call all over Christmas, the trade-off being New Year’s, and Morgan loved that Nik ’hadn’t been called out yet.
The sound of Christmas music filtered from speakers somewhere in the kitchen, a soft melody of carols.
“Are you coming home tonight?” Morgan asked between kisses.
Nik frowned and shook his head. “’M sorry, Sean and I are on standby for a retrieval in South Carolina—a family. We’re just waiting.”
Morgan hid his disappointment. Nik was first and foremost a Sanctuary operative, and his loyalty wasn’t just to Morgan but to the people Sanctuary helped. His bravery, dedication, and general badassery were exactly what made Morgan love him so much.
Kissing Nik was like coming home every single time, lust pouring through Morgan’s body until he was ready for more.
“Nik?” Sean’s voice interrupted them.
Morgan knew what Sean wanted even before he said anything. “We’re up, big guy.”
Nik pulled back a little, and Morgan stared into his gorgeous brown eyes, even as he tangled his fingers into his dark blond hair.
“I love you, Morgan,” Nik murmured. “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Have fun. Drink beer, and miss me.”
Morgan held tight for a moment, and then released his hold. “Stay safe, Nik.”
He didn’t have to say that. Nik would always be as safe as he could so that he could come home to Morgan.
Nik left with a sketched wave and a ready grin. Morgan held that expression in his thoughts for a long while. Finally, he jumped down from the counter, grabbed his beer, and made his way into the front room.
This was a party, after all.
** Ghost (Sanctuary #9) will be out on January 31 2017 **
The Only Easy Day (Book #2)
Face Value (Book #3)
Still Waters (Book #4)
Full Circle (Book #5)
The Journey Of Sanctuary One (Book #6)
World Collide (Book #7)
Accidental Hero (Book #8)